Mountain View Elementary Honored by State

Bobcat's Corner, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Honors and recognition have gone from the local Board of Education meeting to Statewide recognition for Mountain View Elementary this month as the office of State Superintendent Richard Woods officially released, December 4, the 2018 list of Title I Distinguished Schools, the highest-performing Title I schools in the state.

Mountain View Elementary Principal Charles Walker

Mountain View Elementary Principal Charles Walker

Mountain View Elementary made that list for an exceptional year. Readers will recall the schools praise during the Board’s review of Milestones scores in “MVE jumps in 2018 Milestones scores.” This praise came from a 14.4 point jump, from 70.1 in 2017 to 84.5 in 2018, in CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index). According to Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs, the CCRPI scoring is what the state uses in distinguishing these schools saying, “This recognition is for scoring in the top 5% of Title I elementary schools in the state. CCRPI scores are based largely on milestones data, but takes other data into account as well.”

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Charles Walker credited the school’s entire staff for the achievement. He said, “We are absolutely excited. It is a team effort and it’s the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.” Mountain View holds classes in both elementary and pre-k grades, however, only the elementary classes are graded on Milestones. Walker said Mountain View was a family that has worked extremely hard for their students making it all the more rewarding to see their efforts recognized.

A sentiment echoed by Downs who said, “I am so very proud that Mountain View Elementary has been recognized. I commend the hard work and dedication of everyone in the MVE family in earning this recognition and being named as a top-performing Title I school by the Georgia Department of Education.  Everyone in the school did an incredible job and the best part is that our students are the ultimate beneficiaries of the achievement.”

She went on to add that this recognition is only a part of what the Gilmer School system is accomplishing as the system has now scored above the state average for two years in a row, calling it “another indicator that our system is truly moving in a very positive direction.”

According to a release by the Georgia Department of Education, State Superintendent Richard Woods said, “In addition to identifying schools in need of additional support, it’s important for us to recognize and applaud schools when they’re doing well. These public schools are among the very best in the state and are doing extraordinary work on behalf of their students and communities. I extend my thanks and congratulations to every teacher, administrator, staff member, student, parent, and community partner who contributed to their success.”

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Chamber seeking Citizen of the Year Nominations

Community

EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – As 2018 prepares to enter the final month, year end events across the county are gearing up. Along with this, the Gilmer Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award is calling for nominations.

It’s not too late for citizens to place your final nominations by downloading the COTY 2018 nomination form in order to recognize an individual who has demonstrated a high level of service through their professional, community and civic involvement in Gilmer County.

Of course, citizens cannot nominate themselves, but your nomination does not have to be a chamber member. Just ask the question of who you believe has made the biggest difference to our county this year. The chamber does ask that the nominee has contributed to a minimum of two different organizations, entities and/or programs and has lived in Gilmer County at least five years.

The deadline for submitting your nominees application is next Friday, December 7. Applications are to be delivered to the Chamber or mailed in to the address on the application. Find out more at the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year page.

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BOE Awarded for second year of Excellence in Financial Audit

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Education has received an award from the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts for Excellence in its Financial Audit for the second year.

The press release for the award states:

The Gilmer County Board of Education earned the” Award of Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting ” issued by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts for FY 2017. This award was established to recognize excellence in financial reporting and controls. It encourages governmental organizations to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and recognizes individual organizations that are successful in achieving this goal.

Trina Penland, Gilmer BOE Director of Finance

Trina Penland, Gilmer BOE Director of Finance

Though the Board receives the award as the reporting entity, they lay the recognition at the feet of Chief Financial Officer Trina Penland and the finance staff who manage the preparations and reporting for the Board.

According to Mary Dilbeck of the Department of Audits and Accounts, they delivered only 32 of these awards out of the 159 entities they do the audits for, stating the rest are covered by CPA firms. The award showcases a reporting excellence recognized by the state agency. However, it was also noted that many entities pay consulting firms to prepare the financial reports. The Gilmer BOE does not pay an outside firm as Penland and her staff prepares the documents and filings themselves.

This award is presented to organizations that submit quality financial statements and supporting documentation in a timely manner. To receive this award, the organization’s annual financial report must also be free of any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, comply with all Transparency in Government requirements, and be given an unmodified audit opinion.

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Gilmer High School names STAR student

Bobcat's Corner, News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer High School Principal Carla Foley has announced the schools PAGE STAR student for 2018.

Tylea Hernandez scored 1,470 on her Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) placing her as the top-scoring senior and obtaining the award. Locally sponsored by the Ellijay Lions Club, this award highlights Hernandez’s achievement statewide through the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). The award also has Hernandez name a teacher to accompany her in recognition of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) award.

Naming Mr. Michael Crocker, a former mathematics teacher at Clear Creek Middle School, as her STAR Teacher, he will follow along with Hernandez through continued competition at every level of the program.

STAR begins each year in participating Georgia high schools when the STAR Student is named and chooses a STAR Teacher to share in this recognition. The students and their teachers are honored by their schools and receive special recognition in their communities from one of the more than 165 statewide civic organizations and businesses that serve as local sponsors of the STAR program.

Hernandez will now compete for school system recognition as the top STAR Student, and those winners compete for
region honors. Region winners contend for the honor of being named state PAGE STAR Student.

Hernandez is hoping to attend Emory University to major in psychology after high school. Hoping to become a psychiatrist, Hernandez also has plans for medical school after Emory. She has already applied and hopes to know for sure in April. On the award, she said, “It’s surprising, but it’s nice to be awarded.”

After taking the SAT three times over the last two years, she told FetchYourNews, “My goal was to get a 1,400 on the SAT, and I didn’t really realize how high of a score that was. So, I wasn’t really expecting STAR Student.” She said taking the test several times helped her achieve higher every time she did it.

Speaking on Hernandez and the award, Foley stated, “We are very proud of Miss Hernandez and Mr. Crocker and the academic excellence they exemplify.”

Since its creation by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in 1958, the STAR program has honored nearly 26,500 students and the teachers selected as the most influential to their academic achievement. High school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the SAT and be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average to qualify for STAR nomination.

 

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Gilmer County Announces Teacher of the Year

Bobcat's Corner, News

Ellijay, GA – Gilmer County saw recognition during October’s Board of Education (BOE) meetings for teachers selected as Teacher of the Year for each school in the system. Within 24 hours of their official recognition at the board meeting, one of these teachers would be named the Gilmer Teacher of the Year.

Recognized for Ellijay Primary School, Casey Whitley is a 14-year veteran teacher who has a Masters Degree in Special Education as well as a certification for Special Education for Pre-K to 12th grade. She has taught at Ellijay Primary School for three years. Prior to EPS, Whitley was the preschool specialist at Gilmer Head Start. She and her husband have three daughters of their own.

She says the best part of teaching is watching students progress. She has been called an advocate for her students as her Principal reports she builds engagement resources and strategies for student success.

Students and Teachers prepare for announcing the Gilmer County Teacher of the Year.

Students and Teachers prepare for announcing the Gilmer County Teacher of the Year.

Recognized for Ellijay Elementary School, Connie Dean is an ESOL teacher and Secretary of the School Governance Team. She works to support students as a leader of several student service projects.

Dean also was a part of a Grant allowing students access to the EES Media Center one day a week for most of the Summer.

Recognized for Mountain View Elementary, Arlene Bryan is a 30-year veteran of special education. Her administration nominated her due to a continuous impact on children through high expectations and her efforts as a role model for fellow teachers.

Bryan will be retiring this year from Mountain View. Administration continued to praise her humility throughout her years of service.

Recognized for Clear Creek Middle School, Adam Palmer serves as the Chorus Teacher and the Cross Country Coach. Palmer was praised for a unique ability in the school to work with all students to improve character building in daily lessons.

His administration’s nomination praised the lasting effects of his teacher-student relationships that they say have improved the school’s quality.

Recognized for Gilmer High School, Mary-Melissa May is in her sixth year of teaching at the high school where she teaches Honor Biology and coaches the Swim Team. She also serves on the GHS Leadership Team as the Science Department Chair. Constant hard work sees May researching best practices for teaching Biology and sharing in Professional Learning Communities (PLC).

Not only does she coach the GHS Swim Team, but May was reported by her administration as instrumental in starting the varsity team four years ago. She also took 10 swimmers from Gilmer to state competition last season.

Principal Larry Walker offers flowers to Shannon Goble as he announces her as Teacher of the Year.

Principal Larry Walker offers flowers to Shannon Goble as he announces her as Teacher of the Year.

As for the teacher who received prestige as the Gilmer County Teacher of the Year, recognized from Gilmer Middle School, Shannon Goble was treated to a surprise announcement early in the morning of October 17.

As she was “pulled from her classroom” for a quick word with one of the faculty, her students and fellow teachers prepared the hallway where she teaches for a warm reception for the announcement. Returning, Goble rounded the corner on her hall to a flood of cheers as students and teachers alike waved a banner of congratulations and offered flowers for her.

Shannon Goble, Teacher of the Year, stands with her students after the announcement.

Shannon Goble, Teacher of the Year, stands with her students after the announcement.

Shannon Goble is called always positive and helpful by her peers who also say she shows she cares through a friendly and kind nature. Even her students note she always smiles and is funny as she helps them with their daily lessons.

Administration says it is her servitude that shows them she is all about the people she interacts with daily.

Goble herself says she never really thought about achieving Teacher of the Year for her school, much less for the entire system. She told FYN, “There is nothing better. It let’s you know that what you are doing truly matters.”

Teacher of the Year Shannon Goble takes a moment to share with fellow teachers from Gilmer Middle School.

Teacher of the Year Shannon Goble takes a moment to share with fellow teachers from Gilmer Middle School.

Goble said she never doubted her students appreciated her as they share their happiness with her, but it is something more to also know her colleagues think so highly of her.

With over 20 years of educational experience, Goble worked in the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) prior to teaching. She has been teaching 5th grade for most of her years at GMS.

Speaking of the award, Goble said she wants to continue her efforts as she has been for all of her years. Saying that just like the kids she has to continue learning new things and improving every day, Goble commented, “I think of myself as a big kid.”

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Clean Audit Brings Second Award to Gilmer Schools

News

For the second time in 3 years, Gilmer County Schools and its Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance, Trina Penland, have been awarded for Distinction for Excellent Financial Reporting by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts.

According to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, the award was established to “recognize excellence in financial reporting and controls. It encourages governmental organizations to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and recognizes individual organizations that are successful in achieving this goal.”

This award comes alongside the School Systems Audit Report with no findings and no questions on accounts, a feat lauded as extremely difficult by Board Chairman Jim Parmer. In fact, of the 150 counties that this state department reports on, only 27 have received this distinction this year. Some of the qualifications for the award require the annual financial report “must also be free of any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, comply with all Transparency in Government requirements, and be given an unmodified audit opinion.”

Although the award is for Gilmer County Schools as a whole, both Chairman Parmer and Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes applauded their CFO Trina Penland and her hard work as the foundation of the school system’s success on this report.

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Gilmer Fire & Rescue Awarded for Trauma Care Excellence

Community, News

Many citizens may still have images fresh in their minds from a horrible accident last October in which a tour bus carrying 53 people collided with an 18-wheeler semi-truck.

Usually, October is a festive time for Gilmer as we host visitors to our county at the apple orchards and at our fairgrounds for the Apple Festival. However, 2016 held a black mark as this tragic accident claimed one life and injured over 40 more. Many recall being rerouted to side rides and detours to avoid the accident.

What not many may remember, is seeing the teams of people scouring the accident in quick action to recover, stabilize, and care for the people involved. Not many people were able to see the organization and action of Gilmer County’s Fire and Rescue workers who responded or the cooperation they held with several other agencies who aided their efforts.

On March 16, 2017, the Northwest Georgia Region 1 EMS decided that what people should remember from the day is exactly what they did not see. They did this as they awarded Gilmer County Fire and Rescue the Richard Gray MD Excellence in Trauma Care Award.

According to Gilmer County Department of Public Safety’s Deputy Director Scott Stephens, the award is to “provide recognition and appreciation to any pre-hospital provider within Northwest Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services/Region 1 system for reducing the morbidity or mortality via outstanding delivery of care to a critically injured patient(s). Named in honor of Dr Richard Gray, the recipient should exhibit excellence in the delivery of care to the trauma patient and / or effected utilization of the Region 1 trauma care system plan.”

With the wreck occurring on Highway 515 between Ellijay and Jasper, Battalion Chief Freeman and Deputy Director Scott Stephens became the first on scene. As emergency crews arrived, triage was established, quickly identifying four people as critically injured.

While these situations are trained for, it was the swiftness and efficiency of the implementation that won Gilmer County Fire and Rescue this award. As a part of the process, written documentation of the event must be submitted for review. One piece of Gilmer’s Submission summed up the days events by saying,

This day would prove to be a day to show how multiple agencies would work together in establishing command, utilization of resources, triage, and patient care of 43 trauma patients to have a successful outcome to a horrible event that most responders will never experience in a 25-year career. The leadership and patient care in a trauma / mci of this magnitude, in the removal, treatment, and transport of 43 patients in 1 hour and 24 minutes from the time the first unit went on scene while maintaining the patient care Region 1 Ems strives to maintain, utilizing 7 other EMS agencies, over 75 personnel, Multiple Area Law Enforcement agencies and every victim that was alive the day they arrived on scene and walked out of the multiple emergency facilities is worthy of the Richard Gray MD Excellence in Trauma Care Award.

While one hopes these men and women serving the county may often hear praise and thanks for their service, it is always a great honor to be able to take that one step further by recognizing those men and women publicly. It is a pride of the county as they took an awful tragedy, and saved lives through their resolve in the face of the accident, through their training for that day, and in their swiftness to carry out their duties.

Stephens went on to say that, “The guidelines would only allow for up to three people be submitted for the award,  but truth is the award went to the whole department that participated in the events that day.”

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Cartecay Vineyard receives highest award for Chimney Blush

Featured, Lifestyle

Cartecay Vineyards’ Chimney Blush recently received the highest award given for a Hybrid Grape Wine.

The award was received at the Georgia Wine Trustees Wine Challenge:The Thomas McCall Award for Best Hybrid Grape Wine 2016.  This competition for Georgia wineries is Co-Directed by Jane Garvey and Douglas Mabry, with Parks Redwine presiding as Chief of Judges.

The Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge recognizes the excellence of Georgia-produced wines as well as other wines produced by Georgia wineries using grapes and fruits grown in other states.  ALL ENTRIES MUST BE FERMENTED IN GEORGIA

 

The “NOT 100% Georgia grown” entries MAY list Georgia as an appellation on their label as Federal law allows 25% of the grapes or fruit to come from outside the state and still be labelled Georgia. Even wines with NO fruit grown in Georgia may be an eligible entry IF the wine is “produced” (i.e., fermented) in Georgia. It may also be “produced” by one Georgia winery and “vinted” by a different Georgia winery.

A wine whose label says “Made and Bottled” infers that at least 10% of the wine is made by the winery or company listed. If the label says “Vinted and Bottled,” the winery on the label may have had little to do with the making of the wine in that bottle.

Technically, a wine “vinted and bottled” by an out-of-state (non-Georgia) winery COULD be eligible for entry IF the wine was actually 100% fermented by a Georgia winery. A wine “Produced and Bottled” would have to be 100% fermented by a Georgia winery. Thus, if a wine so labeled is NOT from a Georgia winery, that wine may NOT be entered in the competition.
Cartecay Vineyards’ wines also received the following medals at the event: Chimney Blush, Gold; 2015 Vidal Blanc, Bronze; 2014 Traminette, Bronze.

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