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Barrow Schools charter system "looked to as a model"

POSTED: July 6, 2014 12:00 p.m.

The Barrow County School District’s system of operation appears to be becoming even more popular in the state.

On the heels of an update to the school board on the success of the charter system model in the district, news broke that yet another system, Clarke County, is looking into becoming a charter system.

There’s at least a possibility then that administrators at the nearby district will, if they haven’t already, talk with those at Barrow to get some tips on how to successfully implement the change.

"It’s our third year of charter implementation and all is well," said Barrow Executive Director of Student Services Jan Masingill at the recent work session. "We’re receiving accolades, and other districts look to us as a model."

School districts in the state actually have three different models to be able to choose from when deciding on how to run the system: The traditional model still followed by most districts in the state, the charter model and the IE2 system.

A charter system is similar to the traditional model, mainly with just a few changes in the governing structure.

A charter system is a local school system that is operating under the terms of a contract between the local Board of Education and the State Board of Education as provided by the Charter Systems Act. According to the BCSS website, a Charter System provides the opportunity for teachers, administrators, parents, and school boards to have greater flexibility to determine the educational needs of students within their district and requires a certain degree of school level governance in the system.

To become a charter system, the local school system must submit a charter school petition to the Department of Education after such petition has been approved by the local board. As a charter system all schools within the system are charter schools.

Governance teams are a major aspect of Barrow’s new model, and Masingill noted how integral they have been on a number of issues, from setting school budget priorities, calendar input, deciding Teachers of the Year and even having major input on who should be a school’s next principal.



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