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Bartlett says teamwork will improve education

August 25, 1998

Bartlett speaks at convocationBy GUY FLETCHER / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer [enlarge]




Washington County schools will improve if there is greater cooperation among school officials, teachers, parents, business leaders and others in the community, Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett Jr. said during a Monday morning convocation program to kick off the school year.

"I really believe together we can make a difference, you and I. Together we can make a team," he told about 1,300 teachers, administrators, supervisors, support personnel and other Washington County Board of Education employees at the Ramada Inn & Convention Center.

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Another group of employees attended an afternoon session.

Bartlett cited three targets for increasing the quality of education this year: Improving reading; increasing the use of technology in the classroom; and implementing a strategic plan for overall school improvement.

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"We will no longer focus on how things might have looked, but (rather) how they should look," he said.

"Each of you is important to this process called education," he told the audience.

County schools open to students next Monday.

The program marked the first time in recent memory that the school system brought such a large and diverse group of employees together for a school year kickoff, school officials said.

In past years, smaller groups representing different employee groups were greeted, they said.

Bartlett said it was important to get everyone together, so they could hear a unified message about the school system's future.

Sharon Chirgott, president of the Washington County Teachers Association, agreed.

"This way everybody is hearing the same message, and hopefully we'll all start the year off on the same page," she said.

Bartlett made reference to last year's study of the school system, which made several criticisms about the quality of education in county schools.

Bartlett, who took the helm of the school system last November, has said the most significant problem cited in the report was that the school system had become disconnected from the community.

He said schools, children and parents must be connected.

"We know if we don't have that triangle, success may be fleeting," he said.

In response to last year's study, the school system formed committees, composed of people from various segments of the community, that recommended changes to the system.

Those recommendations and their costs will be part of the strategic plan to be released Sept. 8.

"We tried to make that a process that not only involves the school system, but includes the community with the school system," he said.

Bartlett said schools this year will implement a system that places more checks and balances on what is taught in the classroom and how it is taught.

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