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Two students recognized by Newton County BOE
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Ralph Brown and Zachary Fallah, juniors at Eastside and Newton high schools, respectively, were recently selected to serve on Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ Student Advisory Council. At its Tuesday meeting, the Newton County School System (NCSS) Board of Education gave special recognition to Brown and Fallah for their appointment.

Though an Eastside student, Brown attends the Newton College and Career Academy’s Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Institute. Fallah is enrolled in the Academy of Liberal Arts at Newton High School.

Each year, Georgia students in grades 7 through 12 can apply to serve on the State Superintendent of Schools Advisory Council. There were 800 applicants statewide this year and 108 students, including Brown and Fallah, were selected. The purpose of the Advisory Council is to meet with State School Superintendent Woods to discuss how state policy decisions affect students.

Samantha Fuhrey, NCSS Superintendent, told Brown and Fallah, “I commend and congratulate you on taking the initiative to apply and on agreeing to serve on this very special Council.”

Other BOE business

Following the recognition, the Board of Education received an update on the NCSS’s mobility rate from Allison Jordan, Director of Testing, Research and Evaluation. Mobility rate is the percentage of students who for any reason withdraw from school.

According to Jordan, research has shown that student achievement declines when 30 percent or more of a school’s students withdraw. The decline is observed not only among those who withdraw, but also among those students who remain enrolled in the school.

The NCSS mobility rate in 2015-2016 was 32 percent. This year’s rate is on track to be about the same.

Deputy Superintendent Craig Lockhart’s reports to the Board included the following highlights:

  • Enrollment is currently at 19,680 students, down 48 from October 2015;
  • SAT composite scores are up this year at all three high schools;
  • More than 20 middle school and 30 elementary school robotics teams participated in their first competition of the year on Oct. 1;
  • Six teams qualified for the state competition in March; and
  • The Newton College and Career Academy was recently visited by Gilda Lyon, STEM Program Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education. A “certification visit” is scheduled for Dec. 7. The Academy is seeking to become the tenth state certified STEM high school in Georgia.

The Board took the following actions:

  • Approved the purchase of $51,595 worth of band instruments and accessories for middle and high schools from Music and Arts in Frederick, Maryland. The money is allocated to the schools based on enrollment and used by the band directors for the replacement of instruments and accessories;
  • Approved the use of the Newton High School field by the New Rock Bears Football and Cheerleading Association for youth football;
  • Awarded an annual contract for plumbing services to Royal Flush Plumbing, Inc., Lilburn, Georgia. The estimated contract value is $160,000;
  • Renewed the annual contract with McPherson Companies, Inc., Atlanta, for use of a fuel card system for the student transportation department. This system allows certain buses to be refueled at pre-approved sites along their route rather than having to return to the NCSS Service Center for refueling. In fiscal year 2016, it is estimated that the fuel card system saved the NCSS about $52,000;
  • Renewed an annual contract for print management services with Ricoh USA, Malvern, Pennsylvania;
  • Approved the disposal of surplus equipment and property;
  • Approved the hiring of nine teachers and eleven staff members; and
  • Approved the following personnel changes: six transfers, 19 resignations, and two terminations.

Fuhrey noted that NCSS’s fall break begins Monday, Oct. 17.

When asked after the Board meeting if the Georgia Department of Education has taken any action on the NCSS’s request to drop the Georgia Milestones Assessment System in favor of the Iowa Assessments, Allison Jordan reported, “No word yet.”