BoE Recognizes Student and Faculty Accomplishments During February Meeting

Board of Education, Dragon's Corner

JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Education recognized student and faculty accomplishments during their meeting held on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

A video of the ceremony may be viewed at the bottom of this page!

7th Grade Jeremy Westbrook Wins State FFA Contest (Click to Enlarge)

In October, Jeremy Westbrook competed in the Area Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) Quiz event. This event is a fifty question quiz covering all aspects of FFA. Jeremy was in the top 2 of 48, 6th through 9th graders. He then advanced to the state contest which was held at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). While there, Jeremy competed against eleven more students who qualified out of 243 total students from across the state. Of those eleven, eight were 9th graders and three were 8th graders. At the end of the event, Jeremy was recognized as the state winner. It has also come to our attention that Jeremy, a 7th grader, is the youngest student on record to ever win the contest.

Mykenzie Weaver reaches 2,000 career points in Girls Basketball (Click to Enlarge)

Congratulations to Mykenzie Weaver for recently passing 2,000 career points in Girls Basketball. Mykenzie is only the 3rd person in school history to achieve this feat. She currently sits 2nd in all-time leading scoring in Dragonettes Girls Basketball History!
She was also named the Region 6AAAA Player of the Year.

 
 
 

Dragons Esports Team Wins Second State Championship (Click to Enlarge)

Our Dragons win the Fall GHSA Esports Rocket League state championship!We defeated Forsyth Central 4 games to 1 at Mt Vernon at the GHSA State Esports Championships!

Congratulations to Mason Watkins, Carter Logan, and Tristan Warren and Coach Wil Nix on this accomplishment!

The Dragons Esports Rocket League team also won the Spring GHSA Esports State Championship last May.

PHS and PJHS Band Recognitions (Click to Enlarge)

The PHS and PJHS band would like to recognize our students who were selected for the District 9 Honor Bands, the GMEA All-State Band, and who qualified for the final round audition at the State level.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hill City Elementary School was named to the 2019-20 list of Distinguished Schools released by the Georgia Department of Education. Title I Distinguished Schools are among the highest-performing 5% of Title I schools in the state. Hill City Elementary was 1 of 87 schools named to this list.

PHS and PJHS Band Recognitions (Click to Enlarge)

In a press release, State School Superintendent Richard Woods shares, “While we are focused on continuous improvement for all schools, it’s also essential that we recognize when schools are doing well, These schools are overcoming barriers, meeting challenges, and producing great gains for their students. I commend the school leaders, teachers, parents and communities in our 2019-20 Distinguished [and Reward] Schools who are opening up opportunities for their students.”

Congratulations, Hill City Elementary!

PHS and PJHS Band Recognitions (Click to Enlarge)

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

Dr. Wilson nearly re-instated as Superintendent

Board of Education, News
BOE, Pickens, Coronavirus,

JASPER, Ga. – Dr. Carlton Wilson was nearly re-instated as Superintendent during the Pickens County Board of Education meeting held on Thursday, January 9, 2020.

Dr. Robert Keller, first public speaker

Dr. Carlson, having recently been forced to resign from his position as Superintendent, was the topic of all four public speakers during the meeting.

Dr. Robert Keller was the first to speak, stating “[…]Watching the videos, as I hope most of you will, you repeatedly berated Superintendent Wilson, and other board members too, repeatedly berated him in regards in what turned out to be trivial events. So once, formally, you finally got it into a private session, you failed to arrive at a consensus, and we had this three to two decision that ultimately resulted in Carlton’s resignation. I think that we’re probably going to see alot more of the three to two decisions just like we’ve seen tonight. Not only was there not a consensus in this arriving at the decision, two publicly stated that they were not even informed of the situation. I’m worried how many more times we’ll see this three to two decision as you direct the school system in the wrong direction.”

All four public speakers, as seen in the video below, were met with positive reactions from a majority of the audience.

Cheryl Sams addressed the council towards the end of the meeting, stating “[…]How did this qualify as an emergency meeting, per the Georgia code? It did not. And Tucker, you know it did not. An emergency meeting can only be when it effects the public safety, public personnel, or public property. How did this qualify for that? And my question is, we pay you $100 a meeting, per day? Well why are there so many called meetings? Did somebody have a bill that they needed to pay? And why are these meetings called if we are required to give five days notice to speak before the board? Why do you do all of these called meetings at a time when most of your constituents are at work, we don’t have ample time to get our name on here… why do you do that? Apparently, you can send out all the surveys you want, but you’ve already shown us you don’t want community input.”

Cheryl Sams, public speaker

Upon hearing from the public, board member Sue Finley made the motion to re-appoint Dr. Wilson as Superintendent of Pickens County schools, seconded only by vice chairman Steve Smith.

Chairman Tucker Green, board member Joeta Youngblood, and board member Donna Enis voted against this motion however, and so it did not pass, leaving Interim Superintendent Dr. Charles Webb to fill the position at this time.

FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

Board hires Interim Superintendent Dr. Charles Webb

Dragon's Corner, Featured, News
Webb

PICKENS CO., Ga – Pickens County Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Interim Superintendent Dr. Charles Webb, effective immediately, during Dec. 20 called meeting.

Webb served in the same capacity three years ago after Dr. Lula Mae Perry resigned in December of 2016, after which he was interim from January to May 2017 until Dr. Carlton Wilson was hired by the local board.

FYN asked Board Chair Tucker Green when the school system would vote to open the search for a full-time superintendent, and he said in Jan. 2020.

After the Dec. 19 resignation of Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson, board members scheduled a 10 a.m. executive session to interview two candidates for the interim role. Some of those in attendance called the entire situation a “train wreck” and expressed frustrations with the board’s last-minute course of action.

The closed meeting lasted two hours with one candidate appearing in person, and the other, Webb, interviewing over the phone.

The board collectively decided to call Webb about the position because of his previous experience with Pickens County Schools. The other candidate had been referred to the board by an outside party.

Once exiting the executive session, Board Member Joeta Youngblood made the motion to appoint Webb as interim superintendent, and Steve Smith seconded. The entire board voted in favor of the new hire.

During more than 32 years in public and private education, Webb served as a teacher, coach, department chair, athletics director, assistant principal, middle school and high school principal, central staff administrator, and superintendent before retiring in 2008 after serving as superintendent for the Appling County Schools.

He served as Interim School Superintendent in Gilmer County during April-July 2015 and in Pickens County during January-May 2017.

As an independent consultant, he currently assists school districts and other organizations with strategic planning, board training, finance, team building and leadership development. He earned four degrees from Georgia Southern University, including the Doctor of Education degree in Education Administration. He was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa in 1993.

Earlier in his career, Webb was a successful football coach and athletic administrator. He was
enshrined in the Georgia Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2003. He also graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1997 and received the U.S. Army War College Foundation Award for Excellence in Research and Writing, the only award presented at graduation.

He retired as a Brigadier General in the Reserve of the United States Army after more than 32
years of military service as a citizen soldier. His service record includes several active duty tours and four
overseas assignments to Kuwait, Egypt, Norway and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.

The Webb’s live in Statesboro, Georgia. He and his wife Lynda are members of the First
Presbyterian Church in Statesboro. He is an ordained elder and a graduate of the Savannah Presbytery
School of the Laity (2003-2005). He earned the Certificate in Theology and Ministry (CTM) from Princeton
Theological Seminary in 2015.

The reasoning behind Wilson’s resignation is still unclear. FYN confirmed in the Dec. 18 session, the board delivered the former superintendent an ultimatum to either “resign or be terminated.”

Notification about the Dec. 19 emergency meeting to accept Wilson’s resignation went out just 61 minutes before the start time. Georgia Law mandates that most called meetings provide 24-hour notice to allow the public to attend. However, if “special circumstances” are cited, then the meeting can forego the 24-hour requirement.

Board members Sue Finley and Smith voted against accepting Wilson’s resignation in the Dec. 19 meeting.

Wilson will be releasing a statement in the future to the public about his departure.

Sheriff’s Office Confirms Threats Related to Transgender Bathrooms

Announcements, News, Press Release
transgender

JASPER, GA – Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the several reports of threats and safety concerns regarding the now suspended transgender bathroom procedure at Pickens County Schools.

The Sheriff’s Office has been actively involved in a couple of incidents listed below.

On Thursday, October 10th,  a student made two statements on social media. One encouraged other students to lash out in violence against other students. The second statement was generic but referred to individuals that signed a petition making good target practice. The student called individuals who signed the petition against the transgender bathroom policy, “transphobic.”

Within an hour of the post, deputies were with the student and parents at the student’s home. Following the investigation, the student was charged as a juvenile with disorderly conduct.

During the following days, Pickens Sheriff’s office has received two reports of threatening graffiti found in Pickens High School bathrooms. One piece used images to illustrate an anti-gay viewpoint while the other depicted an anti-transgender stance. Both instances occurred before the Monday meeting.

At the high school, two students have reported bullying issues to School Resource Officers (SRO). These issues were investigated by administrators and deputies and appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.

SRO officers are also investigating the rumors of boys peeing in the girls’ restrooms and in the hallways. However, at this time, camera footage doesn’t substantiate these claims. Neither have they found evidence of someone defecating in front of the school.

One instance of possible urination may have in fact been another liquid due to the highly trafficked area, where it supposedly occurred. It wouldn’t have been easy for someone to use the bathroom in that area without being noticed.

The sheriff’s office is also investigating threatening calls and social media posts that were made to school administrators and at least one board member. A detective is working the case to determine the nature of the threats made and identify where they originated. At this time, it’s too early to tell the type of threat that was made. The detective is working to try and identify the caller and what actually happened, so they can take appropriate action. These calls started on Thursday but weren’t reported until later.

Pickens Sheriff’s Office intends to take every threat or vandalism seriously in order to protect the school system. Deputies are constantly monitoring the school and have heightened security in place.

The school reinstated separate male and female restrooms on Oct. 16. Last week, in an administrative action, a transgender bathroom rule was put into place that allowed students to use the bathroom that they identify with. However, after a three-hour public forum on Monday, the school went back to the previous procedure for transgender students to use the nurse’s or teacher’s lounge bathroom.

 

Pickens County Schools Start Back Today!

Dragon's Corner, News

JASPER, Ga. – Pickens County Schools start back Tuesday, August 6, 2019, and  the official calendar and daily schedule is as follows!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019: First day of school.
All are Monday – Friday.

Pickens County High School / Student Drop-Off: 7 am / Start: 7:45 am / End: 2:45 pm

Pickens Junior High School / Student Drop-Off: 7 am / Start: 7:45 am / End: 2:45 pm

Jasper Middle School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

Harmony Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End 3:30 pm

Hill City Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

Tate Elementary School / Student Drop-Off: 7:15 am / Start: 8:30 am / End: 3:30 pm

 

Monday, September 2, 2019: Labor Day Holiday

Friday, September 6, 2019: Progress Reports

Monday, September 23, 2019 – Friday, September 27, 2019: Fall Break

Tuesday, October 15, 2019: End of 1st Nine Weeks

Friday, October 18, 2019: Report Cards

Friday, November 15, 2019: Progress Reports

Monday, November 25, 2019 – Friday, November 29, 2019: Thanksgiving Holidays

Friday, December 20, 2019: End of 2nd Nine Weeks, End of 1st Semester

Monday, December 23, 2019 – Tuesday, December 31, 2019: Christmas Holidays

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 – Friday, January 3, 2020: School Holiday

Monday, January 6, 2020: Inservice

Tuesday, January 7, 2020: Students Return to School

Friday, January 10, 2020: Report Cards

Monday, January 20, 2019: Martin Luther King Holiday

Friday, February 7, 2020: Progress Reports

Monday, February 17, 2020 – Tuesday, February 18, 2020: Winter Break

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 – Friday, February 21, 2020: Potential Inclement Weather Make-Up Days for Students

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: End of 3rd Nine Weeks

Friday, March 20, 2020: Report Cards

Monday, April 6, 2020 – Friday, April 10, 2020: Spring Break

Friday, April 24, 2020: Progress Reports

Friday, May 22, 2020: Last Day of School, End of 4th Nine Weeks, End of 2nd Sesmester

Saturday, May 23, 2020: Graduation Day

Monday, May 25, 2020: Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Friday, May 29, 2020: Post Planning
 
 
FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

School district may receive raises next year

Education, News

JASPER, Ga. – During their FY20 (fiscal year 2020) discussion on Friday, May 31, 2019 the Pickens Board of Education discussed potential raises for the district in the coming year.

According to Chief Financial Officer Amy Smith (presenter pictured to the left above), a 4.45% increase is currently expected, with certified staff receiving a $3,000 state schedule increase, plus a 10% local supplement.

Smith states that this would include a one dollar an hour increase to all non-certified, non-administrative positions but not including bus drivers as they received a two dollar an hour increase last year. However, bus drivers would still receive a 2% state and local increase.

There is expected to be a 75 cent raise for food service workers, and a one dollar an hour increase to food service managers and book keepers.

The raises also vary by number of months worked for certain employees. For example, Smith cites that a 12-month principal would earn $3,900 more total, whereas an 11-month would receive $3,600.

As confirmed by Superintendent Dr. Carlson Wilson, all staff would ultimately be receiving a minimal 2% increase in pay.

No new teachers are currently expected to be hired, though one para-pro is likely to be needed to provide clerical and instructional support, plus virtual school support if needed.

These raises are not guaranteed as of yet, however, as the board has further discussion as well as voting on the proposed changes in upcoming meetings.

Stay tuned for future updates!

 
 
FetchYourNews.com attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month for ad server. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and has between 15,000 to 60,000 per week Facebook page reach. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or visit advertise@FetchYourNews.com.

Pickens County Board of Education Adjusts Start and End Times

Education, News

Pickens County Board of Education agreed last night to change all schools start and end times.

On May 23, 2017 The Board posted an online survey for the community to give their input on the subject. Before taking the survey there was a section above on information to consider before deciding.

Information To Consider:

  •         High school students involved in extracurricular activities will miss less academic time by not missing as much or  any of 4th block class period.
  •         Students who participate in work exit may go to work early and get home earlier.
  •         High school and middle school students will be home before elementary siblings.
  •         Elementary students will not have to be at the bus stop at 6:10 in the morning reducing the time they spend at the bus stop in the dark.

Current start and end times

Proposed start and end times

3,602 surveys were completed to either keep the current times or change to the proposed.

The results were 58.7% were in favor to change the school starts times and 41.3% were not in favor of the changes.

All of the drop off times will remain as they were in the current year. The high school end time was changed and will be 10 minutes earlier than the current end time. Only the middle school adjusted the start time so it will bring the day in sync with the other schools.

2017-18 Start and end times

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at www.fetchyournews.com

 

Yes or No on Governor Deal’s Amendment 1 Opportunity School District discussed at Rotary

News

Pickens County Board of Education Chairman Mike Cowart and State Representative Chris Coomer led presentations concerning Governor Deal’s proposed Amendment 1 creating Opportunity School Districts to help some 130 failing schools in Georgia.  There has to be a constitutional amendment because the legislation gives control of local schools to the state rather than elected school boards. dsc_3209-1280x1018-1

State Representative Chris Coomer, from Cartersville, and Mike Cowart, Chairman of the Pickens County Board of Education, led a discussion about Governor Deal’s Opportunity School District known as Amendment 1 on the November 8, ballot.

At issue is Governor Deal’s Constitutional Amendment to address some 130 failing schools with 68,000 students.  These “F” schools are defined as scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education’s accountability measure (CCRPI) for three consecutive years.

The top three counties with failing schools include: Dekalb 28, Atlanta Public 22 and Richmond 19.  Some 60% of all Georgia students qualify for free and reduced lunches with 35% of those students living in poverty.

The reason for an Amendment to the Georgia’s constitution is that the Opportunity School District replaces local control with a state takeover.  Article VII, Education under Section V Local School Systems states, “each school system shall be under the management and control of a board of education, the members of which shall be elected as provided by law.”

In proposing and pushing the legislation Governor Deal has stated, “we have a moral duty to do everything we can to help these children.  When we talk about helping failing schools, we are talking about rescuing children”

Coomer addressed several myths that have circulated concerning Amendment 1.  “The state is not going to come in and take over a school without community support and involvement. The Opportunity School District would have it’s administrative leadership appointed by the Governor but local business persons, parents and community leaders would be part of the process”.

Also, he pointed to Tennessee and New Orleans with similar programs where student’s scores have increased.  In New Orleans nearly 65% of African-American males are graduating as compared to 60.2% across Louisiana.

An OSD would remain under the Governor’s supervision for five consecutive years or if it performed above “F” for three years it could be removed.  The legislation says no more than 20 schools per year or no more than 100 eligible schools at any given time.

Pickens County Board of Education Chairman Mike Cowart informed the group that the Pickens Board of Education joined with Dawson, Cherokee, Forsyth and more in passing a resolution against the proposed resolution.

Cowart said, “we see no need in the Amendment.  Last year our Board of Education signed the State Department of Education’s Strategic Waiver Contract stating we would increase test scores 3 out of five years.”  All Boards of Education had to decide between the Strategic Waiver or being a Charter School..

He continued, “each of our schools have an Advisory Council composed of an administrator, teacher, business or community leader and parents. Much of what is in  Amendment 1 we are already doing.”

In a recent AJC story Governor Deal told about his dad Noah Deal being booted out of a south Georgia teaching job.  “My family has experienced when politics becomes a dominant factor in education,” stated Deal.  He continued, “we have relegated the authority to these local school boards forever and the result is exactly what we are up against now.”

Both Deal’s parents and wife were educators and his commitment to education may be seen in noticing 55% of all state dollars in FY 2016 budget is spent on education.  He has spent more of the state’s general funds budget K-12 than any governor in the past 50 years and increased QBE funding by 21%.

For more information visit Georgia.gov>opportunityschooldistrict and local Board’s resolution link at www.pickenscountyschools.org.  The Rotary Club of Jasper meets Wednesday noon for fellowship and service to the community and the world.  The meetings are open to learn more Jasper Rotary

by:  Max Caylor

Rotary Member

 

Culbreth Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Students

News

Mr. Daniel Culbreth, a teacher and Football Coach for Pickens County, has been arrested by authorities relating to Inappropriate Contact with Children.

According to Captain Kris Stancil of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, authorities began an investigation last week after receiving information from a citizen who had “overheard or overseen” questionable contact involving Culbreth. Following up on warrants issued for copies of conversations across SnapChat, a popular modern application for Social Media, authorities have found numerous contacts involving questionable content of conversations as well as nude photos being both sent and received.

Stancil did state at least five students have been identified so far ranging between 16 and 17 years of age and at least one possible instance has involved physical sexual activity. However, Stancil declined to give an actual total number involved due to the continuing investigation and evidence leading them to believe still more students could be involved.

While investigations like this can sometimes take much longer before an actual arrest is made as Stancil stated, “typically we would love to wait until we have been able to execute all warrants and gather all the data,” the Sheriff’s office moved quickly to make an arrest this time “because he was a teacher and we had confirmed that he was having physical contact and cyber contact with the students, we couldn’t leave him in a classroom setting. Our number one priority is the safety of the students so we had to move forward on that.”

On October 6, Culbreth was arrested on school property after he returned from a football game, though Stancil stated he was taken into custody out of sight of students and staff without incident. The arrest could culminate in additional charges or even changes to the current charges, Computer Exploitation of Children and Sexual Assault by Persons with Supervisory Authority, as the investigation continues.

When asked, Stancil stated current evidence leads authorities to believe this action has been going on several months, one potential involvement could include a student from last year now in college, and that he was alone in this actions. The investigation could continue to uncover more information or previous action as it expands to other social media sites and personal electronics and devices. This continuation is to further explore how far the contact went. When asked, Stancil stated there is no evidence at this point to indicate Culbreth saved the images or posted them to any websites or that he forced himself physically onto any students, but the investigation was ongoing.

Culbreth was previously arrested one charges of DUI last year. FYN attempted to ask Board of Education Attorney Phil Landrum about the incident and the Board’s response. While Landrum confirmed the Board does not automatically terminate a teacher due to DUI, he did state that discipline for the infraction was handled internally in the School System. However, Landrum declined to comment on what discipline was enacted.

Being a Coach for the School System as well, FYN asked Head Coach Chris Parker about the incident. The only comment Parker would make was that he was unaware of the actions and that Culbreth was, “Obviously, no longer on his staff.” His focus, he stated, was on his players now, and getting them ready to play.

Considering the students, Stancil assured FYN that students involved were being monitored closely by the school system and the Sheriff’s Office was offering any assistance be it Resource Officers, Sheriff, Deputies, or any Command Staff in participation for the school and the students safety they could possibly offer.

Stancil also went further to urge parents to get more involved in their child’s social media, who they are “friending,” and what sort of contact is taking place especially if they have “friended” Culbreth. He also urged parents to get online and check out the Georgia Buraeu of Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Sheriff’s Office is also urging people who believe their children were involved with Culbreth to contact their Criminal Investigation Division at 706-253-8935. He offered assurances to any who step forward that the Sheriff’s office would protect not only their identity but also their story and integrity, and that even if they feel evidence is gone or has been destroyed, there are ways of recovering evidence.

Culbreth has already been to his first appearance in court today, October 7, for the issue to begin basic court proceedings including discussion of a possible bond hearing, his rights, and the coming litigation.

Click Here to read the Sheriff’s Office Media Release or check below to listen to the full Press Conference held by Captain Kris Stancil.

Pickens County Board of Education April 14, 2016 Video

Videos

Pickens County Board of Education Sept 10, 2015 part 1

Videos

Pickens BOE 8/13/15

Videos

Pickens BOE Meeting Provides Budgets and Outsourcing

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories, News

During the meeting on June 18, the Pickens County Board of Education approved ABM for the outsourcing of custodial services. (more…)

Parent Wants Child to Attend Pickens County Middle School, BOE to Control Teacher Absences

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories, News

At a Pickens County BOE meeting last week, Pickens County resident and parent of three Pickens County School children, John Curry, spoke to the board about how he felt the board had neglected to make the right decision concerning students in the Pickens County School System wanting to transfer to other schools in the system. (more…)

BOE has Special Called Meeting to Discuss Updating Board Policies

Featured Stories, News

At a Pickens Board of Education speciall called meeting on Thursday, June 21st, the BOE approved an entension to Superindentent Ben Desper’s residential requirement on his contract and also discussed updating several board policies.
(more…)

Pickens BOE Votes to Increase School Lunches

Featured Stories, News

Back to Top

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!