Accreditation, grant recipients and awards highlight Lowndes BOE meeting
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
Favorable school system accreditation news, grant recipients, award winners, personnel decisions and a host of other announcements highlighted the Thursday, Dec. 13 meeting of the Lowndes County Board of Education.
Lowndes County School Superintendent Jason Burroughs announced at the December meeting of the board that the school system “is” recommended for accreditation.
Burroughs said on Nov. 14, the school system was notified its Accreditation Engagement Review Report was available, pending final review by the AdvancED Regional Commission (which grants the accreditation status) and the AdvancEd Global Commission (which reviews and ratifies the final accreditation status).
Burroughs said, “The report indicates that Lowndes County School System is recommended for accreditation.” And he said the next scheduled meeting of the AdvancED Global Commission is Jan. 28-29 at which approval is granted.
“It’s a great thing to have an accredited school system,” Burroughs said. “It means that our school system meets a minimum set of standards set for all schools in the region.” He also said, “One of the things a family looks at when it moves to a region is if the school system is accredited.” He said that accreditation could help attract families to move into the region.
It was announced that grant funds in the amount of $12,500 were awarded for the Alabama Digital Tools for Teachers Initiative to purchase five technology packages known as “Teacher Backpacks” for Lowndes County teachers.
The backpacks support literacy and/or STEM programs including a minimum of a laptop, a wireless tablet, a projector and professional development.
The proposal was written by Lowndes County Board of Education Director of Technology Dr. Benitha Mathews.
The recipients include Latasha Bruce and Ora Gordon, both of Jackson-Steele Elementary School, Lillie Davison, Angelica Roberson and Floretta Timmons, all of Central Elementary School.
Burroughs further announced grant awards of $489,081 under the 2018 Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program administered by the Rural Utilities Service in which collaboration with Dallas and Perry County Schools, which he said “will provide high-quality distance education” and which “will expand dual enrollment classes and provide additional applied science and technology classes at our high schools” and which “will significantly increase professional development offerings for our teachers and administrators.”
He announced a grant of $500 from the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative will be used to address the needs of autistic students.
Latasha Bruce was recognized for getting a Golden Apple Award.
Quarterly school system award winners were announced including:
Student of the Quarter, Yamiri Mants of Central High School; Parent or Guardian of the Quarter, Venitra Morgan of the Calhoun School; Volunteer of the Quarter, Rodney Rudolph of Central High School; Support Personnel of the Quarter, Texanna Davis, Central Office accounts payable clerk; Transportation Department Employee of the Quarter, Johnny Nelson, bus driver; Head Start Program Employee of the Quarter, Verna Perryman, Jackson-Steele Head Start Center teacher; Teacher of the Quarter, Kimberly Simms of the Calhoun School; Principal of the Quarter, Dr. Tara Green of Central Elementary School; and Administrator of the Quarter, Kimberly Washington, Central Office director of human resources.
Burroughs congratulated Mathews for graduation from the Alabama Leaders in Educational Technology’s Alabama Chief Technology Officer Certification Program,
Personnel recommendations by Burroughs were approved including the hiring of Carolyn Harris as a bus driver for student transportation, retroactive to Nov. 28; the hiring of Rickey Coleman as a mechanic II for student transportation, effective Dec. 14, and the resignation of Daphne McCall, cook at Central Elementary, retroactive to Dec. 3.
Burroughs announced that the district-level Scripps Spelling Bee will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 29 in the Lowndes County Middle School Theater in Fort Deposit beginning at 6 p.m.
He said, “The winner of the district competition will represent Lowndes County Public Schools at the state competition on Saturday, March 19 at the Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster.”
He said the district-level Greater East Alabama Regional Science & Engineering Fair is set for Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the Central High School Gymnasium beginning at 9 a.m.
He said, “This academic competition is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Students who win at the district level will have an opportunity to compete in the Greater East Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair (GEARSEF) to be held at Auburn University on March 6 and 7.
Burroughs reported that on Nov. 29 the school system’s Federal Programs Department hosted a Parental and Family Engagement Night Program in the cafeteria of Central Elementary School.
He said the event was held for families of students who attend Hayneville Middle School, Jackson Steele Elementary, Central Elementary and Central High School and 38 families participated.
Burroughs said Dr. Jackie Stennis with Gear Up Alabama was the guest speaker who spoke on how parents can keep their children engaged with different cost-efficient activities over the holiday break.
He said, “Parents were able to play different board and card games with their children.” And he said, “All of the games, even though they were fun in nature, were also educational.”
He said the next family engagement night will be on January 31 at Lowndes Middle School in Fort Deposit. He said, “This will be for the families of students who attend the Calhoun School, Lowndes Middle School and Fort Deposit Elementary School.”
Burroughs said $6,708.50 was collected for Lowndes Public Schools’ surplus property sold at fair market value on Nov. 30.
He said it appears at leak in the roof of the Central High School gym has been repaired by the contractor. However, he said, bid opening for a Head Start Central Office has been delayed until 2 p.m. on Jan. 10.
Burroughs said the first renovation of the Lowndes Public Schools Central Office is underway since the building was constructed in 2001. He said painting has been completed and flooring is expected to be completed during the Christmas holiday break.
He said the 2019-2020 school calendar will be up for approval at the next scheduled meeting of the school board.
And he said school sponsored Christmas Programs will be held at Central Elementary at 9 a.m. on Dec. 19, Jackson-Steele Elementary at 9 a.m. on Dec. 20, Fort Deposit Elementary at 10 a.m. on Dec. 20, and Hayneville Middle School at 9 a.m. on Dec. 21.
And the following action items were unanimously approved board:
Approval of Contracts between the board and: Neely Charter Service LLC for charter bus service, for the Calhoun School and Central High ROTC Programs; Vision Express Tours for charter bus service for the Calhoun School basketball team; Cline Tours Inc., Birmingham for charter bus service for Jackson-Steele Elementary fifth graders; Glenwood Autism & Behavioral Health Center for observations of students with chronic behavior issues/recommendations for intervention; Craig Bynum/BB&H Wellness Services for therapeutic counseling services; Dr. Nannette Phillips for professional development for the Head Start Policy Council; professional services contracts with Wallace Community College, Selma, Alabama Math and Science Technology Initiative (AMSTI) for Oct. 25 and Dec. 3.
The last item was in reference to AMSTI’s reimbursement of Lowndes County Public Schools for substitutes required for teachers participating in AMSTI training.
Also approved were the October 2018 financial statement, profit and loss detail report and check detail report for the Lowndes County Head Start Program; the revenues and expenditures report, financial statement and payroll register for October 2018 based on reconciled bank statements.
The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10 at Lowndes County Middle School in Fort Deposit.