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Alternative school picks Strong principal

This past summer as teachers were preparing for students, Cecil Strong was preparing to open a new school.

Over the past few years, many changes in the McDuffie County educational field have occurred. For instance, the 2007-08 school year was the last year of the school we knew as Crossroads. For a year, ISS (in school suspension) students were sent to Ombudsman Learning Center rather than Crossroads. This summer, things have changed in the school system. Crossroads has re-opened with the new title McDuffie Achievement Center (MAC for short). But what is a school without a principal?

Mr. Strong, formerly an assistant principal at the Thomson McDuffie Junior High School, was interviewed for the job. With his fourteen years experience in education, the interview panel of system administrators felt they had no better choice. His past teaching and coaching skills have helped him in his responsibility of running the alternative school.

One might think running a school is easy, but the preparation and restoration of this facility has been excruciating. Just for an idea about how much work was involved, picture a school that was built in 1936 trying to survive in today's society. Electrical maintenance, painting, and masonry are just a few examples of what needed updating to get MAC up and running.

Not only was there physical labor involved, but teachers also had to be hired. The teaching staff includes two behavioral specialists, two special education teachers, four academic teachers (one for each subject), one reading specialist, one counselor, one secretary, and one parent contact person.

Mr. Strong not only organizes the faculty, but also the entire school. Students between the grades 6-12 can be assigned to MAC through a tribunal process, by an adjudication process, or they may go voluntarily. The students' schedules are the same as their respective schools.

Mr. Strong hopes that students who participate in the MAC learning environment exit to become "productive citizens in our global community."

Web posted on Thursday, September 17, 2009

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