Tanner named PSD January MERIT Award winner

Westside Elementary School speech language pathologist Dana Tanner (second from right) was honored as the Polk School District’s January MERIT Award Winner at the Jan. 12 school board meeting. She is shown with board chair J.P. Foster (from left), Superintendent Laurie Atkins, and Dr. Katie Thomas, CEO, Polk County College and Career Academy.

After putting forward a tentative calendar for the 2021-2022 school year, Polk School District Superintendent Laurie Atkins announced last week that the board will hold off on voting on the proposed schedule.

The reason, according to Atkins, is so herself and the board can review the details of it with parents and stakeholders and look at the input gathered from a parent survey recently put out online.

There will also be a presentation on the proposed schedule at the school board’s work session on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m.

“We wanted to really take the time to thoroughly explain this to all parties before moving to vote on this,” Atkins said.

The proposed calendar presented to the board at its monthly work session on Jan. 5 kept the four-day a week instruction model that Polk County Schools went to last August just after the start of school.

The schedule allows teachers to take Monday to revise or create lesson plans for both in-person classes and students participating in distance learning. Students then attend classes Tuesday through Friday.

Atkins said the tentative calendar also includes plans for student remediation on Mondays during the school year and options for summer school.

Despite the loss of a day of instruction each week, Atkins reiterated that Polk School District students still receive more than the amount of hours of instruction required by the state of Georgia.

In other action, the board of education unanimously approved the one-time waiver for year-end Georgia Milestones tests to account for just 1% of a student’s cumulative grades for 2021.

The move comes after State Superintendent Richard Woods won approval for his proposal to water down the tests so students and teachers can have some relief as they continue working through tremendous challenges due to the effects of COVID-19.

State law requires scores on the annual Georgia Milestones tests to account for 20% of the cumulative grades for most of the state’s public-school students, from the third grade up to their senior year.

Now, however, the tests can count for as low as. 0.01% if state school districts seem fit. Atkins said she recommended 1% because the system the school system uses to calculate grades was not able to take 0.01% as a value for the grades.

In other news, Westside Elementary School speech language pathologist Dana Tanner was named the PSD January MERIT Award Winner. Tanner received a certificate and gift card.

MERIT, which stands for Magnificent Employees Recognized for their Inspiration & Talent, recognizes and rewards employees each month that shine in their positions and buildings.

MERIT winners can be nominated by anyone in Polk County, from a school district employee to a parent or resident. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.polk.k12.ga.us.

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