THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Thomasville City School leaders are meeting with parents and community members to talk about how to improve the school system.
Monday's meeting is the second Town Hall meeting hosted by city school administrators. The last one had a huge turnout
The Superintendent said it's important to have this communication and talk about ways to help and support students.
Some people say a child's success in the classroom starts at home... with support and encouragement.
"We need the community as a whole to wrap their arms around the fact that every child in our city needs to graduate from high school it has to be an expectation," said Dr. Laine Reichert, Superintendent
Thomasville city school leaders are starting there, with the parents of students, encouraging them to have a voice in the process of their child's education.
"We have to go out to them, have more town hall meetings, do small group meetings, have some porch visits, to get them to see we really care about their kids," said Reichert.
48 parents, students, and teachers attended the previous town hall meeting last week. Another is being held Monday.
City School staff said they are doing a lot of things right, having success with communication and offering diverse programs.
"We had an amazing discussion just kinda an organic discussion," said Reichert.
Parent engagement is still an area where city school leaders would like to see improvement.
The school system is looking into a program called 'AVID,' which is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college.
The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills, some of those things that school leader say have been lost over the years in curriculums.
"It tries to help our middle 50 percent of our kids that don't have a lot of resources poured into them to be successful," said Reichert.
The town hall meeting starts at 6 p.m. It's set up in a circle format so everyone gets to play a role in voicing their ideas to improve the future of all students in the city school system.
One of the topics expected to be discussed is the city's school that landed on the governors 'turnaround list' of chronically failing schools.
House Bill 338 - The First Priority Act - was signed into law earlier this year. It created a 'Chief Turnaround Officer' to help low-performing districts get back on track. That position that was later filled by Eric Thomas.
Starting this Thursday - Thomas will work with school boards and community groups to develop improvement plans.
If those schools are still seeing negative results after three years, they could be turned over to nonprofit managers or converted to charter schools.
The Governor's Office of Student Achievement calculates 'Turnaround Eligible Schools' list every year.
These are the lowest performing schools in our area that are currently ranked in the bottom five percent of the state.
Harper Elementary School in Thomasville has a 52.1, one of the highest scores for elementary schools.
This year they got a 52.8, more than a three point increase from 2016. The cut off for the list is 54 percent.
District officials tell us they are confident improvements will continue, saying they've already seen improvements since bringing in Melvin Hugans as the new principal last year.
"One of the reasons it is on that list is because of very poor scores two years ago so Mr.Hugans coming in and kinda inheriting that low year. He has made great strides and his faculty has made great strides for the interventions they have in place for students," said Reichert.
Since Hugans has been with the district he has also implemented a uniform system to help with behavior and attention issues in the classroom as well as helping the school win a technology grant for a new testing system.
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