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.
1. Before you vote, check out the charter petitions on each school's Web site. Charter petitions can be found on each home page.
Morgan County Primary School: morgan.k12.ga.us/mcps/
Morgan County Elementary School: morgan.k12.ga.us/mces/
Morgan County Middle School: morgan.k12.ga.us/mcms/
2. Prepare your questions.
3. Come to one of the three schools on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. OR 6 p.m. (voting doesn't last throughout the day, just at these times), ask your questions (administration will be available), and cast your ballot. If you have students at more than one of these schools, there will be ballots for all three schools available at each of the schools; you don't have to go to separate schools to vote!
"If you want the school to be as successful as it has been the past five years, the charter played a role in that success," MCPS Principal Dr. Betsy Short said.
Printed in the October 7, 2010 edition.
Parents and students bounce, jump, and race their way into autumn at the annual Morgan County Primary School Fall Festival, held last Friday at Madison's Town Park.
photos by k. mcbroom
Where East Meets West: Madison native Andie Vaughn learns, and shares, that the “real world’s got seoul.”Submitted by editor on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 20:01.
Story by Kathryn McBroom
Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
Morgan County isn’t the first place that comes to mind when planning a trip to the world’s most exotic locations. For Madison native Andie Vaughn, however, a new journey can’t begin without a pit stop in her hometown.
Vaughn left Seoul, South Korea, in late August after spending a year there, teaching English to elementary school-aged children. A recent Wake Forest University graduate, Vaughn departed for Seoul in July 2009 having only lived abroad once before, during a semester spent studying in Paris.
“I had thought about volunteering over the summer, but I realized I needed to be self-supporting.”
While researching volunteering options overseas, Vaughn stumbled upon openings for teaching positions.
“I started looking at teaching abroad, because once I looked at opportunities abroad I got really excited about traveling and seeing the world.”
Armed with only a history degree, a laptop and her luggage, Vaughn’s first month in Southeast Asia was spent in Thailand, training to receive her TEFL (Teaching as a Foreign Language) certificate, to make her transition into teaching easier.
From there Vaughn left for Seoul, where she began teaching English to South Korean children through a state-run school. As Vaughn settled into her new surroundings she grew more accustomed to the Korean language and way of life.
“I still don’t speak much Korean, but I can read Korean. Unlike Japanese or Chinese, it’s completely phonetic. Once you learn the alphabet it’s really easy to read.”
By Kathryn McBroom
For the fifth year in a row, the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge has donated dictionaries to every third grader in Morgan, Greene, and Hancock counties, most recently Morgan County third graders.
Taking the lead from the national Elks Lodge organization, the group has consistently donated every year since their inception, with Gene Campbell taking over as this year’s chairman of the program.
During the creation of the program 15 years ago, third graders were chosen because it is the typical grade level when students begin learning how to use dictionaries and other research materials. By donating a dictionary to every third grade student, the Elks Lodge and The Dictionary Project hope to, “improve literacy and the quality of life in their communities,” according to dictionaryproject.org.
Lake Oconee Elks Lodge hosts multiple fund-raisers throughout the year to help fund the dictionary giveaway, as well as the lodge’s many other charitable endeavors, including the six scholarships the Lodge donates annually.
“We do barbecue plate luncheons, and many other types of fund-raisers to accumulate money,” said Campbell.
Those wishing to donate to Lodge 2849’s efforts should contact Campbell at 706 484-1872.
“I’ll be happy to work with anyone,” said Campbell.
By Kathryn Schiliro
At Morgan County Elementary School, getting your name on the "TEAM (over) Me" bulletin board is, well, the school's equivalent of achieving rock-star status.
This school year, teachers and administration at MCES have unveiled a community-building, behavior-related program: "TEAM (over) Me." (In this instance, TEAM stands for "Together Everyone Achieves More.")
The concept began with the analyzation of data that dealt with "prevalent behavioral issues in the MCES culture over the past years," according to information provided by Jean Triplett, the school's principal.
The design team working with the data was able to place most of the behavioral information within one of four areas: physical behavior, verbal behavior, academic discipline and social skills.
While there isn't an overwhelming number of discipline issues at the school, Triplett said, there are always going to be some problems when 750 kids are placed together under one roof. While the TEAM program is meant to target poor behavior, it's also meant to teach students what a community is and how to function within it, to think "how our actions affect the team."
"'TEAM (over) Me' emphasizes that the learning community is a team and as such the concerns of the team take precedence over the secondary interests of 'me,'" the information states.
In addition to "Together Everyone Achieves More," TEAM also stands for the four behavioral areas dictated by years of data:
• "Think first: Keep your hands and feet and objects to yourself"
• "Engage in assignments: Listen and learn"
• "Appropriate language: Always use it"
• "Manners: Respect everyone and everything"
So, how does this program work?