Georgia Vision Project

  • The Georgia Vision Project’s website states that its team “organizes the resources and energies of Georgia’s stakeholders to effectively focus on preparing students to become contributing members of a democratic Georgia Vision Project Logo society and global economy. By setting world-class educational standards, establishing viable directives, creating a sustainable framework and organizing contemporary networks at the local, county and regional levels, the Project endeavors to gain the enthusiastic support of Federal, State and local policy makers and the citizens of Georgia.”

    Local District Recommendations

    The Vision Project provides Local District Recommendations as guidelines to help districts provide equity and excellence in education. Those 28 recommendations are divided into seven categories:

    • Early Learning and Student Success,
    • Teaching and Learning,
    • Teaching and Learning Resources,
    • Human and Organizational Capital,
    • Governance, Leadership and Accountability,
    • Culture, Climate and Organizational Efficacy, and
    • Financial Resources.

    The Whitfield County Schools Five-Year Strategic Plan includes goals in six areas:

    • WCS Strategic Plan Cover Goal 1 – Instruction and Assessment,
    • Goal 2 – Highly Qualified Personnel,
    • Goal 3 – Finance,
    • Goal 4 – Community Involvement,
    • Goal 5 – Operations, and
    • Goal 6 – Technology.

    Each district goal includes several action steps to meet objectives within that goal area. Many of the district’s goals, objectives, and action steps align with the Georgia Vision Project’s Local District Recommendations. Below are examples of that alignment of ideas.

    3.0 Early Learning and Student Success

    • Vision Project 3.1 – Create in each county of the state an early learning partnership that includes all public and private human service organizations.

    • Vision Project 3.2 - Create public-private partnerships in local communities between local businesses and educational and human services organizations for the purpose of supporting early childhood initiatives that address healthy child/family development and economic benefits to the community.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 4 - Goal 4 of the Strategic Plan includes four action steps that align with this recommendation: (1) Provide families with resources to support their child’s education; (2) Use the Internet, social media, and other tools to enhance parent and community partnerships; (3) Introduce families to resources that assist with physical, social, emotional, and academic needs; and (4) Strengthen partnerships with institutions of higher education.

        Partnerships can be seen in action through the district's grant work with the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA). District staff have created effective learning partnerships in the region through the Early Education Empowerment Zone (E3Z) work. District staff have also created effective community partnerships with the North Georgia Healthcare Partnership, Dalton Whitfield Public Library, Dalton State College (DSC), Family Connections, E3Z partners, and Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC). In order to support early education in the community, the district added three Pre-K classrooms during the past three years (two are Inclusion Pre-K classrooms). Staff help to coordinate multiple funding sources to support Birth to 8 initiatives through the GOSA Planning and Implementation Grants and received the Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) Literacy Grant and Innovative Fund Grant to continue funding this critical work.

    4.0 Teaching and Learning

    • Vision Project 4.1 – In order to provide an environment where students learn best, ensure that teachers work and plan together, learn and share effective teaching practices, and are provided support for their ongoing learning.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goals 1 & 2 - Goals 1 & 2 of the Strategic Plan include three action steps that align with this Vision Project recommendation: (1) Collaborate with new teachers and administrators regularly using various platforms to provide support; (2) Develop and implement an ongoing leadership support program; and (3) Develop an effective mentoring program for new administrators.

        District leaders strive to ensure teachers have ample opportunities to work and plan together, implement best practices, and to provide support for their ongoing learning. Teachers collaborate to design common pacing guides and course frameworks across the district using the district's Non-Negotiable Teaching Practices.

    • Vision Project 4.2 - In order to provide an environment where students learn best, ensure that teachers use a variety of technologies to teach and measure what students know and can do.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 1 - To align with this Vision Project recommendation, Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan includes an action step to increase digital learning opportunities. District leaders encourage teachers to use a variety of technologies to teach and measure what students know and can do. Examples of this includes the implementation of Edgenuity and Google Classroom.

    • Vision Project 4.3 - In order to provide an environment where students learn best, ensure that teachers teach challenging and problem-solving lessons that are flexible enough to meet the interests and needs of individual students. 

    • Vision Project 4.4 - In order to provide an environment where students learn best, ensure that teachers use varied measures to determine what students know and can do. 

    5.0 Teaching and Learning Resources

    • Vision Project 5.4 - Develop partnerships with business, industries, public agencies and the community to promote shared use of services and facilities. 

    6.0 Human and Organizational Capital

    • Vision Project 6.3 – Collaborate with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the Georgia Department of Education and other credentialing agencies to provide comprehensive strategies to find, grow and keep the most talented educators.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 2 – Three actions steps in Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan help us align with this Vision Project recommendation: (1) Strengthen relationships with accredited teacher education programs; (2) Develop criteria to screen student teachers from education programs outside of Georgia; and (3) Increase the ethnic diversity of our faculty and staff.

        District recruiters have visited college job fairs in Georgia and neighboring states, and hosted a local job fair in March 2019. To retain our Highly Qualified Personnel, we provide ongoing support for our teachers and administrators and have developed an ongoing leadership support program.

    • Vision Project 6.5 - Organize personnel, distribute leadership and implement processes that maximize student learning.

    7.0 Governance, Leadership and Accountability

    • Vision Project 7.1 – Develop and implement at the local school district level an accountability system based on local district educational goals that are aligned with state educational goals and state accountability system, and which include clearly defined measures of school district, school and student success.

      • WCS Strategic Plan - The Strategic Plan as a whole aligns with this recommendation. The district also publishes annual Strategic Plan Progress Reports and three editions each year of the WCS Accountability Report.

    8.0 Culture, Climate and Organizational Efficacy

    • Vision Project 8.1 – Develop safe, orderly, supportive learning environments built on respect and encouragement where all individuals believe they can make a positive difference.

    • Vision Project 8.2 - Make each school and school system an inviting place to be for students, parents, staff and the larger community.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 4 – These Vision Project recommendations for Culture, Climate and Organizational Efficacy match the district’s goals for Community Involvement. Action steps in Goal 4 include “Sustain a positive and welcoming environment” and “Monitor safety, cleanliness, and overall appearance of facilities.”

    • Vision Project 8.4 - Determine stakeholder perceptions of schools and school districts. 

    • Vision Project 8.6 - Develop school and district cultures that are sensitive and responsive to the cultural, racial, ethnic and socio-economic make-up of the communities they serve. 

    • Vision Project 8.7 - Get to know and be willing to truly listen to the students in our schools. 

    9.0 Financial Resources

    • Vision Project 9.3 – Initiate an ongoing process at the local district level for systematically evaluating all expenditures to enable the development and adoption of budgets that are focused on district strategies for maximizing student learning.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 3 - The Goal 3 action step to “analyze expenditures for trends and spikes” directly aligns with this Vision Project recommendation. Our Finance Department reports monthly to our Board of Education, where we look at spending timeline by function; We also monitor principal allotment and district grants monthly.