West Georgia Office
Georgia Appleseed opened its West Georgia Office in Columbus, Georgia, in March 2013 to serve Columbus, Macon, Albany and West Georgia, where we seek to transform our research on effective student discipline and dismantling the school to prison pipeline into positive action, through the development and implementation of community-led plans that address crime prevention, youth intervention and school climate change.
The West Georgia office is already having an impact on schools in Muscogee County. In collaboration with the Muscogee County School District and the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Appleseed helped to bring Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to the MCSD in the 2014-15 school year. Early data reports from the first cohort of schools are encouraging. Georgia Appleseed is also working with parents and community stakeholders in understanding the disciplinary data so that they can work synergistically with school leadership to increase effective student discipline, reduce racial disproportionality, reduce ineffective out of school suspensions, reduce petitions filed in juvenile court, increase academic achievement, increase graduation rates, and ultimately convert the "school exclusion to prison pipeline" to the "school to opportunity pipeline." In Columbus, the community action group's review of the system-wide student code of conduct is underway.
Georgia Appleseed's work in Macon/Bibb County is also under the West Georgia Office umbrella. Bibb County Schools announced in 2015 that it would be introducing PBIS to all its middle schools and high schools. Training was completed in April 2015 and implementation is set to begin in the fall of 2015. Georgia Appleseed has facilitated the formation of community action groups and will work with them to understand the data generated by the new PBIS operations and will also help them to work together with the school leaders to implement appropriate restorative justice interventions that will benefit all students and help to reduce racial disproportionality in OSS discipline.
Initial outreach is underway in the Albany/Dougherty County community. Local community stakeholders in Dougherty County are focusing their efforts on individual schools with serious out-of-school suspension rates.