2013-12-19 / Front Page

State school superintendent impressed by school visit

By KIP BURKE
news editor


In a sixth-grade math class, state school superintendent Dr. John Barge encounters a new method of teaching pre-algebra concepts with which he was not familiar. In a sixth-grade math class, state school superintendent Dr. John Barge encounters a new method of teaching pre-algebra concepts with which he was not familiar. Georgia Superintendent of Education Dr. John D. Barge visited Washington-Wilkes Middle School last Wednesday to get a close-up look at how teachers, students, and administrators are functioning in real Georgia schools.

Welcomed by Superintendent Dr. Rosemary W. Caddell, school board Chairman Ricky Callaway, and Principal Deleki Lee, Dr. Barge toured the new middle school facility, stopping in several classrooms to watch teachers and students interact. “I was impressed by the knowledge and competence of the staff,” he said, “and the beauty of the school. I got to see how your classroom instruction uses differentiated strategies, because students learn differently. In that sixth-grade math class, students were using manipulatives to learn pre-algebra concepts. I’ve never seen that done,” he said.

“He asked a lot of great questions about what we’re doing and how we’re using the things they send down from the state,” Lee said. “It was a good feeling to be selected, and it was neat that he got to see something he hadn’t seen before.”

After touring the school, Barge sat down with Dr. Caddell, Callaway, Lee, and others to talk about upcoming changes in instruction, new teacher evaluations, next year’s budget, and changes in the structure of student testing.

The visit last week was part of the superintendent’s tour to multiple counties to visit and tour schools, part of the “Georgia’s Future. Now!” program. In addition to his visit to Wilkes County, Barge stopped in Lincoln County, Elbert County, Madison County, and Hart County.

In a press release, Barge said, “This is a movement of the Georgia Department of Education and the forward-thinking educators, communities and business leaders across the state answering the call for help. It’s a research-based revolution, born in the classroom, with living examples of what works for teachers to prepare all Georgia students for college and careers. Georgia’s Future Now! means higher standards, better teaching, more pathways and a ready graduate. It’s time to stop tearing public education down and start building it up.”

After his visit to Wilkes and surrounding counties last Wednesday, Barge traveled to school facilities in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Towns, Union, Fannin, Murray, and Dade counties last week.

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