Education grants require staff shake-up - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Education grants require staff shake-up

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

 

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  We've got new details on a story we broke about major changes coming to two Dougherty County high schools.

The principals at Albany and Dougherty High Schools will lose their principal jobs, and every teacher must prove they have what it takes to improve the under-performing schools. Those are the rules in order to get millions of dollars from the federal government to transform the schools.

Both of the grants for Albany and Dougherty High are the Transformation model, that's because school officials felt that was the only alternative that was feasible.

It requires replacing the principals, and gives the rest of the staff a year to turn results around or face losing the funding. 

It's a heavy request, two grants for $6 million each, for Albany and Dougherty High Schools over the next three years aimed at improving the graduation rates and overall school performance. Both schools were eligible based on graduation rates over the last three years. 

Those rates dropped dramatically in 2008.  At Albany High  it will mean every teacher must undergo advance placement training for the high honors program and new classes.

"Graphic Arts, videography, photography and so forth and then of course they will have a pathway there for the law and law enforcement," said DCSS Exec. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dianne Daniels.
 
The grant would also create new programs at Dougherty High. "Leadership, for students maybe interested in becoming a politician, entering into business management, hospitality," said Daniels.

It will mean a shake up for the staff at both. "The principal will have to be reassigned and the teachers have one year, the staff will have one year in order for them to demonstrate they have the ability to move the school forward," said Daniels.

"It's acceptable for the principals to be used in other capacities in the system, that's not been determine in our system, that will be decided by the board of education," said DCSS Public Information Officer R. D. Harter.

In addition to the Director of Transformation to oversee the grant implementation, the system will also hire a Leadership Academy Director to fulfill state requirements for teacher certifications.  To help students meet the guidelines, additional learning time will be added to the start of the school day.

"Will it be a challenge transportation wise to get those students in for a zero hour class, yes, it will," said Daniels.

Each student's progress will be tracked on a quarterly basis to catch problems sooner, but to also make sure teachers are meeting the grants requirements and trying other alternative before a student fails.

School officials consider this a positive step toward improving student achievement.  If the grant is awarded and accepted, it will also mean hiring additional staff to create the new programs.  School officials say they'll hire 49 percents, teachers who will work part time, with the contingency their contract is for as long as the system has a need for the programs.

 School officials expect to hear whether they will get the grant by May. The School Board would have to agree to the policy changes. If it all works out, teachers would undergo training this summer and the changes would be implemented in the fall.

 

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