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Current News

Dechman Slocumb Thomas County’s Slocumb appointed to state post

State School Superintendent Richard Woods has appointed 16 new parents to serve on his 2022-2023 Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC). Danniell Slocumb, a Thomas County Middle School representative on the Thomas County School District’s Parent Advisory Council, was chosen as one of the members.

Slocumb, who is one of only 31 parents serving on the State PAC, was nominated by the Thomas County School District at the beginning of this school year. New members are selected each year by representatives of the Georgia Department of Education based on the applicants’ responses to questions on engaging parents to ensure their children’s success at school and the local school superintendent’s recommendation. Slocumb will serve a two-year term on the council.

Slocumb is actively involved with the Thomas County School System and a supportive member of the community. Having a recently graduated senior and a current seventh grader, Slocumb is well aware of the academic and social supports families can benefit from. She has partnered with the different schools in the Thomas County school district since her first daughter started school 18 years ago.

“I think that being engaged in a constructive way at the school level is the only way to be able to have a voice so that the school has a chance to listen to an outside perspective and then take action accordingly,” Slocumb said.


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Lauren Duplantis Duplantis chosen to serve on state advisory council

Thomas County School Nutrition Director Dr. Lauren Duplantis was recently appointed to serve on the 2022-2023 State School Nutrition Director’s Advisory Council. As a member of the Advisory Council, she will work with other directors, state staff, professional association and industry members to enhance the reach and effectiveness of school nutrition services across Georgia.

Duplantis was asked by State Director of School Nutrition Dr. Linette Dodson and will serve on the council for three years. The majority of the meetings are held virtually, but at least one meeting per year is held in person.

“It is an honor to be chosen to serve on the advisory council for the state, and I look forward to providing input that will not only improve the programs we provide locally, but that also enhances school nutrition services throughout Georgia,” Dr. Duplantis said. “Our mission is to provide quality meals and nutrition education opportunities for students that promote healthy children, ready to learn, and it is exciting to work alongside others in school nutrition who share this passion as well."

The current alignment of the council is with the RESA districts, having one local director from a district in each of the 16 different RESA districts.

Barnhart and Nelms Instructional coaches enhance elementary schools

Thomas County Schools has added two Elementary School Instructional Coach positions for the 2022-23 academic year.  

Jordan Nelms will serve grades pre-kindergarten through first grade and Tanishia Barnhart will serve second grade through fourth grade.  The coaches aim to bridge communication as they connect three schools in the district:  Hand-In-Hand Primary (pre-K & K), Garrison-Pilcher Elementary (1st & 2nd), and Cross Creek Elementary (3rd & 4th).  

Garrison-Pilcher Principal Amy Tyson said that the addition of two Instructional Coaches was prompted by discerning the needs of classroom teachers for curriculum support, lesson planning assistance, and help in delivering data-driven instruction.  

Nelms and Barnhart met with curriculum teams over the summer to get linked with the teachers who serve as leaders in curriculum development.  The coaches are meeting directly with all elementary school teachers on a weekly basis now that the school year has begun.
Tyson was delighted with the selection of Nelms and Barnhart for the two positions.  

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Strings concert GP & CC Performing Arts Experiences Broaden Horizons

Thomas County students at Garrison-Pilcher and Cross Creek Elementary Schools are the lucky beneficiaries of a series of music outreach concerts made possible through a Title IV Student Support and Academic Achievement grant.  The first of four concerts took place on August 31, 2022.

Dr. Boyan Bonev, strings teacher at Cross Creek and Thomas County Middle School, oversees the project that includes a pre and post quiz to assess the knowledge the students glean from each program and to hone how the musicians can improve the delivery of the content. Topics of the first presentation included the label given to a group of string instruments playing together and the identification of individual string instruments.

Dr. Bonev brought a professional orchestral group to play for the students. Students listened to the instruments they possibly have never heard before. The musicians introduced the instruments (violin, viola, cello and double bass) and discussed how they are played and how they sound. Students asked questions and were given an opportunity to hold and play instruments.

“My colleagues and I had a great time playing for the students,” Bonev said.  “This was the first outreach program of our project to expose and engage the students with the performing arts. We are planning on three more featuring chamber music, opera, and ballet/dance in October, February and March.”


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