Without a doubt, the biggest news in Habersham County is that students will return to school on August 7th.
This will be the first time that Habersham County has ever started school on a Wednesday. Starting on Wednesday is the result of input received from the community and school system staff on our calendar. There was an expressed desire for the Christmas holidays to begin earlier. The only way to accomplish this was to start school on a Wednesday. We are pleased to announce that this year, the holidays will begin a full week before Christmas day. School will actually let out for the holidays on a Wednesday, which is December 18th.
There are also a few changes in the school system this year. We have one new principal and three new assistant principals in our schools. Adam Bagwell is the new Principal at North Habersham Middle School. Mr. Bagwell most recently served as an assistant principal at Habersham Central and also serves as our system safety team director. Lisa Eller is the new assistant principal at North Habersham Middle School. Brent Tuck and Donnie Bennett will serve as new assistant principals at Habersham Central High School.
One thing that has not changed in the school system is our mission. I am very proud to say that our mission of “Success for All Students” has remained the same for going on eight years. Over the last seven years, our school has made significant progress towards accomplishing this mission. A record graduation rate in 2018, test scores that consistently outperform the state and region, and a record number of AP scholars serve as evidence of the success our students are experiencing. Once again this year, safety will be the top priority of the school system. I am proud to report that Habersham County has been named one of the 25 safest school systems in Georgia for two years in a row.
Good public schools like the ones we have here in Habersham County increase the “life chances” of students, regardless of their social or economic backgrounds.
As the first day of school draws near, I am reminded of how important public education is to the strength of our nation, state, and community. Public education provides a clear path to the “American Dream” for anyone willing to work hard enough for it. It is the way up and out of poverty. Good public schools like the ones we have here in Habersham County increase the “life chances” of students, regardless of their social or economic backgrounds. The parents here in Habersham County have been outstanding partners in education with our schools. I want to thank the parents who trust their children to our public school system. We know there are other education options, yet our parents realize that our public school system is their best choice. Our public schools offer opportunities that simply cannot be found elsewhere. Public school students reap life-long benefits from taking AP courses, graduating with an AP Capstone diploma, marching in “The Band of Blue”, playing on the Raider football team or participating in fine arts and agriculture programs. Perhaps most importantly, students in public schools develop the skills needed to thrive in the “real world”.
I urge our citizens to exercise extreme caution on our roadways in the mornings where thousands of boys and girls wait for their school bus. Habersham County drivers should know that most fatalities occur at bus stops and are usually the result of drivers either passing a stopped school bus, not paying attention or driving too fast.
I am blessed to be starting my eighth year as superintendent here in Habersham County. I often say that Habersham County is the best place to live and work in Georgia. In fact, if there was a better place in Georgia I would be trying to get there. I am grateful to our board of education, system staff, and the community for their unmatched support. I believe that the best is yet to come for our boys and girls here in Habersham County. May God continue to bless our nation, state, and school system!