There's a school in Bulloch County unlike any other in the system that meets the needs of its non-traditional students: the Performance Learning Center. It is located in the old William James School, and is adjacent to the system's Central Office.
Daniel Edenfield is the center's academic coordinator and he said the school has a diverse group of students to work with, and his teachers are each specialists in their fields. The teachers must be, because they are required to teach every course that the current student population needs.
Therefore, Edenfield selected his entire teaching staff as the school's “Unsung Heroes.” They are Vicki Lewis, language arts; Jan Haggins, social studies; Maria Salgado, science and Spanish; Jackie Varnell, math; and Marsha Arnett, business and computer science.
Lewis has taught at the PLC now for six years. Her classes range from English 1 through English 4, with a senior English class that consists of a research project.
Lewis said, “I like to think my strengths are in assisting our students in developing their writing abilities.”
Haggins also is in her sixth year at the PLC. Her classes include government and civics, world geography, history and economics. Most of her classes are taught on the school's E2020 computer program, which allows students to progress at their own speed.
Salgado is in her fifth year at the PLC. A native of Guerrero in Mexico, she teaches physical science, human anatomy, environmental science, and biology on the E2020 program, in addition to the Spanish language classes at the PLC.
Varnell is in her first year. Varnell taught math for 32 years, and was actually raised in this area. Her classes include math, money and management, math 1 & 2, algebra 1 & 2, geometry, and statistics.
Arnett is in her third year at the PLC. Arnett has created several business classes for her students. These include entrepreneurial ventures, in which the students create a business plan using real world data; and financial literacy, in which her students develop personal budgets, handing checking accounts and balancing bank statements.
As academic coordinator Edenfield said, “These teachers are called upon on a daily basis to handle any number of students taking a wide array of classes at different levels in each of their classes. They must always be ready to switch gears from one topic or field to another all day long.”
Edenfield added, “In my opinion, this takes a very special type of educator, for unlike the regular classroom where schedules are laid out way in advance, here at the PLC our situation is constantly changing. My teaching staff is truly amazing.”