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Long County students prep for tests
Board raises millage rate to buy buses
Robert Waters
Dr. Robert Waters in superintendent of Long County Schools

Long County school principals briefed school board members during the board of education’s April meeting on how they have prepared students for the upcoming Georgia Milestones standardized testing.  

The system’s third graders will be tested this coming week, according to Long County Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters. He said the state would likely release Milestone test scores in late May or June. 

The Georgia Milestone Assessment System measures students’ skills to ensure they are meeting state standards in English language arts, math, science, and social studies, according to the Georgia Department of Education website.   

“Students in grades 3 through 8 take an end-of-grade assessment in English language arts and mathematics while students in grades 5 and 8 are also assessed in science and social studies,” states “High school students take an end-of-course assessment for each of the 10 courses designated by the state board of education.”

Most schools added instructional coaches to their faculties and administered practice tests. Some schools offered parents learning sessions to help them understand the testing process and better prepare their children for taking the tests.

Smiley Elementary School Principal Beverly Hill told the BOE that two-thirds of their students’ parents attended a Georgia Milestones Lunch and Learn session in February. 

The program offered parents tips on how to help their children reduce test-taking anxiety, Hill said.

Walker Elementary School Principal Lisa Long said teachers have long been working with students on test-taking skills.

“We’ve worked hard and feel good about all the tests coming up,” Long said.

Teachers have also received additional training and extended planning periods to help prepare students for Georgia Milestones, principals said.

Administrators also informed school board members that the system’s three new buses are in operation. 

“They’re on the routes now, packed out every day,” Waters said. 

The superintendent said the millage increase board members approved last year enabled the system to buy the buses for $330,000. The BOE voted to raise the millage rate from 13.483 to 14.50 in September. 

Waters said the system plans to buy three more new buses next year.

Director of Support Services Heath Crane updated school board members on the new bus barn and new school construction. Crane gave a power point presentation with photos that depicted a flurry of construction site activity.

“It’s taking shape now,” Crane said. “The power is on.”

Waters said the system received $27.1 million in state funding for the new school construction project, and said voters approved the $3 million bond referendum in support of the project.

“We’re expecting to start school in fiscal year 2019 out there,” Waters said. The superintendent estimates the building will be ready for full occupation in mid-July. 

He said staff can get into the elementary school wing to prepare for the move in early May.

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