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Schools seek input on grade configurations, calendar



By Keith Petty

Pickens County School District


A revised school calendar and new grade-level configurations are on the table of possibility for Pickens County BOE employees, parents, and students; and Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson is receptive to the views of all interested stakeholders.

    For the 2018-2019 school year, a reduced number of school days and a later start date are in consideration. All of the options for both the calendar and grade level configurations will be discussed with an informational vote conducted at the conclusion of each meeting.


Possible Calendar Options:


180-day school year (traditional school calendar)

174-day school calendar

170-day school calendar

160-day school calendar


Pros and cons of each calendar will be discussed.

In terms of grade-level configurations, the current K-5/ 6-8/ 9-12 configuration could potentially shift in regards to student populations and student enrollment, placing current grade levels on different campuses than those on which they are now housed. Three configuration options are being evaluated.  


Possible Grade Level Configurations:


*Build a new middle school on the same location

*Build a new middle school on a different location

*Create four Kindergarten - 6th grade schools with one 7th & 8th grade school, and one 9th - 12th grade school

*Create three Kindergarten through 4th grade schools with one 5th & 6th grade school, one 7th & 8th grade school, and one 9th - 12th grade school

As Dr. Wilson and Pickens County Board of Education members debate a later school start and a redistribution of grade levels, Dr. Wilson realizes that the bottom line rests with those who will be affected. Welcoming their ideas, Dr. Wilson has scheduled multiple meetings in order to discuss possible scenarios and receive feedback

For Pickens BOE employees, the following meetings are scheduled:  

•Monday, Dec. 18 -  4 p.m.  

•Tuesday, Dec. 19 - 4 p.m.

Public meetings are scheduled as follows:  

•Monday, Dec. 18 - 6 p.m.

•Tuesday, Dec. 19 - 6 p.m.

•Wednesday, Dec. 20 - 8 a.m. 

All meetings will be held at the Pickens BOE Board Room. 

Dr. Wilson urges as many interested persons to attend as possible.  After the December 20 morning meeting, Dr. Wilson will convene with board members to vote on next year’s school calendar and grade-level configurations.





Mountain bike trails open up in Pickens County

   mt. bike trail open

     6-year-old rider Beau Tate at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve trails now open to the public. His father, Will Tate, is president of the local friends of the trails and said the trails are well-suited for younger and beginning riders.

After five years of planning and work, the private land trust that owns the property announced this week that the mountain bike trails at the Talking Rock Nature Preserve are open to the public and free to ride or hike.

Bill Jones of Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land (STPAL), speaking at the Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday said they were expecting the last loads of gravel to be delivered for the parking lot that day at the center of the 211-acre tract on the west side of Highway 515 at the Pickens/Gilmer line. 

Five of the planned 10 miles of trail are ready and work continues on the remainder at this time. The park can be accessed from Old Whitestone Road or Carnes Mill Road coming from Highway 515 across from Biguns Barbeque.

Surprise snow causes cancellations, rescheduling of numerous holiday events

dog walker snow robin dunn

Robin Dunn / Photo

Aaron Sanderson walks his dog in the Bent Tree Community Saturday. While it made a nice break for many, the snow forced cancellation of numerous Christmas events. See more snow photos on pages 6-7B.


Last Friday’s massive snowfall may have been a  nice early winter surprise for some, but organizers of weekend events were left out in the cold when their projects were forced to cancel due to slippery road conditions. 

From holiday musicals and plays to Jeep rides benefiting Toys for Tots, numerous events were left stranded in the wake of the eight inches of snow that fell throughout the county.

Is the Pickens County Animal Shelter up for grabs?

animal shelter

       The Pickens County Animal Shelter opened in 2009. The county is now fielding proposals from two entities interested in taking over operations and/or medical care.  

       At the most recent commissioners work session, board members briefly discussed a proposal from a local veterinarian interested in taking over Pickens County Animal Shelter operations, as well as a second group that has separately expressed interest in contracting for the care of the animals. 

Animal Medical Clinic, operated by Dr. Craig Chester, has proposed to move his operations to the animal shelter and use his current office for quarantine. Full details of his proposal were not made public at this time, but Dr. Chester will make a presentation at the next regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 21.  

     See full story in this week's print or online editions. 

UPDATE: Man thought to be police impersonator identified

     Press Release Cherokee County Sheriff's Office - Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division has identified the person who was originally said to be a police impersonator.  The male works as a certified peace officer for the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office.  He was working in an off duty capacity, as a peace officer, inside of Cherokee County when he initiated the traffic stop. 

         While we appreciate all of our adjoining and sister law enforcement agencies not only here in metro Atlanta but throughout the state and nation we would always prefer that an officer from outside our jurisdiction request assistance from us prior to initiating law enforcement action within Cherokee County.  If it cannot be done prior to the law enforcement action then notify us immediately upon completion of that action.  We work very hard to cultivate the relationship we have with our citizens and would not want that jeopardized by the actions of an outside agency.