“That word that comes to mind is ‘challenging,’” he said. “However, each school year has its challenges and, for Douglas County Schools, this year possibly has held more challenges than its fair share.”
Pritz said these challenges also come with opportunities for school system officials to learn how to deal effectively with such occurrences in the future, whether or not they are anticipated.
“I sincerely believe one of the measures of the success of any school system comes in how school officials deal with these challenges, and then use that experience to respond swiftly and correctly to later challenges,” he said.
Although the system faced the unexpected challenge in March of its Mount Carmel Elementary School principal being arrested in a child sex sting operation in DeKalb County, it responded by convincing the school’s former principal to return to her old job.
“Veteran administrator Dr. Sandra Williams, who retired from Mount Carmel, did an excellent job providing leadership for students, parents and staff through the 2013-2014 school year,” said a school system statement.
Douglas County Schools spokeswoman Karen Stroud said Tracey Seymour, who served as Mount Carmel’s assistant principal from 2005 to 2008, will serve as principal for the 2014-15 school year.
Pritz said one of the many bright spots for the system was the systemwide improvement it made on the state College and Career Ready Performance Index for the 2012-13 school year. Those results were released this year.
In this Georgia Department of Education school improvement, accountability and communications platform promoting college and career readiness, the system saw improvement at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
“Part of the measurement of our success is through standardized test scores,” Pritz said. “I was so proud of those scores as we improved at each level.”
The index results showed the county’s elementary level students jumped from 65 percent to 78 percent, a 13 percent increase, while middle school students improved from 76.6 to 76.9 percent and high school from 66.7 to 70.4 percent.
“From a district standpoint, we jumped almost 8.5 percent on the CCRPI scores,” Pritz said.
The superintendent also said the 2013-14 school year saw the opening of the district’s second magnet school, a fine arts magnet, at New Manchester High School.
“These magnet schools this year are part of the foundation that has our district getting ready to open two more magnet schools in the 2014-2015 school year,” Pritz said.
The new magnet schools include a science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, magnet school at Lithia Springs High School and an advanced placement magnet school at Alexander High School, Pritz said.