Message From Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey

Message From Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey Regarding Recent NCSS Tragedies
Posted on 11/03/2018
Samantha FuhreyA Message from NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey:

The last three weeks have been very hard on the students and staff at Newton County Schools. We’re grieving the tragic loss of two students and one teacher. Two more students are facing difficult recoveries from not one but two serious accidents. It’s been hard, to say the least.

In light of these recent tragedies, many parents and community members have reached out to us to make sure that our students and our employees are okay. They’ve wondered—and you might have too—just what kind of programs Newton County School System has in place to assist the children—and the adults—in times of crises.

While federal laws prohibit us from releasing information specific to individual students and staff—we can let you know that we do have many programs in place to provide aid when needed as well as preventative programs to address issues ranging from mental health and wellbeing to bullying and student discipline.

Our school system is one of only three in the state to have received a grant for Project AWARE, an outstanding program that provides youth mental health first aid training for staff and community members. We also partner with ViewPoint mental health, which provides the school system with mental health clinicians at several of our schools as well as crisis support when needed. Public schools have evolved from focusing solely on academics to attending to the whole child as well as reaching out to their families and the community.

Newton County School System doesn’t focus only on providing care during and after crisis; we work very hard to prevent them. Our school system implemented the PBIS—Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support program, to provide prevention and intervention practices that support the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral competence of all students. In addition, each of our schools is certified as a “No Place for Hate” school. This anti-bullying program has proven effective across the state and nation. Our school-based counselors also provide classroom guidance and our staff are required to participate in training to ensure we are meeting the requirements of the law with regard to the wellbeing of the students we serve.

Newton County School System works closely with the Juvenile Court, DFCS, the Newton County Health Department, law enforcement, as well as virtually every other service agency in the county. In fact, last week, we were visited by the Georgia School Climate Coalition and Georgia Appleseed because our System of Care is a model for other counties. These are but some of the many programs we have in place to serve our students and staff.

While we’re all devastated over these recent tragedies, I’m proud to see how our students and staff have worked together to assist each other in this time of need. As we’ve told the parents of students directly impacted by these events, it’s important to let your child express his or her feelings; that aids in the grieving process. Our employees are taught to do the same. I encourage any parent or guardian who has concerns regarding their child’s ability to cope with a crisis to reach out to their school’s counseling staff at once. Our NCSS Student Services department is also a great source of support and can be reached at 770-787-1330 ext. 1212.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost a loved one; unfortunately no words can ease their pain during this very difficult time. As we always do, the Newton County School System family stands ready to assist however possible. On a personal note, I want to thank the many parents and community members who have reached out and inquired how they can assist. We are One Newton here in Newton County and we always come together to lift each other up in times of need. On behalf of our students and staff, I thank each of you for your kind words and support.

Samantha Fuhrey