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State superintendent visits Liberty
Cox teaches class, tours schools, speaks to Chamber
cox mciver
Bradwell Institute students put on a Constitution Day show for State Superintendent Kathy Cox, left. With her is Liberty County Commission Chairman John McIver. BI culinary students also prepared the food for the luncheon sponsored by the department of health. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger
State Superintendent Kathy Cox said it was fate that brought her to Liberty County schools on Thursday. While she enjoyed the coast’s natural beauty in the morning, things fell into place.
“I saw a bald eagle and I thought, ‘I’m destined to be in Liberty County with a bald eagle flying overhead on Constitution Day,’” Cox said.
Cox, a retired government teacher, revisited the classroom for Constitution Day and spent her morning teaching a 12th-grade government class at Liberty County High School. She also met with Liberty County Board of Education members and leaders at the school to discuss state standardized testing, budget concerns and other education issues facing the public school system.
After imparting some knowledge to the students and meeting with local educators, Cox continued her tour, lunching with the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and speaking to community members about educational issues.
After some students from Bradwell Institute performed a comedy skit about the importance of the Constitution, Cox introduced her strategic plan for the upcoming year and listed specific goals.
“Our No. 1 goal is increasing the graduation rate,” Cox said. She said the Department of Education made significant progress in the past few years regarding this longtime goal, raising the rate from 75.4 percent in 2008 to more than 77 percent in 2009.
“Those two percentage points represent 2,243 families whose lives we changed,” she said.
Cox also wants to raise the scores of the standardized tests required for graduation. She’s already implemented a remediation program
to boost scores across the state and is now observing the results and tweaking the system to increase assistance.
“You find the best teachers, you put in their hands viable curriculums and you get results,” she said. “We tackled the issue of remediation with Project Express.”
Also near the top of Cox’s list of priorities are increasing mathematics mastery among Georgia students and raising the state’s average SAT score.
She said despite the ongoing state budget crisis, the goals Cox has set for her department and for all Georgia educators are achievable.
“We’ve truly got people aligned,” she said.
Liberty County Board of Education Chairwoman Lily Baker and Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer both thanked Cox for visiting area schools and learning more about the community.
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