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. Fifteen of the Vision Project's district recommendations are included in the Whitfield County Schools Five-Year Strategic Plan. 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 three action steps that align with these two recommendations: (1) provide families with resources to support their child’s education; (2) introduce families to resources that assist with physical, social, emotional, and academic needs; and (3) strengthen partnerships with institutions of higher education. Partnerships can be seen 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.
    • 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.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 1 - Three action steps under Goal 1 of the Strategic Plan align with these Vision Project recommendations. The first action step, "increase digital learning opportunities," encourages teachers to use a variety of technologies to teach and measure what students know and can do. The second action step, listed under the objective "increasing the rigor of the curriculum presented to our students," ensures our schools "create and implement curriculum maps that are aligned horizontally and vertically for the four core content areas: mathematics, language arts, science and social studies." The third and final action step that aligns with these recommendations is to "review, revise and implement system-wide Response-to-Intervention guidelines." The Response-to-Intervention model assures the needs of all students by teaching and testing curriculum according to their individual needs.  

    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. 

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 4 - The overall purpose of Goal 4 of the Strategic Plan is to strengthen school, family and community partnerships. To help strengthen our community partnerships, we encourage school and community collaboration through shared services and facilities. The school district frequently houses local and state events and meetings in addition to utilizing the services and facilities the community has made available to us. 

    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 visit college job fairs throughout Georgia and its neighboring states to bring highly-skilled and qualified educators from different areas and backgrounds to our system. To retain our Highly Qualified Personnel, we provide ongoing support for our teachers and administrators and work with schools and departments to schedule and facilitate professional development opportunities. 

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

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 2 - This Vision Project recommendation is satisfied by the district's development and implementation of an ongoing leadership support program, under Goal 2, objective two, and continued efforts to "provide effective, research-based, and differentiated professional learning opportunities tied directly to school and district improvement plans," under Goal 2, objective four. 

    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.
    • 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.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 4 -  These three Vision Project recommendations are satisfied through the Goal 4 objective to ensure "schools and support facilities will be safe and inviting places for families, staff and the community." 

    • Vision Project 8.4 - Determine stakeholder perceptions of schools and school districts. 
    • Vision Project 8.7 - Get to know and be willing to truly listen to the students in our schools.

      • WCS Strategic Plan Goal 4 - Both these Vision Project recommendations align with two action steps under Goal 4: (1) sustain a positive and welcoming environment; and (2) monitor safety, cleanlines and overall appearance of facilities. We determine student, parent and community perceptions of our schools by conducting yearly surveys that help us determine if and how our school staff and facilities are meeting the needs of our constituents. 

    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 presents a monthly spending report during Board of Education meetings to show Board members and our community that we are focused on maximizing student learning by prioritizing spending on instruction and instruction resources.