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Education museum coming to Hall
It will be located in Flowery Branch
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Hall County will soon be the home of the new Georgia Education Museum, a project pioneered by the Georgia Retired Educators Association.

Members of the association presented a check Monday night to the Hall County Schools Board of Education for $360,000.

“You gave us 10 years to pay for it and we’re doing it in three,” said Bill Chandler, a retired Hall County educator and treasurer for the museum and the association.

The museum and association home will be located on about 4 acres at Atlanta Highway and Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch.

“There’s a nice honor roll plaza, which is the exterior of the building whereby people can donate monies and have an engraved brick,” said Sammy Smith, owner of Rainmaker & Associates, who represents the association. “Tonight’s milestone will be huge for the group.”

Board members applauded the change of the museum name to include all Georgia education instead of just retired educators from the state.

“I think it’s a great idea. That’s going to encompass so much in marketing,” board member Brian Sloan said.

Board members also discussed changes to teacher assessments that are coming as part of the district’s Race to the Top funding.

The assessments include student growth and academic achievement, student surveys and teacher observation, said Terry Sapp, educator on special assignment for Hall County Schools.

“What we’re looking at is a pilot ... (that) will be administered to 10 percent of all teachers in all schools,” Sapp said.

The assessments will not be used for evaluative purposes this year, Superintendent Will Schofield said.

“We hear over and over again that we’re moving to more authentic assessments and portfolios of student work,” Schofield said. “We wanted to make sure that this will be the teacher evaluation measure in Georgia, not just the 26 Race to the Top districts. We get the advantage of getting the funding, getting the support and getting to be part of the pilot. We’re moving in the right direction.”

The board also looked at finding new warehouse storage space to prevent having to store things at the maintenance department.

“The reason is we need to let the maintenance department have that whole facility out there. They have some portable buildings they’ve used for storage, and bottom line those are falling apart,” Hall County Schools Deputy Superintendent Lee Lovett said.

The trailers being used for storage are upwards of 35 years old.

“One of them in particular, the floor has collapsed. It’s not safe for my people to work in,” said Damon Gibbs, Hall County

Schools special local option sales tax coordinator. “The food service equipment we just surplused is literally sitting in the parking lot because we don’t have space.”

Lovett estimated 30,000 to 40,000 square feet of warehouse space will be needed for the county.

Schofield said long-term, the district will look at building something of that size in a central location.

Storage space is also an issue for the technology department, which is requesting SPLOST funds to purchase additional digital space. The board approved the request pending updated cost estimates.

Aaron Turpin, technology director for Hall County Schools, said the need for digital storage is a direct result of the learning going on in Hall County schools, which is ever-increasing online components, including the new e-portfolios the district is pursuing.

“We have no redundancy for any of our teacher files or student files,” Turpin said. “One fire, one tornado and it’s all lost.”

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