Two Dougherty schools seek charter status - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two Dougherty schools seek charter status

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October 8, 2007

Albany--  The Dougherty County School Board approved turning Dougherty Comprehensive High School and Dougherty International Education Middle School into charter schools if the state gives the okay.

School leaders say an aggressive new way of teaching would be a huge benefit to Dougherty County.

For the past four years, Terry Rucks has walked the halls at Dougherty Comprehensive High School. "The past four years here at Dougherty High have been remarkable," said Rucks.

Nearing graduation, he says he's had a great education. He only wishes he'd encountered more challenges. "Challenging classes that I could pretty much gain my confidence in," said Rucks.

That's a wish future Dougherty High students may be granted. The school wants to become a charter school in order to implement the International Bacculearate Organization Program. Dougherty High Principal Horace Reid welcomes the change.

"There was a need. Dr. Whatley saw a need for a program," said Reid. There was a need based on performance including past test scores and graduation rates. "The key is getting those kids on track to graduate. That right now is our number one priority," said Reid.

The IBO program gives schools the freedom to implement a demanding curriculum with more academic challenges and life skills. Emphasis is placed on international studies.  A math teacher could teach a lesson in spanish.

"Students really have to be motivated. They have to want to finish this program," said Reid.

Dougherty International Education Middle School also seeks the change. They would join International Magnet Elementary School, Dougherty County's first charter school. This means students would now be able to follow the IBO program from elemantary to high school.

"Once it becomes successful, and we have no doubt that it will be successful, these colleges and community schools are going to start looking for students," said Reid.

Students could enter college as sophomores. Current students like Terry wish the changes would have come a little sooner.

School leaders expect to hear back from the State Board of Education by January.

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