Fifth Graders from Banks County Elementary Dive into Government Operations


Fifth-grade students from Banks County Elementary Schools embarked on a comprehensive field trip to provide a deep dive into local government operations. Tailored to meet Georgia's educational standards for fifth graders, this immersive experience was structured around group rotations. Students visited the Banks County Board of Education, the Banks County Courthouse, the Banks County County Courthouse Annex, and the Banks County Sheriff's Administrative Office and Traning Facility.   

Banks County School's Superintendent, Dr. Ann Hopkins, illustrated the procedural aspects of board meetings at the Banks County Board of Education. Students participated in a mock board of education meeting where they chose topics to discuss and vote on. Students voted on adding extra recess time, shortening school days, and cell phone usage. The debate over cell phones, in particular, showcased the students' ability to engage in discussion, with some expressing concerns over the distraction they might cause to learning.

"Seeing our students engage so thoughtfully has been incredibly rewarding. This trip is an example of how we can show our young citizens the importance of their role in our community. I am proud of their curiosity and critical thinking skills," shared Dr. Ann Hopkins.

Sheriff  Carlton Speed and his officers provided insights into law enforcement duties at the Banks County Sheriff's Office. The students toured the administrative offices and the new training facility, interacting with officers and gaining a firsthand understanding of the challenges and responsibilities of maintaining public safety.

Students at the Banks County Commissioner and Tax Annex Building participated in a mock voting exercise led by Commissioners Chris Ausburn and Charles Turk. This session, centered around purchasing a new firetruck, highlighted the importance of budgets and the value of conducting research in decision-making, prompting some students to advocate for exploring more cost-effective options.

Ausburn and Turk shared how impressed they were with Banks County students' knowledge and problem-solving skills.

"They were engaged the whole time with the discussion process. It was a great way to unite our school system and community members while showcasing government procedures.", said Ausburn.

Students also visited the Banks County Courthouse, where groups met with judicial officials, including Judge Mingledorf. Students were given an inside look at the judicial system, providing students with the opportunity to learn about legal proceedings and the judiciary's role in Banks County.

Principal Dr. Leigh Ann Perry hopes to make this an annual tradition for the 5th-grade class.

Banks County Schools follow the Georgia Standards of Excellence, which provide a consistent framework to prepare students for success in college and the 21st-century workplace.