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Seventy-four new teachers join GAPS team

Posted on: August 26, 2017

Staff are returning to get ready for the 2017-18 school year. On Friday, new teachers joined GAPS administrators for an orientation session.

Seventy-four new teachers have joined the GAPS team in schools around the District this year, bringing the total number of teachers to 475.

The new teacher group includes 52 new teachers who are starting this fall and 22 teachers who were hired during the school year. Nineteen of these teachers are first-year teachers.

Bond sale yields additional funds for projects

Posted on: August 23, 2017

The District recently sold the bonds approved by voters for school construction projects. There was very good news: they were able to get more for the money through premium bonds, a higher cost bond for investors. For GAPS taxpayers, this means that an additional $28 million will be available for projects at no additional cost to them.

The District also qualified for $6.9 million in state matching funds that became available after other districts with higher priority for the funds failed to pass their measures. These funds will ensure that the tax rate stays at the level that was estimated prior to the election.

Planning for the projects is on a fast track. Design drawings, timelines and project details will be published this fall. We’ll publish the news as we get it.

Read the story in the Democrat-Herald.

AOS teachers share eclipse photos

Posted on: August 21, 2017

People around the country anticipated today’s eclipse, and it didn’t disappoint. Here is a recap[ of the event.

Thank you to Albany Options teacher Tassay Gillispie and counselor Anna Harryman for the photos.

Read Superintendent Golden’s statement about SAHS Rebels Mascot

Posted on: August 17, 2017

The recent events in Charlottsville have prompted discussion in our community about the South Albany High School mascot. Passionate opinions have been expressed to keep the mascot, and equally passionate opinions advocate for changing it.

There are no current plans to make any changes. The Rebels have evolved since the school opened; the mascot symbol is a flag with SA on it. Superintendent Golden shared this statement today, expressing his support for school-based decisions about the mascot:

I am very proud of the hard work and achievements that our students at South Albany High School have made in my time here as the superintendent. I am also proud of all of the hard work and dedication that staff have done to make big improvements at SAHS, including a graduation rate that is 13% above the State average!

As many of you already know, there has been a large volume of conversation and noise on social media about changing the name and or mascot of the school. This is largely due to the heated debate that is occurring on a national level. I have made it very clear that the district office will not drive a possible name or mascot change at SAHS.  In my opinion, any potential change that might be made, will be driven by the student body with guidance from their outstanding principal Brent Belveal and his talented staff.

In this time of screaming and people expressing their opinions through social media, I want our school district to model what it is to engage in positive and respectful discourse. We are educators and we need to model what community building looks like! We have our Five Pillars for creating great public schools. Producing good citizens who are mentally and physically healthy and who give back to their community through service, is our first pillar.  An “Equity Lens” and continuous improvement principles are two other pillars. We have the framework to begin discussions with our community. We want to be strategic and thoughtful in engaging in any community discussions at this point in time. We want to develop a reputation as a community that is inclusive, respectful and focused on a positive future, where all kids move on to successful post high school outcomes (another Pillar).

Jim Golden

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