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Teacher of year finalists named

The McDuffie County Board of Education recognized the 2013 Teacher of the Year finalists at its monthly planning meeting Tuesday morning.

The candidates are Jeana Aycock, Dearing Elementary School; Larry Dunn, Thomson High School; Elena Lamar, Maxwell Elementary School; Stacee Leslie, Thomson Elementary School; Tammy McClure, Norris Elementary School; and Claudia Rodriquez, Thomson-McDuffie Middle School.

Teachers are selected by their peers at their respective schools. The county Teacher of the Year will be announced at the annual banquet given in honor of all the candidates. This year's banquet is at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at Thomson-McDuffie Middle School.

The board also heard a presentation from Keith Kurtz of the McDuffie County Christian Learning Center about the non-denominational organization's Release Time Bible Education program.

The program, which would provide biblically based instruction to public school students, would begin in January if approved by the school board.

"All we have to do is grant release time and accept elective credit," Superintendent Jim LeBrun said. "That's the extent of our involvement."

He said it would require no funds from the school system. It depends on private funding, at no cost to students. For two years, the program would be accredited under the Walton County Christian Learning Center, after which it is modeled. After that, LeBrun said it is nonnegotiable that the program receive its own accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Initial enrollment would be two classes with 15 students each, available for grades 9-12. CLC classes would take place in the building next to the old skating rink on Augusta Highway in Thomson.

Students would receive elective credit for the courses, which LeBrun said already have state-approved course numbers.

The board also heard plans to send McDuffie County school system employees to training sessions on how to administer fitness assessments. The Georgia Department of Education will hold the sessions in October and November.

House Bill 229 was signed into law in April 2009 and goes into effect for the 2011-2012 school year. According to the state DOE, the law requires local school districts to conduct annual fitness assessments for all students in grades 1 to 12 enrolled in physical education classes.

Technical Director Bob Weems told the board that he is in the process of backing up all of the school system's data by copying it to an off-site data server. By the end of the month, the local file services will be online, he said. He is also preparing iPads for administrators to use as an evaluation tool in the classroom.

Web posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011

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