2020-2021 Georgia Milestones Assessment:
Low Participation, Strong PCSD Performance
Recently released results from the 2020-2021 Georgia Milestones Assessment show the percentage of Paulding County students scoring at levels 2, 3, and 4 topped the percentage of students scoring at the same levels statewide in all 24 subject areas. At the highest two levels Proficient or Advanced (3 & 4), PCSD students topped the state in 23 of 24 subject areas.
These results, however, come with an important disclaimer: due to the pandemic, participation rates for the assessment were down significantly across the state in 2021. Out of concern for the safety of virtual students having to take the tests in person at schools this spring, the state Department of Education asked that the 2021 Milestones be cancelled (as had happened in 2020), but that request was denied at the federal level. Therefore, the state DOE issued a statement instructing school districts not to require virtual students to come to schools solely for the purpose of taking the Milestones tests. The DOE also lowered the End of Course weighting for the tests to an almost insignificant .01 percent of high school students’ final grades and asked districts to remove promotion and retention accountability for elementary and middle school End of Grade assessments. While the tests were administered to in-person students, participation was down substantially for virtual students and there was little performance incentive for high school students as the tests had almost no impact on their final grade.
In its own press release, the state DOE stated:
“While tests were administered in 2020-2021, there is an urgent need to share scores with our communities in the proper context – ensuring they understand that the validity of the scores depends on them being interpreted in the context of pandemic schooling. Georgia Milestones was designed to measure the performance of students in a traditional educational environment, and the 2020-2021 school year was anything but. Rolling quarantines, rising case counts, and shifting instructional models were beyond the control of teachers and students. Districts, the news media, and other stakeholders should exercise caution in making year-to-year comparisons using the state-level data, due to changes in students’ learning environments and differences in participation. In general, year-to-year comparisons should not be made using school- and district-level data.”
While individual student scores may be valid, comparing the Paulding County School District’s 2021 Georgia Milestones results to prior years is not valid for the reasons cited above. Additionally, comparing the Paulding County School District’s 2021 results to Georgia’s 2021 results may raise validity questions as well because of the participation decline. In a normal year, approximately 99 percent of students in Paulding County and in Georgia take the tests, whereas this year the participation percentages were far lower. What the results do show is that for the percentage of students who took the tests, Paulding County students excelled in comparison to their peers statewide.
“While these GMA results may not provide a valid comparison to previous years, what they do show is the incredible amount of work our teachers, administrators, school staff, parents, and entire school community put in to ensure that education continued in Paulding County during the pandemic,” said Interim Superintendent Steve Barnette. “These scores reflect well on our students at every grade level and in every subject area, and we will use them as one data point in a wide range of assessments that are helping our academic focus.”
Since the start of the 2021-2022 school year, schools have conducted more than 20,000 Reading Inventory assessments to gauge where students currently stand. Literacy remains a primary emphasis at all PCSD schools through the district-wide Literacy by Design initiative, and the focus continues to show positive results as evidenced by the Milestones Reading At/Above Grade Level scores where PCSD students significantly outperformed the state.
Sheriff’s office turns up heat in school zones.
With Paulding County Schools starting back Monday, August 2, 2021, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office is reminding drivers to remain alert when driving in school zones or adjacent to school buses to ensure the safety of our children who are being transported on Paulding County roadways.
Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge reminds motorists that Deputies will be patrolling school zones as part of their daily operations and that they will also be watching for drivers that fail to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading passengers. Sheriff Gulledge urges drivers to remember that Georgia Law requires them to stop in both directions for school buses that are displaying their flashing red lights and have the stop arm activated (except for on controlled access highways or when the highway is divided into separate roadways). After stopping, you may proceed only after the school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer activated.
Deputies with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit urge drivers to use extreme care and to leave more space when traveling around a school bus, especially when following a school bus. “Drivers who are following school buses too closely are not prepared for the frequent stops made by the school bus,” Sheriff Gulledge noted. “Drivers should always use extreme caution when following school buses and obey the posted speed limits in the school zones.” The majority of fatal crashes involving school buses occurred when the school bus was struck by a smaller passenger vehicle. Sheriff Gulledge stated, “…a conviction for unlawfully passing a school bus carries six points on your driving record as well as a six month suspension of your driver’s license for drivers under the age of 21.”
Sheriff Gulledge also reminds drivers to be alert for children waiting for the school bus especially during the early morning hours when visibility is reduced. “Children are not always aware of their surroundings or vehicles that may be passing by and the dangers that they pose,” he said. “Drivers should be prepared to stop when approaching children that are waiting for a school bus.” #PauldingSheriff #PauldingSchools #BackToSchoolSafety
Domestic Dispute Turns Into Standoff with SWAT on Buchanan Highway
(Paulding County, GA) On Thursday June 3, 2021 at approximately 6:26 PM a 911 call was placed to Paulding E-911 regarding a domestic dispute at 10116 Buchanan Highway Temple, GA 30179. The complainant advised that her and her husband had gotten into a verbal/physical argument that had gotten extremely heated. The argument continued as she and her three children retreated from the home. As the female was leaving the home, the male fired multiple shots at her and the children as they ran up the driveway toward Buchanan Highway (GA SR 120 West).
Once the female and the children got to Buchanan Highway, they flagged down a passerby who took them to Rose’s Store which is in the Union Community of western Paulding County. While at Rose’s Store, the female made the 911 call and Deputies responded and met with her.
When Deputies and a Trooper with the Georgia State Patrol arrived on the scene, they made their way down a long gravel driveway toward the home. When they got approximately 50 yards from the home, the male, later identified as Thomas Brian Buchanan, (W/M, 41 YOA) came out of the home and fired one round at Deputies and the Trooper. A short time later, he came back outside and began firing multiple rounds at law enforcement. It was then that Deputies and the Trooper returned fire toward Buchanan. Buchanan subsequently retreated into the house and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team responded to the scene.
A short time later, the SWAT Team arrived on scene and surrounded the home. When they got in position, the SWAT Team and the Crisis Negotiations Team began the negotiations process. After a lengthy negotiations process with no response from Buchanan, the SWAT Team searched the residence and ultimately discovered the body of Buchanan in the home.
After it was determined that Buchanan was deceased, and the home was clear, Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division and the Paulding County Coroner preliminarily made the determination that Buchanan had died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. It was further determined that none of the Deputies or Trooper’s rounds struck Buchanan. Buchanan’s body was later transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Crime Lab for an autopsy where an official manner and cause of death will be determined.
Detectives want to encourage anyone who was a passerby on Buchanan Highway when this incident was unfolding and may have seen anything, to please call the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Tip Line at (770) 443-3047 or submit a tip via the free Paulding Sheriff mobile app. #PauldingSheriff #GeorgiaStatePatrol
photo from Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page
Sergeant Ted Carpenter Retires From the Sheriff’s Office
(Paulding County, GA) On Sunday May 30, 2021 Sergeant Ted Carpenter retired from the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. Sergeant Carpenter began his career at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office on May 14, 1997 as a Jailer. During his over 24 year career he served under two different sheriffs.
photo from Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page
Prior to working with the Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant Carpenter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he faithfully served his country. As most all of our employees do, Sergeant Carpenter began his career with the Sheriff’s Office as a Jailer. In February of 1998 he attended the Georgia P.O.S.T. Basic Law Enforcement Training Course (B.L.E.T.C). Upon graduation from the B.L.E.T.C, he transferred to the Uniform Patrol Division and became a Deputy Sheriff. Sergeant Carpenter spent a number of years on night shift as a supervisor and eventually found his way to dayshift where he was promoted to Sergeant. Sergeant Carpenter spent the majority of his career working in the Uniform Patrol Division answering calls for service and helping to keep our community safe. Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “Ted was a great employee and was fun to mess with because he is from Maine and had a northern accent. He was a hard worker, both on and off duty and is an avid Red Sox and Patriots fan. We are going to miss Ted; I hope he gets to enjoy time with his family, relax, go fishing, and watch the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots as much as he wants.”
Sergeant Carpenter’s career has spanned over 24 years. During his tenure as a Jailer and Deputy at the Sheriff’s Office, he has seen many changes. We want to wish Sergeant Carpenter a happy and relaxing retirement. Now he will have plenty of time to enjoy life and spend time with his family. #Retirement #PauldingSheriff #UnitedStatesMarineCorps #Congratulations
Missing Paulding County Woman Found Dead in Car Submerged in Sweetwater Creek.
On Wednesday May 5, 2021 at approximately 9:00 AM, Paulding E-911 received a 911 call reference a missing person. The complainant advised that Amanda Lindley (B/F, 36 YOA) had left her home off of Cohran Store Road in southern Paulding County at approximately 3:30 AM headed to work at a convenience store in Douglas County. According to her family, Ms. Lindley never made it to work. Deputies and Detectives began sharing the information on social media as soon as they could in an attempt to locate her.
At approximately 4:20 PM Paulding E-911 received another 911 call reference a possible motor vehicle accident that occurred in the area of Sweetwater Creek, near 1823 Friendship Church Road, Douglasville, GA (Paulding County). The caller, who was a family member of Ms. Lindley, told 911 Operators they had been searching for Amanda Lindley who had been reported missing earlier in the day. The caller further advised that they believed they had located vehicle debris in the water that appeared to match her car (silver 2004 Mercedes E320, no tag).
Paulding County Deputies and Paulding County Fire & Rescue units arrived a short time later and discovered evidence on the scene suggesting the possibility a vehicle may have left the roadway and could be submerged in the rain-swollen creek.
photo from Paulding County Sheriff Facebook Page
Mutual aid from Douglas, Carroll, and Cobb Counties were called in to assist with the search. At approximately 8:00 PM a specially trained and equipped dive team from Carroll County Fire & Rescue entered the 20-foot deep creek. After searching in the murky water, with near-zero visibility, divers from Carroll County Fire & Rescue located the car with the victim deceased inside just after 10:00 PM.
Once removed from the water, the victim was preliminarily identified as 36 year-old Amanda Lindley, of Cohran Store Road in southern Paulding County. This accident is currently under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol who may be contacted for additional information. Thus far, there are no suspicions of foul play involved in Lindley’s death. However, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is going to conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “I am heartbroken for this family as they grieve the loss of their loved one.” He went on to state, “I would also like to give my sincere thanks and appreciation to the men and women of the Paulding, Carroll, Douglas, and Cobb County Fire Departments for their bravery and determination to locate Ms. Lindley and give this family closure for such a tragic situation.” #PauldingSheriff #MissingPerson
(Paulding County, GA) At a ceremony held on Tuesday April 20, 2021, Sergeant Jared Gunter was awarded the “Officer of the Year” award by the Paulding County Rotary Club. Sergeant Gunter was accompanied by Sheriff Gary Gulledge along with his family and supervisors at a luncheon held in his honor.
Sergeant Gunter has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 2016 and was recently transferred into the Office of Professional Standards Division (OPS). In the OPS Division he is responsible for recruiting efforts as well as employee processing. Over the past year, Sergeant Gunter has been an instrumental element in several projects at the Sheriff’s Office. One of the main projects he has assisted with was with the transition and implementation of a new Report/Jail Management Software upgrade.
Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “Jared does an excellent job, his work on our RMS/JMS upgrade has been instrumental in the success of that project. He is a hard worker and always strives to make our Sheriff’s Office better”. Sheriff Gulledge further stated, “I would also like to personally thank the Paulding County Rotary Club for continually supporting law enforcement in Paulding County. Without the support of philanthropic organizations like the Paulding County Rotary Club, it would be difficult for us to do our job”.
Photo from Paulding County Sheriff’s Facebook page
Anna Davenport ran away from her home in Paulding County on February 11, 2021. She is not believed to be in any danger, but her family is concerned with her well being. Please call the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Division at (770) 443-3016 if you have any information regarding her whereabouts. #Paulding
This is a reminder that the application window for the school district’s magnet academies remains open now and will close this Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Each academy offers a different academic experience for high school students. The Hiram Academy of Computer Science at Hiram High School, and the Paulding Academy of Science, Research & Medicine at Paulding County High School, are open to all rising 9th grade students regardless of where you attend school now. The Paulding College & Career Academy, meanwhile, is open to all high school students. Learn more about each at these links:
Applications will not be accepted after the application window. Applications can be found by clicking the links below:
Hiram Academy of Computer Science:
Paulding Academy of Science, Research & Medicine
Paulding College & Career Academy (No deadline for PCCA application)
Are you a parent of a child who will be five years old on or before Sept. 1, 2021? Registration for kindergarten begins March 1st and is by appointment only, so be sure to schedule an appointment today.
Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in locating a local 15 year old juvenile from Paulding County. Detectives believe she may be in the Marietta/Smyrna area. If you know of her whereabouts, please call 911 or Detectives at (770) 443-3016.
Superintendent Brian Otott announced this week he plans to retire after 31 years of serving the Paulding County School District in multiple roles, including the last three and half years as superintendent. “Leaving the place you love is never an easy decision, but I am looking forward to completing this school year and beginning a new phase of life,” Dr. Otott wrote in a letter he plans to send to the Paulding County School District community. The effective date of his retirement will be May 31, 2021.
Dr. Otott started his career teaching 8th grade Georgia Studies at Herschel Jones Middle School, while also working at the After School Program at W.C. Abney Elementary School. Since then, he has worked at 11 Paulding County schools as well as the district office. The Board of Education hired Dr. Otott as interim superintendent in June of 2017, and made him full-time superintendent on Nov. 1, 2017. In September of 2019, the Board voted unanimously to give Dr. Otott a three-year contract extension.
“I am happy for Brian and the entire school board wishes him the best in retirement,” said Board Chairman Jeff Fuller. “I admire the dedication he brought to the job as a life-long educator, the remarkable knowledge he has of this community, and the impressive leadership he has displayed with a calm, measured demeanor through 2020 and into 2021, which has been one of the most challenging stretches in this school district’s history. He has done a terrific job for the Paulding County School District, and he will not be easy to replace. We really have our work cut out for us.”
Paulding County School Superintendent Brian Otott
During Dr. Otott’s time as superintendent, the Paulding County School District has grown to be the 12th largest school district in Georgia with approximately 30,000 students and 3,600 employees. Mr. Fuller noted that under Dr. Otott’s leadership the district’s 2020 graduation rate surpassed 90 percent for the first time ever, when just five years ago it was below 80 percent. And he praised Dr. Otott’s leadership during the pandemic. When COVID-19 closed schools in the spring of 2020, Dr. Otott developed a plan that made Paulding County schools among the first in the nation to return to instruction that fall by offering parents and students a choice of in-person and virtual instruction.
Some other highlights of Dr. Otott’s tenure include:
• Exceeding the state average in 22 of 24 subject areas on the Georgia Milestones assessment in 2019.
• Implementing a Literacy By Design initiative to improve reading skills at 18 schools throughout the district utilizing a $4.5 million grant from the state, the largest of its kind awarded to any school district. In 2020, the school district learned it has been awarded an additional $19.5 million over five years to expand the initiative to all 33 Paulding County schools.
• Hiring a District Safety Officer, expanding the district’s relationship with the Paulding Sheriff’s Office, and implementing more than $1 million in safety and security enhancements at schools district-wide.
• Increasing the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), including adding STEM teachers at the elementary level and opening the Hiram High School Academy of Computer Science and Technology in 2020.
• Opening the Paulding County College and Career Academy in 2019 to provide high school students career-focused opportunities in the Cybersecurity, Energy, Health, and Mechatronics fields.
• Receiving full district-wide accreditation in 2019 from AdvancEd for five years.
• Passing an E-SPLOST proposal to address growth and capacity needs with 70 percent approval by Paulding County voters in 2019.
• Working closely with the Board of Education to craft annual budget proposals that provide fiscally responsible millage rates, and at the same time provide competitive pay for district employees.
Mr. Fuller said the Board of Education will begin discussing the process of finding a new superintendent when it meets on January 26th. “In order to ensure the smoothest possible transition, our goal is to hire a new superintendent by the time Dr. Otott leaves on May 31st.”
Covid 19 update: Our curbside only schedule will be extended through the end of January.
When picking up items, give us a call at 770-975-0197 to schedule a curbside pickup. When you arrive at the library, call the same number to let us know you are here. We will also take down your library card number to check out your items. When the checkout process is done, we will place your items on the table outside the library.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Mattie’s Call / Missing Elderly Female
Bonnie Jean Smith, 63 YOA
White / Female
5’2” tall / 130 lbs
Brown shoulder length straight hair
She was last seen wearing a grey long sleeve “pocket” t-shirt, a grey fleece vest, dark pants, and black shoes. She left from 1616 Willow Springs Road Dallas, GA at approximately 8:15 PM on Monday 01/04/21 driving her red Chevrolet Cavalier with Georgia tag: XLE 301
Ms. Smith was seen last night at approximately 8:15 PM at her home. She stated she was traveling to the Racetrack by the hospital to get a parfait. She uses inhalers for COPD, and is on oxygen. She usually does not leave home without her small portable oxygen tank, but did not take it with her last night. She also uses oxygen at home nearly 24/7, though per her doctor, it is not always necessary. She is usually a “home-body”, and does not get out and travel very often. She does have missing and discolored/loose front teeth, therefore the attached picture is not an accurate representation of her. Ms. Smith does not have a cell phone with her and her family is very worried about her.
If you have seen Ms. Smith, or know of her whereabouts, please call 911 or the Criminal Investigations Division of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office at (770) 443-3015. #MattiesCall #PauldingSheriff #MissingPerson
(Paulding County, GA) On Monday January 4, 2021 Cindy Norman retired from the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic an official retirement celebration was unable to occur, but the Deputies and civilian staff at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office were able to send her away with well wishes from afar.
Mrs. Norman began her career at the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office in 1990 as a Dispatcher. She left the Sheriff’s Office from 1993 to 1996 and returned to Paulding County E-911 as a Dispatcher from 1996 to 2004. In 2004 she came back to the Sheriff’s Office as the Assistant Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC) in our Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) Division. During her over 28 year career she served under three different sheriffs.
Cindy Norman Retires from Paulding County Sheriff’s Office
In 2016 Mrs. Norman was promoted to Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC) in the GCIC Division. Her responsibilities included maintaining GCIC certifications for all of our Deputies, Detention Officers, and Civilian Staff as well as overseeing her employees. The GCIC Division is responsible for searching criminal histories, entering warrants, checking driver’s license histories as well as numerous other duties. Sheriff Gary Gulledge stated, “Cindy was a wonderful employee and was always so much fun to be around, I wish we could have sent her off with a huge party, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable to. Once everything gets back to normal, we will host an official retirement ceremony for her along with several others at a later date. I hope she enjoys time with her family and gets to relax as much as she wants.”
Mrs. Norman’s career at the Sheriff’s Office and Paulding E-911 has spanned over 28 years. During her tenure as a Dispatcher and a GCIC Operator/TAC at the Sheriff’s Office, she has seen many changes. We want to wish Cindy a happy and relaxing retirement. Now she will have plenty of time to enjoy life and spend time with her family. #PauldingSheriff #Retirement
Make sure to bring your old Christmas tree to the chipper from December 26 – January 9. They can be dropped off at the
ELIJAH JOHN BROOKSHIRE voluntarily left his home in Paulding County on December 13, 2020 and has not been seen since. He was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro with front end damage and no tag (see attached photos).
Reports indicate that he could have possibly traveled to the Dalton area in north Georgia, but it is unclear at this time. Foul play is not suspected in his disappearance, but his family is very worried about him.
If you know of his whereabouts or have any information, please contact the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at (770) 443-3015 or on our non-emergency number at (770) 445-2117. #MissingPerson #PauldingSheriff