Reading initiative will focus on third graders, Williams leaving for Selma City Schools

Published 1:54 pm Monday, May 23, 2016

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

Charges are coming to Lowndes County schools.

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Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd reported Friday that the State Department of Education has restructured Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) funding program for the coming school year, which will now focus on third graders. And he announced the departure from the school system of Stacy H. Williams, who led quarterly performance index meetings that were “key to improving teaching and learning across the district.”

Boyd announced a more than $7 million budget cut in the ARI program with reading specialists pulled by the State Department from local school systems to return to their home systems and said, “our focus will be on the third grade.”

Boyd said the change mean that, “Eighty percent of our reading specialists’ time should be focused on the third grade level.”

Boyd said that the changes were made by interim State School Superintendent Philip Cleveland, who wants the focus to be on third graders.

He also said Lowndes County will receive additional funding as a result of the changes.

Boyd explained that in the past reading specialists went out to other school systems on loan to the state by local educational agencies. However, he said, those teachers will be coming back to their home school systems this fall.

Boyd said with the restructuring, Lowndes County will get a little more funding, but did not know the amount. He said the school systems will not change its budget until the additional funding actually comes to pass. He also said Lowndes will keep its three reading specialists.

Boyd also told the board that it was with a “heavy heart” that he informed it that Williams accepted a job with another school district.

Board members expressed their appreciation of Williams, who is leaving for Selma City Schools . And Board President Ben Davis told Williams that while the board never wants to stand in anyone’s way, “We will miss you.”

Williams said she has been with the Lowndes County School System for nine years and, “It’s been the most challenging, the most rewarding, the most productive nine years of my career.” She said Lowndes was “home” and “family” to her and thanked the board for trusting her every time Boyd recommended her for a promotion and that “meant so much to me.”

Davis added of Williams’ latest move, “But this was not a promotion that Dr. Boyd recommended.”

Originally from Union Springs, Williams told the Signal that she is leaving for Selma City Schools where she will serve as a director of professional development and assessment.

She said in her time with Lowndes County Schools she severed five as assistant principal at the Calhoun School, a year as the graduation coach between Central and Calhoun, coordinator of the Teacher Incentive Fund program, a curriculum supervisor, coordinator of federal program and finally as director of curriculum instruction.

Boyd also announced there will be a credit recovery program at the Calhoun School for Calhoun and Central High students at a cost of $75 per class with up to two classes available. He said the program will run from May 31 until June 24th. Free transportation is not provided by credit recovery, according to the office of the superintendent.

Boyd announced that the summer bridge program will be held at Lowndes County Middle School and Hayneville Middle School for rising kindergarteners through eight graders. He said the programs will be held from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and breakfast, lunch and transportation will be provided free of charge.

The board went into executive session for a matter of general reputation and character, but no votes were taken and no decisions made.