Administration addresses athletics at Board of Education meeting

Community, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After hearing concerns expressed at the Jan. 11 Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, as well as other members of the board, added a new agenda item covering extracurricular activities within the school system.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Athletic Director, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Fannin County School System, Rebels, Georgia High School Association, GHSA

Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi discussed athletics at the Feeb. BOE meeting.

At the Feb. 8 BOE meeting the board unveiled this new item. Dr. Gwatney explained that updates of Fannin County extracirruclar activities will be a recurring item.

While these updates will encompass all of Fannin County’s extracurriculars, the focus of the Feb. updates centered around the state of the Fannin County Athletics Department.

Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi presented this information to the public.

“There were some questions about accountability,” Cioffi spoke of concerns presented at the previous BOE meeting. “You don’t have to look any further than right here. I am the one who has hired people and put them in positions. So if there is a concern it should come to my department.”

Cioffi spoke of the staff of Fannin County School System and added that the pool of educators in which coaches can be pulled from is currently 59 certified teachers.

“They are teachers first and they have responsibilities that make up a bulk of their time,” Cioffi added.

Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey clarified that there are 62 coaching positions that have to be covered, and for this reason coaches have to work or coach in multiple departments. Ramsey backed up Cioffi stating that a coach’s first priority is to be an educator.

“As they should be,” Ramsey stated. “Because that is the ultimate thing, they (students) leave with a high school diploma.”

Cioffi discussed the current Georgia High School Association (GHSA) policy and why Fannin County continues to be placed a AAA region school. In the past GHSA reevaluated schools on a two year cycle. Recent changes, however, has left evaluations happening every four years.

“We have no control over the region we’re placed,” Cioffi explained.

A meeting is scheduled on Feb. 21 where representatives from Fannin County Athletics along with representative from other AAA schools will meet with GHSA officials to examine the new policy.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Athletic Director, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Fannin County School System, Rebels, Georgia High School Association, GHSA

Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey was also present to talk with parents.

“It’s ridiculous. If they (GHSA) get it wrong, that’s impacted a child’s entire four years,” Cioffi told the crowd about plans to hopefully bring about change on the state level when it comes to athletics.

The possibility of dropping to AA classification could pose a different set of difficulties for the student athletes of Fannin County, as travel is cited to be a large consideration in the possibility of changing regions.

A new AA classification could mean that students would have to travel as far as three hours away to play other AA teams.

Cioffi also proposed what all parties (parents, coaches and administration) want a “Winning Culture”, and explained how to take steps in this direction: “Before we even get to a winning culture, we need a positive culture. That’s going to take everyone in this room and everyone outside this room to get there.”

“Stay positive. Our kids see when there’s negativity going around,” Cioffi spoke of the recent discussions taking place via social media. “One thing I can promise you is that coaches aren’t posting things on social media about kids and parents.”

“Communicate with each other and figure out how can we best meet the needs of all the programs,” Cioffi went on,”Ultimately we want all programs to be successful.”

The parents coming forward was a big step in addressing the issues that Fannin County Athletics faces, and administration wants to keep lines of communication open and figure out how to “get over the hump and move forward.”

Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey concluded the presentation: “We’re working together, because we don’t ever want to be an us versus you mentality. There never needs to be adversary. We all need to be working for the good of the kids.”

 

 

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Parents question the finances of Fannin County Athletics

News, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The Feb. 8 Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) meeting was packed, with many left at standing room only, as parents and supporters of Fannin County Athletics gathered once again to voice concerns over the direction of the program.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Athletic Director, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Fannin County School System, Donnie Kendall, ryan Walton, Cliff Shirah, Brian Johnson, Rebels

The Board of Education listens as public commentary focuses on athletics.

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney addressed the crowd before the meeting got underway saying, “Safety is always the top priority. With that in mind, ladies and gentlemen, we have received a maximum number that’s allowed in this room from the state fire marshal, and we must adhere to that number.”

School principals were present to help usher the crowd and school resource officers were stationed at all emergency exits.

“Our room is at capacity,” Gwatney continued. Gwatney announced that the BOE had set up accommodations in expectations of the large turnout. The meeting would be streaming online and alternate locations had been set up at the high school as an overflow where supporters could watch the live-stream.

Ten community members signed up prior to the meeting to ensure that their voices would be heard during public commentary.

Donnie Kendall, who spoke at the January BOE meeting, led the way again and spoke first during the public’s allotted time.

“The last four weeks the administration has not only been helpful, but they have also made theirselves available in hearing all of my concerns, ” Kendall began. “The problem is our administration is reactive instead of proactive.”

Kendall voiced that the same accountability that is placed on educators in the school system should also be placed on coaches, citing the boys basketball team finishing with just three wins and 21 losses.

In comparing this with an academic classroom where only three students were passing with 21 failing, Kendall stated that that educators job would come into question, and the likelihood of their position being renewed would be slim.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Athletic Director, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Fannin County School System, Donnie Kendall, ryan Walton, Cliff Shirah, Brian Johnson, Rebels

Donnie Kendall addresses the board first during public commentary at the BOE meeting.

“If you choose coaching as career path, you will ultimately be judged by your wins and losses,” Kendall added.

A point of concern among many of the public commentators and mentioned first by Kendall is a need for the BOE to produce total financial transparency of the athletic departments. Kendall, like many others, would like to know what formulas are in place for the funding and who is responsible for the financial decisions.

Speaking of the numerous booster clubs throughout the different athletic departments, who are responsible for raising tens of thousands of dollars every year, Kendall stated, “What we can do and what we are prepared to do is refuse to support that program financially.”

Another commentator, Cliff Shirah spoke from experience on the financial transparency that is desired by parents. Shirah has been treasurer of the Dugout Club for four years.

In those four years, Shirah cited that approximately $192,000 had been raised by the community for this club and the money directly supports Fannin County Athletics.

“We want to know how programs are funded and from what budget, and what is the process or guidelines that those decisions are made?” Shirah questioned the BOE.

Shirah pointed out that the Dugout Club had spent $34,000 in field maintenance and asked, “Why are parents forced to pay for these facilities and field expenses?”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Bobby Bearden, Lewis DeWeese, Terry Bramlett, Chad Galloway, Steve Stanley, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Athletic Director, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Fannin County School System, Donnie Kendall, ryan Walton, Cliff Shirah, Brian Johnson, Rebels

Brian Johnson counters reasons given by administration about the state of Fannin County Athletics.

Brian Johnson, former president of the Basketball Booster Club, also touched on finances, stating the Tip Off Club had raised upwards of $200,000 in four years, and asked the board, “What will the school board’s actions be if financial support is taken away from these programs?”

Johnson also addressed what many parents felt were excuses being given by administration for the current state of Fannin County Athletics: “excuses have been given from, ‘we don’t have talent’ to ‘we’re rural and secluded’ to ‘other teams should be playing in higher classifications.'”

Johnson countered these arguments by stating, “What in your minds makes us more secluded than Union County, Murphy, North Carolina, Hayesville, Towns County, or Hiawassee, Georgia? We have struggled against these very schools that are as small or much, much smaller than we are.”

Ryan Walton, who also spoke alongside Donnie Kendall at the January BOE meeting, did not agree with the explanations that the administration has offered. “All I’ve heard is excuses on why we don’t compete. I haven’t heard any answers,” Walton said.

Walton added, “I will say that the coaches at Fannin County right now are doing a great job of teaching our kids that life is not fair and that the best person does not always get the job, but the athletic director and board are doing a terrible job by showing these kids that you can be terrible at your job and not get fired.”

Other parents were present giving testimonials on how success in athletics directly correlates with success in a child’s personal life and their academics. These parents expressed concern over what they saw as the coaches’ lack of involvement with or enthusiasm displayed for their athletes.

Ultimately, the parents and supporters united under a common theme of change. They wish to see a winning culture come back to Fannin County and want the full chain of command, from the BOE down to the coaches, to take responsibility for this turn around.

Follow FetchYourNews as we look into obtaining full financial transparency for the Fannin County Athletics Department.

 

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

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G Bee champion moves forward to regional competition

Community, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – After a lot of practice and many rounds, Fannin County School System (FCSS) named their champion speller. Eighth-grader Chloe Carter will advance for a third year to the Region 1 Competition held in Rome, Georgia, later this month.

FCSS held school-wide spelling bees in the month of January, and the winners from each school met on Jan. 31 at the Board of Education to determine a champion.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Blue Ridge Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, Keith Nuckolls, Literacy Coach, Sarah Welch, Principal, Lucas Roof, April Hodges, Matt Price, Jade Dlugokinski, Cole White, Chloe Carter, Fox Sharp.

Spelling Bee contestants at the Board of Education. From left to right, Fox Sharp, Jade Dlugokinski, Chloe Carter, and Cole White.

“Before I say anything else, I would like to say how proud I am of each of you for reaching the Fannin County School System spelling bee,” Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney said, welcoming the competitors.

With family and faculty present, each principal introduced their respective champion.

From Blue Ridge Elementary School, Principal April Hodges introduced school champion Jade Dlugokinski. Cole White, winner of East Fannin Elementary School, was presented by Principal Matt Price. Principal Keith Nuckolls announced the Fannin County Middle School Champion Chloe Carter, and West Fannin Elementary School Principal Lucas Roof introduced their champion Fox Sharp.

Curriculum Director Robert Ensley read the rules and formalities of the spelling bee. These rules must be strictly adhered to within each district for champions to move forward in hopes of reaching the national bee.

Fannin County High School Literacy Coach Sarah Welch was the official caller for the event, giving each student his or her word and further clarification if needed.

The second round saw two competitors eliminated, with a third contestant being eliminated in the following round.

Students Chloe Carter and Cole White battled it out for another round with Carter spelling the winning word for the round, “cruiser”.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Blue Ridge Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Cirriculum Director, Robert Ensley, Keith Nuckolls, Literacy Coach, Sarah Welch, Principal, Lucas Roof, April Hodges, Matt Price, Jade Dlugokinski, Cole White, Chloe Carter, Fox Sharp.

Spelling Bee winner Chloe Carter will advance to the Region 1 Competition in Rome, Georgia, later this month.

As dictated by the rules Carter then had to spell an additional champion word. “Ninja” was spelled with ease by Carter and solidified her as Fannin County spelling champion.

“We are proud to have Ms. Chloe Carter as our eighth grade spelling champion,” Welch announced, officially bringing the bee to a close.

Carter is no stranger to this honor. It is Carter’s third year winning the Fannin County School System spelling bee. Last year, Carter also advanced from the Region 1 Competition to compete at the state level.

The Region 1 competition will take place on Feb. 24 in Rome, Georgia. Carter will face other district champs in hopes of progressing to the state finals.

“Your achievement sets a fine example for the students across our county,” Gwatney beamed to the contestants and congratulated all of the students on their achievements.

 

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

Make-up days scheduled for Fannin County students

Education, News, Rebel's Corner
Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Education, GEMA, FEMA, Michael Ruple, EMA Director Robert Graham, Lt. Darvin Couch

 

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney released a statement on Jan. 26 regarding the use of the school district’s emergency make-up days.

Students within the Fannin County School System (FCSS) have missed a total of ten days for the 2017-2018 calendar year.

Concerning these interruptions to the school schedule, Gwatney stated,”The decision to close school is stressful and difficult. The decision is never made lightly, and the safety of our entire FCSS community – students, faculty, staff, and parents – is always the key factor.”

The following dates will now be used as make-up days for FCSS:

  • Feb. 19 and 20;
  • March 12 and 13; and
  • April 5 and 6.

These days will be scheduled as regular school days for both students and staff.

“Although I hope these interruptions are over, the potential for adverse weather remains,” Gwatney stated. “Reclaiming these days will make a difference by offsetting a portion of what has already been missed.”

In the event that future cancellations occur due to inclement weather, some or all of the remaining make-up days (March 30 and April 2 through 4) may become regular school days.

 

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

Fannin County School administration responds to parents’ concerns

Education, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Parents recently expressed concerns over the state of the Fannin County Athletics Department at the Jan. 11 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. These concerns were heard by members of the BOE as well as administration and staff within the school system.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney.

Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney, Fannin County Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey, and Fannin County Curriculum Director Robert Ensley spoke with FetchYourNews about the issues raised during the meeting.

Gwatney expressed concerns about parents being unable to speak directly with coaches or administration in the schools: “That can happen. There might be a parent that has concern with the administration at the school and they want to come see me or somebody in my office.”

Wanting parents to feel comfortable with approaching administration at the schools, Gwatney did advise that speaking with administration first would allow the parent “to speak to people closer to the issue than the board.”

Gwatney also wanted it to be clear saying, “I don’t ever want to dissuade anybody from speaking at the public comment (during the BOE meetings) if it’s on their heart to do so.”

Many parents were surprised to learn of the salaries of several of the coaches as the matter was publicly announced at the January BOE meeting. Gwatney broke down the process of how educators are paid in Fannin County: “These coaches, they are teachers. Legally on paper, they are teachers as well, which can speak to their salaries. They do receive a coaching supplement, but that supplement is a small percentage of their overall salary.”

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County Curriculum Director Robert Ensley.

In Fannin County, an educator’s salary is based on a number of components, the first being the level of education and experience an educator possesses. The higher the degree of learning (ex. bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) an educator has obtained will directly affect the base salary given to that educator by the state of Georgia.

The second factor in determining an educator’s salary is a local supplement that is given in Fannin County. This supplement is a flat percentage based on the salary being given by the state of Georgia. Both the supplement and the base pay increase based on years of service in the educational field.

Finally, there is a coaching supplement for those educators who take on the task of instructing Fannin County’s young athletes in their sporting endeavors.

Ensley spoke directly about his thoughts on Fannin County Athletics saying, “I think we’ve got great coaches. They’re building character. Obviously, we want to win.”

Ramsey agreed, “Obviously, we would like to be winning more. I don’t think there is anybody who would argue that, but I think our coaches are working hard. I think they are doing things that they can do to help our kids be successful.”

“The hurdles that we face is that we are a small AAA school. Third smallest in the state,” Ramsey spoke on the difficulties within the program.

Ramsey stated that there are many talented athletes in Fannin County but further explained the hurdles of being a smaller school. “What gets us is the depth. When we have an injury, or kids wear out, there may not be somebody sitting over on the sidelines or sitting on the bench that can come fill those shoes,” Ramsey stated.

“I’m not sitting here making excuses. Our numbers are what they are,” Ramsey clarified as he shared his thoughts on the athletics program.

There is also the problem of multiple sports within the same season. Having a smaller pool of athletes can cause some key players to miss opportunities in one area due to scheduling conflicts. The girl’s softball team and volleyball team was cited as an example of splitting the athletic pool among the two sports.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County School System, Fannin County Athletics, Board of Education, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Blue Ridge Elementary School, Fannin County Middle School, Fannin County High School, Superintendent, Athletic Director, Curriculum Director, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Dr. Scott Ramsey, Robert Ensley, Fannin County Rebels

Fannin County Athletic Director and Fannin County High School Assistant Principal Dr. Scott Ramsey.

“Softball is very successful,” Ramsey pointed out despite this obstacle.”I think five out of seven years (Coach David Dyer has) made state, and finished in the top five in the state one year.”

Ramsey also addressed allegations made during the public commentary portion of the BOE meeting concerning his second job as an educator at a local night school: “My schedule at the second job is set around the schedule that Mr. Cioffi (Fannin County High School principal) makes for the after school stuff. Mr. Cioffi makes the schedule at the beginning of each season, not just for athletics.”

“It’s a two night a week job and one of those nights is always on Wednesday, and there is nothing athletically on Wednesday. The other is based on whatever the need is,” Ramsey further explained.

Ramsey also spoke of whether other administrators had been asked to cover for him. “If they’re there it’s because they were scheduled to be there. They’re not covering for me. Just like I’m not covering for them when I’m at a drama event or academic thing. We all have a schedule, and we go by that schedule,” Ramsey said.

As far as the future of Fannin County Athletics, Ramsey explained, “We evaluate programs every year. We try to look at it realistically, and we have made changes. This year won’t be any different. We’ll evaluate the programs this year, and if we feel based on the direction of the program that a change needs to be made, then we’ll certainly do that.”

Ramsey did point out that a coach in Fannin County is an educator first, and for a change in coaching to take place, there must also be a need and an opening in an academic department.

Ramsey said that he understood the parents’ frustration and shared a piece of advice given to him during his coaching days saying, “There is a natural conflict built in between coaches and parents because coaches watch the kids with their head, and parents watch the kids with their heart.”

He added that that is the way it should be. “A parent should be their kid’s biggest fan and biggest advocate,” Ramsey said.

Gwatney concluded, “It really is all about the kids. The kids here are our number one priority, and we want to provide them with what is best for them.”

 

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

East Fannin Elementary Presented With Family Friendly Partnership Award

East Fannin Elem, Education

BLUE RIDGE, GA – East Fannin Elementary School (EFES) came together in celebration as the school received the Family Friendly Partnership Award. EFES held the ceremony in their gym on Wednesday, October, 11, 2017.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods presents award to EFES.

The gym was filled with students, staff, and family as the school met with Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods. Excitement was high as only five schools are chosen annually for this award.

The Georgia Department of Education launched the Georgia Family Friendly Partnership award in the summer of 2010. This honor is for Title I schools who place importance on the role of the family in a student’s education.

Schools are judged on a number of factors including friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, displays of student work throughout the building, and the school’s ability to provide “unique and innovative parent and family engagement programs.”

Fannin County School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney was present to speak at the ceremony. Gwatney has a long history with EFES. He attended the school in the late 1980s when it was a junior high school. He then taught at the school as an educator, and later became principal.Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, East Fannin Elementary School, Morganton, Superintendent, Dr. Michael Gwatney, Principal, Matthew Price, Music Teacher, Kimberly Huffman, Richard Woods, Adam Born

Gwatney said, “As member of this community, as well as former student, and former member of this faculty, I can honestly say that welcoming and family are two great words to use when describing East Fannin Elementary School.”

Parents were also present to speak of their experiences with EFES. Parent Adam Born said of EFES and the parent involvement, that it is more than just a school, it’s a community.

Born stated that it’s “a community where parents always feel comfortable at their child’s school. Where they can be engaged in their child’s development. A community where a student knows that their parents and teachers are working together to help them achieve higher results.”

The entire student body worked with Music Teacher Kimberly Huffman to prepare a song for the visitors. Smiles of enjoyment were seen on the state representative’s faces as the students performed “Kick It Up A Notch”.

The unique song choice reflected EFES’s staff involvement and dedication, both of which are key components to having won this award.

Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods spoke at the presentation. He explained the process on which the schools are chosen, and stated that within the three years he has presented this award that the EFES’s presentation was the first time where he had seen family presented as speakers for the school.

Woods stated, “Hats off to your presentation.”

He went on “This is something that is extremely hard to get. Roughly we have about 2,300 schools in the state of Georgia. There are only five schools that get this each year. You’re really in the top 1% of the 1%.”

 

 

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

Five schools recognized as Family-Friendly Partnership School Award winners

East Fannin Elem

May 18, 2017 – Five Georgia schools have been identified as the 2017 winners of the Georgia Family-Friendly Partnership School (FFPS) Award. The winners were selected based on their exceptional customer service for Georgia families.

Each selected school has created a welcoming environment with courteous staff members who are eager to help students and their families. By welcoming parents, family members, and the community, the schools are building partnerships with families and community members to focus on student success. Each school also provides continuous outreach efforts for family engagement to successfully involve all families in the school.

“Parent engagement is an essential component of every successful school – it has an enormous impact not just on the individual child, but on every child in the school building,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Schools can only build those partnerships when parents and families feel welcome in their child’s school – welcome to visit, to engage, and to be a part of the learning process. I commend each of our 2017 Family-Friendly Partnership Schools for providing that welcoming environment for parents and families.”

The winners are:

  • Bear Creek Middle School in Barrow County School System
  • East Fannin Elementary School in Fannin County School District
  • Elm Street Elementary School in Rome City Schools
  • Garden Hills Elementary School in Atlanta Public Schools
  • Mossy Creek Elementary School in White County School System

They were chosen from a pool of ten finalists. The five other schools named finalists are:

  • East Jackson Elementary in Jackson County School System
  • Georgia Cyber Academy, K-12 Virtual School
  • Sand Hill Elementary School in Carroll County School System
  • South Columbus Elementary School in Muscogee County School District
  • Vineville Academy of the Arts in Bibb County School District

Each school applied to the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)’s Parent Engagement Program describing the family engagement initiatives in their schools. The Family-Friendly Partnership Review Team scored the applications and ten finalists were selected. The ten schools were informed that members of the review team would call the school office and conduct a surprise visit sometime between February and April, posing as parents looking for information or assistance. The team conducted walkthroughs of each school and interviewed school staff, parents, students, and community members as part of the selection process. The review team is comprised of members from the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), GaDOE’s divisions of Curriculum and Instruction, Federal Programs, and Special Education Services and Support, the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, theGeorgia Statewide Afterschool Network, and a former parent leader from the Superintendent Woods’ Parent Advisory Council.

Superintendent Woods will visit all five winning schools in the fall and will present a plaque to the school community. The winning schools will also receive a welcome mat for their front entrance. This initiative is organized by the GaDOE and sponsored by the Georgia Foundation for Public Education, Georgia Association of Educators, and three Ritz-Carlton hotels in Georgia: The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta (Downtown); The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead; and The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Teams from each of the winning schools also will get the chance to learn more about providing welcoming environments during a professional learning seminar hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. The seminar is designed to assist the schools in increasing family engagement to help improve the academic achievement of students not only in their schools but also in other schools within their district.

Erwin Schinnerl, the general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, said: “Through The Ritz-CarltonSucceed Through Service program, our hotels continue the partnership with local schools and students in practicing transferable life skills for college and career paths. The general managers of The Ritz-Carlton hotels in downtown Atlanta and at Reynolds, Lake Oconee join me in congratulating the winners and finalists for cultivating a welcoming environment for all families in helping students to succeed.”

The 2016-2017 school year is the last year of the FFPS Awards. Starting in 2017-2018, the FFPS initiative will transition to focus on improving outcomes and helping school teams create welcoming environments, rather than an awards program.

Click here for more information on the Georgia Family-Friendly Partnership School Initiative and to view the previous winners and finalists since 2012.

 

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Kids Were Hanging Off the Wall at EFES Fall Festival

Community

The goal was to raise $5,000 for East Fannin Elementary School.  The ways to get there were a mixture of highly creative, like tossing Velcro-suited kids onto a wall and picking prizes out of a nose, to reliable standbys, like face-painting and cake-walks.  The largest fund-raising draw was from the premier year of the East Fannin Car Show. Thankfully, for this writer and the parent of an East Fannin student, there were no live goldfish in plastic bags to be won.

East Fannin Elementary School held its Fall Festival on September 30th.  Shenna Rhymer, EFES Parent-Liaison, the PTO, EFES faculty and staff organized the event.  Families donated 90+ cakes for the cakewalk.  51 car enthusiasts showed their dream machines.  And three men tossed hundreds of kids onto a felt wall for three hours.

three-men

Strong men with a lot of patience – Randy Monkus, Anthony Rymer and Mark Warren.

EFES Parent Liaison Shenna Rymer thanks her "saving grace" Grace Watts for help with the festival.

EFES Parent Liaison Shenna Rymer thanks her “saving grace” Grace Watts for help with the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colby and Special Ed teacher Jenna Saxon are ready for the toilet toss.

Colby and Special Ed teacher Jenna Saxon are ready for the toilet toss.

Jenna Saxon, special education teacher at EFES explained what the money raised will be used for.  The money the PTO raises during the Fall Festival is divided among the teachers to use to buy teaching supplies said Saxon.  Classes like Saxon’s use a tremendous  variety of objects for students to touch and manipulate to develop students’ muscle control and hand-eye coordination.

Even Fannin County High School participated in the festival.  The High Schools art and photography teacher brought a group of students to help with face-painting.

Parker picks a nose with

Parker picks a nose with

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Eavenson and Josh Lambert with their road crew.

Jason Eavenson and Josh Lambert with their road crew.

A  big draw from families at the school and people outside the county was the Car Show.  Anthony Holloway won the People’s Choice Award, Berry Braden the Principal’s Choice Award and by near unanimous decision Jason Evenson and Josh Lambert won the Kid’s Choice Award, especially since their Jeeps looked the closest to Monster Trucks than the other cars at the show.

Anthony Holloway with his wife, 4th grade teacher Katy Holloway, in front of his '67 Ford Mustang

Anthony Holloway with his wife, 4th grade teacher Katy Holloway, in front of his ’67 Ford Mustang

 

 

 

 

EFES Principal Sarah Finch with Principal's Choice Award winner Barry Braden.

EFES Principal Sarah Finch with Principal’s Choice Award winner Barry Braden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many local businesses supported the festival  – Cochran Funeral Home Services, Bargains R US, Home Depot, Ingles, Summit Racing, S&S Painting, Miller Counseling, Maxum Construction, Blue Ridge Insurance, Cohutta Country Store, Swann Drive In, Serenity in the Mountains, Downtown Pizza Company, Black Sheep, Abernathy’s Furniture. Sue’s Cafeteria, The Sasquatch Museum,  Xtreme Printgraphics, L&T Nails, The News Observer, O’Neal’s Family Barbershop, The Sweet Shoppe, The Village Restaurant, Mike’s Trackside BBQ, Morganton Grill, William’s tire, Brother hood Oil, Midas, Pete’s Place, Hometown Diner, El Manzanillo, Fannin Bowling Lane, Ocoee River Diner.

car-show-4

Brad Millichan with his entry.

Brad Millichan with his entry.

 

 

 

Rich and Teresa Wright with their 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air.

Rich and Teresa Wright with their 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air.

 

 

 

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