Covington School System - 5/30/2009
As a former teacher in the system, I can tell you that teacher quality in this system is truly hit or miss. The administrators are power-hungry being pitted against one another by the Board of Education for everything from scores down to donations to the United Way procured by each. This results in an atmosphere of dislike from one school to another.
The EBIS system, which is in place to help students who are below level and/or struggling, is currently a total failure. Now employed in a nearby county where this system works much more effectively, I can see in retrospect that we were simply not doing this correctly in Newton County (Covington).
The ratio of teacher to student is increasing, and it was high when I was employed there a year ago. There are no parapros to assist teachers other than Kindergarten, Pre-K, or special education/ESOL classes. Copies are at a minimum with each copy being a struggle to get made. Students suffer in this process because the materials they need cannot be written on. This may be fine for high school or middle school kids, but it is very, very hard for first graders to match up answers on a separate pc. of paper.
The grading system in the entire state is changing to a 1-2-3- system instead of the A-B-C system of the past. The 1-2-3 system simply takes a concept and asks the teacher to subjectively rate whether or not the student has met the goal, is progressing toward the goal, or is not meeting the goal. Too simplistic! It is not going to change, though, so my suggestion is to keep in close touch with your child's teacher by email. Require that constant feedback on a child's performance- even at elementary level. Teachers are going to be SWAMPED with too many kids to help and no support system. Be that slightly squeeky but likeable wheel and your child ends up with a bit more oil. Sorry, but it is true in these overpacked classrooms in Newton County!
All in all, you will be able to get a good education, but your child- if he or she needs speech therapy, special ed services, etc. you must stamp your feet to get an IEP meeting. As a teacher, it took a full year to get speech therapy started for my elementary aged child. It took 4 months to get an IEP meeting for my ADHD child to be classified as Other Health Impaired in Middle school. I know the system and how to insist on service based on law... still it took a lot to get this done.
And remember above all- teachers cannot stand it when you go over their head to a principal before speaking to him or her.... And the principal cannot stand it when you go to the school board and over his or her head. The school board gets action, so if you are dissatisfied... find their number and make a call. You will get attention immediately![read more...]
rotten place to live now - 11/12/2008
I moved to Covington 10 years ago, it was a great place to live, then, Oprah endorsed it, now it is like all other towns outside of Atlanta, boom boxes going off at all hours of the night, drugs, higher crime, a crack city, not a WASP statement...just facts, I moved to north Georgia, higher population in the area then Covington, SperlingViews says 1 is the crime, cost of living is less, and the commute to downtown Atlanta is the same. I remember the bypass road, a 4 way stop there used to be about a 5 minute wait on most days, now, you can spend an hour, and the county has done nothing to accommodate the problems, should put a light in. I moved, and encouraged all my kids to move, 1 already has, two to go. Let the crack lords have it!!![read more...]
Covington, GA - Crime, Traffic, Over-rapid Growth, - 7/30/2007
WE have lived in the Covington, GA area for 20 years. When we moved out here, Covington (45 miles east of Atlanta) was an "undiscovered" city, too far from Atlanta to generally be considered a driving-to-work town. Schools were okay, there were plenty of good roads for limited traffic, and not much was going on in the way of growth. We commuted to Atlanta for several years, before we both retired, and no longer have to face jobs or commutes. You would think we'd be quite happy to be retirees in such a low-profile, forgotten community? Wrong, wrong and wrong again.
Fast forwarding 20 years to 2007 brings us to a city that that MEtro Atlanta has discovered, and is moving out to in droves. The "concentric rings" theory applies here, in spades. Growth jumps out from a large metro area in circles and rings, often leaping over currently established zones to areas farther beyond, due to cheaper land and home values, less crowded schools, less crime, more "home town" government, and a generally quieter lifestyle.
We now have daily, multiple mugshots of all the caught criminals on the front page of the local rag, have the bigbox stores growing like mushrooms, developers on the "in" with local government throwing up subidivisions every day without regard to the infrastructure, service facilities limits, traffic, schools, roads, and the like. Local government had promised reasonable, controlled growth in past years, anticipating the horror stories of other nearby cities and counties in the general Metro Atlanta area, assuring citizens living here that "it wont happen here". Guess what? The lure of the tax dollar proved too strong - take the trees down, 'doze the rural farmlands, lay concrete and asphalt, build strip malls, junk food shacks, big national name franchise restaurants and auto repair stores, and generally convert a quite community into a hustle and bustle of traffic congestion, construction, raised property taxes, schools in trailers, and now we're just like all the other ramshackle growth areas around Atlanta. Developers have no concerns except "put 'em up, sell 'em, and move on to the next spot of woods, repeat process. Government doesnt have the brains or the integrity to say "Whoa Nellie, Let's slow down".
Bottom line - Covington is a lousy place to live now. We wouldnt recommend it to anyone, unless all they wanted was a house close to an interstate to allow them a brutal 2-hours commute to downtown Atlanta every weekday. Crime's up, tension[read more...]