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Paulding schools see highs, lows in 2013-14 year
by Tom Spigolon
June 11, 2014 10:40 AM | 1037 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From systemwide reaccreditation and improved test scores to two major ice and snow storms, the Paulding County School District saw highs and lows in the recently completed school year, the superintendent said last week.

Superintendent Cliff Cole said preliminary numbers show Paulding students improved in all four areas of the state-mandated end-of-course test.

“That’s a credit to the quality teaching that’s going on across the district,” he said. “It’s always exciting to see these scores continue to rise.”

The test serves as the final exam in such subjects as coordinate algebra, math II, U.S. history, biology, American literature and more. Its results are used to show how high schools are faring on Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index of public schools, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

Meanwhile, AdvancED announced in March it was renewing the school district’s accreditation for another five years.

School systems seek accreditation to show they have met a specific set of quality standards and are continuously reviewing and improving operations. Graduates of non-accredited schools and systems face hurdles in securing HOPE scholarship money or admittance to many colleges and universities.

Cole said eight AdvancEd representatives reviewed all aspects of district operations in October, with the only major recommendation being improvement of its technology offerings.

AdvancEd’s “required actions” included implementation of “a technology plan to reduce the gap between existing technology and the technology required for students in support of the curriculum,” he said.

Cole said the school board has increased funding for technology in the past two years.

In addition, Paulding voters’ May 20 renewal of the existing 1-percent sales tax for education will help the system meet the requirement for providing more technology in the classrooms. It will provide $3.2 million over five years and help the system upgrade its computers in all schools, he said.

“We knew we needed to show improvement,” he said.

He noted the economic downturn which began in 2008 significantly reduced property tax revenues in Paulding – a major source of school district funding – and made fewer funds available for upgrades. Some teachers are working with 10-year-old computers, he said.

“In technology, that’s a dinosaur,” Cole said.

Cole said the renewal of the sales tax for education will help the district pay off debt and provide needed classroom space and technology upgrades. The 1 percent sales tax, first approved in 1997, will generate an estimated $87.6 million between 2016 and 2021.

Ice and snow storms in late January and early February were a major challenge to parents, students and school employees. Students were stranded at many schools Jan. 28 after a late-morning ice storm caught many in metro Atlanta off-guard. Most vehicles, including school buses, were unable to navigate the ice-covered roads.

After system officials shut schools following another snow storm two weeks later, they converted a teacher work day and a week of early release days into full days of regular classes to make up for the lost time.

Cole said winter storms typically pose problems in Paulding because of the county’s size and geography.

“Ice storms are always a challenge,” Cole said.

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