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Class Notes: Superintendent-elect plans open forums, town halls
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Richard Woods, state superintendent-elect, met with members of the media Friday at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education’s annual media symposium.

Woods discussed his priorities and concerns for the new year. He said he aims to have better communication with teachers, parents and the public through outlets including open forums and town hall meetings.

“We have to have that open pipeline that goes back and forth,” he said. “... I’m fully committed to the building of these critical partnerships, because without them, things will not get done.”

Woods answered a question regarding his opinion on Common Core. He said he appreciates the flexibility it has, but acknowledges standards for English language arts and math are in place, though subject to some alterations or updates. He said he would ensure social studies and math remain in the control of Georgia educators.

One educational issue Woods said he knows needs addressing is the decision between integrated or distinct mathematics in high schools.

Woods acknowledged the difficulty in testing presented by two different types of math. The state still has to determine if it will choose one math form or a blend of the two, and how it will test students based on the mathematics they are taking.

“I think that’s something we have to look at, because to be tested on something you haven’t learned, that’s not fair to our students and it’s not fair to our teachers,” Woods said.

Woods further said he hopes to ease the testing burden on teachers.

His focus for the state and as the new state superintendent is simple.

“We have to be child-focused and classroom-centered,” he said.

Gainesville native awarded prestigious $15,000 fellowship

Chestatee High School graduate and University of Georgia doctoral student David Brew was recently awarded a $15,000 fellowship for research in environmental science.

Brew received the fellowship from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry for his doctoral research into the impact of pharmaceutical pollution in Georgia salt marsh estuaries.

“Georgia is home to approximately one-third of the eastern United States’ salt marshes, which serve as essential habitats and nursery grounds for the majority of fish and shellfish vital to Georgia’s coastal economy,” Brew said in a news release. “As human populations grow along the coast, these areas will also be increasingly affected by pharmaceutical pollution from wastewater treatment plant effluents and leaking septic sites.”

The international fellowship is offered annually to only one doctoral student, and Brew is the recipient for the 2015 North American competition.

Technology fair coming to Hall

On Tuesday and Wednesday, students from Hall County elementary, middle and high schools will present projects in the Hall County Regional Technology Fair, hosted by North Hall Middle School.

Projects include 3-D modeling, animation, webpage design, digital photography and video production. First-place winners in the fair will compete at the Georgia Educational Technology Fair on March 7 in Macon.

The state fair was started by Lou Dewberry in 2011. Six years later, upon Dewberry’s passing, the fair created a memorial scholarship in his name, which is awarded to a high school senior participating in the state competition each year.

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


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