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Class Notes: Hall County considering magnet school distinction
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Hall County Schools has all but ruled out becoming a charter system, but the Board of Education did weigh another option at its January meeting.

The state Board of Education has given school districts until June 30 to decide between three flexibility options: becoming either charter, status quo or Investing in Educational Excellence systems.

Becoming a charter system would mean taking some of the flexibility and authority away from the school board and giving it to a separate board for each school. This is not an option for Hall County, according to Superintendent Will Schofield.

Instead, Schofield presented the board with the idea of redefining charter schools as magnet schools.

“We need to use a distinction that parents understand, that teachers understand, and we keep coming back to the idea of a magnet,” Schofield said.

The schools that currently have “programs of choice,” such as the DaVinci Academy at South Hall Middle School and the Advanced Scholars Academy at Riverbend Elementary School, will remain the same. However, schools that currently are conversion charter schools, such as Martin Technology Academy and World Language Academy, would potentially become magnet schools.

“Calling that all of a sudden a program of choice really doesn’t fit,” Schofield said. “An entire school that’s focused on an area, that’s more of a magnet school distinction.”

The board made no decisions on the subject, but agreed to consider this alternative.

High school seniors can apply for local scholarships

Area high school seniors can now apply for a number of scholarships through the North Georgia Community Foundation.

The foundation has opened the application period for 2015, which ends March 5. Last year, 145 scholarships from 26 different funds were awarded for more than $180,000 total.

Eligible students are seniors graduating this year from Banks, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White counties.

The requirements for each scholarship vary based on the fund established by the donor. Students may apply for as many scholarships as they choose, so long as they are eligible.

For applications and more information, go to www.ngcf.org/scholarships.

DECAL studying impact of child care in state

How does child care in Georgia affect the economy?

The State Department of Early Care and Learning wants to know. The department recently commissioned the University of Georgia and Georgia State University to study the impact of the child care industry on the economy,

The most recent study of the subject was in 2007, which showed child care programs account for 61,000 jobs and $4.1 billion in annual revenues.

“It has been seven years since our last economic impact study, and we know conditions have changed since then,” said Interim Commissioner Amy Jacobs. “The previous study revealed the significant impact the child care industry has on Georgia’s economy. Now it is time to gather current data and to gauge the impact of the Great Recession on the industry.”

This winter, UGA is surveying more than 5,500 programs across the state through Feb. 14. Jacobs encouraged every child care program in the state to participate, because the more participants the study has, the more accurate the results will be.

Interested programs can contact Dr. Bentley Ponder, director of research and strategic planning, at 404-656-6297 or bentley.ponder@decal.ga.gov.

 

Kristen Oliver covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:

koliver@gainesvilletimes.com

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@TimesKOliver

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