Superintendent Mark Petersen said McDuffie County Schools will be focusing on making Adequate Yearly Progress in 2007.
According to Barry O'Neill, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, there are several new educational programs in effect this year and beginning next year. The state will begin performance-based writing assessments on students in grades five, eight and eleven in 2007. Field testing for these assessments began in 2005. Dr. O'Neill said McDuffie County is offering supplemental assessments for grades four, seven and ten to check progress before it counts.
"Kind of like a preview," he said.
To improve the graduation rate, a full-time graduation coach has been added to Thomson High School and two part-time coaches to CrossRoads Learning Center.
"The graduation rate is a real concern," Dr. O 'Neill said. "So we have people here that can provide specific interventions and individualized support for the students at risk of not graduating. We're excited about that."
Dr. O'Neill said other educational projects include gifted endorsement and training in "Thinking Maps" for teachers, which help students graphically organize their thoughts.
Dr. O'Neill said the biggest goal is district-wide accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A Quality Assurance Review Team will visit and evaluate McDuffie Schools April 29 through May 2.
Construction on the new junior high school on White Oak Road began earlier this week, according to Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Jim Franklin. The construction will take 18 months to complete. Also, this summer renovations will begin on the kitchen at Thomson Elementary, Dr. Franklin said.