Monday, July 1, 2013

Plenty to celebrate


Welcome to the second half of the summer season!  As we enter July and celebrate Independence Day with our family and friends, OCS personnel are hard at work preparing for the return of our students on August 7 – just thirty-five short days away.  Summer is an important time in the life of a school system, as it allows for reflection of the school year that has recently concluded and essential planning time for the year ahead.  Everywhere you look in OCS you will see important facility progress being made, staff development trainings taking place, and employees taking the necessary and much-needed vacation time with their families that reenergizes and recharges us all.  Every piece of this process is important and it is what continues to make our school system one of the best in the country. 

Since we closed our school doors to nearly 7,000 students on May 21 and celebrated the graduation of approximately 500 seniors on May 25, accolades and awards for our students, teachers, and system have continued to pour into 34 School Street.

·         The Georgia School Boards Association recognized our board of education recently with the 1st place award for “Best Use of the Evaluation Module.” This award provided $750 and a complimentary redesign of the system's eBOARD home page, featuring a special logo recognizing OCS as an eBOARD Site of Excellence. Only four districts in the state of Georgia win this award each year.

·         The Georgia Department of Education recognized OCS as the top midsize district in the state for Title I student achievement.  OCS was awarded $50,000 and a banner denoting it as one of only four High-Progress Reward Districts in the state of Georgia.

·         The Georgia Professional Standards Commission recognized Mr. Merritt Arnold, a teacher at Malcom Bridge Elementary School, with the distinction of Master Teacher.  Mr. Arnold is one of only fifty-eight teachers in the state of Georgia to receive this designation in 2013.

Yet, as a school system focused on Sustained Excellence and Continuous Improvement, OCS is always seeking to get better.  Knowing that each of our schools, simply stated, are four walls with our future inside, it our desire to ensure that those facilities be top-notch.  Thus, the projects below are of tremendous importance and pride to the stakeholders of OCS.  We look forward to their progress and completion this summer.

·         All elementary school entrances are being standardized for safety.  Entry access points are being reconfigured to allow supervised and controlled access for all visitors.

·         Phase II of Colham Ferry Elementary School’s renovation is being completed this summer and a revitalized facility will greet the children and teachers when they return on August 7.

·         Phase I of Oconee County High School’s stadium renovation is underway with the addition of concession stands and restrooms on the home and visitors sides and should be ready for the Warriors’ first home game this fall. 

As you can see, summer is a busy but rewarding time for Oconee County Schools.  Awards for achievements of the past are celebrated and planning for future successes is well underway.  Yet, we are never too busy to hear your thoughts, stories, and ideas.  Please send them my way at jbranch@oconeeschools.org. 

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