As I write to you today, I am remembering my childhood about 30 years ago. While I loved my summertime of playing until dark each year, I also remember the feeling of excitement I held as a new school year began in the fall. The end of summer means school supplies, a new pair of pants or two to accommodate growing legs, and when I was a child, a haircut. What a great time for our community!
Speaking of beginnings, we have much good news to share with you. Last year, we saw another year of progress in our academic achievement, and we hope to use that as momentum for an even better year for students in 2014-2015. Students in the elementary and middle schools achieved at historic levels in 3 out of 5 content areas: Reading, Science, and Social Studies. Jackson High School, not being outdone, also saw historic gains in US Literature, US History, and Economics. With your help, we hope to build on this foundation of progress from the first day of school this fall.
Speaking for our Board of Education, we also want to thank you for your support in giving our students at JHS a new beginning. Thanks to your support of the education penny sales tax (E-SPLOST), students at JHS (and all the children coming behind them) will enjoy a brand new classroom wing and front entrance, complete with two new science labs, two computer labs, and a new safety entrance for community members visiting the school. With your support, JHS will be safer and more conducive to our educational dreams. Thank you!
There is also an additional “beginning” that we are very proud to share. As you will recall, the original JHS built in 1989 was designed for far less students than we have today. Since the construction of the school, we have added two additional classroom wings to accommodate the growth in students. But even now, as we approach 2015, we have outgrown our Physical Education classroom space. As you will recall, the current facility at JHS does not have a gymnasium on campus, and there is no room to have a full student assembly. Currently, our little “PE Room” is hosting three to four PE classes at one time, and that is just not ideal for such a small space in terms of safety and instruction.
Recently, the state of Georgia agreed that our current facility is severely undersized, and the state is offering our community an additional $1.1 million in funding to add to our E-SPLOST dollars to construct a brand new Physical Education/Gymnasium facility for our future students. This increase in state funding will be a huge boon to our community, not just for the students, but in positioning our facilities to prepare for growth and attract new families as industries move into the county in the next 5-10 years.
And finally, as an additional benefit of the new gymnasium, we will be able to use our current competition gym not only for our growing practice and game schedules, but also in partnership with our county recreation department. Hopefully, we will be able to partner with the county to allow youth recreation teams to use the competition gym more often, which hopefully will save the taxpayers money in the long run as our programs continue to grow. By pooling our resources with the county, we will become more efficient while still serving the needs of our families.
The new gymnasium for your children and grandchildren is currently being designed as we speak, and we hope to open it for you in the winter of 2015-2016. There is a very bright future ahead for our children!
As I close, I just want to share how proud I am to be both a superintendent and daddy in our community. I could not ask for a better place to raise my family, and we are blessed to have such great neighbors and community partners. Let us never forget that the true success of our school system and community will be maximized only if we all work together toward one goal. With your support, faith, and prayers, we cannot help but succeed!
See you at Open House this Thursday!
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