Schools give OK to project for education

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System is moving forward with an educational partnership with state agencies to improve public education in Georgia through a program called the Vision Project.

The Newton County Board of Education recently approved the adoption of a resolution supporting the Vision Project, a partnership between the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association. The item was a recommendation from NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews.

Recently, Mathews and school board member Shakila Henderson-Baker attended a meeting in the regional education system to learn more about the plan.

"I think it's a great project," Baker said, adding that officials focused on implementing more technology into classrooms.

The statewide effort is said to provide all children with an equal and excellent education that prepares them for colleges, careers and life in general. It would transform public education, encourage community involvement and create awareness for issues surrounding it.

Principles of the Vision Project include:

* To build trust and support for public education;

* To ensure meaningful engagement of communities with their public schools;

* To create a single vision to change the education culture in our state;

* To provide a rewarding educational experience for all of Georgia's students;

* To ensure students are competitive in a global economy;

* To increase significantly the high school graduation rate;

* To ensure appropriate curricula for a new generation of learners;

* To make learning more rigorous, more relevant and more real;

* To be more responsive to students' individual needs.

The project will focus on school improvement, teaching to higher levels, early learning, new ways to educate grades four through eight and examining alternative education, as well as provide a review of the strength of Georgia's tax structure and deal with education that is changing with changing values and the economy, according to a video about the project.

It was developed over 18 months by 30 superintendents and school board members from around the state. They gained input from other local officials, teachers, students, parents and business people.

Sis Henry, executive director of the GSBA, said in the video that there is a need and urgency for change in public schools and for the state as a whole to look at priorities to "salvage a generation." She said this will be an initial effort to transform public education -- which serves 92 percent of Georgia children -- and a catalyst to bring people together with conversations about what schools should be like.

The Newton County school board signed a resolution showing its support for the project.

The next step is for NCSS to organize a public forum to meet with parents, teachers, students and other educational stakeholders to further implement the project. The Newton County school board also showed interest in inviting state representatives to a meeting.