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Superintendent takes helm
More pass CRCT on retesting
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Dr. Judy Burton Scherer (left) shakes hands with Probate Court Judge Nancy Aspinwall after she swore the new superintendent of schools into office at the July 8 board meeting. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Dr. Judy Burton Scherer took her seat to the right of BoE chairwoman Lily Baker after Probate Court Judge Nancy Aspinwall administered the oath of office at the start of the board’s July 8 meeting.
The Liberty County Board of Education started its regular meeting with the ceremony welcoming Scherer, who started work July 1.
“I was very humbled with taking the oath,” Scherer said. “It just emphasized again the tremendous responsibility that I’ve taken on.”
But she said accepting the charge was also “very exciting for me.”
“It is something I am committed to doing to the very best of my ability and do what’s right for this community.”
Her first official week on the job included meeting individually with the county’s 14 school principals and the central office administrators, calling them a “very good staff.”
“They’re a very dedicated group to quality education for all of the students of Liberty County,” she said. “So I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen so far.”
The public has also embraced Scherer with a warm welcome to the county when she attended the Hinesville Rotary Club meeting on Tuesday.  
“The other main priority I have is to get out in the community and start meeting with the civic groups...with the various groups in the community that also support education,” she said. “I firmly believe that to have a quality educational system it takes everybody.”
Scherer mentioned a partnership with schools, area colleges, juvenile courts and any other groups playing a vital role in the overall education of the county’s students.
“Part of my philosophy and my goal is to reach out to all those entities in the community and learn as much as I can, pool our resources, work together to meet the needs of the community,” Scherer said. “No one group can do it by themselves.”
Community leaders, along with students, parents and the public, are being invited to meet Scherer at a Meet & Greet on July 24 from 5-7 p.m., sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
In other business Tuesday, Carol Spurlin reported to the board the unofficial scores from last month’s CRCT retests.
After seeing a breakdown of how many students needed to retest, those who did and did not take the test again and how many did not pass the second round, the consensus from the board was the scores were unsatisfactory.
“This is not an acceptable number,” Baker said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Though Scherer has said lower CRCT scores are “pretty typical around the state, she agreed with Baker in working toward improving student achievement.
“Clearly we have some areas in which we need to work,” Scherer said.
“If you look at the demographics of our system, we’re doing very well overall,” she added.
She assured that the central office is “looking at ways to address those specific areas that we need to continue to improve in.”
“They are very aware, down to the grade level and the specific teachers and students that need additional services in order to meet those CRCT goals.”
Board member Mattie Hicks questioned how long the remediation session was made available.
Others agreed that three weeks may not have been enough to prepare students for the retest.
“It is very difficult to find teachers for summer school,” Spurlin said.
“We did the best we could to provide this service,” she said. “We’re thankful for the numbers (of those passing students).”
For the 764 third, fifth and eighth grade student who needed to retest, 88 certified and 14 classified teachers were provided, but not every student attended the remedial classes.
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Conley brought up that taking the remediation was in the students’ best interest, but was not required.
Meetings will be arranged before the end of the month with parents whose students failed the retest.
Associate Superintendent Harley Grove also updated the board on the Georgia School Boards Association conference last month and the proposal from state superintendent Kathy Cox to have Georgia schools start a few weeks later than normal.
He said no changes will be made this year, but boards are asked to consider starting later next year.
“There won’t be any change in the 08-09 school year,” Grove has said.

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