Big changes could be coming to Selma city schools

Published 7:41 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

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By Travis Gupton

The Selma Times-Journal

In a loaded meeting for Selma City Schools on Tuesday featured many important topics involving not only the school district but the city of Selma as a whole.

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The first thing  the board and Superintendent Dr. Zickeyous Byrd honored the School District’s Assistant Principals as part of National Assistant Principals Week.

Cheryl Randolph was also honored at the meeting. During the superintendent, Report Byrd dropped one of what would be two surprises to those in attendance. Byrd recommended to the board the possibility of restructuring the entire school district to better assist those parents and students in Selma. Byrd said he would like to use Meadowview Elementary and Edgewood Elementary as possible places to put additional pre-K programs.

Currently, the only pre-K program for Selma City Schools is at Sophia P. Kingston.

Byrd continued by recommending that the elementary schools would be K-6th grade changing the current grades to K-5th. R.B Hudson would then become a 7th-8th grade school and then Byrd said he would like to rethink the School of Discovery and make it a Magnet School for 6th-8th grade. Selma High would still be 9th-12th grade.

Saints Virtual Academy would still be utilized for students K-12th but it would be taught through the contract the school has with K12. Byrd said that he would also like to use actual teachers for Pheniox Alternative School instead of the computer program that is in use now. The final thought was that the school district brings back Star Academy for grades 8th-12th. Byrd said that he will be holding town hall meetings and getting feedback to get thoughts on this plan before bringing a recommendation to the board in May.

“We are rethinking Selma City Schools and we are going based on data,” Byrd said. “We know a lot of things occur in grade six. Looking at our data, we see that our students are losing a lot of academic ground at grade six. At grade five, our students are maintaining that academic ground. So, we think that another year of being able to work with our students at the elementary schools will yield better results.”

As Byrd continued in his Superintendents report he dropped surprise number two on the board and the audience. Byrd said that after talking with officials he has requested the city to transfer ownership of Bloch Park and Memorial Stadium to Selma City Schools. Byrd said that the children not only from Selma City Schools but from Dallas County as well have been suffering due to the lack of facilities to play at.

“We can not continue to hurt children,” Byrd said. “We have to make sure if we are going to keep our children engaged in our schools and keep them from being involved in all of the violence going on, they have to be engaged. We have to keep them engaged from the morning all the way to the night. The best way to do that is to involve them in athletics and extracurricular activities.”

Byrd said it’s time for the adults to sit down and come up with a solution that best benefits the kids of Selma.

“The adults can figure out a way to address the adult issues but we have children here that this is actually impacting. It is time for us to sit down and come together to see if anything is going to be done to the stadium because again I have children here. We all have children here that are looking forward to playing games in front of their families… We have an obligation to do what is right for these children. So, I am merely asking the city please let’s come to the table or if you are not willing to work with us then we will have to go on our own. It would be such a travesty knowing that we would have to build our own and then that stadium would just sit over there and deteriorate.”

Byrd said should the Selma City Schools get ownership of Bloch Park and Memorial Stadium the Dallas County Schools would still have access to play and nothing would change.

“I wouldn’t want us to change a thing,” Byrd said. “I would propose for the same access that everybody has right now. We are doing this for Selma and Dallas County. I’m concerned about the students and so I propose having the same accessibility we have in place right now for it to be for Selma City, Dallas County, for the private schools or whoever wants to use it.”

Byrd finished his report by saying he is wanting to make a big push to advertise Selma City Schools. He said that the district had reached an agreement with Troy University to receive teaching interns and to pay them a teacher’s salary. Byrd also said that he had talked to local car dealerships to help advertise for teachers to come to Selma City Schools as well. He mentioned that he wanted to make a push on T.V., Radio, Billboards, and any way possible to promote Selma City Schools. He asked the board to approve later on in the meeting a Recruitment, Retention and Academic Bonus for the 2023-24 year of $7,500 that the board approved 3-1 Board member Danielle Wooten abstained from the vote.