MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Board of Education announced its collaboration with the Milledgeville Police Department during Monday’s work session to provide Oak Hill Middle School students with life skills to avoid delinquent behavior, violence and gangs. The new educational prevention program is called G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education And Training).
“The program starts in January, but it will be a year-long program,” School Superintendent Geneva Braziel said. “It consists of 13 lessons ... targeting life skills, violence prevention, conflict resolution, decision-making and problem-solving.”
Elementary school youth within the Baldwin County public school system are currently offered C.H.A.M.P.S. (Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) program through the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. The program gives students skills and knowledge to be safe and healthy from drugs, gang violence and bullying. Additional prevention programs are not available once students leave the fifth grade.
“Students in the fifth grade usually go through C.H.A.M.P.S., which took the place of D.A.R.E. (Drugs Abuse Resistance Education), and at the end of elementary school, there are no other prevention programs; it stops,” Braziel said. “We’re hoping at least 800 of the students at Oak Hill will go through the program. Parents will have the option to decide if their child participates.”
In order for a law enforcement professional to teach the G.R.E.A.T. curricula, training must be completed for them to become certified. The program is taught in the classroom and can be used in conjunction with other prevention programs to encourage positive relationships among community, parents, schools and law enforcement.
“The curriculum is aligned with the health curriculum, so the health teacher doesn’t have to go back to re-teach those same standards. [Lt. Etta Gray with MPD] will be housed at Oak Hill to teach the program during the school day,” Braziel said. “This program doesn’t require any funds from [the school system]. The classroom materials are free and they will cover the cost.”
Principal Dr. Linda Ramsey said G.R.E.A.T. will kick off in January with around 150 sixth-graders taking the course as an exploratory class.
“We want to get the community involved and try to prepare students to get along in society. The program will start in the sixth grade, and we will be able to track their progress during their middle school years,” Ramsey said. “We’re so excited about this program along with the police department. I know it’s going to work, and the students are going to be better because of it.”
For more information about G.R.E.A.T., visit www.great-online.org.
In other business during Tuesday’s regular school board meeting:
• heard a presentation from Eagle Ridge Elementary School on student and stakeholder engagement;
• presented GLISI (Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement) certificates and pins to the District Change Team for completing training;
• approved minutes from the meetings held Nov. 12 and 13;
• approved personnel recommendations as presented;
• approved financial reports for the school district and the Early Learning Center;
• approved revisions to the Head Start Screening Criteria Scale and its application;
• approved a sole source purchase recommendation;
• approved a proposal to continue workers compensation coverage with Georgia Education Workers Compensation Trust;
• approved the request from the Oconee Center to provide transportation services for students of the school system;
• approved a table new board policy regarding seclusion or restraint of students for 30 days; and
• heard the sales and use tax fund report presented by Braziel.
The school board is slated to next meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 in the board office located off the U.S. Highway 441 bypass.
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