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Back to school: what you need to know

Mr. Kenneth Dyer
Mr. Kenneth Dyer

August 1st is here and it is back to school time in Dougherty County!

This time each year is, perhaps, one of the most consequential times of the year for the future of our community and the well-being of all of our citizens.
Summer fun is over and it is time for serious learning, parenting and teaching. It is worth every minute of our collective time and every dime we spend.
The return on investment is immeasurable.

The Dougherty County School System (DCSS) has 22 schools and last year the total enrollment was 14,357, with a student teacher ratio of 17:1.
93 percent of the students are minority. Kenneth Dyer is Superintendent of Schools.

Dougherty County School Board member Milton “Junebug” Griffin, who has served on the Board for 19 years, says that not only is the system ready, but the,
“kids and parents seem more ready than he has ever seen before.” He says that he has been listening and watching throughout the summer and everything is looking
good for the year. “Our superintendent, Ken Dyer, is doing a super job all around, and as with every year, we are expecting good results. Our teachers, facilities

Mr. Milton Griffin
Mr. Milton Griffin

and cafeteria and other employees are getting a four percent salary increase and we are expecting more from them as well. We have good people in place and we are
getting better and better. I look forward to the new year for our school system.,” Griffin commented.

Some of the district priorities this year include :

  • WRAPAROUND SERVICES: Later this year, DCSS Family Resource and Support Center will open providing a one-stop-shop for parent and family,
    non-academic needs. Partners will be housed there that include Albany Area Primary Health Care, Phoebe Network of Trust, Family Literacy Connection,
    district Social Workers and Parent Center, etc. This is part of the district’s commitment to addressing the non-academic needs of students that often
    serve as barriers to learning.
  • FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: The district is empowering its school and department leaders to work to develop authentic family and
    community engagement. That includes a push to include families in program development, improving two-way family communication between schools and
    parents, eliminating any language barriers that exist, and making processes family-friendly. The district is also focused on building advocacy among
    business partners in the community.
  • out an alternative to the Georgia Milestones Assessment System. They’re implementing the NAVVY Assessment system which, unlike the Georgia
    Milestones, is a formative assessment system that has been psycho metrically designed to validate reliability. Moreover, it provides teachers near-
    real-time feedback on student performance because the assessment essentially becomes the class unit test. Instead of one, high-stakes end-of-
    year assessment that can’t really be used to help improve student achievement, they’re moving towards an assessment system that fits on top
    of the existing test system without adding another test for students.

Academic priorities continue to focus on improving literacy at all levels, adding additional career pathways for students and building on existing

Dr. Phinazee
Dr. Phinazee

partnerships our higher-ed partners at Albany State University and Albany Technical College to provide more dual-enrollment opportunities that allow
students to earn degrees and technical certifications BEFORE they graduate high school.

Dr. Dean Phinazee, also a School Board member, states that he is, “looking forward to an exciting year. Teachers came back to their classrooms early
to get ready for the new term. Our facilities people and custodial staff have been working throughout the summer and our schools are looking good and
ready for students and parents. We are ready for smiling faces on kids, parents and teachers. I expect a good year.”

As a safety measure, all drivers should strictly observe speed limits in school zones and obey signaling by crossing guards.
Drivers should all be cautious of kids waiting for buses at bus stops and when following buses, be patient to ensure kids are not harmed.
Also, if you see something not right involving children, say something. Call 911!

For both parents and the community, there is a wealth of information on the school board’s website at

Parents can also download the DCSS smartphone app available at the Google App Store or IOS App Store.
The app will provide a great source of information and news
on your child’s school in particular and schools in general.
Parents can get news on
important events such as parent meetings, school closures, weather events, etc.

The Albany Southwest Georgian welcomes news from our schools, students and
their parents throughout the school year.
Have a blessed and successful year!

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