About Phil Ledbetter

After 30 years in the Catoosa County School System--25 as an elementary principal--I have been the Catoosa Family Collaborative coordinator since January, 2007. I live in Chattanooga with my wife Shelia & we have 6 grown children between us & six precious grandchildren! We love to travel & are involved in our church.

FY21 Reports

2nd QUARTER REPORT  for October, November, December, 2020

The State Georgia Family Connection Partnership 2020 Conference was moved from an in-person event to digital due to the COVID virus. Held in the middle of October, the conference was a high-quality lineup of inspiring presenters that gave this coordinator the opportunity to learn about innovative ideas for improving outcome in my community.  The conference also was a rich interactive experience to reflect and connect with my peers from across the state. Also, this fall the coordinator was asked to serve on the Cloud Springs Elementary School’s Local School Governance Team (LSGT).  This team provides assistance to the Catoosa County Board of Education, the superintendent, and the school principal in developing and nurturing broad-based participation by the community and parents in the education of the children who attend the school. The team supports the principal in addressing issues, improving student academic performance, and providing help for teachers, students, and parental engagement.  The team meets monthly during the school year.  Coordinator, Phil Ledbetter participated in numerous trainings this quarter. There was Race, Equality, and Inclusion training on November 9th, and Family Strengthening and Support Certification on November 12th and 13th.  A Poverty Perspectives Webinar through PCA Georgia was held on December 2nd. The annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference was cancelled, and even though there were fewer prevention trainings for this reporting period, with holidays and vacations, some conferences still convened online.  The second part of the annual Cultural Competency training was held on October 13 via Zoom.  There were two additional trainings for DBHDD’s Database (ECCO) also held this past quarter.  The 2021 Kickoff training for providers via Webex that outlined the expectations of the closeout year was also in November.  Although there were no real specifics mentioned at that meeting, leadership announced that there would be an opportunity for additional projects where providers could continue their work and utilize training they had acquired in prevention over the years.

The Catoosa Family Collaborative held in person collaborative member meetings in October with 40 present, and November with 25 attending.  Due to Covid-19, no meeting was held in December.  Also, the Collaborative offered a parenting course, called: “Positive Parenting” during October and November, 2020.  This program is funded by The Pittulloch Foundation and is a seven-week course.  The issues we cover are as follows: establish discipline through family rules, rewards and alternatives to spanking and yelling; praise themselves and their children; express their anger and stress in healthy ways that do not hurt themself or their children; use their personal power to make healthy choices; promote school success through relationships with teachers; problem solving and negotiation; and recognize warning signs of drug/alcohol use and how to create a substance abuse free home. Eight parents attended and completed the course to receive certificates!  Free meals were offered each course night as well as free childcare for children from birth to age 10.

Since 2007, the Catoosa Family Collaborative has worked with the Catoosa Citizens for Literacy to provided dictionaries, through the Dictionary Project, to every 3rd grader in all eight of the County’s elementary schools.  This is an effort to stress staying in school and graduating from high school, and at the same time, reach those parents who may need GED classes leading to a diploma.  Phil Ledbetter the FC coordinator wears a “graduation cap & gown” and tells students the importance of earning a high school diploma. He shows the 3rd grade students how Catoosa County, with an 82% graduation rate, still has one in five who drop out of high school before they finish.  The free dictionary is a resource to help students with their different subjects.  In addition to the dictionaries, we give out ink pens with the student’s year of graduation—for this year’s 3rd graders it says “CLASS of 2030!”  Due to COVID-19 we were not allowed in the elementary schools to distribute dictionaries this fall.  We are looking for an opportunity to still hand them out in the spring of 2021.

Our AMC Theatre 15-second PSA strategy began September 18th. The Catoosa Prevention Initiative (CaPI) partnered with the North Georgia YMCA to work with the after-school leadership students from Lakeview Middle School. AMC provided movie tickets to the students and CaPI provided a $25.00 gift certificate for snacks with a giant re-fillable popcorn buckle.  The students went to the theatre on November 10th, and the leadership was able to show them the PSAs and held a round-table discussion about Social Hosting with the students.  We continued our strategically-place billboards in Catoosa and Walker County, as well as to advertise school year books, sports bulletins, ballfield signs, and game-sponsorships.  Above The Influence (ATI) can still be found in The Caffeine Addicts newspaper, “Coffee News”, Social Media, Billboards, Football Program Guides, football field fencing, posters, and several community events.  Because of Covid-19, The Yard-Sign Campaign remains slow, but will be revamped in the spring of 2021.  ATI activity sheets were added to the Project Success curriculum as an extra activity to address topic #4 “family and friend’s relationships.”

Red Ribbon Week was in October with all primary schools in both counties participating.  Ribbons were purchased and placed on the school system’s pony in Catoosa County and the Walker Family Connection Coordinator personally delivered the City of Chickamauga and Walker County’s ribbons.  The Catoosa Prevention Initiative (CaPI) participated in the Communities in School’s Duck Derby on October 3rd.  Above the Influence marketing campaign, Vaping Cessations, and Social Hosting information was shared with community members at the event.  Communities in Schools has now partnered the Duck Derby with the Catoosa Department of Recreation Annual Fall Festival, so there were loads of Halloween candy given out to the youth.  At the end of October, the coordinator participated in the Catoosa Library Trunk or Treat event, setting up a booth with the Catoosa Learning Center to hand out candy, gift items and information to families traveling by cars through the Benton Place Campus.  Over 900 cars were served during the evening!  The Catoosa Family Collaborative and Catoosa Prevention initiative helped sponsor the November Turkey Shoot Golf Tournament that benefits the LIFT Youth Center in Ringgold, for after school kids.

The Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention Project (ASAPP) End-of-Year Final Report was due on the last day of the contract year, September 30th. The report is designed to allow providers the opportunity to summarize their overall ASAPP project, along with reporting on their activities, collaborations/ partnerships, accomplishments, challenges, and outcomes for the contract year. The Project Coordinator reported out on each of the strategies implemented in Catoosa and Walker Counties for the year and uploaded the progress into the new RedCaP portal on September 30.  October 1 began the new and final year of ASAPP.  All on-line systems for reporting had to be rebuilt or updated.  New annual contracts were issued from the state and presented to the Catoosa Board of Commissioners in the scheduled public meeting for approval.

A great amount of this reporting period’s time found the Catoosa Prevention Initiative gathering data for the annual Community Level Assessment, which feeds up into the annual Evaluation.  The assessment involves face-to-face interviews with community leaders.  In 2020’s case, these were held mostly via Zoom conferences or phone calls. A total of twelve interviewees participated—six from Walker County, and six from Catoosa County.  Perceptions about alcohol and marijuana were measured by asking questions in five different dimensions:  Knowledge of Efforts, Leadership, Community Climate, Knowledge of the Issue, and Resources.  Phil Ledbetter, Catoosa Family Collaborative Coordinator, Candy Hullender, ASAPP Coordinator, and assistant, Kay Brite, administrative assistant, all, helped with the interviews.  Following the Tri-Ethnic Center out of Colorado State University, each assessment was scored, totaled and averaged to compute a grand score of 5.34 (round down to 5.)  The score reflects the awareness level of the community commitment as it pertains to substance abuse prevention.  Catoosa and Walker County both fall into the “preparedness” level, meaning that they are “prepared” to address these issues.   Although dimension scores changed categorically, the overall score remained the same from 2019 to 2020—even with the Covid-19 virus.  New implementation plans and schedules were written to include modifications due to the Covid19 accommodations.

Quite a few meetings were held during this quarter that involved the Catoosa Family Collaborative and CaPI.  All DBHDD regional and individual meetings were held via zoom & telephone calls each month.  CPAW meetings continued through the quarter with the exception of the December meeting, which was dismissed for the holidays. Statewide Prevention Credentialing Consortium of Georgia meetings continued to meeting monthly via Zoom.  Habitat For Humanity meetings were face-to-face with social distancing, except for December which was online.  Georgia Voices 4 Prevention meetings were via Zoom each month as well as the Voices 4 Prevention Advocacy Conference in November.  Coordinator, Phil Ledbetter attended various meetings this quarter.  North Georgia YMCA Board meetings were on Zoom in October and November, and in person for December.  Peer-to-Peer and Building a Region of Resilience (BRR) meetings were on Zoom each month.  Community Scout leader trainings and meetings were on Zoom except for an all day in person Wood Badge EDGE training on November 7th and staff training on December 5th.  Monthly Catoosa Citizens for Literacy meetings were held in person.  The Coordinator also attended the Catoosa Chamber Christmas in Ringgold event and sang Christmas carols at Cloud Springs Elementary School.

2020-2021 Collaborative Meetings

These are the CONFIRMED Collaborative Meeting dates for 2020–2021:

August 21, 2020 (Friday)

September 17, 2020

October 22, 2020 (week later due to GAFCP Conference)

November 20, 2020 (Friday)

December 17. 2020

January 21, 2021

February 18, 2021

March 18, 2021

April 15, 2021

May 20, 2021

Meetings are on the THIRD THURSDAY of each month (except where noted) and the location will be the Catoosa Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, GA 30736
Meetings begin at 8:45 am and last until about 10:00 am.

CaP Initiative Donates Laptops

Seven laptop computers were donated to Catoosa County school resource officers to assist prevention educations in the CHAMPS (Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) program. The local deputies teach sixth- and seventh-grade students about being safe, healthy and happy to prepare for a successful life. The instructors are supplied with lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations and student workbooks. Since projectors and computers are not supplied to instructors, the recent donation from Catoosa Prevention Initiative will be put to good use in teaching students about healthy habits. In many cases CHAMPS has replaced the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in local schools.

Read more: CatWalkChatt – School resource officers receive computer donation for safety instruction

Walmart and GaFCP Helping Young Georgians to Make Good Life Choices

Thousands of high-school students across the state are getting pregnant, contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and landing in jail for underage drinking. The good news is that, thanks to a $52,000 equipment grant from the Walmart Foundation, all this is occurring within the safe boundaries of the Teen Maze. Young Georgians are learning that the choices they make now can have irreversible effects—not only on their own lives—but on the lives of their families and friends as well.

The Teen Maze is a life-size, interactive game board where students face the consequences of their randomly selected choices. Those who avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse, sexual activity, and drunk or distracted driving, travel straight through the maze to a graduation celebration. For the rest, serious consequences lead to detours and dead ends—without real-life finality.

The gift from Walmart is allowing Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) to offer 11 regional programs up to $5,000 so they can purchase equipment and establish a sharing network to present Teen Mazes and other youth development activities for 132 counties.

“Region 1 Family Connection coordinators decided that a box trailer was an essential item to purchase from our Walmart equipment grant if we were going to share materials across 15 counties,” said Phil Ledbetter, Catoosa Family Collaborative coordinator. “Since we also used the funds to buy 35 partitions, we needed adequate storage space that’s also fast and convenient in transporting this bulky cargo.”

Hosting a Teen Maze is an immense task that requires participation from the entire community. The youth who enter the Maze serve on planning committees along with their parents, while volunteers from teachers to police, firefighters and emergency medical services teams to juvenile court judges bring the Maze to life.

“The Teen Maze pulls together an assortment of players to reach young people in a way that has never been done before,” said Ellen Whitlock, GaFCP director of Resource Development and Contract Management. “This partnership with Walmart is a perfect fit. The Teen Maze has a significant impact on three of Walmart’s areas of focus—education, workforce development and economic opportunity, and health and wellness—and on strategies for enhancing school success, youth development, positive parenting, and family engagement that we at GaFCP support.”

Unfortunately for too many young Georgians, the snares that entrap them in the Teen Maze are all too real in their everyday lives. Georgia ranks 43rd in the nation in the percentage of teens 16 – 19 not attending school and not working. And while the teen birth rate has decreased in recent years, Georgia’s rate still is significantly higher than the national rate.

“The Teen Maze program helps both youth and parents comprehend the benefits that come from making good life choices,” said Whitlock. “We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for joining our families and communities in helping our youth become successful adults—especially those who live in rural and underserved areas of the state where communities have limited resources.”

To find out if the Teen Maze is coming to your community, contact your local Georgia Family Connection Collaborative.