Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education announced that they will be putting a temporary halt to the search for a new high school principal.
“We are going to pause the process of finding a permanent principal to replace Mr. Cioffi at Fannin County High School,” Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney explained, adding that he will be sending out a letter later this evening giving more details on the situation.
Erik Cioffi, current Principal of Fannin County High School, submitted his resignation at the end of July (to be effective August 28, 2020) after accepting an Assistant Superintendent position in Massachusetts.
“This move allows us to be closer to our immediate families in New England,” Cioffi said at the time of accepting the new position in Massachusetts. “I was born and raised in Massachusetts so I will be returning home.”
Interim Assistant Principal of West Fannin Elementary, Debbie Decubellis, will be moved to Fannin County High School in the role of Interim Principal for the time being.
UPDATE : Click the link below to read the letter from Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney explaining the decision made :
Recent graduate, Tristan Cheves, decided to take on the next chapter of his life as he committed to Truett McConnell University to play soccer! Tristan was part of Fannin County High School’s class of 2020 who did not have the most ideal senior year, but he still made the most of it by getting his name out there.
Cheves was a dual athlete for the school who not only played for the varsity soccer team all four years, but he also ran with the varsity cross country team for one year. The dual athlete was even awarded for his great performance on the soccer field as he has received many awards for his accomplishments which include Most Valuable Player and an All-Region First Team mention two years in a row! Not only was the graduate juggling school and sports, but also clubs at the school. Tristan was a member of the high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for all four years.
“Tristan Cheves was a 3-year captain for the Rebels. He was the winningest captain in team history, leading the team to the playoffs two of those years. He was in the process of leading the team to playoffs this season as well before it was cut short due to the pandemic. Tristan will no doubt be a fun player to watch at the collegiate level,” Lee Johnson, head coach of the Fannin Rebels Soccer Team shared with Team FYN.
When asking Cheves why he chose Truett McConnell University, he stated, “For men’s soccer, NAIA is just as good as NCAA D1 soccer. It’s just a different playing style. I wanted to play NAIA so I would learn European style soccer and be better prepared to go play professionally in Europe one day. I want to say a huge thank you to all of the coaches, families, and players that have been a part of my soccer career. Without every one of you, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
While many recent graduates are trying to figure out what their next step in life will be, Maddie Bowers decided to further her education and volleyball career at Toccoa Falls College. Maddie is a recent graduate of the Fannin County High School 2020 class who got involved with the sport her eighth-grade year. Her plans are to attend Toccoa Falls College in the fall and pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education to become an elementary school teacher.
Bowers has been awarded for her outstanding performance in volleyball over the years as she lettered for two years, was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year Award for two years, and earned the title of Most Valuable Player for one year. Not only was the athlete involved in volleyball, but she was also part of the club Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at the school.
When asking Maddie why she chose Toccoa Falls College, she shared, “All of the girls on the team were so welcoming and I wanted somewhere similar to home where I could grow my faith and continue my education and volleyball career.”
“We are very excited to have Maddie become part of the Toccoa Falls Volleyball program. Maddie is going to bring energy and a high level of defense, which is what we were looking for. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at Toccoa Falls,” Jordan Southerland, head coach of Toccoa Falls Women’s Volleyball, shared with Team FYN Sports.
The Fannin Co. Lady Rebels defeated Lumpkin Co. 55-45 in the first round of the Region 7-3A tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at North Hall. The win gives the Lady Rebels (17-9, 6-6 Region 7-3A) a spot in the state tournament and advances them to the next round of the region tournament. The loss ends the Lady Indians’ season, as they finish with a record of 15-10 overall and 6-7 in Region 7-3A.
Natalie Thomas led the way for the Lady Rebels by scoring 19 points, including six 3-pointers. Becca Ledford also scored 15 for Fannin Co.
The Lady Indians were led by a well-rounded game for Kate Jackson, who had 13 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Makenzie Caldwell had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Isabel Davenport scored nine points and had six steals.
The first quarter started off slow, but competitive. Fannin Co. eventually went on a 7-2 run that gave them a 13-8 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Lady Indians responded with an 11-0 run early in the second quarter. Lumpkin Co. led 28-26 at halftime.
The third quarter was back-and-forth with neither team able to gain an advantage. Lumpkin Co. was able to hold on to a 42-39 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Fannin Co. took control in the fourth quarter. They hit three 3-pointers early and held the Lady Indians to three points in the quarter. The Lady Rebels hit seven free throws in the final two minutes to win the game 55-45 and clinch a state playoff berth.
The Lady Rebels advances to the next round of the Region 7-3A tournament. They will play on Friday against GAC at 7 p.m. at East Hall high school.
Erik Cioffi, principal at Fannin County High School, is proud to announce students that are on the Principal’s List and Honor Roll for First Semester. Students on the Principal’s List must have all grades 93 or above. Students on Honor Roll must have an average of 90 or above.
9th grade students named to the Principal’s List are: Gretchen Alewel, Angela Alvarez, McKenzie Chastain, Hayden Danner, Kennedy Davis, Madison Denton, Tyler Ensley, Ivy Hyde, Samuel Jabaley, Erin Jones, Aaron Kimsey, James Kyle, John Little, Brock Martin, Zoe Mathis, Kaitlyn Nelson, Joni O’Neal, Lily Oliver, Cutter Oyster, Emma Petrillo, Cole Pittman, Madison Ponton, Caroline Stewart, Emilee Thomas, Courtney Wyant
10th grade students named to the Principal’s List are: Aubree Beavers, Jolie Breeden, Rachel Bruce, Ashlyn Burger, Anthony Covey, Carly Cox, Chloe Duerfeldt, Tempest Giet, David Hamby, Jackyln Harris, Kirsten Holloway, Giovanni Leal Garcia, Sydney McGill, Sawyer Moreland, Leah Pope, Raven Porter, Heidi Ray, Carlyle Skelton, James Squires, Drake Usry, Kenna Verner, William Watkins, Kathryn Young
11th grade students named to the Principal’s List are: Ana Arvidson, Catherine Ballew, Cooper Boyle, Taylor Cobb, Taylor Coleman, Kylee Cornelius, Isobella Dilbeck, John Dillard, Michael Dillard, Jordan Ensley, Liberty Giet, Andrew Harris, Christian Jensen, Hernan Mares, Thomas Mercer, John Moler, Lauren Murphy, Lainey Panter, Jaylin Ray, Gracie Rice, Courtney Tamberino, Isabella Tocci, Lyndsay Turner, McCay Turner, Chanley Watson, Makenzie Wilson, Kimberly Wyant
12th grade students named to the Principal’s List are: Abbey Arvidson, Emma Barnstead, Isaac Brooks, Gabriel Buchanan, Lauralee Callegari, Alivia Chancey, Allyson Cole, Saidee Collins, Emilee Corn, Brooke Crowder, Hannah Cruse, Ashton Davis, Selena Diaz, Miriam Foster, Seth Foster, Patience Giet, Lora Gwatney, Brandi Harper, Anna Holloway, Shelby Hood, Zackery Jones, Mollie Lariscy, Nicholas Leymeister, Lexi McGill, Zachary Nelson, Emily Patton, Levi Patton, Zachary Payne, Shelby Pierce, Bobbi Pippin, Hannah Ritchie, Steven Setser, Matthew Shirah, Warren Sullivan, Emily Thomason, Jameson Tilley, Leanne Twiggs, Lindsey Twiggs, Alexis Ware, Jessica Westcott, Jade White, Baylee Williams, Amber York
9th grade students named to the Honor Roll are: Tia Adcox, Abigail Baliles, Lucas Barnstead, April Bearden, Aaron Belyeu, Kara Blake, Bella Mea Bondie, Konner Brown, Madison Buchanan, Eden Callegari, Isabella Carr, Jon Carroll, Taylor Collis, Kaelin Cornelius, Monica Cosentino, Katelyn Cracknell, Wyatt Crawford, Christian Crews, Dawson Davenport, Brooke Davis, Sabrina Dilbeck, Randell Epperson, Alexandra Frabotta, Chelsey Frye, Brianna Fults, Harlee Gilliam, Lena Gilreath, Thomas Golden, Gracey Greene, Brenna Harper, Clay Heaton, Makena Hill, Veronica Hogsed, Adam Hollis, Bryson Holloway, Sarah Holsonback, Cabella Hughes, Brianna Hulsey, Nathaniel Kantner, Corbin Kendall, Morgan Lariscy, Ryan Larson, Jefferson Lewis, Amber Locke, Nathaniel Maloof, Logan Martin, Bryan McCalley, Arwen McFarland, Vanesa Medrano-Roman, Jackson Mercer, Matthew Mills, Cooper Moreland, Lydia Newton, Joseph Nicholson, Peyton O’Neal, Savannah Patton, Aislinn Peel, Luke Pelfrey, Hannah Perry, Bohn Postell, Ansley Price, Zoe’ Putnam, Ava Queen, Anna Rhodes, Corey Riendeau, Emily Salas, Katelyn Sanders, Joseph Sands, Tristan Siler, Dylan Smith, Nathan Smith, Clifton Stiles, Chelsey Taylor, Ethan Thompson, Michael Treon, Conner Ware, Lucas Whitaker, Cadan Williams
10th grade students named to the Honor Roll are: Lizbeth Acevedo Montoya , Ricardo Arellanes Alvarado, Lonnie Beaver, Cooper Brooks, Toby Brooks, Breanna Carroll, Easton Chancey, Alyson Chastain, Cassidy Culpepper, Joshua Daves, Riley Davis, Hunter DeMar, Katilyn DeYoung, Jack Dlugokinski, Cydney Drake, Haley Ensley, Joseph Fermin, Christopher Gaitanoglou, Audrey Gillis, Erin Gonzales, Aaliyah Green, Jaylen Green, Kaleb Green, Corbin Head, Emilee Herendon, Austin Hollis, Kharcee-Lane Hughes, Rachael Jessen, Cater Johnson, Ethan Jolly, Ashton Jones, Ethan Jones, Kaylie Kendall, Jacob Kuna, Blake Ledford, Rebecca Ledford, Annabel Lillard, Alexis Long, Carter Mann, Tanner Martin, Hannah Mashburn, Cameron McDaris, Aerial McKinney, Coy Mealer, Graycee Mintz, Ryanne Newman, Haylee Newton, Jules Nicholson, Daisy Oliver, Kenzlie Padgett, Jonathan Page, Jason Pearson, Caitlin Raper, Adaelyn Ray, Hannah Redfern, Seth Reece, Mary Rice, Christalee Rios-Espinoza, Max Roberson, Kayleigh Rogers, Hayden Rose, Hallie Shuler, Tadin Strickland, Kinsley Sullivan, Emily Turner, Jackson Vaughn, Morgan Wade, Erin Walker, Kaitlyn White, Ethan Williams, Reagan York, Jenna Young
11th grade students named to the Honor Roll are: Alyssa Anderson, Hannah Barton, Prisila Bautista, Shelby Belt, Austin Belyeu, Marli Bond, Evan Bradburn, Hollie Bruggemeier, Daniel Bundy, Christopher Burk, Michael Carter, Teagan Cioffi, Cora Clemmons, Brooklyn Cole, Patrick Conner, Brittany Damiano, Ashley Deaton, Matthew Ferrado, Catherine Finley, Miriam Flores, Bryson Fortenberry, Brayden Foster, Tyler Fox, Kelsie Gaddis, Tucker Hanson, Luke Holloway, Mathew Johnson, Henry Leben, Abigail Ledford, Kaleb Ledford, Tommy Ledford, Logan Brady Martin, Rachel Mashburn, Heaven Mata, Emmalyn Mitchell, Allison Nuckolls, Micah O’Neal, Emma Payne, Vanessa Perry, Anna Postell, Sierra Reynolds, Ella Richardson, Peyton Rogers, Samantha Rosas-Rosas, Lesley Salas, Thalia Saldana, Olivia Sisson, Mia Thompson, Hailey Tucker, Kaeden Twiggs, Kendel Vicente-Vicente, Victoria Walker, Karly Waters, Evie Webb, Emma White
12th grade students named to the Honor Roll are: Olivia Akins, Dixie Alexander, Bradley Almas, Thomas Bartholf, Carson Beavers, Chandler Bond, Madison Bowers, Rachel Brooks, Isaiah Cargle, Averie Chambers, Claire Cobb, Tyler Conley, George Couch, Bailey Cox, Harley Cox, Carley Crawford, Tristan Davis, Olivia Deloy, Savannah Dillard, Alexandra Epperson, Hailey Fields, Amanda Fish, Taylor Gibbs, Hannah Green, George Hamilton, Michael Helstrom, Kaelyn Hensley, Morgan Holt, Miles Johnson, Arwyn Jones, Elizabeth Key, River Key, Patrick Lee, Andy Lim, Joseph Long, Kristen Lopez, Olivia Lowman, Ethan Mann, Eryn Mealer, Ryley Mervine, Vanessa Miller, Morgan Mull, Bethany Musselman, Cassidey Nichols, Brittany Norton, Dylan Nuelle, Abigail O’Neal, Rebecca Oliver, Haley Parks, Grayson Patterson, Michael Pellegrino, Ryan Petersen, Shelby Postell, Brendy Puac-Ramirez, Bailey Queen, Emily Queen, Kaia Radabaugh, Larkinn-Rose Rainwater, Savannah Rivas, Gracie Rogers, Jackson Rogers, Kayleigh Russell, Chastity Seabolt, Samuel Sisson, Sarah Sosebee, Tia Strickland, Gabriel Summers, Victoria Tanner, Jakob Tuggle, Emily Waldrep, Jaret Walker, Faith Watkins
BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Officials looking into how two homes in the county caught fire. The blazes occurred a little over a week apart, and one home belonged to first year Fannin County High School (FCHS) wrestling coach. No injuries reported in either fire.
In the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 23, Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) responded to a fire in the Aska Road area. The house was vacant at the time of the blaze with 60 to 70 percent of the structure engulfed in flames.
FCFD did shut down one lane on Aska Road for part of the morning while trying to contain the fire.
Currently, the State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause. Details about the Dec. 23 fire are still developing, and FYN will update as information becomes available.
On Sunday, Dec. 15, on Meadow Creek Way, FCHS Wrestling Coach Chuck Patterson and his family lost their home to a fire. Luckily, Chuck, his wife, Cathy, their boys and dogs all made it out safely. However, the family did lose their home, everything inside, and both vehicles.
An electrical area in the front of the home can’t be ruled out as possible cause at this time, according to FCFD. No foul play is suspected in the Patterson fire.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Patterson family and has raised $18,950 as of Dec. 23. The GoFundMe has a goal of $25,000. United Community Bank (UCB) also set up the Chuck Patterson Benefit Fund for those interested in assisting the family during this trying time. To donate, simply approach a teller and tell them that you want to contribute to the benefit. If you have an account with UCB, you can also call the bank.
FCHS is accepting clothing donations for the Patterson’s. Their sizes are as follows:
Clothing donations can be dropped off at the FCHS office.
Chuck: XXXL shirt, 42-44 pant, 12.5 shoe
Cathy: XL shirt, 12-14 pant, 8.5-9 shoe
The boys’ Sizes: 8 shirt, 7 pant, 3 shoe and 5T or 4/5 shirt, 5T or 4/5 pants, 12 shoe (children)
The family is new to Blue Ridge and the Fannin County School District. The Fannin County High School wrestling team is lucky to have such an amazing and inspiring coach.
Feature image courtesy of FYN reader.
Financial Aid Night will be hosted in the Fannin County High School Performing Arts Center Thursday, November 5 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. While all students and parents are invited, junior and senior families are especially encouraged to attend. Marcus Hilliard from the Georgia Student Finance Commission will discuss what types of federal and state aid are available, what applications need to be completed, how to qualify for aid, and more. Several colleges will provide information about college-specific scholarships. Representatives from the Fannin County Scholarship Foundation will explain local scholarship opportunities. In addition, Educational Specialist Rebecca Hammond will introduce her free service to assist with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Come learn about how the financial aid and scholarship process works, so you can secure the most money to assist with college expenses. For more information, contact the counselors of Fannin County High School.
The School Governance Team of Fannin County High School will meet Wednesday, October 16, at 4:15 in the Professional Learning Lab of the school. All stakeholders are invited to attend.
After a two week break, the Fannin County Rebels are ready to get back to work.
“They came back in and seemed to be real fresh and excited, and we had a lot of good energy,” said Head Coach Chad Cheatham about their first practice back.
Although the Rebels graduated eleven seniors off the team from last year, the team is taking it in stride.
Cheatham mentioned the strengths of the freshmen and sophomores who played last year, and then went a little bit into recruiting for this year.
“We picked up several good kids, kids that left the program even in the spring when I first got here are starting to come back in,” said Cheatham.
Rebels fans know that Cheatham led the team to the playoffs last year for the first time in several years, so BKP asked Cheatham if the team had set a standard for this year.
“Absolutely,” replied Cheatham. “I think that not only just making the playoffs, but advancing now to the playoffs…I don’t think that these guys want to accept, or will accept, anything less than that.”
The full interview can be viewed below, only on FYN TV!
Many talented Fannin County and Copper Basin young artists had their pieces displayed recently at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center to kick off Youth Art Month.
Blue Ridge Elementary School, East Fannin Elementary School, West Fannin Elementary School, Fannin Middle School, Fannin County High School, and Copper Basin High School were well represented with various arts from rock painting to canvas.
The following Art teachers/mentors were on hand as well:
Nancy Watkins – Blue Ridge Elementary School.
Kimberly Huffman- East Fannin Elementary School.
Ben Sexton- West Fannin Elementary School.
Dana Stone- Fannin Middle School.
Holly Vicarro- Fannin County High School.
Jennifer Danner- Copper Basin High School.
Bethany Musselman, a Fannin County High School Art student, helped dedicate the month of March as Youth Art Month by reading the 2019 Proclamation.
Each First Place winner from the various schools represented received a Gift Certificate to The Art Center’s store.
Hudson York- Blue Ridge Elementary School.
Presley Daves- East Fannin Elementary School.
Ava Acker- West Fannin Elementary School.
Vanessa Medrono- Fannin County Middle School.
Bethany Musselman- 2D- Fannin County High School.
Alyssa Anderson- 3D- Fannin County High School.
Aidan Garcia- Copper Basin High School.
Watkins, Huffman, Sexton, and Stone accepted the First Place prize awards for the students in their respective schools who were not able to attend.
Executive Director Nicole Potzauf commented the Youth Art Month event was one of her favorites at the Art Center which showcases and honors students to help develop creativity in the community.
One young artist, Ireland Wilson, a freshman at Copper Basin High School, sold her first acrylic painting.
She said in a candid interview the inspiration behind her painting was, “I love space. I gave Ms. Danner the idea of a ‘night sky’. We just went with it.”
To view all the wonderful pieces of art from our local youth, please visit the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Center at 402 West Main Street in beautiful downtown Blue Ridge, GA. Call (706) 632- 2144 or email [email protected] for more information on March Youth Art Month.
2019 Upcoming Youth Art Events
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The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program has just celebrated its 61st year. Sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) and Foundation, it “has honored nearly 27,000 students and teachers”. In Fannin County, two high school individuals were chosen at the start of the 2018-19 school year to participate.
Ramtin Doroodchi, Fannin County High School (FCHS), and Madeline Savage of Mountain Area Christian Academy (MECA), are high school seniors who have achieved the “highest score on a single test date of the SAT and be in the top 10% or top 10 students of their class based on Grade Point Average.”
The winner here in Fannin County Region would then go to the State level and compete vying for the title of State PAGE STAR student. Their mentors, or STAR teachers, would be with them throughout the process.
The 2019 STAR student to represent the region is Ramtin Doroodchi.
FCHS Counselor Tammy Roberts introduced Doroodchi at the beginning of the Kiwanis sponsored dinner held at Circle J Restaurant. She said of him, “He’s an excellent young man. I see the world opening up for him. He is a wonderful student.”
In a humble, but confident manner at the podium, young Doroodchi, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hamidreza Doroodchi, says hard work does pay off in the end. He plans to enroll in the Georgia Institute of Technology in the summer of 2019 which will help him get a “head start on classes”. He plans to get his bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering (BME) with a dual degree from Georgia Tech and Emory University. He anticipates getting his Master’s Degree or going to Medical School in the future.
Dewayne Thomas, Mathematics Department Educator and STAR teacher of FCHS shared of Doroodchi, “Leads by example, has a quiet confidence about him, is approachable, friendly, has humility, and patience.” He further stated the naturally, gifted young man, “Makes everyone around want to be better, values education, and raises the bar.”
Madeline Savage is senior at Mountain Area Christian Academy (MECA). Counselor Nikki Shamblin introduced Savage and her STAR teacher Rachel Jones to the audience. The young student
said of her teacher, “She helped push me out of my comfort zone.” Jones said of Savage’s character, “She is a great role model, shows integrity, dignity, and sound speech. She is an example of good works and possesses a good attitude at all times.”
Savage plans to continue her higher education at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA. Her study will be in Chemical Engineering (Pharmaceuticals).
The next competition will be held in Dahlonega, GA.
For more information on the PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program , please visit https://www.pageinc.org/about-us/.
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Congratulations to Ramtin Doroodchi from Fannin County High School (FCHS.) Ramtin has completed the Engineering Pathway at FCHS and passed the NOCTI certification test in Pre-Engineering/Engineering Technology. Ramtin scored 16 points higher than the national average on the exam! Ramtin is currently serving as the President of the FCHS Technology Student Association (TSA.) At the Fall Leadership Conference in Jekyll Island, Ramtin accepted the White Star Chapter Certificate for increasing the TSA membership at FCHS by 17% over last year.
Ramtin has applied to Johns Hopkins University and Georgia Tech, and he plans to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
Bubba Gibbs, Engineering Teacher and TSA Advisor: “It has been a pleasure working with Ramtin in and out of the classroom over the past four years. Ramtin has been an exemplary student in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), demonstrating an ability to learn and create in the technical world. Ramtin has prepared himself well to pursue a career in the field of technology.”
“Competing in STAR Events has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to accomplish things that I never thought I would. It has also provided the opportunity for me to meet new people and create amazing friendships!” – Courtney Earls, 11th grade
Fannin County High School Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) collected school supplies during the month of October to send to those who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Many members of the community, along with students at FCHS, collected over 5,000 items to send to Bay County, Florida. Some of the items collected include over 200 backpacks, more than 800 pencils, 167 notebooks, and almost 200 packs of lined paper. We also sent crayons, glue, calculators, markers, index cards, disinfectant wipes, dry erase markers, and more!
Cady Finley, 10th-grade FCCLA Officer and leader of this initiative, stated that, “It’s amazing to see how our students and community are willing to come together and collect items to make a big difference in the lives of those who have lost everything.” Cady and her mother drove a U-haul trailer to Bay County, Florida the first week of November to deliver the school supplies. The FCHS FCCLA chapter would like to thank all of the community members who purchased items for donation.
Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously for the Fannin County School System to remain a charter school district.
Fannin County schools officially became a charter school system July, 01, 2015. According to the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), a charter district must renew their intent and contract with the state every five years.
Deputy Superintendent Betsy Hyde spoke to the BOE, “They (GDOE) asked us if we would amend our charter and say that we would review in 4 years.”
Upon Fannin County looking to obtain AdvancedED accreditation, the Georgia Department of Education asked administration to review their charter application a year early.
AdvancED is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of schools and school systems. Every five years a school system must participate in a targeted self-reflection process.
The AdvancedED helps to evaluate purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, as well as engagement with stakeholders.
The charter renewal as well as the AdvancedEd accreditation are expected to have coinciding site visits to Fannin County Schools.
Hyde explained that during 2015, when Fannin County officially entered into the charter system, the state of Georgia offered three flexibility options for districts to pick from.
The first of these options was Status Quo. Under this option the school system would not be allowed waivers and have limited flexibility on the local level to customize the school learning environment.
The second option presented was the IE2/Strategic Waiver. This gave districts the ability to ask for specific waivers, but did not allow for School Governance Teams (SGT) to be established.
Lastly school systems had the option of becoming a charter district. This option did not restrict waivers and required the formation of SGT. With this option Fannin County would be provided more flexibility in exchange for maintaining at or above state levels in reviews.
“One of the things that we do in our system is we had to have waivers for instance to do block scheduling, class size, different things like that,” Hyde said explaining the benefits of being a charter district.
The decision to initially become a charter school system was not one that was taken lightly, Hyde explained that countless hours of research went into the decision, including speaking with other charter systems and visiting different districts.
Some of the advantages to being a charter district include flexibility to innovate educational opportunities, financial savings from waivers, and possible additional funding in Quality Basic Education (QBE) if appropriated.
One of the outstanding characteristics is the creation of SGT within each of the Fannin County schools. The first SGT was established in June of 2015. These teams, comprised of 7 members, each meet on a regular basis and include school system faculty as well as parents.
Hyde explained the role of SGT more in depth,”Student Government Teams kind of help us distribute our leadership instead of you all being the only board in the whole system. You all are still over the whole system, but this gives some government back to the schools.”
BOE Chair Lewis Deweese admitted to being skeptical of the formation of SGT in the beginning but said of his feelings now, “I think what we’ve really created are some advocates for public education.”
Before taking vote, board member Terry Bramlett questioned, “Whenever we chose to become a charter system it seemed to be the fairer choice of offering the most flexible options and the greatest opportunity for our students. Would you agree that that’s still the case?”
Hyde replied that she still felt very strongly that being a charter system is the best option for Fannin County and added that it also allows the school system a wider range of options as future needs within the district arise.
The BOE took the first step in renewing its contract to stay a charter district by passing a resolution updating their procedures. While there are still many steps to take before this renewal is official, administration is confident in their choice and ability to continue with charter district status.
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