Georgia Vision Project adopted by Union County Board of Education

News, Panthers Corner

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – The Union County Board of Education held its monthly work session and meeting Tuesday evening, March 20.

A resolution to adopt the Georgia Vision Project was discussed by Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield in the work session and later approved by the board in the regular meeting. As explained by Rayfield, the Georgia Vision Project was established five years ago by Georgia school superintendents, the Georgia School Board Association, business and industry leaders, and numerous educators “all coming together and saying, ‘Look, these are the areas that we think public education should focus on and focus on especially for improvement.’”

According to Rayfield, among those areas that the project recommends for school systems to include in strategic planning and school improvement plans are early learning and success, teaching and learning, teaching and learning resources, human and organizational capital, governance leadership and accountability, culture, climate and organizational efficiency, and financial resources.

Rayfield explained the project’s guidelines will put the school system in good position for its accreditation review next February and also its charter renewal, which will occur near the same time.

“The resolution says our board will include and does agree (with) all of the items that are listed there,” Rayfield stated, “and those recommendations are just that.”

“This is just a framework we can build on, is that correct?” Board member Tony Hunter asked Rayfield.

To this, Rayfield affirmed it was indeed a framework and added that consistency with school systems across the state has been an issue in the past.

The board also approved a board member code of ethics and conflict of interest compliance form for its members to sign. Rayfield explained since 2016, the BOE has had in place a code of ethics and conflict of interest policy, which resulted from state legislation. However, the superintendent stated a policy compliance form still needed to be implemented and signed by all BOE members for accreditation purposes.

The board also renewed its annual subcontract with Family Connection and the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, Inc.

A final reading and adoption of a revised wellness policy for Cherokee County Schools was approved by the board Tuesday night. The revision, as Rayfield explained, is slight, changing the wording of one clause from “all food and beverages made available on campus during the school day shall be consistent with the minimum requirements of federal law” to “all food and beverages available for purchase …”

Several presentations and recognitions were made during the board meeting. The Board of Education itself was recognized and each member given a plaque for Board Appreciation Week, which was last week.

“Board members have a very thankless job,” Rayfield stated. “They have a tough job … They answer not only to the people in their district, but the people they work for, the people they go to church with, and the citizens of Union County.”

The Board of Education consists of District 1 member Janna Akins, District 2 member Tony Hunter, District 3 member and Chairperson Cynthia Odom, District 4 member Keith Potts and District 5 member and Vice Chairperson Patrick White.

Next, Rayfield presented two separate Partner in Education awards to Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, and to Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC).

Rayfield explained Piedmont College operates a cohort program in Union County and said, “We just appreciate having the very strong partnership with Piedmont College.”

Accepting the award from Piedmont College were Katherine Breithaupt, regional program coordinator, Tim Goss, director of off-campus graduate studies, and Don Gnecco, dean of School of Education.

BRMEMC was also recognized with a Partner in Education award. Rayfield explained crews from BRMEMC have helped with various utility issues at schools multiple times, including a Union County High School football game this past season when the field’s lights went off suddenly and crews from BRMEMC were on the scene within minutes.

“Many times, when we ask for those things we say (to BRMEMC), ‘Bill us or let us know what that costs,’ and they say, ‘Absolutely not, we’re just glad to do it,'” Rayfield said of BRMEMC willingness to help the school system.

Two Union County High School (UCHS) seniors, Emmi Schakat and Cole Wright, were recognized for having been accepted to West Point Military Academy.

“Congratulations to these two seniors for an outstanding honor and appointment to one of our military academies,” Rayfield stated.

UCHS Principal C.T. Hussion was also on hand to congratulate the high school’s Mock Trial team that recently participated in the state Mock Trial competition. Hussion announced that UCHS won the district for the third straight year. The principal explained unlike sports districts and regions across the state that group schools according to population, mock trial competitions involve schools of all sizes, public or private.

“They competed at the highest level, and you should be very proud,” Hussion said of the UCHS Mock Trial team.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Rayfield presents school security and safety update

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BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. – During the Union County Board of Education (BOE) work session Tuesday, Feb. 20, Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent for Union County Schools, delivered an update on school security and safety procedures in the wake of the recent school shooting in Florida.

Rayfield stated there are three non-negotiable duties for which all employees of Union County Schools are responsible: teach students, protect students and act ethically and professionally.

The superintendent clarified that all security and safety plans and protocols for Union County Schools have been approved by the state and Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), and Union County has been used as a model for other north Georgia school systems to follow.

Dr. Fred Rayfield, superintendent of Union County Schools, updates the Board of Education on school safety and security policies and measures Tuesday, Feb. 20.

“Every aspect is reviewed annually,” Rayfield said of the school system’s security and safety policies. “Safety enhancements and additions are an ongoing priority.”

Currently, according to Rayfield, Union County Schools employ three school resource officers (SROs) from the Union County Sheriff’s Office as well as two security officers and one security guard who mans the guard shack at Union County High School.

Additionally, other system-wide safety features include a required picture ID for all school system employees, security cameras inside and outside of facilities, security cameras on buses, thorough visitor sign-in processes, secure “buzz-through” main entry points at facilities, 24/7 monitoring of electronic threats and messages on social media and other online outlets, and on-site panic buttons.

Rayfield explained the school system has spent over $715,000 over the last five years on these and other safety enhancements for schools, which averages to $271 a student spent for safety and security measures.

“I can assure you,” Rayfield told the audience at the meeting, “that there are some things in place here that make me feel very good about where we’re at with security and that we’re making progress toward getting better … I believe that we do everything that we can to protect kids no matter what the situation, and I applaud the (BOE) for appropriating the resources over the last three to five years .”

Following Rayfield’s presentation, BOE member Janna Akins stated, “I think it’s hard to fathom that we’ve got kindergartners that we should be concerned about in these kind of situations, but that’s just the times that we live in now. This information was very helpful, and I appreciate the board and the school system’s approach of not just having a reactionary plan but an ongoing plan to make (safety) a priority.”

Also during the work session, Courtney Waller, school nutrition program director, presented a slight revision to the school system’s wellness policy. Waller explained the policy, according to federal mandates, must be reassessed every three years

According to Waller, the revision would change the wording from “all food and beverages made available on campus during the school day shall be consistent with the minimum requirements of federal law” to “all food and beverages available for purchase …”

Later, in the regular meeting, as the board was about to approve the revision, Rayfield explained this proposed revision must remain tabled for 30 days before final approval can be made to change the policy.

In the regular meeting, Superintendent Rayfield awarded two presentations with the first being an art student recognition awarded to second-grader Emma Taylor. Taylor’s design was selected for use on the Union County School System Christmas card in 2017. “Thank you for a beautiful piece of artwork,” Rayfield told Taylor.

Next, Rayfield presented representatives from Union General Hospital – Lewis Kelley, chief executive officer, Michael Gay, chief operating officer, and Leslie Daniel, administrative liason – with a Partner in Education award.

“They do a tremendous amount of work throughout the school system to provide lots of services for our students and employees,” Rayfield said of the hospital’s partnership with Union County Schools, “and we’re just absolutely excited to recognize Union General Hospital as our community partner for this month.”

In other business, the BOE unanimously approved, as submitted, all principals’ quarterly reports, the monthly financial reports, fiscal year 2018 budget amendments, and personnel recommendations.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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