Local school officials praise Georgia Superintendent Richard Woods and his new “roadmap” for K-12 learning.

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Education head announced his plan to “reimagine K-12 education in Georgia.”

This roadmap outlines 10 points that encompass Woods’ vision and goals for the years and months ahead.

Woods explains that the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how schools have had to function, and while people are eager to get back to a “normal,” he does not think that schools should return to how things were.

“But there is a “normal” that we should not and cannot go back to — a “normal” of data points determining destiny, scores oversimplifying a student’s worth, and blame and shame serving as the drivers of education reform,” said Woods.

Local public school officials have praised the plan, saying that it is in line with the current visions that administrators have for students within Carroll County.

“We appreciate Superintendent Woods recognizing the importance of educating the whole child, supporting our teachers, and using innovative learning practices to ensure students in Georgia have access to the very best learning environments and opportunities,” said Dr. Jessica Ainsworth, Assistant Superintendent of School Performance for Carroll County schools.

“Our district’s priorities of social emotional wellness, future-focused awareness, and 21-century learning practices clearly align with the GADOE’s Roadmap to Reimagining K-12 Education, and we are looking forward to continuing to be a premier choice for Carroll County families now and for years to come.”

The 10 points in Woods’ roadmap include trying to achieve well-rounded education students across the state, the creation of multiple diploma pathways, reduction of high-stakes testing, and modernizing the state’s K-12 funding formula.

Reduction of high-stakes testing has been a hot topic in the state DOE, as Woods has been attempting to reduce the grade weights of Georgia Milestones tests from 20% to 0.01%.

The state board of education did not approve that reduction, instead settling on a reduction to 10%. A vote in the coming weeks will determine whether the weights are reduced to 10%. This will come after a public comment period, where an online survey will be available until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 16.

Other tenets in the new roadmap include adopting a student-level, rather than grade-level, approach to teaching and learning; ensuring students graduate with a jumpstart on post-secondary success; and developing an accountability system.

“We support the tenets outlined in the state Department of Education’s ‘Reimagined’ plan, and in fact, have been pursuing much of what it includes at the local district level for years,” said Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent of Carrollton City Schools.

“As for student success, we diligently focus on post-secondary options for our graduates. In fact, despite the pandemic, more than three-quarters of the Class of 2020 planned to pursue a college degree with 3% entering the military.”