Printed in the 11-4-10 edition
Compiled by Kathryn Schiliro
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
The votes are in, and we're not talking about the mid-term elections.
Morgan County Primary, Elementary, Middle and High schools selected their Teachers of the Year last week, and surprised them with the honor.
To qualify, teachers have to be certified, have three years of experience in the school system and, per state rules, "should spend the majority of their time teaching in the classroom setting" (which eliminates administrators or counselors, for example, from being nominated).
"The Teacher of the Year (TOTY) should be an 'exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher planning to continue in active teaching status who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. He/she should have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues and plan an active and useful role in the community, as well as in the school. The TOTY should be poised and articulate and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule,'" according to a memo from Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach concerning selection of TOTYs.
Voting by certified teachers at each of the county's schools was held Nov. 3, and winners were announced Nov. 5. The four winners will now compete for system TOTY, which will be announced Nov. 16.
Meet this year's Morgan County TOTYs:
Printed in the November 11, 2010 edition
By Kathryn Schiliro
Part of Homecoming Week festivities, Morgan County High School students created in a lip dub Wednesday.
So, what's a lip dub?
It's a kind of homemade music video. Filmed in one, continuous shot while the music is played in the background, participants mouth, act out or just dance to a song. There is no editing done to the video, just dubbing the actual song over what was filmed.
While there isn't any video editing, lip dubs require a lot of prep work: deciding the path the camera will take, who is placed where, how to sync choreography with the song.
MCHS chose Australian band Jet's 2003 release "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" for their Homecoming lip dub. The video, which features MCHS students and faculty, starts at the front doors of the school, travels through the halls, outside and onto the football field for the grand finale.
The video was directed by students Katherine Key and Zach Shepherd; the camera was operated by Meredith Owen, who was being pushed in a wheelchair (to avoid the bounce that sometimes occurs when a camera is held by a person walking) by Cody Lovin; and Anna Wilson was in charge of "Attempted Music," according to the video's credits.
To watch the lip dub in its entirety, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxKckqQgWvU or just go to youtube.com and type in "Morgan County High School lip dub."
Printed in November 4, 2010 edition.
by Dave Belton
Morgan County BOE, District 5
The last few years I’ve written a year-in-review article, detailing my perceptions of what’s been happening in our schools. As a Board of Education member, it’s important to inform my constituents how their tax money is being spent.
I normally write this article in August or September. But due to the tardiness of the Georgia Department of Education, we’ve only just received word on one of our most important goals: Annual Yearly Progress (AYP).
AYP is the standard that schools across the nation must comply with for No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As was reported, Morgan County High School did not make AYP again this year. Last year we failed two of nine categories; this year we failed 3 of 10. Because we failed two years in a row, we are now in a “Needs Improvement” status. Contrary to what you may have heard, we do not get any more money out of this, and are now required to come up with a plan for improvement, as well as offer tutoring services (which we already do).
I am very disappointed. When prospective employers and home buyers look to relocate, the two things they focus on is SAT and AYP. Our SAT rose considerably this year, but is still below the state average – and we are now in a “Needs Improvement” status with AYP.
Morgan County taxpayers deserve better.
Nearly everyone from liberals to libertarians dislikes NCLB. There are several fatal flaws that undermine the usefulness of the program. I greatly dislike federal mandates and have zero use for the U.S. Department of Education.
Charter renewals mean continued flexibility in student instruction
By Kathryn Schiliro
In an effort to cater instruction to county students, Morgan County Primary, Elementary and Middle schools are renewing their charter school status with the state Department of Education this year.
In order to do so, they need your help.
On Thursday, Oct. 21, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., parents of students attending these schools are asked to come and vote on the schools’ proposed charters. Provided they pass muster by a simple majority, these charters will then go to the Morgan County Board of Education then the Georgia Board of Education for approval.
So what is a charter school? And how is it different from a traditional public school?
Charter schools are allowed certain exemptions – outlined in the charter itself – from Georgia's Title 20, the state law pertaining to education, as well as other state or local "rule, regulation, policy, or procedure," with some exceptions. These schools are still required to teach curriculum dictated by the Georgia Performance Standards and must meet federal and state requirements for student progress.
"A charter school is a public school that operates according to the terms of a charter, or contract, that has been approved by a local board of education and the State Board of Education. The charter school may request waivers from provisions of Title 20 of Georgia state law and any state or local rule, regulation, policy, or procedure relating to schools in the school district. In exchange for this flexibility, the charter school is bound by contract to be held accountable for meeting the performance-based objectives specified in the charter," according charter school FAQs—information taken from the Georgia DOE's Web site, public.doe.k12.ga.us.