School System Offers Annual Report

Local leaders receive an annual update from the Stephens County School System.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten presented the annual Stephens County School System report on Tuesday at the Gate Cottage on the campus of Toccoa Falls College.

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee sponsors the annual school system report each year.

Whiten said she wants people to be able to see from the report some of the positive things taking place in the school system, like the increasing graduation rate.

“Our graduation rate has increased significantly and if I can say any one thing that is the best thing for our students, that is it, the graduation rate, because they have to have a high school diploma and a plan for the future,” said Whiten.  “Hopefully, that is what we are getting across to our kids.”

This year’s report highlighted the school system’s 87.33 percent graduation rate, as well as reviewing the CRCT and EOCT scores for each of the schools in the system, as well as how StephensCounty stacks up with the state averages in those areas.

Education Committee Co-Chair Greg Pitts said the report definitely shows the successes that the school system has had in a number of areas.

“The community certainly faces some challenges these days but to hear the success stories going on in our education system is really encouraging and exciting,” said Pitts.

Whiten also used this year’s annual report to talk about the school system’s efforts towards becoming a charter system as early as next school year pending state approval.

Pitts said it looks like the move towards a charter system will bring a number of benefits.

“We know that the school system, Whiten, and everyone have studied this plan quite a bit and feel like it is the way for us to go forward and it certainly sounds like it gives us an opportunity to continue to make progress in the areas we have shown so much gain in recent years,” said Pitts.  “I think it is an exciting process.  I think it gives us flexibility.”

Whiten said it is important to have events like this to keep the community and local leaders informed about what the schools are doing.

“I think that is one thing you are seeing in StephensCounty right now,” said Whiten.  “We all have to work together.”

This year’s annual report also covered the new College and Career Ready Performance Index, as well as touched on Georgia’s Common Core Performance Standards.