Hahira Elementary School Receives Award for Greatest Gains

posted Nov 17, 2017, 10:31 AM by LAVERNE ROME

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Hahira Elementary School recently earned an award from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA).  On November 17, 2017, Governor Nathan Deal announced that 226 Georgia public schools in 54 districts will receive 2017 Highest Performing or Greatest Gains school awards, an increase of eight schools from last year.

The 2017 Greatest Gains award winners consist of 139 schools across 50 districts, and the 2017 Highest Performing award winners consist of 142 schools across 24 districts. Fifty-five schools in 17 districts are award winners in both categories.

In each category, there are four school award levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.  Hahira Elementary School was recognized as a 2017 GOSA Greatest Gains (Gold Tier) School.

Wes Taylor, Superintendent of Lowndes County Schools stated, "We commend Hahira Elementary School’s faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to providing a quality education for our students.”  Assistant Superintendent Rodney Green added, "This award designation reflects the hard-work and dedication of the students, staff, and parents of Hahira Elementary School."

The school awards are part of Georgia’s Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS).  Greatest Gains schools exhibit high growth in student achievement by earning a three-year average CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) Progress Score in at least the 93rd percentile in the state. Additionally, schools must remain in the same CCRPI Single Score range over the last three years.

Iris Mathis, Principal of Hahira Elementary School said, “At Hahira Elementary School, I am surrounded by a fantastic group of caring teachers and staff members. I really can't say enough about the work of my staff and the part they play in the success of our school. HES is fortunate to be a part of a supportive community that values education.  I am so pleased that our teachers, staff, students, and parents have been recognized for their dedication to excellence!”

Mr. Taylor Receives Recognition

posted Nov 16, 2017, 2:25 PM by LAVERNE ROME

Wes Taylor & Family and School Board Members
The Lowndes County School Board surprised Superintendent Wes Taylor by recognizing him for his work. Recently, Mr. Taylor was named one of four state finalists for the 2018 Superintendent of the Year for the state of Georgia. Each year the Georgia’s Superintendent Professional Organization (GSSA) calls for and accepts Superintendent of the Year (SOY) nominations from local school boards, Regional Education Service Agencies, business organizations and communities, and education colleagues from all over the state of Georgia.

Mr. Taylor was also awarded the prestigious Bill Barr Award.  This award is very competitive and is awarded to only one superintendent, annually. The candidate must be recommended, in writing, by another member of GSSA to be eligible for consideration. An awards committee reviews all nominations and they select the recipient. The Bill Barr Award is presented to an exceptional superintendent who possesses the unique ability to mentor, to teach and to lead others in pursuing excellence in public education.

“Wes comes up here every month and recognizes all our faculty and staff, all the great things that they do. ... I wanted to take just a quick moment to recognize Wes Taylor for all the great things that he’s done for our school system, and I know it’s a hard job,” Chairman of the Board, Eric Johnson said.  Johnson said when Taylor became superintendent a few years ago, things were tough financially and morale was down. “CCRPI scores (and) our graduation rates are just through the roof, and all that wouldn’t have been done without your (Taylor’s) leadership,” Johnson said. 

Assistant Superintendent Rodney Green stated, “Mr. Taylor is a man of integrity.  He is committed to equitable opportunities for all individuals.  He has the ability to amass a team of unique perspectives and talents.  He is a master of assembling quality teams of people who share a bond of professional collegiality and intellect.”   Assistant Superintendent Ken Overman said, “With the Bill Barr award and being a finalist as Superintendent of the Year, others around the state are recognizing what we already know here in Lowndes County-which is his quality leadership with a vision and purpose.”

Curriculum Director Dr. Veronica Brown added, “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of your leadership team. Leaders understand that in order to achieve higher standards, they need to have strong values, hold themselves accountable for their words/actions and never make excuses.”  “Mr. Taylor possesses many leadership qualities to be admired, but one word that comes to mind first is genuine.  He is genuinely concerned about the welfare of people around him” stated Curriculum Director Julie Klein.
Taylor said in response, “The truth of the matter is the success we enjoy and have enjoyed in the Lowndes County School System is due to the fine people that make up the system.”

Taylor said in response, “The truth of the matter is the success we enjoy and have enjoyed in the Lowndes County School System is due to the fine people that make up the system.”  The presence of Taylor’s wife and daughters made this recognition much more special!!

LHS Mock Trial Team

posted Nov 15, 2017, 10:09 AM by LAVERNE ROME

LHS' Mock Trial Team at Harvard
The Harvard Mock Trial Results are in and Lowndes High School was named The Best Team!  The following Mockers participated:  Emma Emery, Madison Johnson, Alyssa Hewett, Payton Bedgood, Kris Morse, Troy Crow, Jeremy Toriano, Luke Watson, Reese Veuleman, Kalaysia Kier, Rachael Krause, and Kenna Fussell.

Alyssa Hewett and Reese Veuleman were both named Best Attorney. Jeremy Troiano and Kris Morse were both named Best Witness.  

LEIF Seeks 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Nominations

posted Nov 14, 2017, 2:18 PM by LAVERNE ROME

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The Lowndes Education Improvement Foundation (LEIF) is seeking nominations for the Lowndes County Schools Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award, created in 2006, is offered to honor former students who have translated their Lowndes County Schools’ experience into distinguished service in the public, business, professional, or educational community.  It is also the mission of the award to inspire current students to aspire to similar achievements and to underscore the importance of exploiting the fine educational opportunities offered by the Lowndes County School System.  These notable people must have graduated from or been enrolled in LCS at least 10 years ago and must have distinguished themselves through achievement, service, or contributions to society.  This annual recognition program is sponsored by the Lowndes Education Improvement Foundation.

Past recipients of this award include:

 2017 – Dr. Lee Bradford Lucas

2016 - Robert Soper

2015 - Dr. Kevin Williams

2014 - Rhett Akins

2013 - Dr. Stephen Zeigler

2012 – Hugh C. Chancy

2011 - John T. Milhous, III

2010 - Cathy Biles Parker

2009 – Dr. Curt Starling

2008 – Randall Godfrey

2007 – Representative Amy Carter

2006 – Jay Platt

 Applications for the 2018 award are due by February 9.  The award will be presented at the annual LEIF Banquet, April 19, at Lowndes High School. 

Note:  Nomination packets are kept on file and they carry over from year to year.  If your nominee from previous years was not selected, the packet will be considered as is on file or you may contact LaVerne Rome to make revisions by February 9.  

Pine Grove Middle School is STEM Certified

posted Nov 9, 2017, 9:14 AM by LAVERNE ROME

PGM:  State Superintendent Woods and students
State Superintendent, Richard Woods, presented the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Banner to Pine Grove Middle School.  Pine Grove Middle is the ninth school in Georgia to be STEM certified, and it's the only middle school south of Macon to be STEM certified. Superintendent Richard Woods said becoming certified and receiving the STEM banner is not an easy task. "This (STEM banner award) is something that is very hard," Woods said. "There is less than a hundred schools that have this distinction.”  

FFA Truck Donated to LCS

posted Nov 3, 2017, 7:41 AM by LAVERNE ROME

FFA Truck
The FFA Booster Club presented a truck to Lowndes County School System for agricultural education use. The truck was donated by an anonymous donor. We are extremely grateful for this generous act of kindness - THANK YOU!!

Lowndes County School District Receives Golden Radish Award

posted Nov 2, 2017, 11:58 AM by LAVERNE ROME

Cansas Bussey, Donna Hendley, and Ken Overman
Georgia’s Departments of Agriculture, Education and Public Health, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Georgia Organics came together at the historic Georgia Railroad Freight Depot to celebrate over 40 percent of Georgia school districts with outstanding farm to school programs. Seventy-five school districts, serving more than one million students in Georgia, are now participating in farm to school.  These districts served more than 97 million school meals with local food items during the 2016-17 school year.
Lowndes County School District was recognized at the Honorary level for their accomplishments during the 2016-17 school year, including:
Serving over 1.8 million meals that included local food. Georgia Grown apples are served         daily!
Partnering with Tommy Biles Farm to serve fresh strawberries and "Farmer Fredo” to            feature his collards in celebration of Georgia Department of Agriculture's Agriculture                 Awareness Week.
Including Farmer Brown’s Produce tomatoes in a side salad every Friday during the                school year.
The Golden Radish Award publicly recognizes school districts for all aspects of farm to school, from local food procurement to hosting taste tests and gardening with students. This year, the Golden Radish partners awarded 26 new school districts and welcomed a new partner-UGA Extension. “UGA Extension is so excited to promote healthy eating habits and incorporate Georgia’s great agricultural food products into our school lunchrooms,” said Associate Dean for UGA Extension at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Laura Perry Johnson. “This is a natural partnership that benefits us as well as the school kids who get to enjoy these tasty and nutritious products.”
Districts of all sizes are utilizing farm to school programs to teach academic standards in school gardens, support the local economy through local food purchases for school meals, and fight childhood obesity and other preventable food-related diseases. “Access to fresh, locally grown food is not just important for students’ physical health – it’s part of their academic development as well,” said State Superintendent Richard Woods. “When children eat fresh, healthy meals, they have the fuel they need for a successful day of learning.”
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black notes that while farm to school efforts support academic achievement, they also help build a strong agricultural economy. “Feed My School For a Week, Georgia Grown Test Kitchen and the Golden Radish Awards are all great ways for school nutrition to support Georgia producers, and we are excited as to what current and future award winners will accomplish as we work toward our 2020 Vision for School Nutrition in Georgia.”
Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. champions healthy food access for children and supports farm to school efforts. “The vitamins, minerals and health benefits from local fresh fruit and vegetables, not only allow our children to be physically healthy, but research has shown that healthy eating is also key to brain development,” said Commissioner O’Neal. “Here in Georgia, we are leading the nation in identifying ways to increase early brain development, and healthy nutrition is an enormous part of that.”
Georgia Organics founded the state’s first farm to school program in 2007. Since then, communities across the state have embraced the benefits of bringing students and fresh, local food closer together.  “It’s astounding that over 40 percent of our school districts are actively involved in The Golden Radish Awards after only four years of establishing the program,” stated Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls. “This is an exciting trajectory given the great impact farm to school has had on child nutrition, farmer prosperity, rural development, local economies and public health.”
The 2016-17 school year was a record-breaking year of farm to school growth in Georgia. The Golden Radish school districts collectively:
Served over 97 million meals that featured locally grown and raised foods
Conducted 8,204 taste tests
Taught 7,263 standards-based lessons
Tended 885 school gardens
Engaged students in 3,794 hands-on cooking activities
Involved parents and community members in 1,339 farm to school activities  

National FFA Convention

posted Oct 31, 2017, 9:17 AM by LAVERNE ROME

Ian Bennett, FFA
Ian Bennett, Lowndes High School graduate and FFA member, was elected to serve as the Southern Region Vice President at this past week’s National FFA Convention, which had more than 67,000 in attendance. During his year-long commitment, he will represent the National FFA Organization – which has over 650,000 members – nationally and internationally.  After finishing this current semester at the University of Georgia, he will reside in Indianapolis for the remainder of the year of service. He is a junior in agriscience and environmental systems – plant breeding and genetics.  He is the son of Dr. Marshall and Mary Beth Bennett.

From Lowndes Schools, 43 total FFA members and family members were in attendance at the National Convention. Many of these other students were involved in national competitions. Lowndes had 2 Agricultural Proficiency winners.

Landon Herring won the Diversified Crop Production Proficiency based on his work at Herring Farms. Herring has worked 6 years in this supervised agricultural experience, growing nine different crops. Courtney Cameron won the Agriscience Research – Plant Systems Proficiency based on her use of the scientific method in using aspirin to control Tobacco Mosaic Virus. TMV is the number one viral crop disease worldwide. Cameron is a freshman and research scholar at the University of Georgia. Also competing in proficiency was Chandler Kudyk in the Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems division.

Lowndes FFA Students
Lowndes Schools had 10 FFA members win the National Agriscience Fair. They were:  Food Systems - Zach Daw, Alexis Herring, and Jaylin Johnson; Environmental Systems – Zach Gay and Cedric Montgomery; Plant Systems – Ty Parks, Dawson Peek, Gabriella Daugherty, Levi Herring, and Shaw Wacter. Also competing in various Agriscience Fair Divisions and placing were: Courtney Cameron, 2nd; Clay Parker, 4th; Emily Stone, 7th; and, Morgan Sysskind and Avery Fletcher, 10th.

Clay Parker served as a Delegate of the Georgia FFA Association to the National Convention. Parker served on committees to help give input on future directions and operations of the National FFA Organization. He also voted on issues from the floor of the Convention.

Several members served as Courtesy Corps. Joe Corbett, Cayden Matthews, Paige Jones, and Katelynn Gay assisted coordinators with the operation of the National Agriscience Fair.

Rome wins Publication Awards

posted Oct 27, 2017, 11:33 AM by LAVERNE ROME   [ updated Oct 27, 2017, 11:42 AM ]

Barbara Jacoby and LaVerne Rome
The Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) recognizes school Public Relations professionals who exhibit exceptional communications skills by producing outstanding publications.  The goal is to "provide recognition and professional support for those who do great work in communicating with parents, staff, the media, community members, and business partners."

During this year’s publication contest with over 160 entries, Lowndes County Schools submitted two entries and won two awards, one of which was a “Gold Award of Excellence” and the other a “Silver Award of Merit.”

The “One Lowndes” magazine was submitted by LaVerne Rome, Public Relations Director with Lowndes County Schools, in the Special Purpose Publication Category. She was awarded the Gold Award of Excellence for the publication.  The judges provided comments and feedback for each of the submissions and of this particular entry they said, "Your publication received a 104 overall score because no one did the same level of research of community building to create a campaign.  No one felt left out of this treasure honoring 50 years of history at LHS.  Congrats!” 

The second submission was the Lowndes County Schools Student & Parent Handbook in the Handbook Category, and she received the Silver Award of Merit for this submission. The judges’ comments and feedback for this entry included, "This Handbook contains lots of useful information and I especially like the list of student clubs and activities – parents should appreciate this information. Good use of pictures to break up the text.”

 “I am very proud of the awards received in both categories,” said Rome.  Rome went on to say these efforts were made possible by the assistance of Geraldine Herring, an editor of One Lowndes Magazine, as well as Lauren Tutor for her helpful input, and Ashleigh Kenny, who provided assistance with the Student & Parent Handbook.

Superintendent Wes Taylor receives the Bill Barr Award

posted Oct 25, 2017, 2:50 PM by LAVERNE ROME

Superintendent Wes Taylor
Last week Lowndes County School Superintendent, Wes Taylor, received the prestigious Bill Barr Award at the fall Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) meeting. This award is very competitive and is awarded to only one superintendent, annually. The candidate must be recommended, in writing, by another member of GSSA to be eligible for consideration. An awards committee reviews all nominations and they select the recipient. The Bill Barr Award is presented to an exceptional superintendent who possesses the unique ability to mentor, to teach and to lead others in pursuing excellence in public education. Mr. Taylor certainly has the ability, experience, and personality required to receive such an honor.

Purpose of the Award

Good leadership involves the ability to teach and mentor others. From the start of his career in education to his role as Executive Director of GSSA, Bill Barr has done just that. Look anywhere in Georgia education and you will see graduates of Bill Barr’s courses in school finance in addition to numbers of educators mentored by him in countless areas. It was in recognition of these contributions that the Bill Barr Leadership Award was established. Any active member of the Georgia School Superintendents Association is eligible to nominate a Georgia superintendent.

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