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School betterment ideas needed

Selma City Schools is looking for creative improvements to the system.

In light of the system’s funding cuts due to proration, school officials are investigating alternative methods of school day and classroom structure.

The ideas were brought to the system by consultants from the High Schools That Work program, a school improvement initiative for high school leaders and teachers.

Consultants have worked with the Selma City Schools for a year.

One of the ideas is to have a system-wide planning period from 7:30 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. for all teachers. Breakfast would be served at 8 a.m. and classes would start at 8:30 a.m.

“With proration, we know that we have limited funds, so we also have to look at the ways in which we can get the best results out of the staff that we have to make sure that our students are learning,” said Dr. Verdell Dawson, administrative assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

By allowing all teachers to have the same planning time at the beginning of each day, it would offer time for collaboration with others for lessons, as well as offering administration time to find substitutes for teachers who have called in sick.

It also would provide more teachers for each instructional block, lowering the student-to-teacher ratio.

“They would have time to do professional development, give them time to do all their planning they need for their classes, and then once they begin the day, they will teach throughout the day,” Dawson said.

Possible concerns for the idea are that too many teachers may be intending to use items such as the copier at the same time, or that teachers will be working continually without official breaks.

Dawson believes that principals would be willing to work with teachers to give them time during lunch to do additional planning rather than always supervising lunch.

“This would be very good for our school system,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan.

All ideas are just that—ideas. No changes have been made, and changes will not be made until the system can fully investigate options.

“Right now we’re exploring it to see if it will work for our system,” Obasohan said.

Obasohan encourages teachers and parents to contact him with ideas or concerns of the proposed changes. Contact Obasohan at the Selma City Schools Central Office to voice opinions.

High Schools That Work serves more than 1,200 sites in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The intention of the programming is to raise student achievement and graduation rates.