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Forsyth County GOP to host state education head

FORSYTH COUNTY -- Georgia’s School Superintendent Richard Woods will make the trip from Atlanta on Thursday to speak at the Forsyth County’s monthly Republican Party meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Forsyth County Republican Party headquarters at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Woods, who was elected in 2014, is set to detail his goals for Georgia schools and the upcoming school year.

One of those goals is to successfully implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA — President Obama’s replacement to the federal law known as No Child Left Behind.

Recently, Woods and the Georgia Department of Education partnered with education stakeholders to create a comprehensive plan in accordance with the act.

“A state advisory committee will bring together local superintendents, teachers, students, parents, state agency heads and representatives of education organizations, advocacy groups and civil rights groups,” according to Woods’ website about the plan. “Six working committees are charged with developing Georgia’s draft ESSA plan for submission to the advisory committee … full implementation of Georgia’s ESSA plan will take place during the 2017-18 school year.”

The state superintendent said he is optimistic about what this means for the future of Georgia schools.

Graduation rates have increased since he took office, jumping more than 6 percent from 2014 to 2015, marking the largest increase in graduation rates in the last five years. Woods said he expects those numbers to be even higher when 2016’s data is released this fall.

“With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, we have an enormous opportunity to reshape Georgia education and get rid of the standardized, one-size-fits-all model that became prevalent under No Child Left Behind,” Woods said. “The federal overreach has been dialed back, and we can now create a system that offers a holistic, personalized educational pathway for each child with a strong focus on foundational skills, social-emotional learning, responsible accountability and elevating the teaching profession.

“We’re inviting all interested stakeholders into this process and hope Georgia’s teachers, students, parents, and community members will participate as we lay the foundation for educational excellence in our state.”