Greene County Schools welcome scholars and parents for new academic year

Shown above Greene County Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones with Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris,  touring the school and making sure everything is up to code to welcome students back next week.

The Greene County 2022-2023 School calendar states that the new school term begins Thursday, August 4 with a Virtual Teacher Institute from 8:00 -11:30 am, however, school personnel have been preparing all summer to welcome scholars with an exciting and challenging academic curriculum as well as supporting extra curricula activities. Friday, August 5, is scheduled as professional development day with continuing classroom preparations on the following Monday. Students return to classes on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris extends the following welcome to faculty, scholars and parents. “Eutaw Primary School is such an exciting place that’s full of adventures. This year, join the educators at Eutaw Primary School as we go through the jungle, underneath the big top, under the sea, through the forest and outer space. This is sure to be an exciting learning adventure that our scholars will never forget.
“Parents, we encourage you to attend our Open House and Meet & Greet. On August 4, 2022 all kindergarten and first grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. On August 8, 2022 all second and third grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing each of our scholars and parents”
Robert Brown Principal Shawnta Owens extends a similar welcome to the school community.
“Welcome Back.  As we embark on this new school year, Robert Brown Middle School’s faculty and staff look forward to new faces, new opportunities, and new ways to meet the needs of our scholars. Parents, thank you for trusting us with your children, and we look forward to your participation throughout the school year. Please support our RBMS scholars with your presence and positivity, and always remember, “It’s a great day to be a T.I.G.E.R.” 
This enthusiastic welcome comes from Greene County High School Principal Andrea Perry. “As the 2022-2023 school year begins, I am excited to welcome back our faculty, scholars and parents as we kick off a great year. I hope everyone has had an exciting summer and is recharged and ready for a new year. I am privileged to serve as Principal of Greene County High School. Our focus this year is to change the culture and build healthy relationships while improving student achievement. Parents, we look forward to partnering with you to ensure our scholars receive an exceptional education. We are even more excited to work with you and invite you into a climate of smiling faces and open arms. We are committed to ensuring your children receive the best education.”
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones offers his special welcome to our school community. “Welcome back. We hope everyone had a great summer and is excited to be back. Our district faced many challenges this past year, but our scholars and staff experienced great success even with these obstacles. This was due to the hard work of our scholars and staff. The safety of our scholars and staff continues to be our school district’s priority. Our goal is that Greene County provides the best education for our scholars in a safe environment. We are excited to work with you to provide an excellent educational experience for our scholars. Thank you for everything you do as we continue to strive for excellence. Soaring to Excellence will not only continue to be our brand, but our crowning achievement in Greene County. Let’s make it a great year.”
Please note that masks are required for everyone in the school system. Detailed information on student uniform requirements is available on the school system’s website and in the Greene County Democrat newspaper. Parents/guardians may also contact the central office personnel regarding uniform requirements.
The Greene County Children’s Policy Council and the Greene County School System’s At-Risk Department are sponsoring a Back-To-School Rally and Anti-Bullying Rally on Sunday, August 7.  There will be various speakers, food, and school supplies will be given out.  The rally will be held downtown Eutaw on the Thomas E. Gilmore Square (old courthouse square) from 4:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Newswire: What is the Biden Administration doing to free Brittney Griner?

By Zack Linly, NewsOne

WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. ( Source: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Getty)

Here’s a thought: Why is Brittney Griner still in jail and what is the Biden administration doing about bringing her home?
Griner has been locked up in a Russian jail since February for allegedly possessing vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. It took until May for the State Department to classify her “wrongfully detained,” which meant the U.S. could expand its efforts to bring her home despite the law in Russia. So, it took more than three months just for our government to grant her the classification needed to really begin efforts to bring her back to the U.S.
And yet, nearly every time there’s an update on Griner’s situation, it’s a story about her detention being extended or her wife, Cherelle Griner, urging Joe Biden to take swifter action or the government claiming her release is a “top priority” but not saying much else about what’s being done. (Meanwhile, the administration has announced the prisoner exchange of Trevor Reed, a former Marine from Texas who allegedly assaulted a Russian officer arresting him in 2019. This, of course, only increased public outcry for Griner’s release.)
In fact, throughout all of this, Biden has claimed his administration has been working tirelessly to bring Griner back to the states, but where’s the evidence of this great effort?
According to the New York Times, last week, “dozens of organizations representing people of color, women and L.G.B.T.Q. voters called on President Biden” by sending him a letter urging him to finally strike a deal for the WNBA star’s release.
From the Times: In a letter sent to Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the groups said Ms. Griner “continues to endure inhumane treatment, deprived of contact with her family.”
The letter said the United States “has acknowledged that Brittney is essentially a political pawn in classifying her as wrongfully detained.” And while the signatories cited “deep appreciation” for the administration’s efforts to free Ms. Griner, “we now urge you to make a deal to get Brittney back home to America immediately and safely.”
 Cherelle praised the letter while also noting that she doesn’t believe any negotiations for her wife’s release have taken place at all.
“To my understanding, they have not started negotiating her release, and so this letter is very powerful because it’s much-needed support to highlight the fact that we are at the phase where you guys should be making a deal,” Cherelle said.
Meanwhile, Griner is finally scheduled for a trial date this Friday., July 1, 2022. She’s facing up to 10 years if convicted.

A letter from Uvalde, Texas about the school shooting

By: Sarah Hidalgo-Cook

Editors note: I have visited Uvalde, Texas some years ago with the Rural Development Leadership Network (RDLN), a non-traditional leadership education and certification program for rural leaders. One of the leaders sent this statement about the school shooting and gave us permission to print it.


 It rained all night in Uvalde (we really needed).  I have decided that Jesus wept with us last night.  He washed away the sadness and ugliness of our day yesterday.  We at my agency, Southwest Area Rural Transit -SWART, are all well and very lucky, as we had one of our staff whose son attended Robb Elementary and was in the 4th grade.  He was safe but I pray that the after effects of this tragedy is something he can overcome in time. 

My husband, Kevin, is very sad this morning as I am.  His grand-great nephew’s daughter Ellie was one that was killed yesterday.  She was in the classroom in which the shooter entered.  It took over 8 hours before he had confirmation of her death as DNA had to be used to determine who she was, as was the same with other victims.  

I was born and raised in Uvalde, Texas. My home growing up, where my father still lives, is three blocks from Robb School. I walked home from Robb every day with my childhood friends. At that time, the 70’s, the school did not have security fencing or even enclosed classrooms. The classrooms were open to outside. If you walked out the door, you were stepping into the elements.

As I sat at my desk that Tuesday dealing with normal SWART issues, I heard the sirens. Our community has daily car chases and bailouts because of the illegal activity stemming from the influx of immigration, since we are thirty miles from the border with Mexico. When the realization of an active shooter at one of the schools became a reality, our minds were reeling.

The chaos continues. We are bombarded by media, state and national politicians, Hollywood, and others who do not really share our heartache. I knew only one victim personally. — Ellie Garcia, our great-grand niece. We would run into her and her family in the grocery store or see her on her parents’ Facebook videos and picture. We are heartbroken and feel so much sadness for her parents Steven & Jen, and her four sisters. I also know an aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather, or extended family member of the other beautiful souls who were taken too soon.

As recently as a week ago, we saw many of these young girls playing softball. We love to watch the sport, which reminds me of when our girls played. My heart aches for what they must have endured in those last moments and for what their parents and families must endure from now on. I am also angry!

“Not in my town. Not in my elementary school. Not to my people.” That is what my heart is telling me. I know that we are in for years of anguish. This is a wake-up call for our community and other rural communities everywhere. When the media is gone and we are left alone to face this nightmare, we will need to lean on each other more than ever. We will need to lean on our faith in God. Uvaldeans are my people. This is my home. We have always been resilient, but we will never, ever be the same.

Sarah Hidalgo-Cook MSCD, CCTM
General Manager
Southwest Area Regional Transit District

Greene County High School -Hair Show

Are you ready to be WOWED and AMAZED?  Well if so come out and support the cosmetology department as they present Hair Show 2022.  This show will consist of three categories: candyland, the 90’s, and fantasy as well as other entertainment. This event will be held Friday, May 6th at 5p.m, at Greene County High School.  The admission is $10.  There will also be a silent auction for a barbeque grill constructed by the welding department under the instruction of Mr. Zachary Rutledge.
Bidding will start at $100.00 and the grill will be on display in the foyer of Greene County High School from May 4th – 6th for bidding.
The winner will be announced at the end of the hair show.
Thank you for your support.
Ms. Paula Calligan, Cosmetology Instructor
Greene County Career Center
14223 US Hwy 11 South
Eutaw, Al 35462

Superintendent presents spotlight on Career Center programs; highlights positive news in school system

At the Greene County Board of Education’s monthly meeting, held Monday, April 18, 2022, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, as part of his report, called on Ms. Teresa Atkins, Greene County Career Center Director, to present a comprehensive report on the various courses and programs available to students at the Career Center. Ms. Atkins noted that the most effective message of the Career Center is Preparation for the Real World. The overall goal is to prepare well-rounded students for college, careers or the military.
In her presentation, Ms. Atkins spotlighted the following offerings: Health Science, Cosmetology, Industrial Maintenance, Business, Career Preparedness, and JROTC. In addition to these, the Career Center offers Dual Enrollment courses in HVAC and Welding, through an arrangement with Wallace Community College Selma. She explained that the dual enrollment program gives students the opportunity “…to gain a jump start on the college experience.” This affords students the opportunity to receive the Associate Degree as well as High School Graduation certification.
The preparations at the Career Center emphasize real-world skills, mentoring, and internships. This includes a focus on preparing students to earn national credentials in various career areas.
Career Tech Student Organizations include active chapters in HOSA, Skills USA, FBLA and DECA.
Continuing his report, Dr. Jones highlighted more positive news in the school system. These are featured below.
The Technology Department has launched a new Mass Notification system with Blackboard. This system provides a more personalized way of communicating by sending messages to specific audiences. Stakeholders can receive messages simultaneously via phone calls, email, text messages and social media. The system also includes a feature to notify a parent once his/her child receives an unexcused absence in Power School.
The Special Education Department attended and participated in Noah J 2nd Annual Autism Awareness Festival, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School completed ACAP testing on April 14, 2022. AIMSWEB-Scholars will be tested in various domains related to reading and math beginning April 25, 2022. May Day Celebration is tentatively set for the week of May 16, 2022. Scholars will be celebrated for their accomplishments during the 4th Nine Weeks.
Robert Brown Middle School (P.A.W.S.) Parents Always Willing To Support nominees will be highlighted in newspapers and will receive certificates and gifts. On April 18, Greene County High School scholars spoke to RBMS students to stress importance of the ACAP test. Test Taking Pep Rally Scranton Scholars and ACAP All-Stars will be recognized and GCH band will participate. RBMS P.T.A. meeting is scheduled for April 28.
Greene County High School Debate Team completed its final competition in Fairhope, AL. Jaila Brooks finishes her senior year with a total of four awards, three in first place. The GCHS Track Team is back. The boys competed at Central High School and performed well. The next track meet is April21, 2022. The Athletic Banquet was held April 14. Praise report from Program Manager from ACCESS: 30 students from GCH have a score of 70 or higher and is actively working in their ACCESS course. On April 15, Mu Alpha Theta (18 students ) traveled to Georgia to visit Great Wolf Lodge and Dave and Buster. Individual conferences have been scheduled with students to select courses for 2022-2023 school year. Eleventh grade students participated in ACT on March 29-31, 2022, with only two make-ups for 100% completion.
Dr. Jones also announced that the Alabama Legislature has passed a 4% pay raise for all employees, effective October 1, 2022. This is combined with a new salary schedule which will affect most school employees.
Superintendent Jones noted that the school system is coordinating efforts to assist the students whose families were affected by the recent tornado that hit the William M. Branch Heights community. He said buses will be re-routed to accommodate students who have been placed with their families in local hotels and other locations. Uniform dress requirements for those students have been suspended for the remainder of this school year. Other assistance that the school system can provide will be forthcoming.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
One-time supplemental payment for Janice Jeames Askew for additional duties Greene County High School.
One-time supplemental payment for Rosalyn Robinson for additional duties at Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative items:
* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Community Service Program of West Alabama, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start.
* Resolution for Conveyance of Birdine Property to Town of Forkland.

The One Book- One Community Reading a Huge Success

The “Read Greene Read” held its first One Book- One Community reading on March 2, 2022. The guest artists were local author Jocelyn Steel and illustrator Mynecia Steele. Jocelyn Steele read and discussed her book “The Square Nose Pig.” The event was held via Zoom. Over 150 individuals registered for the event.

The event was sponsored by The Greene County Children’s Policy Council, The Greene County School System and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Greene County Cultured Pearls Interest Group. According to Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne the next reading will take place in May 2022 and we are inviting all of Greene Countian to join the “Read Greene Read” campaign. Pictured below are students from the Branch Heights After School Program participating in the event.

Newswire: Autherine Lucy Foster, first Black student
to attend the University of Alabama, dies at 92

Autherine Lucy Foster in wheelchair at recent ribbon cutting at naming of building at UA for her and Autherine Lucy in 1952

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Her desire for a second undergraduate degree was cut short after just three days when a mob of racists assaulted her with food, rocks, and other items when she attempted to enter the University of Alabama.

Autherine Lucy Foster, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from historically Black Miles College in 1952, and whose legal battle with the University of Alabama concluded two years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, has died at 92.

A critical, but sometimes overlooked figure in the civil rights movement, Foster’s case became the first to challenge the Brown ruling that allowed federal judges to implement the historic decision.

In 1992, Foster recalled her experience in a New York Times interview. “It felt somewhat like you were not really a human being. But had it not been for some at the university, my life might not have been spared at all,” Foster said.

“I did expect to find isolation. I thought I could survive that. But I did not expect it to go as far as it did. There were students behind me saying, ‘Let’s kill her! Let’s kill her!’”

Foster visited Tuscaloosa a week before her death, cutting the ribbon on the newly named College of Education building, where she took refuge from the racist mob.
Previously known as Bibb Graves Hall, the university’s building adopted a new name called Autherine Lucy Hall.

“My staff was proud to celebrate the courage and sacrifice of Dr. Autherine Lucy Foster by presenting her with a Congressional Record,” Alabama Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell stated.
“The naming of the University of Alabama’s Autherine Lucy Hall will stand as a powerful reminder of her sacrifice in the name of justice and equity for all.”

Foster “was the embodiment of courage,” said Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, who chairs the organization. “As the first Black student to attend the University of Alabama, her trailblazing determination paved the way for a more inclusive and equitable higher education system in Alabama. Her life was a testament to the power of compassion and grace in the face of unyielding adversity. We are all made better by her example.”

Many others tweeted and offered statements of condolences. Foster’s family asked for privacy, but they did release a statement about the trailblazer.

“She was known, honored, and respected around the world after she broke the color barrier at the University of Alabama,” her daughter Chrystal Foster said in a statement. “She passed away at home, surrounded by family. We are deeply saddened, yet we realize she left a proud legacy.”

School Superintendent Jones holds community meeting to hear voices of parents; bridging the gap at Robert Brown Middle School

Greene County Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones held a special community meeting, Let’s Talk About It, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, at Robert Brown Middle School in an effort to offer a venue for parents, guardians and other interested residents to voice their concerns, opinions and suggestions relative to the culture of that particular school. Approximately, 60 individuals attended the meeting, along with RBMS staff, central office staff and school board members.
Principal Shawnta Owens opened the meeting with a power point presentation of the various programs offered at Robert Brown to enhance the academic achievement of students. Principal Owens shared her vision of B19—an innovative approach of increasing test scores and achievement for the school.
In his opening remarks, Superintendent Jones welcomed the parents and other attendees and stated that the purpose of this meeting was to listen and hear the concerns, issues and suggestions of those present. Dr. Jones stated that this is important because all the parties, including parents, his office and school administrators have the best interest of the scholars at heart. “ We want what is best for the students and we want to give our students our best,” he said.
To facilitate the questioning by parents, the staff issued cards for the attendees to write their questions and concerns. The superintendent and principal then proceeded to address the issues raised.
A lead question asked was how can we bridge the gap between the school and parents/community. Dr. Jone’s initial comment indicated this was a first step toward that goal and that the administration needed to listen more, be more attentive to the concerns and try in every way allowed to address the concerns, hopefully rendering satisfactory results.
The most prominent issued raised concerned bullying at the school. Many parents voiced concerns that their children were afraid to attend school because they did not feel safe there. They stated that there were frequent fights at the school and they were not satisfied with how these were handled by the school administrators. Some parents indicated that they tried to follow protocol, but did not receive satisfactory results.
Other prominent concerns related to disrespect of some teachers and staff toward students and parents. Incidents of a teacher cursing students or a teacher belittling a student were also raised. One parent noted that the “elephant in the room” related to the RBM office staff. Some parents’ expressions were as follows: “Our phone calls are disregarded, attempts to get appointments with staff or teachers are disregarded, and we are spoken to disrespectfully – talked down to as though we are less than they are.” One parents commented that confidentiality is not observed by staff at RBMS.
Some specific issued from parents related to a child not allowed in the school because he/she was tardy, or did not have a mask on.
At least two parents noted that they had transferred to Greene County schools this year (RBM in particular) only to witness their children’s grades plummeting from the achievement levels they had maintained in previous school systems. They needed an explanation for this.
One parent noted that she could not follow her child’s school assignments on the tablet he brought home, therefore she could not determine if her child was actually doing the required work. The superintendent responded that if the child goes to the after school program he will get assistance in completing his homework assignments and the parent can attend as well to observe this and probably become more acquainted with online process.
All of the concerns were acknowledged and noted. Responses included a commitment by Superintendent Jones that all these concerns would be followed up; some changes were already in process and outcomes would become known soon. “ I cannot discuss or disclose procedures relative to personnel, but you will see those changes, especially regarding giving and receiving respect in the school,” he said.
Jones acknowledged that new approaches were needed to confront bullying in the school. “We may need to explore outside professional assistance to engage students in sessions helping them to conceive of the school as a safe place to share their feelings and fears, and further instruct staff in handling incidents of bullying.
Dr. Charlayne Riley, Federal Programs Coordinator, gave a detailed explanation of the components of the after school program, noting that the service is free and snacks and transportation are provided to students. Local teachers as well as tutors from Stillman College are part of the tutorial staff.
Other general ideas offered to help students feel that they are important in the school could include establishing student organizations that promote their leadership skills; assigning students tasks such as assisting with the morning announcements at the school and student advisory committees to receive and pass along students’ concerns and suggestions for improvement.
Dr. Jones noted he will consider all these ideas and announced that such community meetings will be scheduled on a regular basis as one means of bridging the gap between parents and school.

Greene County Tigers win the 2A Area 6 Championship and Sub-Regional

By: Moses Tyree III

Greene County High Varsity Basketball Team competed in the 2A Area 6 Championship against the Francis Marion Rams on February 10, 2022. The Tigers have been defeated by the Rams twice before inthe Area Championship. The Tigers defeated the Rams with the final score being 61 – 59.
The Tigers’ lead scorer of the game was Allen Pelt with 13 points. The game was close all four quarters, but that didn’t stop the Tigers from giving it their all. In the final moments of the game with only 11.0 seconds remaining in the game, the Tigers very own Akeem Edmonds brings the ball down the court and hands it off to Allen Pelt; Pelt then finds Eddie Robinson in the paint and gives it to him to make the final basket to win the game.
Finally, during the trophy presentation of the night, several players were named Area Basketball All-Tournament. The Tigers, who are led by Coach Rodney Wesley, applauded his team by saying the whole team would receive the MVP award. The Tigers would move on to Host the Sub-Regional Tournament at Home. Greene County Tigers faced Calhoun Tigers on February 15, 2022.
On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, The Tigers played against Calhoun Tigers at The Tigers Den. The Preparation for the game was outstanding; the tigers had a Tiger walk surrounded by cheerleaders, Marching Band, Faculty, Staff, and Student body. Later that evening, It was all action. The Tigers kept the lead all four quarters and finished the game 54-30. The Tigers would now move on to play in the game of the regional semifinal on Friday, February 18, 2022, against Clarke County Tigers at 1:30 pm at the Montgomery Multiplex.

Newswire: Legendary actor, Sidney Poitier, 94, first African-American to win ‘Best Actor Oscar’ has died

Sidney Poitier

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Legendary actor Sidney Poitier, who broke barriers and stood for justice and Black lives during the most tumultuous times of the civil rights movement, has died.
Poitier, whose iconic 71-year career, included starring roles in “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Uptown Saturday Night,” was 94. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
In an exclusive phone call with the Black Press of America, Bill Cosby said he will miss his long-time friend and co-star. “He was honored by AFI. And, along with many stars of the stage, screen, politics and higher education who came out to speak, I brought with me the paperback of his autobiography and I said of all groundbreaking movies that Sidney starred in this book is the real story of this man and his journey,” Cosby remarked. “I am honored to have been close enough to him and work and work on serious matters.
According to PBS, Poitier moved to New York City at age 16 after living in the Bahamas for several years with his family. In the Big Apple, he found work as a janitor at the American Negro Theater in exchange for acting lessons. From there, he took up acting roles in plays for the next several years until his film debut in the racially charged, “No Way Out.”

Race and social justice would become central themes in much of his work throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s.
A Broadway play focused on the life of the Bahamian born star, who earned his first Academy Award nomination in 1959 for his work in “The Defiant Ones,” is in the works.
As noted in the New York Post, the nomination was significant to America as he was the first African American to be nominated for Best Actor. That role also earned him a Golden Globe win and a BAFTA Award.
Poitier broke even more barriers in 1963 with his hit film “Lilies of the Field.” The following year, Poitier became the first African American to ever win the Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
His career continued to climb for several more years. In 1967 he starred in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” an interracial romance comedy that ruffled feathers in America. Then came other memorable films, “They Call Me Mister Tibbs,” the sequel to the controversial blockbuster “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Uptown Saturday Night” opposite Cosby.
He released several more works; “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2007)” “Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter (2008).”
“As I entered this world, I would leave behind the nurturing of my family and my home, but in another sense, I would take their protection with me,” he said in “Measure of a Man.” “The lessons I had learned, the feelings of groundedness and belonging that have been woven into my character there, would be my companions on the journey.”