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Liberty BOE to increase school security
Button Gwinnett Elementary School STEM grant
Button Gwinnett Elementary School was awarded a $20,000 STEM grant which was acknowledged during the Aug. 13 LCSS meeting. (photo/Kayla Gamble)

The Liberty County BOE is planning to increase its security measures throughout all school campuses. Currently, the Liberty County School System has security measures in place like metal detectors, bus cameras, and the Safe School Helpline (1-877-SAY-STOP). As of press time Tuesday, LCSS is looking to add and upgrade a series of procedures, including updating campus security cameras and updating the district emergency plan. They also plan to install two new security methods; Zonar and the Crisis Alert System.

Zonar is digital tracking software that was briefly touched upon during the LCSS Strategic Planning Meeting back in early May. It will allow LCSS to track buses and monitor their speed. The Crisis Alert System will allow faculty to better react in crisis situations. With this system in place, school faculty will be given an ID card which can be pressed to alert other school personnel of an emergency. Emergency situations, as mentioned during the meeting, include a medical distress—such as a student fainting—and an intruder alert. The ID cards will also include a tracking device so front office personnel know where in the building the crisis is taking place and can dispatch help faster.

LCSS is also planning to install cameras in school classrooms. The details of these cameras, such as when they’ll be installed and whether they’ll remain on all throughout the day or during school hours, have not been released.

LCSS approved the 403(b) Plan. This plan, which is also referred to as the tax-sheltered plan, is available to specific public school employees, tax exempt organizations and certain ministers. Its features are similar to a 401(k) plan and can invest in either annuities or mutual funds.  The Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) Plan was approved as well. The PSERS Plan grants public school employees who aren’t a part of the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) with supplemental retirement plan benefits. The benefits are “intended to be in addition to other retirement income” as claimed by LCSS.

Button Gwinnett Elementary School has recently received a $20,000 STEM grant. The grant funds will be used during the 2019-2020 school year to purchase additional learning materials such as more iPads. The school is also planning to use some of the money to take 40 students grade 3-5 to Legoland in Florida.   

The REACH Scholar Champions were also acknowledged at the meeting. The Georgia REACH Scholarship Program helps middle school students with academic promise receive $10,000 for post-secondary education. The school system and the community are responsible for raising funds for a portion of the scholarship, and the following helped raise the money for this school year’s scholarship: Canoochee EMC, Georgia Power, Gulfstream, Liberty County High, Panera Bread, and St. Luke Church.

The Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) EOG/EOC data for 2017-2019 is in. According to data presented by Testing and Information Systems Coordinator John Ryan, many elementary school students are having difficulty in math, with there being a significant decrease in performance between 3rd and 5th grade. In contrast, English and Language Arts performance has been increasing within a majority of LCSS schools. Middle schools are showing an overall increase in both English and Math throughout all grades.

When comparing Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School, LCHS had a notable increase over Bradwell in all subjects except for physical science and economics. Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Susan Avant commented that, to combat these decreases, teachers who have consistently high performances over multiple years will be asked to coach their fellow teachers. They will also be asked to work after school with children and will be paid for their time. 

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