In preparation for the upcoming school year, the Dawson County Board of Education recently approved ESPLOST funds for three separate projects, including moving Hightower Academy and Crossroads Discipline Program and installing a new technology and district registration facility.
Currently, both the county’s non-traditional high school students and a handful of students placed in an alternative setting due to discipline are all housed at Hightower Academy. Staff is allocated to the facility, but non-traditional students are limited on elective options. The new accommodations will split up the non-traditional students and the disciplinary program students and allow for the non-traditional students to have more opportunities in their learning, according to Superintendent Damon Gibbs.
“Hightower predominantly serves students in high school, so moving the program to the Dawson County High School campus allows us to expand opportunities for all of our HTA students and more efficiently serve those with special and unique needs,” Gibbs said.
Hightower Academy will have a dedicated wing in the high school for the non-traditional students who have chosen this alternative setting and are not placed there because of discipline issues.
The students who need to be in an alternative setting due to disciplinary issues will be placed in the newly formed Crossroads Discipline Program, which will be housed in an isolated section of Dawson County Junior High School, according to Gibbs.
“Crossroads will be a contained program and no interaction will occur with other students in the school,” Gibbs said. “This will be due to space availability and administrative support.”
With both Hightower Academy and the Crossroads Discipline Program being moved to new locations, the building that has previously held both the non-traditional and the disciplinary students will be empty and available for the third project: a new Dawson County Schools District Registration and Technology facility.
“We have discussed the need for a new technology facility in Dawson County,” Gibbs said. “The current Hightower Facility will become the registration and technology facility, and the current technology facility will be reformatted to house support staff for the district.”
According to Gibbs, these new arrangements will save the school system money, but the main goal in moving the programs is to be able to better serve the students in the Dawson County School System. District registration at the new facility is planned to begin after July 4.
“We will save money from streamlining the services provided, but the focus of the move has been on a better service model for our students,” Gibbs said. “The plan is to better utilize our facilities so that we can serve our students more effectively and efficiently.”