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School board meeting asks for community input
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The Dawson County Board of Education heard the concerns and questions of parents in the county last week when they held a public forum to discuss the new five-year plan for the system.

Held at Dawson County Middle School on Oct. 6, the forum addressed questions from the parents as well as asking questions to find out what could be improved over the next five years.

"I wasn't really clear why they were having this meeting," said parent Mark Anglin. "If we're doing so great, what's initiated a concern to have this meeting and what changes are we looking for, because according to the data, we're doing great."

Anglin is the parent of a middle and high school student.

"Is there a concern that we need new changes or is it that we just want to keep striving to get better?" he asked. "I really don't know that I have the knowledge on some of this to have effective input."

However, according to Dawson County School Superintendent Damon Gibbs, all information is valuable to the system.

"I think information is powerful and we want to share as much of that information as possible," he said. "We're glad that everyone came and that you care enough about the education of Dawson County students to participate.

The input will be used to ensure that the resulting plan will reflect the wishes of the district's residents.

Following the data collection, the Dawson board will send it to the Georgia School Boards Association for the data to be analyzed and presented to the board on a later date.

"We will spend two days working with what we call the planning team," said Tony Arasi, a representative with GSBA. "The planning team will consist of about 30 people, half school district and half community members, and we're going to start going through that strategic planning model."

The forum asked five questions of the community in attendance: What does Dawson County need to preserve, what does the system need to change, what are the top challenges faced by the system, what are the top challenges faced by the students and what does the community want public schools to provide to the students.

For those unable to attend the meeting, an online survey will provide another opportunity to weigh in on this important community development issue. The survey can be found at