Selma City Schools hold state address

Published 7:01 am Tuesday, November 23, 2021

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By Lew Gilliland

The Selma Times-Journal

COVID-19 made the 2020-21 academic year a challenge for educators and students across the nation, and Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams took some time Thursday to thank those who helped her system maneuver through the pandemic.

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Williams gave her annual State of the Schools Address via Facebook Live.

Williams, on behalf of the Board of Education, thanked “our community partners and supporters who helped Team Selma navigate the toughest school year of all-time,” she said. “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders, teachers and staff of Team Selma worked daily to provide our scholars with a high-quality, equitable and safe education through the collaboration of partnerships of parents, families and the fine community of Selma. We are one team, one voce, committed to excellence.”

Williams discussed system accomplishments in several areas, including Teaching and Learning; Culture, Climate and Community; Leadership, Management and Governance; Facilities and Technology; and Safety and Wellness.

Among the system’s accomplishments in the areas of Teaching and Learning were 228 scholars recognized for perfect attendance, a 60 percent increase in dual enrollment options, a 23 percent increase in senior scholars receiving industry credits and the establishment of the Saints Virtual Academy with an average daily membership of 300.

In the areas of Culture, Climate and Community, Williams pointed to the marketing and promoting of the virtual academy; having eight schools represented on social media, including Facebook and Twitter; receiving community input through Community Voice Link on the system’s website; and the creation of a parent café.  Maintaining the required one month’s operating cash reserve was among the system’s accomplishments under Leadership, Management and Government. Williams said the system received a clean audit and hired an internal audits/fiscal support coordinator. The system was also awarded 42 grants totaling $540,000 and increased its federal funding by 443 percent.

Selma City Schools received a bus safety award, one of its accomplishments under Facilities and Technology. A new roof was installed at Edgewood Elementary. And the system had a 95 percent completion rate for maintenance requests and a 100 percent completion rate for transportation requests. Also, an in-house security team serving the high school, R.B. Hudson Middle Schools, the School of Discovery and the alternative learning center was added.

Under Safety and Wellness, Williams could point to a 100 percent success rate for the establishment of safe-care rooms in all schools, and 56 percent of the system’s nurses being trained and certified in youth mental health first aid. The system also completed virtual mental health forums with scholars. Looking ahead, Williams said goals for the future include closing the achievement gap for special education scholars, an increase in restorative practices, facility updates to include the building of a new middle school and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and STEM (same as STEAM minus art) school certifications.“Consistent and continuous improvement is happening within Selma City Schools,” Williams said. “We are working diligently and intentionally to improve the quality of education for our scholars, teachers, leaders, staff, families and the entire community.”