New BHS 88 percent complete

Published 4:48 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

The December meeting of the Decatur County Board of Education got off to a rousing start Tuesday night.

Natalee Dozier’s kindergarten class at John-Johnson Elementary School entertained the board and the standing-room-only crowd with traditional Christmas carols along with a not-so-traditional upbeat Christmas song. While the students seemed to be having a great time, the best time seemed to be had by the board and the audience.

After the performance, long-time board member Robbie Parker was recognized for his service to District 5 by Board Chairman Dr. Sydney Cochran. Parker attended his final meeting as a member of the board after Bobby Barber won the seat in the November general election. Barber will begin his term with the January meeting.

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Dr. Lillie Brown, principal of Potter Street Elementary School, was congratulated for her school being a winner in the 2008 Single Statewide Accountability System awards presented by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

To qualify for the gold award, schools must meet three criteria. First, the school must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for two consecutive years. Next, the chosen school must demonstrate that at least 30 percent of the students exceed standards in all test areas as measured by state assessments. Finally, the school must place in the 97th percentile or higher statewide in greatest student achievement gains.

Keith Barrett of Altman Barrett Architects in Valdosta gave a power point presentation to update progress of the new Bainbridge High School. The project is currently 88 percent complete and is on schedule for an August 2009 opening. The full presentation with photos of the new school is available online at

The board also voted unanimously on the adoption of the 2009-2010 school calendar. The biggest change for next year’s calendar is the start date of the school year. Aug. 7 will begin the next school year, a week later than the 2008-2009 school year. The three-day fall break will remain unchanged, as will all the major holidays.

Superintendent Ralph Jones said one reason for pushing back the first day of school was to give an extra week to prepare the new high school.