Bus loads of Floyd County Schools teachers, principals and staff arrived at Model High School Friday morning for the system’s annual Kickoff Classic — a day full of seminars and preparing for the upcoming school year.

The event is an annual tradition that brings all of the teachers from across the system under one roof to undergo training, be updated on new policies and to get excited about the upcoming school year.

Cheerleaders from each of the county high schools along with accompanying drummers took turns in front of their districts teachers and staff to pump them up. As Superintendent Jeff Wilson got up to address the gymnasium full of county school teachers he thanked the students for being there for the event.

“We can’t celebrate without the kids in the building,” he said.

After recognizing the board of education members present, Wilson congratulated the crowded room on a record setting 2018-2019 school year giving credit to the teachers for the setting academic records.

“Last year was the best (academic) year we have ever had, and it had little to do with me,” Wilson said.

Assistant Superintendent John Parker presented six banners for MAP test growth in math and reading to Pepperell Primary, Cave Spring Elementary, Garden Lakes Elementary and Pepperell Middle. Wilson also gave updates on the system including the progress of the demolition at Pepperell Middle School and gymnasium construction at Armuchee High School.

Wilson also unveiled the systems new logo which incorporates the four colors of the county high schools with the words focus, connect and succeed at the bottom. Destination Graduation served the system well, Wilson said, but with a graduation rate of over 95% it was time to re-brand.

The superintendent also told teachers the system will begin trying to figure out how to reach students on an emotional level. While at a meeting with Northwest Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency, survey results were presented to Wilson and other superintendents that stated 12% of students in the region, grades six through 12, have considered suicide.

“In a high school class of 30, three are sitting there thinking about suicide,” Wilson told the crowded gym. “Then 6% have attempted it.”

There are other factors in a students life like home and church but if a child leaves the school and commits suicide the system has failed that student he said.

“If they are in our system, they are special to us,” Wilson said.

After Wilson’s speech and a few T-shirts launched into the bleachers by Parker, the teachers and staff broke up into groups and went through seminars set up around Model High.

Sessions included test prep, online training for websites like Turnitin.com, active shooter training, eSports seminar and hands on science for middle schoolers. The purpose of some of these sessions were to make sure the teachers reach Generation Z — the modern student.

“We cannot get stuck teaching the same way we were taught,” Wilson told the teachers before they broke for morning sessions. “If you do you will lose your generational students.”