From left are Bartow County School Board members Anna Sullivan and Fred Kittle; Tom Kazmiersky, vice president of Alertpoint Security; Superintendent Phillip Page; and GSBA President Frank Griffin after the Bartow officials received the Leading Edge Award from the Georgia School Boards Association Dec. 5.

Bartow County School Board Chairman Fred Kittle praised the recent choice of Superintendent Phillip Page as the Bartow Neighbor’s 2019 Newsmaker of the Year.

Kittle said the Bartow County School Board “made a home run choosing Dr. Page” to be superintendent.

“He is a great leader who works well with our people in the school system and the community,” he said.

“Our board has been very pleased with Dr. Page. We feel fortunate and blessed to have him in Bartow County.”

Kittle noted the board nominated Page in August for the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Superintendent of the Year award.

He cited some of Page’s accomplishments since the board hired him in May 2018 after more than a decade in administration with Cobb County schools:

♦ Bartow County schools system increased its graduation rate in all three high schools to the highest levels in 12 years with Page as the superintendent, Kittle said.

The school system’s overall graduation rate was 89.2% in 2019, up 2.1% from 87.1% in 2018.

Its graduation rate exceeded the statewide rate by more than 7%, Kittle said.

♦ He said Page worked in his first year with the county’s faith-based and business communities, industries and individuals to help first-graders improve their reading skills through a new program called Read to Grow.

The initial group of 150 volunteers in four elementary schools in the first year more than doubled in size this school year to 350 helping teachers in all 12 elementary schools’ first-grade classrooms — as well as some second- and third-grade classrooms.

The system earned the Georgia School Boards Association’s new Leading Edge Award in December to recognize the innovative program and its “record-fast success” in all elementary schools, Kittle said.

♦ Page empowered staff and teachers to use time during the school day to collaborate on the best solutions for their individual students to achieve academic success, he said.

♦ In the budget process, Page moved parapros from working with a temp agency to being full-fledged system employees.

He also lowered the millage rate from 18.85 mills to 18.75 for the 2020 budget, Kittle said.

♦ Page is “accomplishing the board’s goals of increasing student achievement and providing more options for students,” Kittle said.

He helped students “with the process of where to go after graduation — college, technical school, military or direct to the workforce,” Kittle said.

He said Page and the school system partnered with District 14 State Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, to form the Cyber Security Pathway at Cass High School.

The new program uses distance learning technology to allow Bartow students to earn industry certifications in CompTIA A+, Network + and Security + by the time they graduate, Kittle said.

“No other high school program in Georgia offers all three credentials,” Kittle said. “Students in this program have the opportunity to earn a good living after graduation or continue their education for potential higher earnings.”

Page led the school system to add three magnet school programs for ninth-graders beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.

Woodland High School will host the Center for Advanced Studies in Medical Science; Adairsville High will have the Center for Advanced Studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; and Cass High will be the site for the Center for Advanced International Studies, Kittle said.

Bartow County schools saw an increase in students earning college credit due to Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses, he said.

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