School Board thankful for strides

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

A week before Thanksgiving, the Dallas County School Board had a lot to be thankful for at its scheduled meeting Thursday night.

Before getting down to business, the board welcomed back fellow member Mark Story who recently returned from war in Iraq.

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Following the adoption of the night’s agenda, attention turned to Superintendent Fannie Major-McKenzie’s administrative report.

She was pleased to report that Dallas County High School has been chosen as a pilot site for the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide program (ACCESS). The school will receive $100,000 in the latest computer technology for interactive video and online classes in Jan. 2006. Dallas County High is one of 24 ACCESS pilot schools selected to launch this new approach to classroom learning, Major-McKenzie said.

Dallas County High will also receive computers donated by NASA and the federal government &8216;s Computers for Learning Program.

Major-McKenzie announced two schools within the system that reached Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals. Martin Middle School significantly closed the achievement gap among African-American students and was rewarded $450 by the state. Shiloh Elementary School met the challenge of achieving AYP for two consecutive years with an 80 percent poverty rate.

The school was rewarded

$8,900 .

No legal matters were discussed at the meeting.

Major-McKenzie then moved on to the school’s Legal Education Authority (LEA) plan that she stressed was &8220;a work in progress.&8221; The plan aims to attack issues such as progress monitoring, fundamental teaching and learning needs, improving math scores and identifying strategies that promote effective parental involvement. Major-McKenzie said the official copy of the plan would be available in December.

The board unanimously approved the plan.

School attorney Elliott &8220;Skip&8221;Barker read a resolution to the board to issue a purchase order for 25 new school buses at a cost of $53, 341.05 each. The resolution was moved by Story and seconded by board vice-chairman William Minor.

This resolution is the first step towards the county’s school transportation strategic plan.

Major-McKenzie reported that the school’s At Risk committee would like to continue their community partnerships with Selma Christian Ministries, the Selma Coalition for Peaceful Experiences and Sardis Churches Unity Fellowship for their behavioral and tutorial services. Together, these three organizations receive $14, 142 from the board.

The committee also wants to start relationships with the Selma Youth Development Center and the Selma Disabilities Advocacy Program at a cost of $5,000.

Minor said he was not opposed in giving money to these organizations, but wanted to know if the board could get a full accountability of how the money is being used to help students.

The recommendation was moved by board member Roy Edwards and seconded by Story.

Minor announced he is running for the Alabama Association of School Boards District Director. The board receives one vote in the election and Edwards will cast the

Dallas County vote for Minor.

The sparse number of substitute bus driver s is an ongoing battle for the board. Assistant Superintendent Freeman Waller informed the board of a solution.

Thus far 12 people are interested in aiding bus drivers.

The last item of business was the re-organization of the board. William Minor will replace Ollis Grayson as chairman and Story will ascend to the position of vice-chairman.

Grayson said it has been a pleasure working with his fellow board members and in turn they praised Grayson for his dedication to the board throughout his term.

Grayson replied, &8220;Comments like that make me want to stay around for a little bit.&8221;

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2006 at 6 p.m. at Southside High School.