Howard’s Highlights – December 2018

Dr. April Howard, Superintendent, Jackson County School System

Dr. April Howard, Superintendent, Jackson County School System

The Jackson County School System has had a wonderful start to the school year!  Our students and staff continue to meet new levels of excellence, and the entire district is being recognized for some amazing accomplishments.

As we close out the first semester and the calendar year, here are just a few of the highlights our community should be proud to celebrate.

  • Our high school seniors posted a 94% graduation rate in 2018, the highest in the history of the school system.
  • Our students’ College & Career Ready Performance Index measures continued to show improvement, with our district ranked in the top 10% overall and our elementary schools ranked No. 10 among the 206 school systems across the state.
  • School system and community leaders landed a $3 million grant from the Technical College System of Georgia to begin developing the Empower College & Career Center.
  • We closed the 2018 school year with an $11.2 million fund balance, the largest in the history of the school district.
  • An extensive and much-needed renovation at West Jackson Middle School is nearly complete.
  • We are very close to completing the effort that ensures Chromebook device access for all students in grades 3-12.
  • Gov. Nathan Deal was part of a celebration and signing ceremony for five outstanding eighth-graders who were named REACH scholars in October.
  • Jackson County High School has been accepted as a candidate school in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
  • Students in the East Jackson High School chorus performed on Pearl Harbor Day in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • We honored departing Board of Education members Mr. Tim Brooks and Ms. Celinda Wilson and board chairman Mr. Steve Bryant in December, recognizing their combined total of nearly 40 years of public service to Jackson County Schools.

Our growing Jackson County School System community is made up of remarkable students and families. I am excited for the future of JCSS and the students we serve. Our students have been blessed by the support of our community, and we look forward to that continuing.

Some exciting events are on the horizon when we return from the holiday break.

  • Our Board of Education will welcome three new members — Ms. Carol Anglin, Mr. Don Clerici, and Mr. Beau Hollett — in January. They will join Mr. Michael Cronic and Mrs. Lynne Wheeler, the board’s new chairperson.
  • The Empower Center’s board will continue working on plans for students to learn through authentic, high-tech, real-world, work-based learning experiences.
  • Our school district will welcome an AdvancEd accreditation team for our five-year review in March.
  • Construction and renovation discussions will increase as the community looks forward to a new high school that will accommodate accelerating growth on the west side, an extensive update at East Jackson Middle School, and the planned startup of the Empower Center that will serve students from all across Jackson County.

Watch for information about community meetings this winter where you can learn more about the plans for these facilities. Using very conservative growth models, we expect that this work can be accomplished to the benefit of our students with little to no impact on our taxes.

We hope to see you then, and we encourage you to stay plugged in to district communications so you can learn the facts about the impact of a bond referendum that will be brought to voters in March to fund these projects.

It is an exciting time for everyone, and we look forward to partnering with each of you to provide the very best opportunities for our students and community.  May you have a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year!

April Howard, Superintendent of Schools
Jackson County School System