By SHERRY DIGMON
The Escambia County Board of Education meeting turned out to be a time of celebration Thursday, January 27 – a celebration of schools, student achievement and the school board.
January is School Board Appreciation Month and board members surely felt appreciated with the festive decorations, a post-meeting meal, and gifts and well-wishes from school administrators, faculty and staff.
Board recognition was one of few agenda items at this meeting.
Superintendent Michele McClung introduced and recognized W.S. Neal High School senior and Escambia County Distinguished Young Woman Sydney Aaron, who was accompanied by her family.
McClung recognized board members and thanked them for their service. (Board Vice-President Danny Benjamin was absent due to the death of his brother.)
School Chief Financial Officer Julie Madden presented the financial statement for December 2021.
A portion of each meeting is dedicated to district updates by the superintendent – she uses this time to celebrate good things happening in county schools. Following are updates McClung presented Thursday.
Escambia County High School
1. ECHS student Darron Nichols participated in the Southern Pine Leadership contest and was one of 12 students chosen to go to Montgomery to represent Escambia County in the state contest.
2. Seniors and NAF Academy (National Academy Foundation, a network of career academies) students and teachers took a field trip to Alto Products. Alto is now an official partner and is looking to hire students and provide internships and scholarships for up to $5,000 annually.
3. ECHS will be the host for the Atmore Rotary Club Academic All Star program (in May).
4. The Escambia County High School Boys basketball team is currently ranked #2 in the state and the girls team has earned honorable mention.
Go, Blue Devils!
Rachel Patterson Elementary School
1. Midyear i-Ready data showed growth in both reading and math. Data is moving in the right direction. Teachers and administration are also continuing to address reading deficiencies in small group as well as in Bridging the Gap after-school tutoring program. Students’ improvements as well as the hard work of the staff are celebrated through several incentives.
2. Tuesday, January 18, Mr. Brian Stallworth’s Golden Apple ceremony aired on WKRG News 5. Mr. Stallworth was so deserving of this prestigious award. His hard work and dedication to students represented the great school district and community in a positive light.
3. On January 13th, Leadership Atmore visited the school. They were taken on a tour of the school where they saw several classroom teachers teaching to fidelity and students engaged in the learning process. They saw the new Art Education classroom as well as the new STEM and Robotics Lab with a completed robotics named RP. While in the lab, they were able to see students’ 3D printer at work making a king chess piece.
4. So far this month (January), Rachel Patterson has had three students on Fox 10 News saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Those students were Gabrielle Thames (1st grade – Mrs. Brewton), Jah’Liyah Dawson (2nd grade – Ms. Moorer), and Kamden Dawson (3rd grade – Ms.Tingle). They were all dressed in their school uniform and the school’s name was displayed at the bottom of the television screen. There’s no minimum age for instilling leadership, values, and character, including patriotism in students. The school was definitely proud to be represented on the news by these awesome students.
Flomaton Elementary School
January has been filled with motivational moments and celebrations of success.
1. On January 5th and 6th, all students who gained at least 50 percent growth on their i-Ready diagnostic winter assessment were treated to 45 minutes to celebrate growth in a gaming truck.
2. On January 7th, FES had a Progress Parade for all students in grades 3 through 6. Students created posters that displayed first semester successes and wins. They ranged from making the A-B honor roll to making their first 100 on a math test to being an encouraging friend. Kids walked the halls carrying their posters as teachers, staff, central office supporters and even high school students cheered them on.
Huxford Elementary School
1. The annual Valentine’s Dance for 4th, 5th and 6th grade is scheduled for February 11th.
2. The sun sail (donated from our valued educational partners at Poarch) is set to deliver on February 1st!
3. The midyear i-Ready assessment showed growth in every grade level in both Reading and Math! This is a huge accomplishment and serves as a testament to the dedication of the Huxford Elementary staff and the hard work of the students at Huxford.
Pollard McCall Junior High School
1. Installation of the B.U.G Program. This stands for Bringing Up Grades and is aimed at students that have brought at least one average up a letter grade. For example, 1st nine weeks they had C C C. Second nine weeks they would have to have at least a C C B. This is to acknowledge students who are making progress that are not on A or AB honor roll. Awards, programs and incentives are provided by the Brewton Kiwanis Club.
2. Their mid-year i-Ready scores came up at least 10 percent or more from the beginning of the year in grades K-3.
3. Parking lot renovations are in progress.
4. The Buck Jones Basketball League was reinstated this year.
5. The school is bringing back the traditional Valentine Court and Dance.
6.The ldent-a-Kid Security System has been purchased and installed as another measure to keep students safe.
7. Praise from the Principal – This is something that Mr. Jackson started this year so that parents would get a call and the students would be rewarded for doing something worthy of praise.
Turtle Point Science Center
1. Staff is excited to be open for the new year. They’re enjoying having visitors stop in to see exhibits and walk the boardwalk. Classes are being scheduled for students.
2. The staff continues to improve and maintain Turtle Point’s live animals, exhibits, and gardens. 3. They are getting ready for their first public event in a while. The weekend before Valentine’s Day they will offer an Open House and guided hike on the boardwalk.
4. This month (January) is School Board Recognition month and all at Turtle Point thanked the school board members for their service for the schools.
W.S. Neal Elementary School
1. WSNES Little Eagles donated $1,230.26 to a fellow Eagle who lost their home in a fire.
2. The school recognized 13 sets of twins enrolled at WSNES! They are Camden and Cole Capps, Mya and Elizabeth Guiterrez, Caylee and Colbie Mohling, Karrter and Kylie Barksdale, Autumn and Georgia Burch, Sawyer and Findley Watson, Amani and Amari Gresham, Charlyssa and Andrea McCant, Kameron and Kaleb Thomas, Kaylee and S.J. Biddle,
Alaina and Julianne Findley, Haven and Micah Jones, Carsen and Chasen Settle.
W.S. Neal Middle School
1. This month at Neal Middle, administration, faculty and staff set New Years goals and resolutions.
2. Mr. Henderson, the school’s i-Ready consultant, visited and was very excited about the growth students have shown this year in reading and math.
3. The new art teacher began on January 4, and he is teaching three morning classes of art at Neal Middle and three classes at Neal High.
4. Baseball and softball players are working hard in preparation for their seasons to start.
5. Everyone celebrated the 100th day of school with a door competition between the homerooms which were judged Wednesday, January 26th.
W.S. Neal High School
1. The W.S. Neal High School girls wrestling team placed 10th out of 45 competing teams in the state of Alabama. Carlie Tait, W.S. Neal High School freshman, took 2nd place in the state competition. Zailyn Morton, 9th grade, and Lizabeth Brown, 11th grade, placed in the top 6 girls wrestlers in the state.
2. Harley Wilson, W.S. Neal High School Junior, was selected by the Southern Pine Electric Cooperative as representative for the Alabama Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Montgomery. She represents one in 12 students from the Southern Pine Cooperative service area who were selected for the state tour. She also has the chance to secure a spot on the national tour in Washington, D.C.
3. Ms. Sydney Aaron, W.S. Neal High School Senior, participated in the Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama program as the Escambia County DYW representative. Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama is part of a national scholarship program that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership, and talent in young women.
In other business, the board approved the following personnel recommendations by the superintendent.
1. Kenya Carroll, custodian, Pollard McCall Junior High School, effective January 31, 2022
2. Annette Long, counselor, W.S. Neal High School, effective January 7, 2022
3. Emma-Lee Waldrop, elementary teacher, W.S. Neal Elementary School, effective January 6, 2022
1. Deontaine Bayne, 6-hour lunchroom worker, Escambia County Middle School, effective February 1, 2022 (replacing Maria Franks)
2. Leketha Bradley, lead teacher, Academic Recovery Response Plan After School Program, Pollard McCall Junior High School, effective January 28, 2022
3. Amber Carpenter, custodian, Pollard McCall Junior High School, effective February 1, 2022 (replacing Kenya Carroll)
4. Alyssa Williams, 7-hour lunchroom worker, Pollard McCall Junior High School, effective February 1, 2022 (replacing Beverly Vanhoosen)
5. April Blackwell, teacher, Academic Recovery Response Plan After School Program, W.S. Neal High School, effective February 1, 2022
6. Gladys Walker, 6-hour lunchroom worker, W.S. Neal High School, effective February 1, 2022 (replacing Vanessa Mealer)
7. Jessica Godwin, special education aide, W.S. Neal Elementary School, effective January 28, 2022 (replacing Jessica Marion)
8. Rochel Evans, elementary teacher, W.S. Neal Elementary School, effective January 28, 2022 (replacing Emma-Lee Waldrop)
This article is written in my capacity as Atmore News publisher, not as a BOE member, and I am not speaking for the board. SD