Superintendent Cliff Cole said overall it was a good school year. One accomplishment was the district created its first magnet school, the Academy of Science Research and Medicine, he said.
“We felt it would be good for our students with the new WellStar hospital coming in,” Cole said, in reference to the new facility under construction in Hiram.
The academy helps students focus on classes that will assist in careers in science, research and medicine fields. Students from the entire district could apply to be a part of the academy, even though the classes are taught at Paulding County High School.
This year 52 ninth-grade students entered the program. Each year the district plans to add 60 more freshman until there are 240 students, 60 students from each grade, he said.
The school system also received a grant from the Georgia Leadership Institute of School Improvement, which helps prepare high school faculty leaders, such as principals and some teachers, for the changes in the new statewide college and career readiness curriculum, Cole said.
The grant also forms a partnership with Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, which helped the district host 80 community leaders at an education summit.
“The purpose of it is how we can engage our community in college and career readiness,” he said.
With the different partnerships and improvements in education the district is trying to live up to its mission statement, “to prepare all students for success in the 21st century.”
He said a downfall is the amount of days in the instructional calendar.
This year there were 178 days, but the goal is to bring it back up at least 180 days.
Steve Barnette, chief financial officer for the district, said the district is on track to finish the year within budget amount.
“I think this district has done a great job living within their means,” he said.
A low point for the district’s finances was the erosion of the property tax base and budget cuts from the state Legislature on education, Barnette said.
Though incoming state and local funding has decreased with the down economy, the school board has adapted and made decisions that have given financial and educational strength to the district, he said.