Local board honored for School Board Appreciation Month – Superintendent questions state’s designation of failing schools in Greene County

During his report at the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, Superintendent James Carter stated that Robert Brown Middle School and Greene County High School have been designated by the State Department of Education as failing schools based on tests scores from 2015-2016. “It has been determined that Greene County School System has two schools that fall within the bottom 6% of schools in Alabama. Any schools within this range are placed on the failing schools list as referenced in the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, revised in 2015,” Dr, Carter said.
Dr. Carter further explained that the state tests, the ACT Aspire in Reading and Math, were administered in the Spring of 2016 to grades 3-8 and grade 10. “We are not making excuses when we say that this was the first time these particular tests were administered to the schools.” He also noted that the tests results attributed to Robert Brown Middle School were from the former Carver Middle School and do not include students test results from the former Paramount School. Robert Brown Middle School began operations as a consolidated school from Carver and Paramount in August of 2016.
“I am concerned that Robert Brown Middle School is called a failing school when Robert Brown Middle School did not exist when these tests were given,” Carter said. He also noted that Greene County High School was not on the failing list in the previous year. “ This is somewhat perplexing for them to be placed back on the failing list after being off the list last year,” he added.

“The Alabama Accountability Act is just another scheme for tax credits and vouchers to be given to students’ parents who choose for their children to have a private school education,” Carter stated.
According to state reports, the Alabama Accountability Act helps students move from public to private schools with scholarships funded by tax credits. Approximately 70% of the nearly 6,000 scholarships went to children who would not otherwise attend a failing school.
Superintendent Carter also announced that the Robert Brown family has made a generous donation of $5,100 to the recently dedicated Robert Brown Middle School. Carter extended a deep appreciation to the family on behalf of the entire school system.
In recognition of School Board Appreciation Month, the board received special recognition and salutes from the schools and Central Office Personnel. Eutaw Primary students presented a creative dance as well as other treats. Robert Brown Middle School students serenaded the board and presented other treats. The Child Nutrition Program personnel gave the board members fruit baskets. Parent Involvement Coordinator presented a special Certificate of Appreciation to each board member. Greene County High School announced that it will make special presentations to the board at its Honors Program scheduled for January 31.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
Employment of Mrs. Sondra Terry as part-time Science Teacher at Greene County Career Center; employment of Tren’D’Mis Davis as Bus Driver and adding Ms. Tanesha Lyons to the current CNP Substitute list for 2017-2018 year.
The Administrative Services approved by the board included the following:
* Expand wireless opportunities for schools following additional review.
* Accept proposals for sale/lease of properties at former Paramount Jr. High and Carver Middle School.
* Approve lease agreement with Norfolk Southern Corporation for use of Paramount parking lot for a limited period of time, pending legal review and approval by board’s attorney.
* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by CSFO.
The following items were also presented at the meeting by Superintendent Carter:
* Advertisement for sale or lease of properties at Paramount Jr. High and Carver Middle School.
* Sale dates for surplus equipment at Carver and Paramount.
* Restrooms at Robert Brown Middle School have been refurbished and the hallways painted.
* Review of curriculum/instruction of Greene County schools.
* Develop program to recognize outstanding students and employees.
* Review each school’s master schedule to determine if maximum learning opportunities are provided to each student.
* Develop system for scheduling maintenance /work orders in timely fashion.
* Tutorial lab for primary grades and grades four and five.
* Seek foreign language instructors for primary and middle school grades.

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