Crowds funneled into Peek Park in Cedartown over the weekend to take in the sun, chow down on some delicious food and enjoy the arts and crafts at the 57th Annual Cedar Valley Arts Festival. The annual project of the Cedartown Junior Service League welcomed a record number of vendors to this year’s festival, which ran from Friday evening through Sunday. A children’s area with activities for kids and live entertainment kept guests busy while walking around the historic city park.
The Cedar Valley Arts Festival continues Sunday, April 24, until 5 p.m. (tncms-asset)0d807948-c3d6-11ec-8a30-2b9b283a4bee(/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)f26eda8c-c3d5-11ec-96c6-8385eaeeb48a(/tncms-asset)
Looking for ways educators and schools can attack the problem of closing the learning gap created by the onset of virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Becky Pringle says she found it in Polk County.
Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, visited Cedartown Middle School on Tuesday, April 19, as part of her national “Joy, Justice and Excellence” tour. She was accompanied by Lisa Morgan, the president of the Georgia Association of Educators, while speaking to faculty and visiting students in classrooms.
Touted as the nation’s largest labor union, the NEA has several affiliate organizations with over 3 million members.
Pringle’s visit, organized by CMS math teacher Dorothy Welch, included a session with a group of faculty. She asked them about their successes, their challenges and their thoughts about teaching in 2022.
The natural flow of the conversation eventually led to Polk School District’s implementation of a four-day school week for students.
The shift in instructional time not only allowed teachers Mondays to prepare lesson plans for both in-person and virtual learning during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also provided time for teachers to attend training sessions without cutting into class time and allow students who were behind in studies to attend remediation through the establishment of Monday school.
When time came to set the district’s calendar for the next two school years, the four-day week received unanimous praise from teachers and the school board approved.
As teachers explained the program and how it has improved not just their professional well-being but the well-being of their students, Pringle’s eyes lit up.
She said she’s often asked about specific strategies to help in meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. Now, she has a blueprint.
“This is a tangible solution. And what I love about it is everyone came together. Like one of our teachers said, we’re not here to babysit the kids. We are here to teach them. And if this works better for them so that the educators are ready and prepared to teach them, it works for everyone,” Pringle said, adding she plans to pass it along to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“I’ve never heard of that. But you can believe I’m going back and I’m telling Secretary Cardona about it. I’m going to talk about Monday school,” Pringle said. “I’m spreading that story.”
The NEA did a nationwide survey of teachers in which 55% of them said they were planning to leave teaching earlier than they had anticipated. The reasons for that, Pringle said, included the same reasons the teachers at CMS brought up when discussing the effects of the four-day school week; mental health and time to do their jobs adequately.
“Every school that I went to, they talked about the need for time. This is the first school that I’ve visited where they did something about it. They created that time, and it was quite amazing to see how the educators are using their time to come together and plan collaboratively,” Pringle said.
Pringle also visited an art class and agriculture science class at the school before getting a tour of the media center’s student resource center.
The common consensus from the faculty who spoke to Pringle was the change that has occurred at the school over the last three years not just from the arrival of the four-day school week and Monday school, but the feeling of togetherness and emotional support they have received at every level of administration.
Pringle said that trickles down to better learning for students and the future of the country.
When I became president of the NEA, I spoke about my vision to anybody who would listen to unite not just our members but this entire nation to reclaim public education as a common good, as the foundation of our democracy, and then transform it into something that it actually was never designed to be — a racially and socially just and equitable system that prepares every student, every student, every single student to succeed,” Pringle told the group of teachers.
“That can’t happen unless every adult in the system understands that they have a shared responsibility. That’s what I’m seeing in this community, and it is filling my heart.”
One man has been arrested and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama is seeking another man they’re calling a person of interest in the killing of a man whose body was found in a toolbox in western Polk County.
According to Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver:
A Centre, Alabama, man, 28-year-old Eric K. Hooper, has been arrested and charged with the murder of 40-year-old LaChancey Williams of Cedartown.
According to the Polk County Police Department, Polk public works employees found Williams’ body in an abandoned toolbox along Esom Hill Road just before 9:40 a.m. on March 15, between Ga. 100 and Prior Station Road west of Cedartown.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was requested by Polk police to assist with the death investigation, and the body was transported to the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
Hooper was extradited to the Cherokee County Jail on April 14, from the jail in Polk County, according to Deputy Josh Summerford.
He is currently being held in jail on a $1.5-million-dollar bond.
Authorities now believe Williams was murdered outside of Centre and his body dumped near Esom Hill.
The sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s help in finding another man they described as a person of interest — 38-year-old Nick Silvers.
“Silvers is a resident of Cherokee County and known to be in the area,” Shaver said. “If anyone has information pertaining to Silvers’ whereabouts, they’re asked to contact Chief Investigator Tony Monroy at 256-927-3365 or 256-557-5466.”
There is also an anonymous tip line on their website, he said, at CherokeeCountyAlSheriff.com/crime-tips.
Williams’ family held a celebration of life ceremony in mid-March in memory of the man who had family throughout Polk and Floyd counties. According to Williams’ obituary, he had been a self-employed painter for many years, was an avid fan of Alabama football and enjoyed fishing.
The Polk County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Polk County Republican Party, will host a County Commission Candidate Forum on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the County Commission board room, 73 Clines Ingram Jackson Rd., Cedartown. Candidates in this year’s primary election will be answering questions.
Local author Harold Campbell will discuss his newly published book, “Crazy People Like Us: Love & Loss on the Other Side of the World,” about his five years teaching English in Russia and five months in India, at the next meeting of the Polk County Historical Society on April 26 at 6 p.m. at the Polk County History Museum in Cedartown. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.
The city of Rockmart is celebrating Georgia Cities Week with a free movie night April 29 at Hilburn Field, 815 College St. The event starts at 7 p.m. with music and a DJ followed by a screening of Disney’s “Encanto” outside starting at 8 p.m. Georgia Cities Week is April 24-30.
The Cedartown Optimist Club is hosting its annual Ham & Egg Day fundraiser April 30 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Goodyear Civic Center in Cedartown. The all-you-can-eat breakfast includes scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits, and ham, as well as a choice of coffee, soft drink, or water. Tickets are $9 each and can be purchased in advance or at the door. Plates are also available for carry-out.
Keep Polk Beautiful is sponsoring the Great American Polk County Cleanup on April 30 at both Peek Park in Cedartown and Seaborn Jones Park in Rockmart. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the cleanup starting at 9 a.m. Gloves, trash bags and equipment will be supplied on site, with drinks and snacks provided by Cook Farm. For more information contact Randy Cook at 678-246-1083.
Cedartown High School Class of 1960 is having a reunion on April 30. Any classmates who have not received a registration form can contact Ken Waits at 770-748-0420. We have not been able to reach some classmates. Please pass this information along to anyone from the CHS Class of 1960. We have a full day planned and want to see as many of our friends as possible.
Sons of the American Legion Post 12 in Rockmart hosts a $5 All-You-Can-Eat spaghetti and meatball supper each third Wednesday of the month from 5-7 p.m. at 1 Veterans Circle. Each meal comes with garlic bread, salad and tea, and all proceeds got to veterans’ and children’s programs.
The Good Neighbor Center Food Pantry, 71 Woodall Road, Cedartown, is open the second and fourth Sunday of each month from noon to 3 p.m. for anyone in need of food assistance. The pantry is located next to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. For more information call 678-901-9184.
Anna Kresge United Methodist Church is hosting a community yard sale May 14 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the church’s parking lot at 15 Booger Hollow Road in Cedartown. There is no charge for spaces. All donations to Kresge UMC will be used for community ministries. For more information call 706-346-3100.
Tallatoona CAP is accepting appointments for the LIHEAP Cooling Assistance Program for households with people 65 or older. The rest of the public may schedule appointments for the program starting May 2. Appointments can be scheduled online at tallatoonacap.org, or by phone 770-817-4666, Option 2, or 770-773-7730, Option 2.
The Rockmart Cultural Arts Center has several art classes scheduled for children and adults in 2022. Take time this year to learn something new and bring out your creative side. For more information, visit the RCAC Facebook page at facebook.com/rcac.ga or contact the Arts Center at 770-684-2707 or email@example.com.
Want to get your event or announcement on the calendar? E-mail JStewart@polkstandardjournal.com.