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Gainesville school board tables decision on course credit policy

New Holland, Enota join Fair Street as professional development schools

POSTED: August 19, 2013 9:21 p.m.

The Gainesville City Schools board of education has tabled a second reading of a policy for awarding units and transfer credits.

The request came from board member Delores Diaz, who voiced a concern over how high school-level courses taken in the eighth grade can impact grade-point averages.

“My objection was not to the policy but rather the procedure that goes along with it,” Diaz said. “Last year (at high school graduation) we had quite a controversy. And it was caused by an anomaly in the procedure that allowed it.

“I just would like to see that remedied so it won’t happen again, because it was a very difficult thing for us to go through last year.”

Sarah Bell, director of academic programs and standards, explained these classes taken in middle school do not count toward a student’s HOPE Scholarship eligibility, which is an example Diaz would like to see followed when calculating high school seniors’ GPAs.

Still, Diaz said taking high school-level courses in middle school is a “great opportunity.”

“I would encourage (students) to go ahead and take those classes in the eighth grade, because that would free up some slots for them in high school to take more advanced courses,” she said. “But we don’t want to negate the opportunity by having that student penalized for having taken the course in the eighth grade.”

Board member David Syfan asked if there would be an issue in delaying implementation of the policy, which includes information on how students can “test out” of certain classes by taking the End of Course Tests.

“At this point, we have had no requests for EOCT testing out,” Bell replied, going on to clarify there was one inquiry but the student was not eligible.

The board approved tabling the final decision on the policy.

Separately, New Holland Core Knowledge and Enota Multiple Intelligences academies join Fair Street School this year in becoming professional development schools, partnering with nearby universities to bring education majors into the classrooms.

Fair Street has had a partnership for 10 years with Brenau University education majors. This year, New Holland and Enota are partnering with University of North Georgia students.

“I don’t (know) what more to say than we are thrilled to have a partnership with the University of North Georgia,” said Pam Wood, principal of New Holland. “We have had eight students from them who have been with me since preplanning, and we have put them to work. They have already seen real school.”

In addition to completing classwork on campus, the college students will also spend time in the classroom, getting hands-on training time with teachers and students.

“It is nice to have more people to help influence the education of our children,” said Enota Principal Matt Maynor.


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