Board member appreciation
Members of the McDuffie County Board of Education received tokens of appreciation last Wednesday morning at the monthly planning session. Superintendent Mark Petersen presented each member a plaque and a portfolio on which were inscribed "Make it Happen." Dr. Petersen thanked the board members for being instrumental in making progress happen in the county school system.
The business department passed out cards of appreciation to the board.
"From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you for the investment you put in our children," said Tom Smalley, school system comptroller.
Each board member also received a gift basket filled with novelties and treats along with a sling chair printed with the Thomson Bulldog logo from the school principals.
"We have a passion for this school system and this community," said Board Chairman Jerry Randolph. "Wherever I travel, I tell people I am from Thomson, and they have already heard about Thomson education. ... There's something special about McDuffie County education."
Board of Education members are: Georgia Hobbs-District 1, Paul Leroy-District 2, Louise Burgess-District 3, Nether Ivery-District 4, Virginia Bradshaw-District 5, Jerry Randolph-District 6, and Mike Love-District 7.
School facilities commended
A committee representing the Georgia Department of Education visited the McDuffie school district on Tuesday, Feb. 28 to review a routine facilities plan. In their plan, the committee made a special note for McDuffie County.
"The McDuffie County School District is commended for the exceptional cleanliness of their schools and their commitment to well-maintained facilities," the note stated.
The committee was composed of Bill Loudermilk of the Georgia DOE, Tim Beatty of Columbia County Schools, James Holton of Glascock County Schools, Carl Bethune of Jefferson County Schools, Joyce Williams of Wilkes County Schools and Gene Sullivan of Richmond County Schools.
"It was not required of them to put the commendation in their plan, but they felt so strongly that they included the note, and they were also impressed with the condition of the field house at the high school," said Dr. Jim Franklin, the assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Central office addition
The McDuffie School Board approved a plan to add six offices to the county board of education central office complex on North Lee Street. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jim Franklin said the additions will not cost the school board any additional money. Dr. Franklin said the funds will come from energy payments to the school nutrition budget. Also, Dr. Franklin said construction could be handled by employees in the school system maintenance department, eliminating the need to hire a construction company. Certain portions of the job, such as brickwork and roofing will be contracted, he said.
The new offices will be used by the technology and nutrition departments, which currently have as many as four people working in one office space. The new offices will be built extending from the current financial wing of the central offices building.
After-school training offered
As part of the No Child Left Behind legislation, third, fifth and eighth graders must pass the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in the areas of math and reading in order to be promoted to the next grade. The test is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge presented in their specific curriculum.
The schools will offer an intense review session in conjunction with the 21st Century Program to prepare students for the test. The new program is offered to students during after-school hours March 20-31 and April 12-13. The school board is sharing the costs, with 21st Century absorbing 66 percent of the expenses, said Dr. Barry O'Neill, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Dr. O'Neill said other pros of the program being offered with 21st Century are no additional utility expenses of facilities being opened during holidays; the board will not have to fund snacks or an administrator salary, and it is more convenient for parents and students.
"It's a win-win situation. More students should be willing to participate because it is not taking away from their holiday... We are trying to make it as convenient as possible... We believe that by offering additional assistance in a concentrated effort, we will be able to reach those who might need it most," Dr. O'Neill said.
CRCT tests will begin April 17.
Town hears business complaints
The Town of Thomson is taking a closer look at an automobile customizing shop after local business owners complained about the new business.
Extreme Customs has only been open a few weeks, but that's been long enough to catch the ire of other business owners in the shopping center that fronts Hill Street, said Town Administrator Bob Flanders during Thursday night's Thomson Town Council meeting. The complaints include loud music and other noise, work occurring late at night and the smell of paint.
"Since day one, it has been trouble all night long," said Liz Smith, who owns Little G's restaurant.
Thomson Mayor Bob Knox encouraged town employees to document everything in relation to the car business, and enforce any ordinances already on the books in relation to it.