Barrow County School System
The Barrow County School System currently has approximately 13,000 students enrolled in Pre-K through 12th grade and is the 28th largest school district in the State of Georgia. The Barrow County School System has eight elementary schools, four middle schools, two traditional high schools, a third high school, that is a choice option, provides a blended learning environment that incorporates direct teaching and learning with a computer-based program of study, and an alternative school.
Barrow County student demographics include 5% Asian, 13% African-American, 13% Hispanic, 5% Multiracial and 64% Caucasian. There are more than 40 distinct languages represented by the Barrow County students from all over the world including European, Asian, and African languages. All Barrow County schools are Title I schools with a 64% district free and reduced lunch rate.
Of the 1,600 employees, 100% of Barrow County Schools’ teachers have been designated as “highly qualified” for six consecutive years in each position and more than 67% of Barrow County’s teachers have a master’s degree or higher. Average teaching experience is 11 years.
In an effort to provide innovative solutions for increasing student achievement, the Barrow County School System converted to a charter system in 2011. Barrow County was an early Charter System adopter and is currently the second largest Charter System in the state. Charter system status was implemented to help accomplish the system’s mission to ensure an exceptional education that leads each student to become a high achieving and responsible citizen.
Charter systems are given increased flexibility in exchange for meeting standards for higher accountability that are based on the achievement goals in the charter. Specific areas of focus in Barrow County include: written and oral communication; critical thinking skills; problem solving skills; technology proficiency; and 21st century literacy skills.
The increased flexibility provides opportunities for teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and the school board to have more local control in determining the educational needs of students. As a Charter System, active participation is encouraged through the governance structure. Each school has a Governance Team comprised of the principal, teachers, parents, business partners, and students when appropriate, that are selected through an election process. The governance team acts in an advisory and decision making capacity that supports the principal. The Cluster and System Governance Teams encompass identified members from each school’s governance team.
System Strengths and Challenges
Barrow County School System was reaccredited as a district by AdvancED in April 2012. Barrow County School District received ratings of “highly functional” (the highest rating) on five out of seven standards and “operational” on two standards. Commendations from the visiting team included:
• Ample evidence exists that the district effectively communicates with all stakeholders through numerous methods;
• The vision and purpose of the school district is advanced by the superintendent, school board, and school governance teams who are committed to excellence;
• The school district's board and leadership team conduct business with an open door policy that evokes transparency with a considerable amount of trust in the school district; and
• School and system decisions are based on what is best for children.
Barrow County School System’s challenges include responding to growth throughout the district and meeting the needs of a transient population in some attendance areas. Additional challenges include responding to the needs of an increasingly diverse student population, managing resources to maintain and protect optimum student/teacher ratios during challenging budgetary cycles; and continuing to provide teachers and students with current technological tools to support the teaching and learning process.
An educational campus designed to meet the needs of both students and industry
The Barrow County School System (BCSS) and Lanier Technical College (LTC) broke ground on July 1, 2013 to develop an educational campus that will serve as a model for workforce development in Barrow County and the region surrounding Barrow. In the fall of 2011, the Barrow County School System purchased a 114 acre tract of property, located near Highway 316/University Parkway.
In early 2012, the Barrow County Board of Education donated 20 acres of this property to the State of Georgia for the purpose of expanding Lanier Technical College. Adjacent to the 114 acres is a 180 acre tract owned by the Winder-Barrow Industrial Building Authority, also in its early stage of development. The collaboratively designed, workforce driven academic environment will include state of the art and environmentally sound facilities that will encompass a new $14 million Barrow County Career Academy focused on innovation and technology funded jointly through local SPLOST funds and a Technical College System of Georgia grant along with a $16 million Lanier Technical College campus, funded through the State of Georgia.
The purpose of the campus will center on the workforce development needs of the region by focusing on high skill, high demand, and high wage careers. Programs of study have been developed by both entities that will complement and support each other, therefore, eliminating duplication of educational services and facilities. The collaborative model will concentrate on enterprises that correlate with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives.
Technology: Pre-K through 12 Research District and Race to the Top Innovation Grant
The Barrow County School System (BCSS) invests in technology as a way to support and facilitate student learning as well as teacher collaboration across the district, the state, and globally. BCSS was the first Pre-K through twelve school system to connect with colleges and universities through Internet 2 which allows our students and teachers to gain greater access to colleges and universities. Due to this collaborative connection BCSS is recognized as a research district.
Additionally, The Barrow County School System was awarded a Race to the Top Innovation grant to further advance the Direct to Discovery (D2D) distance learning model which Barrow County developed in partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia Board of Regents. The grant is based on 21st Century STEM Collaborations. Administrators have actively leveraged the district’s university-class network connectivity and forged long-term research and educational partnerships with colleges and universities that are greatly expanding state-of-the-art learning opportunities in math and science for Barrow students. Barrow County students regularly collaborate with more than a dozen research luminaries in emerging fields such as biophysics, nanotechnology, microbiology, and astrophysics. An analysis of the program indicates a significant increase in student interest in learning about STEM, as well as an increase in the level of educational attainment. Our students are also making global cultural and academic connections through the utilization of state of the art video conferencing equipment and collaborations with schools and districts in other countries.
“The Race to the Top Innovation Fund is a unique opportunity to fuel the innovative ideas of education leaders from across the state,” said Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal. “The projects selected for awards during this first round represent truly innovative and collaborative approaches to educating students. We look forward to scaling the best of these practices to other schools across the state.”
A Few of our Points of Pride
§ 2012: Middle School student scores surpassed other districts in our region by 5% and surpassed the state average by 10%.
§ 2013: Georgia High School Writing Test (GHSWT) have increased to the highest level of achievement at 95.5% with 10% scoring at the exceeds level which is also our highest level to date of achievement.
§ The fall End of Course Test (EOCT) saw gains in all academic areas. The spring Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results at the district level for grades three through eight combined show academic increases of up to 3.8% in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. Especially noteworthy are the gains made at all grade levels with more students moving into the exceeds achievement category.
§ 2012: Recognized nationally by winning first place for District Digital Use of Technology. 2012, 2011: Won Best All-Around for utilizing eBOARDsolutions as a best practice to support school governance and transparent leadership in the areas of strategic plan management, meetings administration and internal and external communications. 2012: Finalist in the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) competition.
National Model Schools
§ Auburn Elementary School serves as model school for ArtsNow. The ArtsNow initiative provides professional learning aimed at building capacity of all educators to enable them to use creativity, authentic arts integration and sequential arts education to help enrich student learning.
§ Haymon-Morris Middle School was named one of ten middle schools in the nation as a MetLife Foundation NASSP Breakthrough School. The goal of the project is to identify, recognize and showcase middle level and high schools that serve large numbers of students living in poverty and are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement.
Advanced Placement STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Schools
§ 2013: Apalachee High School and Winder-Barrow High School were both recognized by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) as Advanced Placement STEM schools with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses (AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, and AP Computer Science)
§ 2013: Winder-Barrow High School was recognized as a STEM Achievement school with students testing in at least two AP math courses and two AP science courses and at least 40 percent of the exam scores on AP math and AP science exams earning scores of three (3) or higher.
State Recognized Schools
§ 2012: Westside Middle School: one of ten schools featured in the annual Georgia Partnership for Educational Excellence for innovation and technology integration.
§ 2013: Winder-Barrow Middle School: Title I Reward School
§ All of our schools have GEMA approved safety plans in place that are reviewed annually. The results of the feedback surveys from our last district wide lockdown drill indicated that our teachers and school staff members are well prepared to follow emergency procedures as outlined by the plans.
§ BCSS finances are targeted on the classroom with 78% of the budget focused on instruction. BCSS is the 28th largest system out of 180 Georgia school systems. BCSS ranked 164th in per pupil expenditures for the FY12 at $7, 458. BCSS ranked 168th in per pupil general administration expenditures for FY12 at $198.34. BCSS ranked 174th in per pupil maintenance and operation expenditures for FY12 at $514.96.
§ 2012-2017: 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant to establish an afterschool program for rising grade 6-9 Bear Creel Middle School (BCMS) and WBHS at-risk students to address the needs of economically disadvantaged students in math, reading and science.
School Food Nutrition
§ 2012-2013: Twelve out of sixteen school cafeterias have scored a 100 on county health inspections. The remaining four schools have scored a 97 or above.
In Barrow County, we are committed to providing the highest quality education possible for each student. We want our students to be competitive locally, nationally, and internationally so they will experience productive lives. With many successes and achievements already accomplished, we have a great story to tell. We invite you to join our quest for excellence. Help us ensure that each student receives an exceptional education. Help us make the commitment that all of our students will have the chance to become high achieving and responsible citizens. We are a team – students, parents, educators, and the community – working collectively to reach this common goal. To learn more about the Barrow County School System, please visit the website at www.barrow.k12.ga.us.
Welcome to our Barrow County Schools
228 Jefferson Street
106 Church Street