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Liberty enrollment near last year's
9,900 students attend first week
BOE recog - Spec. Ed.
The school board recognized special-education teachers for participating in the Georgia Alternative Assessment. From left, Becky Adair, Debora Shinhoster-Richards, Linda Watkins, Pam Grady, Beth McCallum, Sarah Hummel, Tred Harris and Crystal Hodges. Not pictured are Angela McDonnell, Corbin Stripling, Wyatt Morgan, Kelli Wilson and Lily Bezalel. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

The Liberty County Board of Education announced enrollment counts for the first five days of school and is looking to hold three community forums in the 2013-14 school year at regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings.
Liberty County Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Mary Alexander told BoE members that 9,909 students were enrolled the first week of school — a number comparable to the final enrollment figure of 9,932 for the 2012-13 school year.
As of Aug. 13, Button Gwinnett Elementary had 543 students, Frank Long and Joseph Martin Elementary Schools each had 655 children, the Liberty County Pre-K Center had 442, Liberty Elementary had 774, Lyman Hall Elementary had 523, Taylors Creek Elementary had 637 and Waldo Pafford Elementary had 713. Lewis Frasier Middle School had 793 students, Snelson-Golden Middle had 689 and Midway Middle tallied 822 students. Bradwell Institute reported it had 1,608 the first week of school, and Liberty County High School counted 1,055 students.
A reduction in enrollment means a loss of Full-Time Equivalent funding from the state for the district.
Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee also announced tentative dates for community forums to be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 3, 2013; Jan. 16, 2014; and April 24, 2014. Locations for the forums have not been determined. Lee said school officials want to ensure parents and the community are engaged in the school system and would welcome their input through a series of forums.
In other business:
• The board approved a contract amendment with Altman + Barrett Architects to make improvements to the security of entryways at the system’s three middle schools. Improvements will cost approximately $8,250 from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and consist of partitions and access-control systems at Midway, Lewis Frasier and Snelson-Golden middle schools.
• School-board members read and approved two policies, one for concussion management and the other for professional-personnel recruitment.
• The board approved an out-of-state travel request for Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, and board members to attend the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools conference in Washington, D.C., this September. The total cost for the conference is $1,800. The BoE also approved a travel request for Lee to attend the Superintendents’ Summit in Naples, Fla., in October. The superintendent’s trip will not cost the system anything.
• Board members approved a number of personnel actions in a closed session. Anthony Calloway was made executive director for teaching and learning. An art teacher and a special-education teacher were hired, as were four paraprofessionals and a cook. One art teacher resigned, as did a school-nutrition manager, a cook, a custodian and four bus drivers. The central office public-relations facilitator was transferred to a secretarial position in the human-resources department.
• The school board recognized several groups for various achievements. Special-education teachers were lauded for participating in the Georgia Alternative Assessment for their classes. STAR Capt. Marnita Johnson was selected to supervise a STAR certification training event and was given a coordinator-recognition award for her efforts, along with awards for excellence in motivating teamwork and leadership.
STAR 1st Sgt. Charles Isaac received the honorary award of excellence and was recognized as the No. 1 first sergeant in the nation under STAR. Sgt. 1st Class Robert Harvey also received the honorary award of excellence and was named the No. 1 sergeant first class under STAR. Harley Grove, the school district’s liaison with STAR, was recognized for serving in that capacity for 15 years.
Jordye Bacon and Taylors Creek elementary schools were recognized for their 2012 designation by the Georgia Department of Education as Title I Reward schools. Taylors Creek Elementary School made the state’s highest-performing list, and Jordye Bacon, which closed its doors as an elementary school in May, was awarded for making the most academic progress. Reward schools can use their academic achievement award funds to provide teachers and staff bonuses or buy instructionally related supplies and services for the school, according to the Georgia DOE website.
Board members also touted Liberty College and Career Academy program specialists Scott Mortensen and Jim Collins. Each was awarded $10,000 for pursuing industry certification — Mortensen in construction and Collins in graphic arts.
“Industry certification is a rigorous process that programs go through that assures certain industry standards are met,” said Dr. Debbie Rodriguez, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
Students who complete industry-certified pathways are awarded the certifying agency’s credential upon completion, she said. Along with LCSS social workers, Mary Alexander, assistant superintendent for student services, was recognized by Lee and the board for “going the extra mile” for organizing a uniform drive before the start of school.
Riceboro City Council member and after-school ambassador Chris Stacy brought a large contingent of after-school program children to the school-board meeting to meet the new superintendent and announce a new program for “young ladies.”

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