At the Oct. 5 meeting of the Dawson County Board of Education, board members heard a presentation from Dawson County High School administrators on some of the most interesting programs the high school offers for its students.
One of the newest programs that staff are excited about, according to DCHS Principal Michael Negley, is the new Tiger Advisor Program (TAP). Negley said that the idea for TAP has been in administrators’ minds for several years and has finally come to fruition this year.
“The Tiger Advisor Program stems from the fact that we have two counselors in the high school that are responsible for over 400 kids apiece; that’s a lot of kids to be responsible for and they have a lot of work that they do for those kids,” Negley said. “I wanted every student in our building to have one adult that they felt like they could go to no matter what; whether it was personal, whether it was academic, whether it was just somebody to hold them accountable, and I didn’t want that person necessarily to be one of their own teachers.”
Negley said that, in the advisor program, each teacher will have a focus group of between 20 and 25 students that they will stay with all the way from the students entering the high school in tenth grade through to graduation. A TAP committee of teachers will help to plan activities with the teachers in the building, including things like training all of the TAP teachers on how to read a high school transcript.
TAP teachers will meet with their students once a week and be available to help with anything they may need. Negley said that the goal isn’t for the TAP teachers to take over for the existing counselors, but to give each student someone else to go to if they need to.
“The goal is not to take over for the counselors; the goal is to have another set of eyes looking out for these kids to maybe catch something that you then refer them to the counselor and say ‘maybe we need to look at your math’ or to have those conversations about ‘what comes next after high school; let me help you explore some of those opportunities’,” Negley said.
Amy Smith, CTAE director for the high school, spotlighted another program that students recently participated in: a work-based learning bootcamp, sponsored by a grant from the University of North Georgia and led by author Chad Foster.
“Chad Foster came and spoke to our kids and actually gave them one of his books about career readiness that he’s the author of,” Smith said. “He came and did a really interactive day teaching them how to make connections, how to meet that employer when they go in and anybody that they interact with during their work-based learning and remember who that person is, follow up with emails and those kinds of things.”
Smith said that Foster’s presentation was very engaging and helpful to the students, and that the content he covered was able to help the students in their college and career readiness.
Smith and Negley, along with DCHS Assistant Principal Charles Beusse, spotlighted six other fun ways that the high school administrators are working to make learning engaging and fun for the students, including a “speed dating” activity to learn about biomes, March Madness brackets to learn about statistics, engineering games project which allows students to design and build their own games, “baby week” to teach students about parenthood, future educators signing day and “traveling the silk road” which is aimed at teaching students about the different cities along the Silk Road.
Following the presentation, Negley thanked the board members for allowing her and the other high school administrators to present some of the exciting things going on at DCHS.
“I appreciate the opportunity to share this with you guys, cause I know we highlight our fine arts programs and our sports programs and all the extracurricular stuff that our kids get to do, but I don’t know that you guys get to see the day in and day out really innovative, creative activities and the way that our teachers are working really hard to reach every kid in our building,” Negley said. “We’re really proud of the work that’s going on in the high school.”