Williams evaluates City Schools at end of year

Published 7:35 pm Monday, May 28, 2018

By: Adam Dodson

The school year has come to an end, and Selma City Schools superintendent Avis Williams feels confident in the progress she and her team have made throughout the term.

With the 2017-2018 school year being the first under Williams’ tenure, she wanted to make sure to get off on the right foot and lay a solid foundation for years to come.

While she admits there is still work to do, Williams feels she was able to accomplish goals centered around the students, teachers and facilities.

Under her leadership, she and her staff created the “Aim for Excellence Award” aimed at highlighting teachers in her district for their hard work and dedication. According to Williams, taking care of her teachers is something that is on her mind daily.

“We wanted to improve teacher morale,” Williams said. “I want them to know they are appreciated. I want them to have a sense of joy when they come into work each day.”

Selma City Schools also saw a reorganization of its office this year, and implemented what Williams calls an Office of Teaching and Learning. This department, under the supervision of executive director Ozella Ford, would work with other teachers and administrators to accurately identify student learning needs.

In order to assist Ford and Williams in their goals for the ‘18-‘19 school year, they received some assistance from the school board.

The board recently voted to allow Selma City Schools and their institutions to draw up a new strategic plan for any school that feels they may need it. Williams says the strategic plan is a key to setting up the “framework of excellence” needed to help the students achieve their goals.

Selma City Schools has also hired a Community Engagement Specialist, operated by Courtney Washington, who has been working part-time and will begin full-time work sometime in the Summer.

While Williams has worked hard to garner some momentum into the next school year, she knows there are concerns she needs to address.

One of her main focuses is sprucing up R.B. Hudson Middle School. Regardless of the amount of funding they have, she wants to get it done.

“We want to reinvent R.B. Hudson,” Williams said. “We know it is time for some updates. We wanted funds for a complete renovation, but we are going to have to get creative.”

According to Williams, one of the main updates they would focus on is renovating the school’s doors for safety. Although Williams feels confident in their safety measures in place at each school, she wants to upgrade the run-down doors at R.B. Hudson to make them more secure.

Additionally, in compliance with her commitment to the system’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs, the dance studio at the middle school will be touched up. Along with these renovations, a needs-and-interest assessment will be conducted to get a better gauge at what students want and need to focus on. A similar assessment was conducted at the School of Discovery.

Williams said that the STEAM program is something that will pick up more steam as the school system heads into the ’18-’19 year.

As the downtime for many educators commences, Williams said her biggest obstacle moving forward is funding.

However, she is somebody who enjoys her job and the challenges that come along with it.

Despite obstacles, she is excited for what the future holds after year one.

“I think overall this was a successful year,” Williams said. “We have so much in place moving forward.”