Croft Wins 7th DOAA Award of Distinction
At the regular monthly meeting of the Vidalia City Schools Board of Education on June 12, Finance Director Norma Croft was presented with the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts (DOAA) Award of Distinction. Croft has been given this award for the past 7 years, which Superintendent Garrett Wilcox said is a testament to the excellence with which she works. “There is no difference in the work that is done in a smaller school system and a larger school system – you do the same work with fewer people,” he remarked. “The reporting and payroll which Norma does may have fewer zeros when it comes time for an audit, but it’s the same work.” According to the DOAA, the Award of Distinction is presented annually to organizations that submit quality financial statements and supporting documentation in a timely manner, whose annual financial report is given an unmodified audit opinion, is free of any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, and complies with all transparency in government requirements.
“We are very grateful that Norma is still with us and appreciate the time and effort she puts into everything,” Wilcox concluded.
Assistant Superintendent Ginger Morris informed the Board that she had received data from the Georgia Milestones Testing, and although exact scores could not be shared, the assessment showed academic growth within students. “Our students’ test scores have increased, so the things we are doing in L4GA, Acadience, the Beacon — which mimic the Milestones — benchmarking and other educational tools and tactics are critically important,” she shared. “They are working.”
Morris said that the summer school program had been advantageous to the school system, as remediation learning was completed, as well as some acceleration and enrichment activities. She spoke of her excitement to use more tools — such as the Effective Learning Environment Observation Tools (ELEOT) and district walkthroughs — to continue to assess and improve school procedures. Morris will also train mentors to help guide new teachers within the school and will continue the current program that serve teachers who have been teaching less than 3 years.
The Board approved spending $639,000 of Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) on the replacement of 1,700 Chromebooks for the school system. These computers will replace computers that are aging out of the programming and cannot support the state testing platform and will be purchased from Vivacity, which will also set up the technology for the school. The construction management contract for the six additional classrooms at J.R. Trippe Middle School was amended to include stucco repair for the school at a cost of $127,628 of SPLOST funds.
The following hires were approved: Brooke Morris, Sally D. Meadows Teacher; Ashley Brown, Vidalia High School School Nutrition Assistant Manager; OnDraya Davis, Vidalia High School Cashier; Shanekia Donikens, Sally D. Meadows School Nutrition Assistant; Prentiss Hunt, Alternative School Paraprofessional; Zachary Wilson, J.R. Trippe Middle School Teacher; and Lakia Henry, J.R. Trippe Middle School Paraprofessional.
As a part of the ongoing policy review, which is being conducted by the Georgia Board of Education, the policies in section I through L were approved for final adoption, except for policy KG (Use of School Facilities). These policies may be read on the school system’s website.
Steve DeWeil addressed the Board on behalf of the Four Rivers Chapter of the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution to propose that the Board allow patriotic plaques to be placed throughout classrooms and schools within the school system. “The placing of these placards in as many classrooms as possible is intended to further those ideals that are so skillfully proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence,” he explained. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” According to DeWeil, “That Creator is the God in Whom we trust,” which is also the national motto of the United States. Thus, the placards bear this phrase with an American Flag background. DeWeil says that many other local entities have taken advantage of these free plaques, as they are in classrooms in Toombs County Schools, Vidalia Heritage Academy, and Robert Toombs Christian Academy, as well as the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments.
Per board policy, board members did not respond to DeWeil’s request during the meeting, but will send a letter addressing his proposal within the next few weeks.