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Accreditation, Head Start building, grants and accomplishments highlight Lowndes BOE meeting

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County Board of Education received official notice of accreditation from AdvancED for the school district this month while negotiations continue to reduce the construction cost of a new Head Start Program central office.

Lowndes County Superintendent of Education Jason Burroughs announced at the Thursday, March 14 meeting that as of Tuesday, March 5, “We have received an official letter of accreditation and the accreditation certificate.” He said the accreditation is valid through June 30, 2024. And, he said, “Throughout this term of accreditation, we will continue to engage in the responsibilities required of all institutions to maintain accredited status.”

Regarding efforts to reduce the construction cost of a new Head Start central office in Hayneville, Burroughs said, “Negotiations have reduced the cost by $350,000, which is still $150,000 over the budgeted amount.” He said the square footage of the building may have to be reduced.

Burroughs announced that Community Service Grants have been from State Representative Kelvin J. Lawrence in the following amounts: Calhoun High School, $1,500; Calhoun High School Band, $500; Central Elementary School, $1,000; Central High School, $1,500; Central High School Band, $500; Fort Deposit Elementary School, $1,000; Hayneville Middle School Choir, – $2,000; Jackson-Steele Elementary School, $1,000; and Lowndes County Middle School, $1,000.

Burroughs also announced the school district Gifted and Talented Program received $30,000 from the Alabama State Department of Education which he said will be used for the after-school program slated to begin in two weeks and continue through the end of the school year.

Burroughs announced a district-wide Parenting Day has been scheduled for April 30. He said each principal will extend a special invitation to parents to visit their child’s school to participate in various activities.”And, he said, Director of Federal Programs Dr. Renata Hollins will coordinate the day.

Burroughs recommended and received unanimous approval for the expulsion of a Central High School student for a Class D Violation: Bomb Threat the minimum of the remainder of second term of the 2018-19 school year, retroactive to Feb. 14.

He announced the 2018-2019 Healthy Kids (KidCheck) Program in partnership with the Auburn University Montgomery School of Nursing will be held April 5 for Lowndes County Middle School and April 12 for Central Elementary School.

Burroughs recognized student accomplishments including the winners of the sixth annual Dr. Luke N. Taylor Black History Oratorical Contest, which was held Feb. 23 at the Central Office in Hayneville.

Elementary winners, all fromJackson-Steele Elementary School, were Chasity Barganier first, Dantago Price second and Ja’Daija Gresham third; Middle School winners, Zaylen Burke first and Jordan Logan second, both of Hayneville Middle School, and Aveyana Jenkins third of Lowndes County Middle School.

Burroughs announced Hayneville Middle School student Haigler Johnson III was the second place winner at the Greater East Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair (GEARSEF) held at Auburn University March 6 and 7. His project “Let Me Charge Your Phone” helped advance Johnson to the Alabama Science & Engineering Fair to be held April 4-5 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Johnson was also nominated for the Broadcom MASTERS Award. It is a national competition for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who participate in affiliated science fairs. He was invited to complete an online application, and is eligible for valuable prizes and awards including $25,000, iPads, STEM summer camp and more.

Also at the regional science fair, Calhoun High School students Lanesha Kyle and Daysha Ellis were second place winners in the Stockholm Junior Water Competition.  This award is considered the most prestigious award for water related science, both nationally and internationally.  The students received a certificate and a chance to enter a statewide on-line competition.

Lowndes County was also well represented during the ACE Competition at Wallace Community College Selma on March 8.

Calhoun High School student Tyler Clarke was the second place winner in brick masonry block competition.  And in Arc Welding Competition, Central High School student Devonta Murphy was the first place winner. Calhoun High School student DeAndre McCovery won fifth place and Calhoun High School student Joshua McCall was the seventh place winner.

Burroughs said welding instructor Brandon Kimbrough was especially proud of students who placed in the top 10 when competing against students from across the state.

The following action Items were unanimously approved by the board:

Contracts between the Board and: Vision Express Tours for the Calhoun High School Band; Dallas County Umpire Association for officials for 2018-2019 home softball games for The Calhoun High School and Central High School and for Central High home baseball games; Selma Track Officials Association for officials for home boys and girls track and field meets at The Calhoun High School; Martin Express Charters LLC for 21ststCentury Programs at Fort Deposit Elementary, Hayneville Middle and Lowndes County Middle Schools;

Quote details between the board and U.S. Coachways Inc. for the Special Education Department; professional services contracts between the board and Wallace Community College Selma – Alabama Math and Science Technology Initiative (AMSTI); and professional services contracts with RJ Young Company for the Head Start Program.

The board approved nominations for the Lowndes County Board of Equalization including Eric Ellis, LaRue Pringle and Eli Seaborn; the January 2019 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 January 2019 based on reconciled bank statements; personnel actions including the retirement of Malissie Hill as a cook from Central High School, effective April 1, and the resignation of Brittney Swain as a teacher at Jackson-Steele Elementary, retroactive to March 11; and the minutes of the Feb. 14 board meeting.

The next meeting of the board will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at the Central Office.