Torrance Choates: Letter from the superintendent

Published 11:50 am Sunday, July 28, 2019

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I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our students, parents, faculty, staff, and community back to a new and exciting school year. As your family enjoys the month of July, I want to fill you in on what has been happening in the Sumter County School System (SCS) and what to look forward to upon your return. The beginning of a new school year brings a new measure of excitement and anticipation. As Sumter County Schools’ superintendent, I am energized by the start of this school year as we begin the year with great anticipation.
Changes to look for: We have a few new faces that we would like to welcome to the school district. We have hired a very strong, competent, and capable group of teachers to work for our great school system. I am very impressed with the high caliber of new teachers joining the SCS family. Please welcome these new faces to our district.
The 2019/2020 school year: This year, our back-to-school theme/motto is: “Striving Toward Excellence!” Our theme/motto needs to be echoed repeatedly from our faculty, staff, and students!
Teachers report to school at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 29. Our Open House will be Thursday, Aug. 1 at the following times: 5-7 p.m. (Pre-K-6th grades); 6-8 p.m. (grades 7-12). We will have our back-to-school convocation at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2 at Americus-Sumter High School in the gymnasium. Breakfast (sponsored by some of our vendors) will be served at 9:30 a.m. Students’ first day of school is Monday, Aug. 5.
Parents & community: I am proud to announce that the Sumter County School System is in great shape! Recently, our wonderful board of education completed an outstanding job on strategic planning for the new high school. We had our ground-breaking ceremony and it was a huge success! As we mark the beginning of construction, we reaffirm the ideals for which this building will stand. For many years to come, our high school will serve the needs of Sumter County and surrounding counties by providing our students with a 21st century state of the art learning environment.
Thanks to our wonderful Board of Education which consists of Chairman Michael Busman, Vice Chair Rick Barnes, Alice Green, Edith Green, Meda Krenson, Jim Reid and Sylvia Roland. The community does not realize how fortunate it is to have a school board that is saving taxpayers’ dollars, making the system better, and more complete.
We have planned very well for the upcoming year. Students have a greater opportunity than ever with our dual enrollment program. We have added leveled literacy instruction to enhance and strengthen our curriculum. Additionally, we added more rigor to our academics because we realize the importance of making sure these students are successful in life.
Parents, we want this year to be special for your child(ren), and we are committed to do our part to make it successful. We are asking for your support and patience as we work through any possible issues or concerns that you may have. Together we can strive to resolve matters because we are all “in this together.” I am asking for every parent this year to be “over involved.”
“We are ready!” — Our goal for this year will be to make improvements with academic instruction and student achievement. In the years to come, we will lead our entire RESA District in academic performance. This is our immediate goal! Sumter County Schools will be the best in all areas of the academic/athletic spectrum. As superintendent, I understand that teachers need to be able to teach. Therefore, principals have been strongly encouraged to strengthen the discipline throughout their respective schools for optimum learning to take place. Teachers, every opportunity will be there for you to teach our students. The Common Core Georgia Performance Standards will direct your teaching in the classroom. Teachers, it is imperative that you start your classes off being fair, firm, and consistent (FFC).
We are ready for a great year! Please make sure that you arrive back to school with a very positive attitude because we (all of us) have been given an incredible responsibility of molding Sumter County students into productive and successful adults.

Torrance Choates, Ed.D., is Sumter County Schools superintendent.