Calhoun City Schools is proud to be one of Georgia’s Charter School Systems and celebrates more than 113 years of excellence. Through its storied history, Calhoun City Schools has been known for its success in academics, athletics and the arts. Throughout Calhoun City Schools’ existence, community support has been a critical component of that success. Its mission of inspiring all students to become life-long learners in the pursuit of excellence is achieved daily. Interwoven into the tapestry of the historical lineage of Calhoun City Schools, is a commitment to excellence and community spirit that rests on the very pulse of its existence. This rich tradition would not be possible were it not for the involvement of our parents, business leaders and community over the years.
On December 22, 1896, an Act was approved by the General Assembly of Georgia, authorizing the municipal authorities of Calhoun to levy a tax for establishing, and maintaining a public school system for the town, and constituting a Board of Education composed of F.A. Cantrell, W.G. Fuller, T.W. Harbin, W.L. Himes, W.R. Rankin Sr., and O.N. Starr. This Act was ratified by the voters of Calhoun September 14, 1901.
An Act approved by the General Assembly December 16, 1901, permitted the transference of the old school property, corner of Fain Street and College Avenue, to the mayor and aldermen of Calhoun and their successors for public school purposes, and the buildings were erected on this site.
The tax levy for maintenance was fixed at $1.50 a thousand; superintendent’s salary, $80.00 per month; teachers’ salaries, from $25 to $35 a month; janitor’s hire, $4.50 monthly. Teachers were required to take 10 weeks of normal training in a summer school. Tuition fees for non-resident students ranged from $1 to $3. The school was divided into three departments: Primary- composed of first, second, and third grades; Grammar, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; and High School, eighth and ninth grades. Two grades were assigned to each teacher. A course of study covering nine grades was arranged, teachers were chosen, and the public school, at that time the town’s most ambitious venture, was inaugurated in September 1902, with an enrollment of 155 students.
The Golden Age of the school’s development was 1916-1927 under superintendent M.C. Allen, at which time literary standards and physical equipment attained to the requirements of the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, entitling graduates of the high school to enter any college or university in the South without examination.
One hundred and thirteen years later, we open our schools to more than 4,000 students and we project our enrollment to be more than 4,750 students by the year 2020. Thirty-two percent of our students are Hispanic, 6% black, 61% white, and approximately 1% of our students are multiracial, Asian or Native American. Twenty-three percent of our student population are non-resident students which conveys the message that we are a school system of choice. Eleven percent of our students participate in special education programs and we are proud to share that our Special Education Department was recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as a leader in the state for their outstanding efforts to improve the performance of students with disabilities.
The large influx of Hispanic immigrants to our area has naturally resulted in a large number of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students. Eleven percent of our students participate in ESOL services and while these teachers are all exceptional, one was selected at Georgia’s ESOL Teacher of the Year. All of our parent involvement coordinators are bilingual and are able to offer invaluable support to our non-English speaking families. Six percent of our students participate in EIP (Early Intervention Program) through mainly self contained delivery methods of instruction. The percentage of students receiving free and/or reduced lunches continues to increase with a system average of 62%.
Our school family continues to grow with more than 250 certified teachers and staff members and approximately 150 support staff members. More than 3134 students are transported daily via school buses and we’ve added several new buses to our fleet.
The Calhoun City Schools Board of Education was among 35 school districts in 17 states to receive a federal grant to expand its school counseling program. Calhoun was the only district in Georgia to receive the funds under the federal grant program. With 1.2 million dollars over a three year period, a new social worker position and three additional counselors provided the system with opportunities to transition team members into new challenging roles to help serve our students Pre-K-12. The grant allowed us to increase the capacity of our counseling and social work programs to include support at all levels. With highly qualified staff serving our student populations, we believe that these individuals have enhanced the opportunities provided to students in regards to career readiness and awareness. As a school system, CCS desires to move the finish line beyond graduation, educating students about the countless opportunities present to them once they complete their high school career.
Everyday our cafeteria workers prepare approximately 3,000 school lunches and 1,500 breakfast plates. Our technology department maintains more than 3,000 computers in our school system with added capabilities within our schools and via the Internet for support both at home and at school. All schools have high speed internet capabilities with access to wireless. The students per instructional computers ratio is 1.43. All of our schools have updated safety and emergency preparedness plans so that we can continue to provide the finest and safest education possible for our students. We continue to engage the many businesses in our community while having more than 54 businesses as active members of our Partners in Education Program.
Our facilities have changed as well. The complex which houses kindergarten through fifth grade is one of the largest elementary schools in the state. Built in 2004, the primary and elementary school occupy the complex with an enrollment of approximately 2000 students. The campus houses both a middle and high school with an enrollment of approximately 2000 students. Our Junior Jacket Academy / Central Office building is home to preschool and pre-k programs.
Many athletic and extracurricular facility enhancements have been made over the past several years and we are proud of what we have to offer our students, recognizing that as we grow, we must prepare for future expansions and construction. An aquatic center was added to the campus in 2014. We continue to grow to fit our community’s needs to accommodate growth. Maintenance and operations planning includes facility enhancements.
Our students continue to excel in academics, arts and athletics. Countless awards have been earned in debate, one act, literary events and athletic areas. Region and state championship titles have moved Calhoun City Schools into one of the top seats in every area of Georgia High School Association competition.
Our vision for Calhoun City Schools is to ensure that all of our students are not only meeting state standards by the year 2020 but exceeding them as we continue to inspire all students to become life-long learners in the pursuit of excellence.
The system is a small independent school system comprised of only four schools (primary, elementary, middle and high), one Pre-School / Pre-Kindergarten program and an online learning academy. We currently serve 4,000 students. We have a high level of student achievement with all schools performing well on local and state assessments. Calhoun High School’s graduation rate of 96% is one of the highest in the state. We realize the need to help our students perform at an even higher rate as we work to prepare them to become successful after high school graduation. Each day we come to work committed to fulfilling the mission of Calhoun City Schools. We must prepare all students to become life-long learners and leaders whether they choose to attend a technical school, college or enter the workforce. As we exercise the broad flexibility that our charter status affords us School Governance Teams and stakeholders are exploring and implementing academic and organizational innovations as we continue to strive to maintain high levels of student achievement in academics, arts and athletics.
All four of our schools are Distinguished Schoolwide Title I Schools. Calhoun High School has received the distinction of being a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and the AP Honor School Award for expanding opportunities and improving performance for advanced placement students.
Our Charter is designed to ensure that students are supported by our diverse community through strong business partnerships, agency alliances and governing bodies within the school itself. Through our continuous improvement process, various affiliations and partnerships,we have realized that to maintain the long-standing tradition of excellence in the face of an ever-changing world, we must be flexible and embrace new ideas and innovations to meet the demands of these changes. As a major component of our continuous improvement process, we continually strive to develop an academic curriculum and partnerships that step outside of traditional educational models and embrace opportunities for learning that encourage the concept of lifelong learning and community leadership. One such innovation is to “utilize our community as a classroom” by continuing to develop strong partnerships and alliances. Currently more than sixty district level partners in education have made a commitment to the students, the district, and the community to support the continuous improvement process by partnering and providing varied services and resources. These partners have agreed to commit financial, intellectual and human resources to the district’s processes. A sampling of partnerships are viewed below and a complete listing can be found at www.calhounschools.org/PIE:
Andy Baxter Photography
Photography services, Monetary Donations, Program Support
Monetary Donations, Material Donations
Calhoun Police Dept.
Guest Speakers, Program Support, Donated Work Hours
CANVAS Art Studio
Teacher Incentives, Discounted Art Programs, Monetary Donations, and Calhoun Arts Academy Support
Teacher Incentives, Monetary and Material Donations, Internship Opportunities, Program Sponsor, Career Speakers, Student Learning Opportunities, GRAD Attendance Program, Spirit Night/Fundraising Opportunities
Dairy Queen of Calhoun
Teacher Incentives, Monetary and Material Donations, Career Speakers, Student Learning Opportunities
Fox & Brindle Construction
Internships, Career Speakers, Monetary Donations, Program Sponsor
Internships, Career Speakers, Monetary Donations, Program Sponsor, New Teacher Orientation Sponsor, Graduation Sponsor
House Office Supply
Internships, Material Donations, Career Speaker
Huddle House of Calhoun
Material Donations, Teacher Incentives, Program Sponsor, Academic Support, Teacher Incentives, Career Speaker, Classroom Reader
Pokey's Sporting Goods
Material Donations, Program Support, Internships
Career Speaker, Program Support
Southeast Restoration Group
Career Speaker, Career Academy Support, Program Support
Monetary Donation, Career Speakers, Community Ed. Grant Sponsor, Internships
The Gem Theatre
Facilities Use, Career Speaker, Arts Academy Supporter, Internship
The Harris Arts Center
Facilities Use, Career Speaker, Arts Academy Supporter, Art Showcase, Internship
Vaughn & Clements LLC
Community Ed. Grant Sponsor, Monetary Donation, Career Speaker, Program Sponsor
Career Speaker, Program Sponsor, Internship, Career Academy Support
Our Community Education PIE Program (Partner In Education) continually seeks out and develops relationships with other potential partners. Our PIE program has been an instrumental piece in the development of our Calhoun College and Career Academy.
Calhoun College and Career AcademyGeographically Calhoun City Schools is located in Gordon County in the Northwest corner of the state on the I-75 corridor. Gordon County is a rapidly-growing county 55th out of 186, according the 2010 Census. Georgia Northwestern Technical College (formerly Coosa Valley Technical College) performed the most recent needs assessment of the region in late 2007. Respondents from healthcare, technology, manufacturing, banking, construction, education, and service sectors indicated that they employed more than 10,000 people and that employment needs were growing in all these areas requiring specific technical training. In planning for this grant, information from the US Department of Labor, the Georgia Department of Labor, the Census Bureau, the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget indicates that total employment in Northwest Georgia is projected to increase by 12.5% by 2014, with the highest need in healthcare, technology, service and manufacturing. The economy and the new College and Career Readiness Performance Index have given Calhoun City Schools a new vision for 21st century.
In an effort to meet the needs of the local economy and the changing school accountability measures, Calhoun City Schools have developed a College and Career Academy that spans the entire life of a student from Pre-K to 12th grade. Information from the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce, representing Gordon County and the City of Calhoun, as well as various members of the business and industry community (including manufacturing, healthcare, education, and service) are being continuously polled concerning economic outlook and job growth and called upon through CTAE Business Advisory Boards, job apprenticeship/shadowing, career day, mentors and guest speakers.
Through these community/business stakeholder discussions and relationships, it is apparent that one of the challenges school systems face today is the development of students that graduate with requisite 21st Century Skills that focus on literacy, technology, math and science knowledge, higher order thinking skills and problem solving in order to be successful in the workforce and the community. Although many initiatives for STEM Education exist, most US school districts do not offer STEM options, mainly due to the lack of qualified teachers and funding. The current economic situation and budget projections have made it difficult for the district to implement large scale innovative projects like we are proposing. Additionally, many studies have demonstrated that many novice teachers labor diligently to be effective teachers within their initial years teaching. Often these teachers become discouraged and leave the profession. It is imperative that as we move into the 21st Century that we find ways to support these teachers as they strive to implement rigorous and relevant common core curriculum to ensure effective teaching practices that lead to increased student achievement. We believe that if awarded the innovation grant we can effective implement hybrid models of instruction using the community as an extended classroom to implement and integrate STEM initiatives both horizontally and vertically across the curriculum by providing programs and resources that support teacher effectiveness to improve student achievement and higher order thinking skills.
Calhoun City School is proud of our curriculum which supports those students who are extremely driven and work toward the highest educational level possible. This plan begins with the Discovery Program which serves those students identified as gifted under state testing and identification guidelines. Discovery is offered to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Once a student enters middle school, they may be enrolled in honors classes without being technically identified as gifted. These placements are based upon teacher referral, educational performance, and work ethic. This criteria is also continued throughout high school where students can further challenge themselves through honors and/or the Advanced Placement Programs. Gifted and honors services are designed to meet the specific needs of gifted students by emphasizing the following competencies:
Critical and creative thinking
Higher order reasoning
Extensive and advanced research skills
Advanced and accelerated academics
In grades k-5, students are served through both the pull-out/enrichment model as well as cluster model. The pull-out/enrichment allows students to meet with gifted peers to explore higher level/critical thinking in a variety of content settings with a gifted certified teacher. This class includes only those students who have been identified as gifted by state guidelines. The cluster model operates within the general classroom setting. In this setting, a small group of gifted students are placed within an otherwise heterogeneously mixed classroom with a gifted certified teacher. The teacher has received specific training in how to meet the needs of the gifted child through differentiation within the classroom to ensure that the students are provided with a rigorous and challenging educational experience that meets their individual needs.
At Calhoun Middle School, students may participate in honors classes which offer advance content that moves at an accelerated pace. All honors classes are taught by a certified gifted teacher. By utilizing this approach all students placed in these classes will continue to be prepared for the rigor and academic demands that come in high school and college. Calhoun Middle School recognizes the educational benefits of offering a model of instruction that provide opportunities to a greater number of students than could be met with a resource setting as we work to prepare our students for their high school career. Students at Calhoun Middle School are provided an opportunity to earn high school credit in language arts, mathematics, science and several CTAE program areas.
Calhoun High School offers both honors and advanced placement programs as well as work based learning opportunities. Honors level classes provide students with a rigorous curriculum that challenges them to a level higher than a general education class could provide. These classes are instructed by gifted certified teachers. Advanced Placement courses are offered in 12 subject areas. These courses are taught by teachers trained in Advanced Placement instruction. Students are exposed to a highly rigorous curriculum and are given the opportunity to earn college credit by a high performance level on the AP test at the conclusion of the course. The work based learning program takes the premise of an internship program to a much higher level. Students are not only exposed to careers of their individual interest, but are entrenched in that career while working side by side with the employer. Students also receive specific guidance in resume building, interview skills, leadership activities and tasks completion. This program is designed to offer students with an opportunity to explore their career choice in depth throughout the course of their junior and/or senior year.
Pre-K STEM Academy
Calhoun Pre-K is extremely proud of our Pre-K STEM Program. This program provides students with opportunities to explore the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Pre-K teachers worked through our Community Education Program in collaboration with community members and business partners to design the learning experiences. Experiences have included studying health and fitness through a local gym and high school athletes…….
Calhoun Primary/Elementary Complex
Calhoun Primary School provides students with exciting learning opportunities outside of the general curriculum. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy is one avenue that involves students in interest/career based study. During STEAM, students participate in one of forty, self selected age appropriate units of study that range from culinary arts to video production to construction. As a preview to upcoming career pathway opportunities, students at the primary level begin to explore different interests and careers during STEAM as course offerings heavily involve community resources such as park rangers, veterinarians, public safety officers, cosmetologist, equestrians, nutritionist, dancers, etc.
As part of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standard schools will use the CCRPI to aid in the measurement of the implementation of common core standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades K-12. In the state of Georgia, this means lessons are being prepared to include rigorous knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and/or careers. These lessons in English Language Arts are integrated to include content from other subject areas, including but are not limited to science, social studies, and technology. A major component that will be most obvious will be the text complexity of reading materials in all subjects; writing assignments will be tied to the reading material, and will be developed more deeply. It is theorized that by increasing academic and technical vocabulary, students will be better prepared to bridge the transition between elementary, secondary, and post-secondary technical reading and writing. Mathematics will be taught more consistently with the workshop model, and each grade will focus on standards for mastery rather than covering many standards. All courses will include relevant content and application of knowledge through high-order skills. With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in most subjects, students may expect and realize consistent expectations across states, regardless of whether they decide to go to school at Georgia Tech, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, Harvard, or UCLA, or find a job in Georgia, Maine or Indiana.
Business professionals in the community take an active part in helping students at the complex become familiar with potential careers and with successful adult partnerships in many different ways. Many volunteer to be speakers at annual Career Days on the education required to attain their jobs, the daily work load, the pay, and other information pertinent to young children. The children are prepared for Career Day by completing career interest inventories prior to career day. Many teachers invite speakers from local organizations to present to their classes on topics relevant to their daily lessons. Community partners are more a vital part of the overall educational experience. Another supporting service that our partners offer is mentoring children. They come weekly to visit with their school “pal” to talk about school progress or other topics, to read together, to play games, and to become friends; many children have realized improvements in their academics and behavior due in part to these mentoring relationships. The Big Jacket / Little Jacket initiative also allows for our high school football players to mentor young students.
Calhoun Middle/High Campus
Through cooperative planning, the Calhoun College and Career Academy can offer the best educational experience possible for our students and strengthen the progression from sixth grade through graduation. Utilizing the Bridge Bill/GA College 411 we plan to meet the expectations outlined in the State College and Career Readiness Performance Index. Both are designed to ensure that students are exposed to multiple career development opportunities to assist them in effectively selecting a career pathway in high school that will lead them after graduation through post secondary and/or the work force. For example, using a hybrid model of instruction designed to expand student exploration opportunities in the areas of Culinary Arts and Teaching as a Profession. These two additional courses will be offered during the connections block of the school day. These courses will support existing curriculum in place which includes music, chorus/drama, technology, and graphic arts. Through the process of vertical alignment and collaboration, we will continue to add a greater variety of career opportunities in the future. These plans include the addition of construction, video broadcasting, and agricultural science. It is our desire to provide all students with the foundation needed to select a career pathway based upon their interest as well a gain valuable career readiness knowledge and skills that help to prepare them for their future.
We are implementing and integrating the Calhoun College and Career Academy both horizontally and vertically across the curriculum by providing programs and resources that support teacher effectiveness to improve student achievement and higher order thinking skills. This will be accomplished by "Using the Community as a Classroom” by developing an integrated academic curriculum and partnerships that encourage students and educators to step outside of traditional models and embrace opportunities for learning that encourages the concepts of post-secondary readiness, life-long learning, and community leadership. Such extended classroom settings will allow students to practice and apply learned skills in real world environments and situations. To be effective we will embrace Hybrid Middle/High School Instructional Models for connection classes that will allow a sharing of instructional staff and resources that are dependent upon innovative flexible scheduling models that provide students access to proposed academies which focus on college and career pathways. As we occupy the new facility the will allow us to investigate and implement inventive Hybrid Middle/High School Instructional Models for connection classes that will allow a sharing of instructional staff and resources that are dependent upon innovative flexible scheduling models which in turn will provide students access to proposed pathway academies. Utilizing a School-Within-a-School Learning Communities concept, mini academies can be developed based upon current data, needs assessments and student/community stakeholder input. Research has shown that smaller learning communities build relationships, strengthen collaborative skill sets and offer great advantages for student academic growth. Such mini-academies can focus on advanced placement, language acquisition, fine arts, career readiness, communication skills, public speaking, citizenship, leadership, writing and other areas to strengthen student confidence and awareness as they strive to meet post-secondary goals.
CTAE Program Offerings
Agricultural Science- Production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing, and development of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products/resources.
Business and Computer Science- Planning, organizing, directing, and evaluating business functions essential to efficient and productive business operations available in every sector of the economy.
Broadcast Video Production- Designing, producing, exhibiting, and publishing multimedia to prepare students for employment or entry into a postsecondary education program in the Broadcast/Video Production career field.
Construction-Prepare students with foundational knowledge and skills for a construction career in one of four possible construction crafts- carpentry, electrical, masonry, and plumbing. It also is a good pathway for a student to prepare for a variety of opportunities in addition to the craft areas, such as Architecture, Construction Engineering and Construction Management.
Culinary Arts-Design, creation, and serving of food, and for students interested in the “art” of cooking and continuing in the culinary arts field.
Education- Planning, managing, and providing of education and training services and related learning support services.
Graphic Design- Designing, producing, exhibiting, and publishing products utilizing or incorporating words or pictorial images to convey information, ideas, and feelings. Students can acquire a fundamental understanding of the graphic communications and design world.
Healthcare Science- Planning, managing, and providing of services that promote health, wellness, and diagnosis, as well as treat, injuries and diseases.
Public Safety- Execution of governmental functions, and the planning, managing, and providing legal, investigation, forensics, public safety, protective services, and homeland security.
COLA: Calhoun Online Learning Academy
Utilizing our Partners in Education (currently 54 active partners, and growing) and using our community as an innovative extended classroom setting, hybrid models of instruction and scheduling and learning community/mini-academies. Such settings and models will provide new applied learning opportunities for students that increase and reinforce academic rigor, focus on higher order thinking skills, problem solving skills and effective communication skills and increase opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills within real world settings. Such an undertaking will require planning and coordination by school leaders, community stakeholders and STEM Academic Coaches to ensure successful implementation. Upon successful implementation, we believe that the outcomes will be higher student achievement and the creation of a future workforce that will have the necessary 21st Century skills to compete in a global economy. This year we found truth in the age old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention”. Faced with severe budget cuts in our PreK program, which necessitated a reduction of twenty instructional days, our community stakeholders developed a plan to meet our student’s educational need. This innovation revolved around the creation of four STEM Camps which parents could pay for their children to attend that were strategically aligned to the system calendar. A total of one hundred and twenty students took advantage of these four opportunities where students were exposed to STEM concepts through age appropriate hands on learning activities in the classroom and in the community
We continue to implement and integrate STEM initiatives both horizontally and vertically across the curriculum by providing programs and resources that support teacher effectiveness to improve student achievement and higher order thinking skills. Using the Community as a Classroom and developing an academic curriculum and partnerships that encourage students to step outside of traditional models and embrace opportunities for learning that encourages the concept of life-long learning and community leadership, we are preparing our students for college and careers. Such extended classroom settings allow students to practice and apply learned skills in real world environments and situations. We embrace Hybrid Middle/High School Instructional Models for connection classes that allow a sharing of instructional staff and resources that are dependent upon innovative flexible scheduling models that provides students access to proposed pathway academies. The middle / high school facility allows us to implement inventive Hybrid Middle/High School Instructional Models for connection classes that will allow a sharing of instructional staff and resources that are dependent upon innovative flexible scheduling models which in turn will provide students access to proposed pathway academies. Utilizing a Schools-Within-a-School Learning Communities concept mini STEM academies can be developed based upon current data, needs assessments and student/community stakeholder input. Research has shown that smaller learning communities build relationships, strengthen collaborative skill sets and offer great advantages for student academic growth. Such mini-academies can focus on communication skills, public speaking, citizenship, leadership, writing and other areas to strengthen student confidence and awareness. A greater focus on character education and work ethic can be established in this small family-like atmosphere.
Additionally, we are developing College and Career Pathway Academies. Given the current economic downturn and the outlook for the future, it is becoming increasingly apparent that “Now more than ever, Georgia needs talented individuals who are ready to go to work” (C. Cagle). We believe that career awareness should begin in elementary school. A more deliberate attempt to offer career awareness activities will be provided and supported. Additional career pathways will be developed for middle and high school programs. As a part of our Charter, School Governance Teams, the School System Governance Committee and leadership teams are researching and developing proposals and partnerships for the implementation of college and career pathway academies, structured as a school-within-a-school, that reflect input from local industry, businesses and colleges and through our strong partnerships use the community as an extended classroom. These academies will focus on smaller learning communities with a college/career theme. Academy components shall include rigorous academics and career technical education, with a career focus, a committed team of teachers, and active business and post-secondary partnerships. Students in college and career pathway academies will also be enrolled in technical/college courses that allow them to graduate with a diploma and a work specialty certificate. As a result of such collaborations our students will be better prepared to join the future workforce as knowledgeable and highly skilled productive individuals and establish vital links between local industry, post secondary institutions. Academies include but are not limited to: Teaching as a Profession, Culinary Arts, Public Safety, Agricultural Sciences, Community & Leadership, Fine Arts, Literacy, Talent and Gifted Experiences, Business and Manufacturing, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), Emerging Career Pathways, Middle School Construction Connections, Middle School Agricultural Sciences, Middle School Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), Foundational Reading Skill Learning Communities.