a monthly newsletter - November 2017


Welcome to the new, online newsletter for Tift County Schools. We have so many great things happening in our system, and we hope you enjoy reading about them!
Reconfiguration Update
Currently, Tift County students will attend six schools if they attend Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our new plan for how our schools will be arranged will cut that number to three. All current primary and elementary schools will become Kindergarten through fifth grade schools, Eighth Street Middle School and Northeast Campus will house sixth – eighth grades and Tift County High School will become a true high school for ninth – twelfth graders.

Our school reconfiguration will be in place for the next school year which begins Aug. 13, 2018. Our staff members have been working on the logistics for years, but the rate at which plans are coming together has picked up drastically in the past few months. We have approximately eight months until the transition, and here’s where we are in the process for November:
  • Teacher placements are being finalized as it will be necessary for many of them to move to another school. We plan to let our teachers know by the end of December where they will be teaching next year. We are making every effort to honor requests made by staff members.
  • Playground equipment is being ordered to make sure each school has age-appropriate activities.
  • Media Center supplies for each school are being evaluated, and replacement materials are being ordered to make sure resources are suited for those grades.
  • Construction continues at TCHS (pictured above), with the first phase being completed.
Teacher Tapping with the TCFEE

The Tift County Foundation for Educational Excellence recognizes outstanding teachers every year during American Education Week. Winners of the Excellence in Teaching Award are chosen from nominations made by students, parents and coworkers. This year's winners included Jimmy Cargle (J.T. Reddick), Lacey Cargle (Omega), Sherry Coarsey (Annie Belle Clark), Donna Hobby (J.T. Reddick), Jennifer Johnson (TCHS), Tammy King (G.O. Bailey), Amy Marshall (Pre-K), Laurel Mullen (ESMS), Scott Rains (TCHS) and Jodi Roberts (Northside).
One highlight of this year's recognition was Father-in-law Jimmy Cargle and Daughter-in-law Lacy Cargle both being named!

14th Annual Farm Day a huge success
Every November, students and staff alike eagerly await our Annual Farm Day. All third graders in the county head out to our Future School Site for a day down on the farm where they learn about the field of agriculture. The best part of the day is many of the learning stations are taught by older Tift County students!

Ask Superintendent Patrick Atwater
Why do you let out-of-county students attend Tift County Schools? Doesn't that cost tax payers here?

"Having out-of-county students actually benefits our system. Funds that the state allocates for each student follow that student to the school he attends. So if a student from Berrien County attends Tift, that money comes to us instead of staying in the student’s home county. We currently have 649 certified staff members and 365 out-of-county students. Because they are scattered throughout the system, it doesn’t require us to employ any extra teachers which means having these students with us doesn’t cost Tift County taxpayers any more.

Many of our out-of-county students have parents who actually work in Tift County. Allowing these students to attend our schools makes it easier for those parents who are traveling to Tift for their jobs. We believe this benefits our community and its workforce.

Another positive about these students is we are able to hold them to a high standard. All out-of-county students are expected to maintain good behavior and good academic standing. Failure to adhere to these, and other expectations, can lead to the student leaving Tift County Schools."

What do you want to ask the superintendent? Send your questions to info@tiftschools.com
Back in the Day
Pictured is the 1915 THS Football Team. They went 7-0 for the season, outscoring their opponents 189-6.

If you have any historical photos or memorabilia you would be willing to share with us, please email us at info@tiftschools.com.
Outside the Classroom
Tift County High School FFA Treasurer Danielle Miller and President Caley Driggers joined Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tyron Spearman at the Chamber’s Agriculture Appreciation Dinner Monday night, sponsored by Lasseter Equipment Group and held at the Tift County Multipurpose Livestock Building. The students assisted Chamber staff in greeting the crowd of nearly 150 farmers and other guests who attended the event.
Meet the Board Member
Marilyn Burks joined the Tift County Board of Education this year, filling the District 1 seat vacated by Dr. Kim Ezekiel. She is a long-time educator, dedicating more than 30 years to Tift County Schools as a teacher and instructional coach. She also taught at ABAC. She received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M and her Master’s from Valdosta State University.

Burks wanted to be a member of the Board to serve the community in a position that would enable her to be a more effective advocate, not only for students, but also educators and the Tift community family. She comes to the table as a parent, an educator, a leader and a citizen of this community. She wanted to help enrich the successes of the Tift County School System and play a vital role in the continued progress toward excellence in all areas of the educational system.

One thing that has surprised her since joining the Board is the sheer quantity of information to learn, analyze and understand in order to make informed, fair and morally-sound decisions.

Originally from Florida, she is the daughter of the late John A. and Willie Mae Rosier. She has three daughters and sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.
Standout Students
We're lucky to have so many great students in our system. Senior Griffin Collier is definitely on the list. Tift County High School Principal Kim Seigler said he is a "Standout Student" because he has been able to balance the demands of being our varsity football quarterback while maintaining a 94.56 high school GPA. When he's not in the classroom or on the football field, he also volunteers with Special Olympics and the Sound Ministry at St. Anne's Episcopal Church. He is the son of Mike and Pam Collier and Dr. Paul and Tina Murray.
Board Meeting Highlights
During November’s regular meeting, the Board recognized the Nutrition Department, CTAE department and school administrators for their work that led to Tift County Schools receiving the Platinum Radish and Outstanding District Award. The state honor was due to all of the efforts in our Farm to School program.

The Board approved a recommendation to install parking lot lighting at TCHS and to negotiate with Radiance Solar about the addition of solar panels for an undeveloped area next to Charles Spencer Elementary. They also approved the purchase of 40 acres of land adjacent to Tift County High School. Staff members are working on a plan to use the additional space to expand the school’s agriculture program and at the possibility of additional athletic/extra-curricular fields.
They said WHAT?
"Out of the mouths of babes" is an iconic saying for a good reason. Children generally have no filter, so what they think usually comes out, and it's usually the truth. And much of what they say is hilarious. Educators get a front-row seat for this on a daily basis. Here's where we will feature some of those situations.

"When my daughter was little, she attended G.O. Bailey Primary School, but she didn't call it that. We will forever know it as 'Jell-O Baby School'."

If you have a cute story, please share it with us at info@tiftschools.com.
It Takes a Village
Operating a school system of nearly 8,000 students takes a lot of work, and we couldn't do it without the amazing contributions of partners throughout our community. This month, we would like to send out a big THANK YOU to our local law enforcement officials. They visit our schools, serve as Resource Officers, direct traffic, participate in educational opportunities and assist us at events. We appreciate all that you do!
Tift County Schools
207 N. Ridge Avenue
Tifton, Georgia 31794  
(229) 387-2400