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Long administrator talk issues as school starts
Robert Waters Long super
Long County Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters said having fewer state-mandated tests will be good for students. - photo by File photo

Long County schools opened their doors Friday to begin the 2015-16 calendar year.

With the new year kicking off, several administrators talked about some changes that will affect the school system.    

On Monday, Georgia Department of Education Communications Director Matt Carodoza issued a news release informing all public schools that students would have fewer required tests for the upcoming year because of a reduction in Student Learning Objectives, or SLOs.  

According to the release, schools will only be required to administer two SLOs for the academic year, whereas in the past they could have been required to administer up to six. The release says this reduction will reduce the amount of testing in all schools and classrooms and lessen the financial and human-resources burden on all school districts.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters said this change can only be regarded as a positive for the Long County School System.

“We lose so much instructional time because of these tests. Anytime we can reduce the number of tests that students are taking, it is a good thing,” he said.

On July 8, the GDoE released the state’s list of schools deemed Priority and Focus schools for not meeting academic standards in one area or another. Long County Middle School was on this list as a Focus school.

Principal Heath Crane said that though his school was on the list, it was only because the school did not meet the standards three years ago.

“We originally got designated as a Focus school back in the 2011-12 school year because of an achievement gap between our highest- and lowest-performing subgroups. Our lowest-performing subgroup was our students with disabilities. This designation was a three-year requirement,” he said.

“At this time, LCMS does not meet the definition of being a Focus school, but it is still designated as a Focus school because of not increasing in achievement-gap points,” he added.

Crane said that even though his school always strives to meet required standards, being placed on the list has had a positive side effect.

“Being designated as a Focus school helps us receive state funding to run our Focus school program and address the students with the greatest academic needs. We currently operate a Focus learning computer lab,” he said.

The Long County Board of Education held its monthly meeting July 23 with little on the agenda. Waters reported that the school system was to close July 24 on the land for a proposed third- through eighth-grade school. The school will be on Highway 84.

The BoE recognized retiring migrant specialist Art Carter and rescheduled its October meeting from the 12th to the 19th. The time for the meeting still will be 6:30 p.m.

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