EDUCATION IN DECATUR COUNTY
In Decatur County, we know that the future doesn't just arrive one day at a time - it also arrives one child at a time. We realized long ago that investing in the education of our children and ensuring positive learning experiences are sure ways for a community to contribute to the success of a young adult when he/she enters the work force. As a community, we realize and accept the responsibility of creating an atmosphere of success in every classroom in every school in Decatur County.
The Decatur County Board of Education¬†built a new high school - Bainbridge High School, home of the Bearcats- on U.S. Highway 84 East. In 2005, Bainbridge High School was selected to receive the International Center for Education Leadership Grant, funded in part by Bill and Melinda Gates of MicroSoft. Only 75 schools in the United States received the grant and only¬†five schools in Georgia. According to Bainbridge High School Principal Tommie Howell, although there is no set dollar amount for the grant, it will bring in thousands of dollars to the school and provide the means for Bainbridge High School to become an elite institution.
Once students graduate from Bainbridge High School, they have the option of attending an excellent local college. Bainbridge College, founded in 1973, is a two-year college and part of the University System of Georgia. The college offers both academic transfer degrees and technical career certificates and degrees and works closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the local Decatur County school system to help ensure the educational needs are met for our community and beyond. For information about the college and degree programs it offers in conjunction with other colleges and universities, call (229) 248-2500 or view the Bainbridge College Web site.
The faculty at Bainbridge College boasts one of the highest percentages of earned doctorates among recognized two-year system educational institutions in Georgia. Bainbridge College faculty members take an active interest in the community, serving on various boards throughout the county, as well as being active members of professional and civic organizations.
Technology in Use:
Decatur County Schools make use of current technology through physical integration of new technologies directly into the classroom. Teaching methods and curriculum are always being restructured to incorporate and support the new technologies as they become available. Each elementary school is equipped with student workstations and teacher workstations. At the middle schools and high school, a combination of departmental computer labs and individual classroom workstations are employed. The entire system uses both WAN (Wide Area Network) and LAN (Local Area Network) technology and also uses monitored Internet Access.
Partnerships in Education:
Through sustained emphasis on the importance of education in Decatur County, the Chamber of Commerce has been actively involved in supporting and encouraging partnerships between local businesses the learning institutions themselves. As a result of this effort, several vital partnerships have developed which play a critical role in preparing, and improving, our students as they prepare themselves for life through education.
These partnerships include:
- Tech Prep Program - Bainbridge High School has successfully blended the best aspects of the classroom, technology lab, technical school, and job placement. Students can also receive instruction designed around their specific career interests. Students are able to acquire entry-level job skills through hands-on activities.
- Joint (Dual) Enrollment Program - Qualified Bainbridge High School students can earn both high school and college credit. Approved classes, taken at the high school AND, at times, at Bainbridge College, result in the student receiving credit for the class at the high school as well as college credit for the class at Bainbridge College.
- Decatur County Youth Apprenticeship Program - Participating students receive a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate or degree, and certification of industry-recognized competencies applicable to employment in a high-skill occupation. There is a wide variety of businesses and organizations that serve as partners in this program, including lawyers, dentists, cosmetologists, Decatur County School System (teacher cadets), banks, and manufacturing industries.
- New Beginnings Learning Center - New Beginnings Learning Center - a Crossroads Alternative School program. Decatur County's "at-risk" youth in grades 6-12 receive social services, intervention strategies, and/or transition to other programs so that they may become successful students and citizens.
- Project Updraft - A collaboration among public schools, business/industry, and Bainbridge College to prepare students to enter the workforce.
For more information on Bainbridge Public Schools, please visit them on the internet at http://www.dcboe.com.
For more information on the Decatur County Schools Foundation, visit them on the web. ¬Ľ view details
Grace Christian Academy:
Grace Christian Academy is a Pre 3 through 12th grade interdenominational Christian school committed to a higher education. Students that attend Gracy Christian Academy come from southwest Georgia and northern Florida. The instructional curriculum at Grace focuses on developing the whole child - mind, body, and spirit.
Grace works closely with parents with three (3) primary goals in mind. These goals involve assisting each child in:
- Achieving his or her highest academic potential.
- Developing sound Christian work habits and character traits.
- Growing in his or her personal knowledge of God in a loving, nurturing environment.
Grace Christian Academy offers a full college-preparatory curriculum, sports, and extra-curricular activities. The pupil-teacher ratio averages 1 to 12. Grace is accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, and is also a member of the Southwest Georgia Youth Science & Technology Center (GYSTC) as well as the Bainbridge Decatur County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on Grace Christian School, please visit them on the internet at http://gracechristianacademyga.org.
Commitment Through Funding:
In 1997, Decatur County voters overwhelmingly approved an Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) for the first time. ESPLOST is an optional sales tax of 1% in Decatur County that is used solely for educational Capital Improvements. Each referendum approved by the voters lists specific uses for the ESPLOST for the associated funding period (5 year increments) and includes funding for such items as new school buildings, upgrades to existing facilities, and improvements such as computers and implementation of new technology. The revenue from ESPLOST is restricted to capital improvement projects and not available for uses such as salaries or other non-capital expenses.
Voters have subsequently approved continuation of the ESPLOST twice. In 2002, the first continuation was approved which covered a period from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2007. In 2005, voters once again overwhelmingly approved continuation of the ESPLOST for a period to run from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012. By speaking with their wallets, the citizens of Decatur County have continually expressed their attitude toward the importance of education.