After taking a break for summer fun and relaxation, it’s time to return to school. Welcome back students, teachers, parents, volunteers and staff. We are excited to begin this school year with a focus on continuous improvement through the implementation of our strategic plan.
During the past year, we introduced a district framework for personalized learning and specialty choice options. Four new choice options were made available for this school year and over 300 students will be attending schools outside their attendance zone this semester. The programs initiated this year are AVID, a college preparatory program, at Sims Elementary, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus at Honey Creek Elementary, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at C.J. Hicks Elementary, and the STEM Academy for Environmental Studies at Memorial Middle School. In addition, our Magnet School for Science and Technology became the first STEM certified high school in the state and continues to prepare students for the most demanding STEM educational and career opportunities after high school.
The Rockdale Career Academy opened a new wing to expand its offerings, providing over twenty career pathways and boasts eight industry certified programs. Future plans include health and medical sciences and early college opportunities through partnerships with local colleges. Last spring, we enrolled the first five full-time students in Rockdale Virtual Campus and will begin this semester with 32 students enrolled in full-time online learning. RVC offers a wide variety of courses, including Advanced Placement. Most colleges today require some kind of virtual learning, and we have future plans to ensure all students are exposed to online learning prior to graduation. We are making great strides in recreating public education in Rockdale County to customize the learning experience for each student. School choice gives parents and students the flexibility to attend schools or programs that specifically meet student interest and/or talents, and we look forward to building upon this framework over the next three to five years.
Rockdale County has invested in public education through the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for over 15 years passing ESPLOST I, II and III. Once again, our community will have the opportunity to exercise its right to vote on November 6 on ESPLOST IV. If approved, the funds collected will be used to improve technology, maintain and build new facilities and strengthen the safety and security of our schools. Please take the time to learn about the projects ESPLOST IV will fund prior to November 6.
As always, we encourage parents and community members to become engaged in our schools. Research clearly shows that children do better in school when parents are involved and share their educational journey. We also believe that volunteers and mentors can make a major impression on a child’s life and hope you will consider finding a way to share a little bit of your time and talent with us.
As superintendent, I pledge to work cooperatively with you as we build a community alliance that will enable the highest level of success for your child and all children of this community.