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New school year in Barrow brings many changes

POSTED: July 30, 2014 1:00 p.m.
Special photo/For the Barrow County News

Teachers and administrators participate in the district's annual prep rally Tuesday morning at Winder-Barrow High.

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It’s almost here.

With the end of July comes the end of summer for all Barrow County School System students as school starts Friday, Aug. 1.

It’s certainly an early start – most metro Atlanta districts begin Aug. 4 – but it’s not the first; Rockdale County students returned to class Monday.

Like at the start of last year, a number of Barrow students will have the chance to walk into a brand new school building. Last year it was Bear Creek Middle in Statham, to replace Winder-Barrow Middle. This year it’s the system’s new career academy, Sims Academy of Innovation and Technology.

Another new school building is far from the only change, however.

The school district is under the direction of a new superintendent, Chris McMichael, who replaced former superintendent Wanda Creel at the end of last year.

McMichael has already tweaked the executive staff and put in place new goals, while at the same time maintaining many of the already-successful strategies, and there is a general sense of excitement, which shown through in the system’s annual staff prep rally to kickoff the year Tuesday morning.

A few of the schools will enter the new school year with different principals than at the start of last year as well, including at Bramlett, County Line and Russell.

Also, local students will soon be preparing for a new high-stakes, standardized test come spring known as the Georgia Milestones test, which will be given to third graders through high school seniors. It replaces both the Criterion Reinforced Competency Test and End of Course Test.

Teachers and administrators will also be tested in a new format with the full implementation of the state’s Teacher Keys Effectiveness System and Leader Keys Effectiveness System, which includes more observation by superiors and a big emphasis on student growth.

Both the staff and student tests are being met with both excitement and trepidation by school staff, as members have been pleased to a certain degree with the changes but also worried at what possible issues may arise now that there are real consequences attached.

Excitements, worries – it sounds like the start of another school year.

 

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