September 2018

We're closing in on the end of the first nine weeks of the year. Thank you for your ongoing support of our schools.
Special School Visitor
Schools are places where children go to learn, but sometimes, even younger students are the ones doing the teaching. Just ask Police Officer Jonathan Toledo and his coworker named Kimba.

Kimba has been a member of the local K-9 Unit. Toledo, who has been with the Tifton Police Department for two years, has been working with Kimba for about six months. She’s a German Sheppard who is trained to search for illegal substances, but also to find missing people.

Kimba and Toledo have been regularly visiting elementary schools in Tifton so she could learn to be more comfortable with crowds. And that’s something elementary students are helping Kimba overcome.

“We talked with some of our students and asked them if they had ever been nervous around lots of people or when they visited a new place,” said Stacey Beckham, Tift County Schools’ Chief Communications Officer. “They immediately told us they had, and we even talked about their first day of school. We told them that’s exactly how Kimba felt, and she needed their help to feel better.”

The students immediately became the caregivers, talking to Kimba and petting her.

“I was excited to see Kimba because I've never seen a police dog before,” said Lily McKellar, a first grader in Kim Jacobs’s class at G.O. Bailey Elementary School. “I think it was cool she let us pet her, and we got to help the police officer train her so she cannot be so scared and now she can become a better police dog.”

“She is a highly-trained officer, but Kimba is still young,” Said Toledo, “Having her around students is helping her to grow and get better at her job. It also helps show children that police officers are people, too, and allows us to build good relationships.”

Kimba was just the beginning of this partnership. While she is going to work in Dooly County, new dogs are joining the Tifton Police Department and will continue to visit with students.
Graduation Rate Increase Again
Tift County Schools’ four-year graduation rate was released by The Georgia Department of Education at 85.3 percent, beating the state average of 81.6 percent. Tift’s rate continues its climb, improving from 84.5 percent last year and 83.97 percent the previous year.

As a whole, Tift County has focused on being a data-driven system, tailoring education based on students’ performance.

In addition to focusing on ongoing data results, the system attributes the improved rate to individualized learning options, tutoring programs, extended learning times as well as BRIDGE (Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia’s Economy) days.
“Our Board of Education and our staff members are to be commended for their continued commitment to our students’ success,” said Patrick Atwater, Superintendent. “The efforts they all make through remediation, extended learning time and summer school are greatly benefitting our students. As studies continue to show, higher graduation rates are not only a positive for our school system, but for our community as a whole.” 
We Need to Hear From You
We held our first-ever Family Holiday Movie Night last December. Our students, their families and other community members piled onto Brodie Field to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Elf" on the big screen. We would like to know if this event is something we should do again. Please let us know by clicking below.

Would you and/or your family be interested in attending this event?
Making Good Choices
Tift County High School was in the spotlight recently because of 11 students who chose to cause a disruption at school, causing the school to go on lock-down. We wanted the rest of students to know that their good behavior deserved attention, as well. We told them to take a photo during that morning to showing how they were using their time- studying, doing homework, still taking care of their business. We wanted our community to know that while some students may have made some bad choices, a whole lot of them are doing the right things. Several individuals and businesses stepped up and offered a total of 65 gift cards and prizes to reward the students.

We send out a huge THANK YOU to SuzAnne Smith, Ellie's Clothing Boutique, Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A, UCG Life, Espresso 41, El Metate, South Georgia Pearl Girl, Sheriff Gene Scarbrough, Longhorn and Olive Garden.

Job Postings
Our school system uses two ways to post any job openings we have. Certified positions are posted at . All non-certified position are posted on our school website here .

Back in the Day
Salem School in 1918

Superintendent Search Update
Board members have been reviewing the 27 applications that were submitted and are working to pare that list down. They will meet again next month to begin scheduling the first round of interviews, which are tentatively set to begin in late October.
Student Spotlight
State School Superintendent Richard Woods has selected approximately 120 Georgia students to serve on his 2018-2019 Student Advisory Council. Tift County will be well represented as four students were chosen to serve on the council. Kylei Cutts, an eighth grader at Eighth Street Middle School, will be a part of the Middle School Advisory Council. Tift County High School students Haley Alexander (senior), Chase Beckham (junior) and Karoline Ponder (sophomore) will serve on the High School Advisory Council.
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.

Student: You look like you’re 16!
Teacher: (feeling quite proud)
Student: My sister said if I told you that I might get some candy.

If you have a funny story, please share it with us at

Board Meeting Highlights
  • Dr. Michael Slaven introduced Shana Garner, who is Tift County School's Representative for the State School Superintendent's Parent Advisory Council. Garner is one of 30 parents chosen throughout the state of Georgia. The council will be meeting on October 15 in Atlanta.

  • Robby Dasher reported that construction at the high school was progressing well. Unsuitable soils have been addressed and concrete for the new gym floor was poured. He also reported that Project II was moving along. Renovations are close to being complete. The contractors are working on metal portions of the roof and other minor details. Additionally, renovations have begun at Northeast Middle School. The locker rooms in the gym are being demolished. Once all materials are received at Eighth Street Middle School, work will begin in the restrooms.

  • Mickey Weldon informed the Board that the dates for the AdvancEd Accreditation were March 3-6, 2019. All Tift County Schools will go through this accreditation process.
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 our community.

We would like to thank Pediatric Dental Center of Georgia and Kincaid Insurance for their work with our PTOs and their support of our students and teachers.

If your business would like to become a Partner in Education,
please email us at .
Tift County Schools
207 N. Ridge Avenue
Tifton, Georgia 31794  
(229) 387-2400