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School superintendent addresses SACS issue today

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton County School Superintendent John Thompson, and Board of Education Chairperson Michelle Strong, will let the community know, today, how much progress the district has made in resolving its ongoing accreditation crisis, during a brief presentation at Lovejoy High School.

It will be one of three overlapping school system-related events that will take place today. The accreditation update will be at 10 a.m., at Lovejoy High, located at 1587 McDonough Rd., Hampton.

It will start an hour after the beginning of a three-hour training workshop for school board candidates -- offered by the school system -- at the Professional Learning Center, 1087 Battle Creek Rd., Jonesboro.

The superintendent also is scheduled to meet with the Clayton County Wide Homeowners Association at 11 a.m., in Morrow.

District spokesman Charles White admitted the scheduling of the three events created a conflict for board of education candidates. He said one event was scheduled by the school system, while another was planned by the school board.

"While there is a conflict for the candidates, there will be other opportunities for them to hear Dr. Thompson's presentation, because this is only the first in a series of meetings which will be held throughout the county," White said. "The board members are going to gage the responses of the community during this first presentation, and then decide when and where the next meetings will be held."

The accreditation update will include a power point presentation, which will assist Thompson and Strong in outlining the progress being made toward fulfilling nine mandates for improvement handed down by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in February.

Thompson has set a July 15 deadline for meeting the mandates, so the district will a month and a half to schedule a show cause hearing with SACS officials before the agency's Sept.1 deadline arrives.

Mike Ward, an associate professor of education and research at the University of Southern Mississippi, will lead the information and education workshop for school board candidates in Jonesboro. The candidates will review the roles of board members, governance and administration during the workshop. White said the current board members had been invited to attend the workshop, but "Mrs. Strong said the SACS update meeting was more important."

Strong reiterated White's statement about other opportunities for the candidates to attend accreditation update meetings, and added that the information from the power point presentation will also be placed on the district's web site.

Thompson's meet-and-greet with the Clayton County Wide Homeowners Association will take place at the National Archives, Southeast Region, 5780 Jonesboro Rd., Morrow, said White.

He will have to speak early on at the SACS presentation, and then leave before it ends, so he can attend the CCWHOA meeting, White said.

White said Thompson is meeting with CCWHOA members to answer their questions about the school system, and the accreditation crisis. When Thompson was introduced to the media in April, he said he wanted to reach out to every group in the community -- including homeowners -- in an effort to get them more involved in the school system.