Superintendent Carter gives update on school initiatives

At the regular school board meeting held Monday, April 17, 2017, Superintendent Dr. James Carter, Sr. presented an update on some of the initiatives introduced this current school year. His report included the following summaries:
Eutaw Primary: The Eutaw Primary School Chess Club provides students an introduction to the game of chess. Students are able to view videos on playing chess. Dr. Carter pointed out that this is a significant approach to teaching critical thinking skills in young students.
School wide action plans in the areas of reading and mathematics have been developed and are in the implementation phase. All faculty/staff members are placing greater emphasis on phonemic awareness, fluency, writing, and open ended/constructive responses in the area of reading. All faculty/staff members are placing greater emphasis on problem solving and constructive response in the area of Mathematics.
Progress monitoring of goals is consistently taking place. The pre-K department is currently focusing on phonemic awareness and preparing students for kindergarten skills that are covered on Dibels Next Assessment and the ACT Aspire Periodic Assessment.
Cursive writing has been incorporated into the curriculum for grades K-3. The infusion of Black History into all subject areas has been initiated.
Discipline Referrals are currently low.
The Eutaw Primary School Webpage is currently updated. Eutaw Primary School has made great improvement in area of parental involvement and culture. Club/organization days are being incorporated into the master schedule.
Robert Brown Middle School Grade 4-6: Mr. Henry Miles, Jr, has been designated chess master in training. Robert Brown Middle School students have been using a computer based website to learn the basics of chess by playing computer generated matches. Mr. Miles has already begun to build relationships with established Chess Programs in other parts of the state. These relationships are significant in developing a solid and competitive program.
Robert Brown Middle School webpage is an ongoing process and we are working to get all teachers’ pages up to date, with updating pictures and calendars. Several changes have been incorporated to update the page from Paramount to Robert Brown Middle – a work in progress.

Robert Brown Middle School Grade 7-8: Robert Brown Middle School is consistently reviewing data in order to drive instruction. Our students made gains/progress on the last ACT Periodical Assessment. 130 students showed increase out of 160. We celebrated by providing students with hotdogs, juice, and chips. We are continuing to focus on reading, informational text, reading across the content area, math blitz (basic math word problems, vocabulary and reading comprehension).
Teachers are using strategic teaching and best practices in the classroom. They are assessing students by using the format outlined for the ACT Aspire test. AMSTI has been working with our math and science teachers. Teachers are reviewing mastery and non-mastery of standards and providing me with documentation and deficiency reports. The teachers have the outlined expectations for curriculum and instruction.
In reporting other areas of progress, Superintendent Carter noted that referrals are down for this year. The 7th & 8th grade division webpage is up to date. The teachers are updating all information on their pages.
“It has been an awesome journey this year. I am excited to see all the new relationships with the students and teachers. My team does a great job with ensuring that all students are treated equitably. Teachers were able to provide me with feedback as it pertains to this year. All the feedback was of a positive nature. We continue to work together to solve problems and be proactive in all situations. The teachers have embraced all the expectations that were outlined in reference to curriculum/instruction, discipline, culture/climate and attendance. As we continue on this journey, I expect to see even more students and adults impacted in a positive way both academically and socially,” according to Carter.
Freshman Academy: There are currently 25 members of the freshman academy chess club. All member of the chess club are using mobile apps, which allows tutoring for students to learn the game of chess. Plans are being made to hold the first annual chess tournament in May, of this year in an effort to build interest in the game. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top finalists for participating, and to motivate them to do the same for the 2017-18 school year.
Greene County High School: The number of students earning honor roll status has continued to increase this year. There were more students recognized for honor roll during the second nine weeks. As a whole, students this year are more concerned with their academic progress. There is also an increase in the number of seniors that have benchmarked in various subtests of the ACT. The number of students receiving office referrals has shown a decline this year. Greene County High School has fewer students committing class II and class III infractions. Student morale and student participation in other extra-curricular activities may be the source of this improved school culture.
To date, this has been a very positive year for student behavior and achievement. We have made a lot of improvement in both areas. There are always areas that we want to continue to grow and improve.
Track and Field: The track team has competed in two track meets thus far. The meets were held at Greensboro High School. The girls relay team placed first in the 4×200. The girls relay team consists of three freshmen and one junior. There are three additional track meets scheduled for this month. They will be held in Demopolis, Greensboro, and Selma.
Softball: The softball team has only competed in 4 games thus far this year. They were doubleheaders at Greensboro and American Christian Academy. The team is young and determined. The team is now practicing in Branch Heights.
Baseball: The Greene County High School Baseball team has competed in 10 games this season. The team is 0-10 thus far but has continued to be competitive. There are 15 players on the team with most being underclassmen. There are only two seniors on the team. Greene County High School looks forward to continuous growth and success in this program.
Band: Greene County High School Band is scheduled to practice after school on Tuesday and Thursday of each week beginning Aril 11, 2017. Band camp is scheduled to run from July 24 – August 4, 2017.
The board approved the following personnel items:
Employment of Willie Wright as tutor and mentor at Greene County Learning Academy on as as need basis.
FMLA request for Raven Bryant, teacher at Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative service items recommended by the superintendent.
Greene County Board of Education Information Guide for Students and Parents.
Contract between the Greene County Board of Education and Marcheta B. Bedgood to provide assistance to CSFO on an as needed basis to prepare financial documents throughout the fiscal year
Contract between the Greene County Board of Education and Farrell Duncombe for mentoring services at Greene County High School.
National Writing Project’s College-Ready Writers Program Grant for the Greene County School System in collaboration with UAB Red Mountain Writing Project.
BackPack Meals/Secret Meals Program Sponsored by Tuscaloosa Food Bank and Greene County Board of Education (No Cost to GCBOE).
Field Trip Requests: Greene County Career Center – Bodies Exhibit and CNN Studio Tour in Atlanta, GA on April 24, 2017
Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Katrina Sewell, CSFO.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Instructional items approved by the board:
Summer School (Promotion) at Greene County High School, June 5 – 30, 2017.
Summer School (Enrichment) at Robert Brown Middle School and Eutaw Primary School, June 5 – 16, 2017.

Nigerians put the brakes on superhighway cutting through rainforest

ekuriwomanprotestingsuperhighway

Ekuri woman protesting superhighway

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Bulldozers approaching the communities of the southern state of Cross River, with orders to raze up to a million homes and cut down an ancient tropical rainforest, were stopped in their tracks as an environmental impact statement for a proposed superhighway was rejected by officials.
As conceived, the roadway would link northern Nigeria to a proposed deep seaport in the south, covering 162 miles and displacing along the way some 180 indigenous communities, a national park and adjoining forest reserves that are home to some of the country’s most endangered species.
But this week, at a public hearing with government ministers and stakeholders, the Minister of the Environment admitted the project could not go forward. “The EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is not of standard, it is too primary and does not qualify as a working document for such an international project,” Minister Ibrahim Jibrin was reported to say.
The so-called Cross River Superhighway, the brainchild of the state’s governor, Ben Ayade, has been on the drawing board for years. Two years ago it was announced that the “much anticipated construction” was “on course” and that President Muhammadu Buhari would be performing groundbreaking ceremonies Sept. 21, 2015.
The roadway would have cut through several protected areas such as the Cross River National Park, Ukpon River Forest Reserve, Cross River South Forest Reserve, Afi River Forest Reserve and Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary – home to various threatened species, including Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, drills, Preuss’s red colobus monkeys, slender-snouted crocodiles and African gray parrots, among others.
Among the impacted communities is the Ekuri, whose conservation skills were recognized by the U.N. Development Program with a Equator Initiative Award for protecting biodiversity and reducing poverty.
Ekuri leaders say they supported the highway project at first, believing it would bring better transportation and greater economic opportunities to their people. But in a letter to the governor of Cross River State sent Feb. 7, the leaders withdrew their support, calling the project “a land grab in the guise of a Super Highway.”
Ekuri communities manage some 83,000 acres of community-owned forest – one of the largest in West Africa. “We require schools, water, electricity but not the kind of road that will take our forest away,” village leaders Stephen Oji and Abel Egbe told Premium Times news.

Superintendent Carter advances new classroom designs School board salutes GCH Girls Basketball Team as Class 3A Area 7 Champions

Greene County High Lady Tigers displaying their Class 3A banner, Shown Above: Graduating seniors of the GCHS Lady Tigers Basketball Team: Te’Aira Wilson, Kelsey Spencer, Raven Vanable and Sabrina French.

At the Greene County School Board meeting held Monday, March 27, 2017, Superintendent James Carter and board members gave a special salute to the Greene County High Lady Tigers basketball team as Class 3A Area 7 Champions, 2016-2017. Dr. Carter presented the Lady Tigers, along with their coach, Kendra Payne and Principal Garry Rice, with a banner designating their championship.

Superintendent James Carter, in his continued efforts to improve school curricula and culture, presented the board with additional innovative considerations. Dr. Carter explained that the design of the classroom is important to the learning process. “Students’ desks, textbooks, and other barriers between teacher and students should be removed.
Teachers need and should have the flexibility to be more innovative and creative in the classroom. There is a need to reinvent the classroom to fit the 21st century learners,” he stated.
According to Superintendent Carter, the first thing that should be done is to get parents more involved in their children’s education; next Second identify teachers and principals who care about children and make students feel like they belong in the school. Third thing is that every child should feel a sense of accomplishment. He further noted that the three major institutions that once supported our children and now are failing our children. These institutions, home, church and school, must take the lead in helping educators turn around schools.
Dr. Carter also raised the question: “How can corporal punishment have a place in schools?” He noted that research shows that Black students and students with disabilities receive physical punishment more than other students. He suggests that the system reviews its policies regarding corporal punishment in schools.
Carter also noted that the school system is in the process of establishing collaboration with Greene County Hospital to implement a candy striper program as well as a Nursing Assistant Program with students enrolled at Greene County Career Center.
The superintendent ended his report with the announcement of a sale of surplus equipment at the former Paramount school on April 11 and; at former Carver school on April 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
In other business, the board approved the following personnel items as presented by the superintendent.
* Employment: Micheal Bolton as Bus Driver for the system.
* Leave of Absence without pay for LaJoycelyn Davis, Secretary at Robert Brown Middle School.
Additional Service contract(s) for the following employees at Greene County High School for the 2016 – 2017 academic year. (Separate Contract): Jacob Sullivan – Asst. Baseball Coach. The Board approved the following administrative services items:
Bid submitted by Dallas Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. in the amount of $82,950 to rework controls at Robert Brown Middle School (Only Bidder).
Field Trip Requests: Robert Brown Middle – Math and Science Day at Six Flags Over Ga on May 12, 2017; Robert Brown Middle – Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA on May 4, 2017.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
The board approved the following Instructional Items:
* Revamping of Kindergarten Program to include project learning type of concept with a focus on communication, critical thinking skills, foreign language, and math problem solving activities
* Organize Summer School for promotion of students who are struggling or identified as at-risk
* Teachers and Principals to develop a reading list for students to enhance their reading skills over the summer months

Civil War blamed for starvation and famine looming in South Sudan


(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – The government of South Sudan and the United Nations are reporting that some 100,000 people are facing starvation, with a million more on the brink of famine.
The announcement comes as international aid agencies are overwhelmed by catastrophes unfolding in four countries. There have been warnings of famine in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria, but South Sudan is the first to declare one.
The famine is currently affecting parts of the Unity state in South Sudan, but humanitarian groups have warned that the crisis could spread if urgent help is not received.
Currently, some 20 U.S.-based charities are working in South Sudan, bringing medical equipment and supplies, the most needed type of food, clothing, shelter materials and other supplies. The groups are listed in CharityWatch, a charity watchdog which issues letter grade ratings (A+ to F) to nonprofit groups aiding victims. Groups that receive an “A” or “B” grade spend at least 75% of their budget on program services and spend no more than $25 to raise $100.
Under the heading “Donors Beware,” CharityWatch writes: “As with any charitable contribution, Americans wanting to help South Sudan relief efforts should send contributions to only those charities with an established track record of helping people in this region.”
ReliefWeb.int, a digital service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which tracks countries in crisis and provides the latest reports, maps, infographics and videos, wrote in a report in December: “Alarmingly, 4.8 million people in South Sudan – more than one-third of the population – are food insecure.”
Serge Tissot, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s representative for South Sudan described those affected as “predominantly farmers as war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”
Food prices have soared by 800 percent, putting food out of the reach of impoverished families. Thousands of refugees have sought shelter in camps in Uganda.
“This famine is man-made,” said Joyce Luma, country director for the World Food Program in South Sudan, which has seen its facilities looted on several occasions by armed groups. “WFP and the entire humanitarian community have been trying with all our might to avoid this catastrophe, mounting a humanitarian response of a scale that quite frankly would have seemed impossible three years ago.”
But she warned that without peace and security, “there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve.”
Meanwhile, workers at Save the Children-supported health clinics and hospitals in Puntland have reported a significant increase in severe malnutrition among children coming through their doors.
An estimated 363,000 children are already suffering from malnutrition in Somalia.

‘voter fraud is a lie, voter suppression is alive’ Rev. Barber: “We want full restoration of the Voting Rights Act now!”

By: John Zippert,  Co-Publisher

Amid the celebration and commemoration at this weekend’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama, celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday March” in 1965, there was a demand for “Full Restoration of the Voting Rights Act” by Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina Repairers of the Breach and Forward Together Movement. Rev. Barber’s demand was echoed by other speakers and was the central issue in many of the workshops and programs of the Jubilee.
In addition to the workshops, there was a parade, golf tournament, dinners, a unity breakfast, street festival, and the march reenactment on Sunday afternoon. Ten thousand or more marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge behind a host of local and national leaders, including: Rev. Jesse Jackson of PUSH, Charles Steele of SCLC, Rev. Barber, Faya Rose Toure, Senator Hank Sanders, Rev. Mark Thompson of Sirius 127 Radio and many others. The Masons of Alabama turned out in force and in uniform, to participate in the march.
The weekend culminated in Monday’s “Slow-Ride from Selma to Montgomery” with a caravan of 35 vehicles including a Greene County School bus, carrying the members of the Eutaw High Ninth Grade Academy. The caravan was met by local Montgomery leaders for a rally on the steps of the State Capitol.
Prior to the re-enactment march, Attorney Faya Rose Toure pointed out that the Edmund Pettus Bridge was named for an Alabama Klu Klux Klan leader and that the name should be changed to honor Ms. Amelia Boyton Robinson and the Voting Rights Foot-soldiers who won the 1965 VRA.
Rev. William Barber spoke many times, as ketnote for the Sunday morning breakfast, at Brown’s Chapel Church before the march reenactment, on a national radio broadcast from the Dallas County Courthouse on Sunday evening and at the rally at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery at the end of the slow-ride.

Rev. Barber made similar points in each speech. At the breakfast, we invoked the martyrs of the civil and voting rights movement – Dr. King, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Jonathan Daniels, James Reid, Viola Luizzo, and un-named others, whose blood he said was crying out to people today to continue the work of restoring the Voting Rights Act, fighting voter suppression in all its forms, and building a more beloved community involving Blacks, Whites, Latinos and all religious faiths.
He said he had come to Selma, ”not for the nostalgia of history but to listen for the ‘blood’ that was shed and soaked into the concrete of the bridge and the wooden pews of the churches.” Barber said that America was headed by an egotistical narsisistic man, “but this is not the first time that a racist was in the White House. Steve Bannon is not the first white Supremacist to be in high places. Trump is not the first President to hold these views. Many of his predacessors felt the same way.”
“On June 25, 2013”, Barber said, “the U. S. Supreme Court in the Holder vs. Shelby County case, overturned Section 4 and nullified Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Within an hour of the destruction of pre-clearence of voting changes in the Shelby decision, Texas approved a voter ID law and other changes; two months later, North Carolina passed voter suppression laws.
Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other Southern states also passed voter ID and other voter suppression measures. Voter fraud is a lie, voter suppression is alive.”
“Twenty-one states adopted 47 regressive voting changes within a year of the Shelby decision, The 2016 Presidential election was the first in half a century without the protection of the Voting Rights Act.
868 fewer polling places were allowed in Black and Brown communities around the nation. In the 25 Presidential debates, both Republican and Democratic, no mention was made of the issue of voter suppression in our communities,” said Rev. Barber.
“Long before Russia interfered in our elections, voter suppression had hacked and distorted the system,” said Barber. He pointed out that in Wisconsin 300,000 voters were disenfranchised due to the voter ID requirements and Trump defeated Hillary by 20,000 votes in that state.
Senator Hank Sanders spoke to the problems of voter suppression, voter ID, Legislative gerrymandering in Alabama, Packing and stacking Black voters in majority Black districts. He also recounted the history of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions role in initiating voter suppression in Alabama with voter fraud trials of civil rights activists.
Rev. Barber said, “ the 11 former Confederate states have 171 electoral votes, you only need 99 more to have the 270 needed to win the electoral college. These states have 26 U. S. senators, the extremists need only 25 more Senators to control the Senate which they are doing now. They have the House of Representatives, statehouses, county courthouses, we have work to do to fully restore the Voting Rights Act.”
As part of the evening radio broadcast and rally at the Dallas County Courthouse, Rev. Barber displayed maps, which showed the concentration of poverty, child poverty, low wages-right-to-work states, states that did not expand Medicaid, overlapped with the states that adopted new voter suppression measures. Most of these maps showed concentration of these problems in the rural South. Rev. Barber also displayed a map of states and areas with a concentration of protestant Evangelical Christians and once again the overlap was clear. He called this a “mis-teaching of faith and a false interpretation of the Bible”.
At the rally in Montgomery, speaker after speaker blasted the voter suppression, racial gerrymandering and limits to voting by the people. Rev. Barber said, ”We must get ready for a 100 days of disruption and civil disobedience in our state houses and in Congress to work for full restoration of the Voting Rights Act. Different state organizations should be preparing to go to Washington, D. C. and non-violently disrupt the process qnd win back our full voting rights.

Ben Carson sworn-in as Trump’s only Black cabinet pick

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Contributor
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Dr. Ben Carson (left) was sworn in as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday, March 2. Carson’s wife along with his 5-year-old granddaughter, Tesora held the Bible. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

The swearing-in of all the primary members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet is just about complete.

Most of Trump’s cabinet—from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross—are rich, White and male.

On Thursday, March 2, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson broke the mold with his swearing-in as Housing and Urban Development secretary, officially becoming the only African-American in Trump’s cabinet.

The former GOP presidential candidate was confirmed by a 58-41 vote, leaving just four of Trump’s 22 cabinet-level nominees still unsworn.

“Right now, our country is the patient and it’s not a Democrat or a Republican patient..It’s an American patient,” Carson said at his swearing-in as his wife, Lacena and granddaughter Tesora held the Bible. “We have a duty to use the gifts that God has given all of us in order to heal that patient.”

Carson, 65, was born into an impoverished Detroit family, but ultimately became a popular neurosurgeon who ran for president last year winning the

In January, he vowed to begin his job at HUD by going on a listening tour before developing any long-term plans for the department, which has more than 8,000 employees and a $50 billion budget.

In February, during Black History Month, Carson joined Trump for a tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where the president said Carson would work very closely with him.

“HUD has a meaning far beyond housing,” Trump said. “If properly done, it’s a meaning that’s as big as anything there is.”

Carson, whose mother at times received food stamps to provide for her family, grew up surrounded by some of the housing assistance programs he will now oversee.

“The New York Times” reported that, rather than embrace the programs that once sustained his family and the families around him, Carson adopted standard Republican beliefs that too much government help—both in desegregating neighborhoods and in lifting people from poverty—can discourage people from working hard.

Carson recently had to correct statements which he made that suggested Black people who were brought involuntarily to be enslaved were equated with other immigrants seeking opportunity.

Carson was awarded a scholarship to Yale University, and at 33, he was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He later became an author and a philanthropist supporting scholarships for young, often impoverished students.

“Housing discrimination continues to be a significant problem in this country, unfairly limiting people’s choices about where to live,” Lisa Rice, executive vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said in a statement. “We look to Secretary Carson to marshal the resources of the department he leads to combat this problem, and to fight all forms of housing discrimination.”

10 million may lose health insurance coverage under GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan, S&P says

By: Dan Mangan | CNB

Between 6 million and 10 million people would lose health insurance coverage if a Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act becomes law, a new report estimates.
The top end of those losses, or 10 million people, is equal to half of the 20 million or so people who have gained coverage in the past seven years under Obamacare.
The sobering estimate came from S&P Global Ratings on Tuesday, less than a full day after House GOP leaders released their plan for gutting key elements of the ACA, and replacing it with new rules.
S&P Global Ratings said it expected that if the plan were approved, there would be a decline in enrollment in the individual health insurance plan market of between 2 million and 4 million people.
There also would be a decline of between 4 million and 6 million people in the nation’s Medicaid system after 2020 to 2024, according to the report.
But profitability among U.S. insurers “will likely improve,” the company said, pointing to the fact that the replacement plan “can result in an improved risk pool in the individual market.”
The report said that the replacement plan would likely increase the affordability of individual insurance plans for younger adults, and reduce the affordability of those plans “for the older population.”
S&P Global Ratings also said it expected there would be a “large difference between states both in terms of insured rates,” that is the percentage of people with health coverage, “and benefits covered by insurance plans.”

The report is certain to be used by supporters of Obamacare in their efforts to defeat the Republican plan and keep most, if not all, of the ACA intact as the law of the land.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet to “score” the plan, which would analyze both the proposal’s costs to the federal government, and its effect on the number of people insured in the United States.
The ACA has been credited with driving down the nation’s uninsured rate to record low levels through the creation of government-run marketplaces for individual insurance plans, and by expanding Medicaid eligibility standards to more poor adults than previously were covered.
The GOP proposal calls for ending the ACA rule requiring most Americans to have some form of health coverage or pay a fine. It also calls for replacing Obamacare’s system of subsidies for premiums for plans purchased on government-run marketplaces with refundable tax credits that can be used to buy coverage both on and off those marketplaces.
And the proposal would freeze the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid benefits to nearly all poor adults in 31 states by 2020, and switch the way the federal government funds the Medicaid programs of states to a block grant system.