School board holds emergency meeting, confirming plans to provide for students during virus epidemic

Robert Brown Middle School personnel review instructional packets for students. Shown L to R: Principal Owens, 4th Grade Teacher, Annie Howard and Assistant Principal Harris.
Child Nutrition Program personnel distribute meals for students outside Robert Brown Middle School.
CNP school personnel gather meals packaged for distribution from Robert Brown Middle School.
LaTonya Fowler, Board’s Central Office personnel, assists in distributing food packets to children.

The Greene County Board of Education held an emergency meeting, Thursday, March 19, 2020, to consider resolutions joining the state and federal government in declaring an emergency due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic. The resolutions authorized the school superintendent to take all actions, including the provision of food for schools children and instructional materials consistent with the declared emergency and the needs of the Greene County Board of Education during this emergency from March 19, 2020 until further notice.
The resolutions adopted by the board also declare that schools are closed in compliance with Governor Kay Ivey’s order until further notice and the March 24, 2020 scheduled meeting of the board is also cancelled.
In his update to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that during Spring break week of March 16, all school facilities were given a thorough cleaning and sanitizing stations were set up in classroom and hallways for the future return of students and personnel.
According to Dr. Jones, the school system will provide two meals per day for all students in the duration of the school shutdown. He indicated that USDA has authorized the school system to operate the food distribution comparable to the Summer Feeding Program which allows meals to be served to youth ages 1-18.
In compliance with Superintendent Jones guidance, each school has instituted plans for delivering food and instructional materials to students. In the food program, students are provided two meals each day with distributions scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Parents may drive to the schools for meals and some meals will be delivered to various designated venues in the community. The detailed delivery schedule is listed in this newspaper as well as on the school’s web site and other relevant social media.
For Greene County High School students, the majority of teachers sent enrichment activities via email or Google Classroom. A few teachers prepared instructional packets which were delivered on Monday.
Eutaw Primary School delivered instructional packets on Monday and Tuesday. Robert Brown Middle School had packets available for parents to pick up on Wednesday. Instructional packets can be delivered in any situation where parents are not able to come to the school.
Dr. Jones informed the board that the system will continue its financial obligations. Payroll and bills will be paid in a timely manner. Personnel not on direct deposit plans will have paychecks sent through postal mail. “Traditional business of the school system will be handled as efficiently as possible,” Jones stated. He clarified that usual bid laws can be suspended regarding emergency purchases.
Superintendent Jones indicated that no determination can be made at this time as to meeting schedules for particular school activities such as prom and graduation. “We just don’t know how long this medical emergency will last. I urged our community to take every precaution to keep safe and avoid contracting the virus.”

Superintendent gives update on school enrollment and new learning initiatives

At the Greene County Board of Education’s regular meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones gave an update on student enrollment, system assessment processes and student and personnel motivation efforts. Dr. Jones reported that, to date, the school system is short 40 students from the 2018-2019 school year. “We currently have 1000 student enrolled, which is three less than earlier this school year. Eutaw Primary has 349 students; Robert Brown Middle has 357 and Greene County High has 294,” he stated.
According to Superintendent Jones, the school system has several initiatives creating a more student involved learning environment which already is showing positive results. He stated that the system is continuing to rely on the Scantron Benchmark Assessment for the lower grades and the ACT for the high school. Jones noted that the principals are scheduled to present the assessment data from their individual schools in a special meeting this week.
The board president and attorney announced a change in the agenda process beginning at the board’s March meeting. The Public Comments section will appear on the agenda following the Welcome to Visitors. The process will require visitors to sign in prior to the start of the board meeting, if they wish to make comments before the board. At the start of the meeting, the signed list will be taken up by the board, and only those on the list will be allowed to speak. This adjustment in the agenda is intended to avoid the visitors waiting for the board to conclude its work in executive session.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones.
Resignation: Jacob Sullivan, Baseball Coach, Greene County High School.
Non-renewal – Principal Contract for Garry Rice, Effective June 30, 2020; Principal Contract for Toice Goodson, Effective June 30, 2020.
Employment – Tara Thomas, Kindergarten Teacher, Eutaw Primary School for the remainder of the 2019-2020 School Year, effective February 18, 2020.
The board acted on the following administrative service items:
Approved Resolution Opposing School Start Date Legislation.
Approved MAK Engineering, LLC, Structional Assessment for Greene County High School. * Approved agreement between Greene County Board and Marimac Academy, Janice Filer, to Perform Consulting Services to Greene County Schools.
Approved of contract between Greene County Board and Amy Quitt, for extended hours from 10 to 12 hours for Speech-Language Services.
Approved Greene County Boys Basketball Team and Managers traveling to New Orleans March 14-17 2020, to attend the Semi and Final Games of the Sunbelt Conference Tournament.
*Approved Robert Brown Middle School students traveling to Six Flags in Austell, Georgia for STEM DAY, May 15, 2020.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
The financial snapshot as of December 31, 2019, presented by CSFO Lavonda Blair, included the following: General Fund Balance – $970,617.61; Check Register Accountability Report – $291,190.24; Payroll Register – $868,054.25; Combined Fund Balance – $3,418,637.95. Local Revenue Sources included local taxes of $90,861.40; Bingo collections for December will be reflected in the January financial report, since the board’s central office was closed at time of disbursement.

School board approves resolution requesting State to turn over Birdine School property

Shown above: The Current Birdine School Site

At its monthly meeting held Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, the Greene County Board of Education, on the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, approved a resolution requesting the State of Alabama to convey to the Greene County Board of Education tracts of real estate which formerly constituted the Birdine School Campus. The various tacts of land, which formed the Birdine School in Greene County, were acquired by the State of Alabama between 1910 and 1961. With ownership of the property, the board can determine how to best use or dispose of the said real estate to further benefit the school system.
At the board meeting, Dr. Jones scheduled a mandated report of the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA (enacted by Congress in 2000) addresses concerns about access in schools and libraries to the internet and other information and imposes certain requirements for those entities that receive discounts for internet access (E-RATE) or for internal connections.
The CIPA report was presented by Ms. Makane Morrow, Technology Coordinator, who confirmed that the school system has the appropriate policies and procedures to comply with CIPA, including data governance policy, forms and content filtering. According to Ms. Morrow, compliance with CIPA also includes monitoring agreements with staff and students to prevent inappropriate web site access and allows the school system to receive anti-virus alerts.
As part of the Superintendent’s report, the board heard a second presentation by Schneider Electric concerning a proposed overview of a Capital Recovery & Reinvestment Program involving upgrades and repairs in the areas of energy uses, telecommunications and related capital improvements. The board posed various questions regarding the cost and financing of the project, but made no decision at this time.
The board approved the following personnel recommendations of the superintendent;
Resignations: Cassandra Glover, nurse at Eutaw Primary School, effective December 31, 2019;
Robert Stewart – In-School Suspension and Truancy Officer, Robert Brown Middle /school, effective December 19, 2019.
Child Nutrition Program: Salary Schedule Proposal.
Additional Mentors for Teacher Mentor Program – Gwendolyn Webb, Jeffery Wesley, Sandra Gordon, Keisha Williams and Brittany January.
Catastrophic Leave: LaKeisha Johnson, teacher, Eutaw Primary School.
One-Time Stipend Pay of $400 to Sarah Brewer for processing insurance reimbursements.
Termination of Danielle Sanders as High School Girls Basketball Coach, effective immediately.
The board approved the following Administrative Items recommended by the superintendent;
Approval of Greene County High School Debate Team to travel to Mississippi for competition, March 4-5, 2020.
Approval of Consulting Service between Greene County Board and Malysa Chandler, Educational Consultant Services, for Greene County School District.Science Teachers.
Resolution – Birdine School Property.
Change Board Signatory of all Banks Accounts: Citizens, Merchants, and Synovus Bank.
Greene County High School Football Booster Club Contract.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll
Authorize Superintendent to have Eatman School Property appraised.

Zippert & Cockrell elected Board President and Vice President ; Greene County Schools – two on failing list; System earns C grade

Dr. Carol P. Zippert President and Kashaya Cockrell Vice President of the Greene County School Board

At its monthly meeting, November 18, 2019, the Greene County Board of Education conducted its annual re-organization and selected Dr. Carol P. Zippert as Board President. Ms. Kashaya Cockrell was selected as Vice President. Zippert was the only nominee for President. Kashaya Cockrell and William Morgan were nominated for Vice President, however, Morgan withdrew his name. The elected officers serve a one year term, but may be eligible for re-election. The superintendent serves as the official secretary for the school board. Board Attorney Hank Sanders presided over the election process.
In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones presented the school system’s scores from the process mandated by the Alabama Accountability Act, originally passed by the state legislature in 2013.
Although the Greene County School system earned an overall C (70%) grade on the state’s report card, two schools still remain on the state’s “failing” school list, Robert Brown Middle School and Greene County High School.
Eutaw Primary School received a score of 85 which is two points above the previous year’s score. Greene High County School received a score of 68, which is nine points above the previous year’s score, and has demonstrated considerable improvement. Robert Brown Middle School received a score or 61, which is 5 points below the previous year’s score.
According to the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA), amended, Failing Schools include those whose test scores were in the bottom 6% in the previous year. Students are tested in reading and math in grades 3-8 and 10 with the Aspire Assessment and the Alabama Alternate Assessment. By state law today, the failing list is a competition, pitting public schools against one another to stay off of the bottom. That means, by law, there will always be dozens of “failing” public schools across Alabama.
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones explained that there are several factors which are considered in evaluating a particular school. These include the state’s standardized assessment scores; student attendance; graduation rate and academic growth. He stated that while the AAA “failing” list is based solely on test scores, the report card grade considers other factors like academic growth, the percentage of students missing more than 15 days of school, and measures of college and career readiness among others.
See following chart:
Schools with a Grade 12
Academic Achievement – 20%; Academic Growth – 25%; Graduation Rate – 30%; College and Career Readiness – 10%; Progress in English Language Proficiency – 5%; Chronic Absenteeism – 10%;
Schools without a Grade 12
Academic Achievement – 40%; Academic Growth – 40%; Progress in English Language Proficiency – 5%; Chronic Absenteeism – 15%;
As a component of his report, Dr. Jones introduced a presentation by Todd Smith of Schneider Electric in which Smith gave an overview of a Capital Recovery & Reinvestment Program for Greene County Schools. The company has conducted a series of surveys to determine where, with particular innovative upgrades and repairs in the areas of energy uses, telecommunications and related capital improvements, the school system would save over $100,000 annually. The district-wide improvements would include replacing large HVAC equipment; upgrade all interior and exterior lights to LED technology; district-wide building automation system; smart metering to provide real time energy data; and centralized web-enabled irrigation system at the high school.
This was a first preliminary presentation by Schneider Electric and no decision was made by the board.
The board acted on the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
Approved the resignation of William Wilkins, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective October 24, 2019.
Approved the retirement Regina Harmon, Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective October 1, 2019.
Approved the Catastrophic Leave request of Josef Stancer, Band Director, Greene County High School, effective November 8, 2019.
•Approved the Supplemental pay raise, Ms. Vanessa Bryant, Football and Basketball Cheerleader Sponsor, Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative items recommended by the superintendent:
Field trip Eutaw Primary School to attend Tennessee Aquarium and I-Max Theatre in Chattanooga Tennessee, April 17, 2020.
Contract between Greene County Board and File Wave (USA) Software Support.
ADS Security contract for update camera’s at Bus Shop.
Contract between Robert Brown Middle School and West Central Officials Association of Livingston Alabama.
Contract between Greene County High School and West Central Officials Association of Livingston Alabama.

Greene County School System awarded $900,000 grant to implement Star Academy

At the Greene County School Board meeting held, Monday, August 19, 2019, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced that the school system has been awarded a three-year $900,000 grant to implement the Star Academy Program for At-Risk 7th and 8th graders at Robert Brown Middle School beginning this academic year.
Greene County was one of two school systems selected to receive the At-Risk-Discretionary Grant from the Alabama State Superintendent of Education.
The Star Academy, a school within a school, employs standards-based curriculum in Science, Mathematics, English, and Social Studies. Students navigate through a rigorous progression of varied instructional methods incorporating hands-on, real-world learning experiences, individualized instruction, team instruction, and personal development.
The program re-engages students who may have experienced personal, academic, or social challenges in their lives. It provides these students with an opportunity to recapture a sense of purpose, regain their self-esteem, and succeed academically.Approximately 80 seventh and eight grade students at Robert Brown Middle School will be selected to participate in the Star Academy.
Participating teachers will receive staff development. Orientation sessions for parents will also be designed.
The school system provides the faculty and the facility. The Star Academy, through the grant resources, provides the curriculum design; facilities layout, including classroom furnishings; computers and other related classroom materials and support; staff development; on site coordination and support.
Star Academy transforms existing classrooms into new learning environments. The academy includes computers for every student, all project equipment, and custom furniture workstations that provide appropriate workspace for all of the program’s curriculum activities.
As part of his report, Dr. Jones stated the school system is employing special efforts to increase student enrollment. The Truancy Officers are visiting families to assist in the enrollment of their children.
Dr. Jones noted that the system will continue with the Assessment and Instruction Guide including Benchmark Assessments; Pacing Guides; Instructional Observations; Professional Development and Interventions.
Superintendent Jones explained that he is instituting various motivation guides for students, personnel and school facilities. In this plan, individual students will be awarded for attendance and the school with the highest attendance for the month will receive a school banner. The custodial staff will be awarded for the cleanest school facility.
The personnel items recommended by the superintendent and approved by the board include the following:

  • Family Medical Leave/Catastrophic Leave for Raven Bryant, Special Education Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
  • Resignation of Gloria Watkins, First Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective August 2, 2019; Ginger Norris Glass, Language Arts Teacher, RBM; Latasha Lewis, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
    *Employment of Quenterica White, First Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School;
    Denicia Smith, Bus Aide, Department of Transportation; Sheila Henderson, Long-Term Substitute Teacher for 6th grade, RBM.
  • Supplemental Contract for Russell Rivers, Assistant Football Coach, Greene County High School; Vanessa Bryant, Head Cheerleader Coach; Henry Miles, Jr. Head Football Coach, RBM; Brittany January, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach.
    •Rescind employment of Sanjanika Prince as Long-term Substitute, Elementary Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, did not accept position; Mattie Underwood, Bus Aide, Department of Transportation, did not accept position.
    Under Instructional Services, Superintendent Jones recommended accepting the At-Risk Discretionary Grant and implementing the Star Academy at Robert Brown Middle School for selective 7th and 8th grade students. The board approved the recommendation.
    The board approved the following Administrative Service Items recommended by Superintendent Jones.
    *Contract between Greene County Board and West Alabama Therapy, to provide Occupational and Physical Therapy for Greene County Schools, for 2019-2020 school year.
    *Contract between Greene County Board and Kim Herren, to provide Developmental Delay Services, for 2019-2020 school year.
    *Agreement between Community Service Program of West Alabama, Inc. Head Start, Early Head start, for 2019-2020 school year.
  • Agreement between Greene County Board and Mattie Strode, to provide Home Bound services for 2019-2020 school year.
  • Agreement between WeCare Therapy Services.
  • Agreement between Woods Therapeutic, to provide behavioral Aide, for Special need students.
    Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
  • District-Wide Time and Attendance System, to strengthen accountability of employees for payroll purposes.
  • Travel Policy Provision.
  • Class Wallet for Classroom Instruction Supply (CSI).
  • Contract between West Central Volleyball Officials Association & Greene County Board of Education for Volleyball Officials for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Contract between Blackboard Inc. and Greene County Board of Education for District Website hosting for the 2019-2020 school year.
    In his report, Attorney Hank Sanders advised that the board consider turning over to the attorney, for further action, the Exclusivity Agreement between Lee HVBAC, et. al of Moundville and the Greene County School System. Dr. Jones offered the recommendation and the board approved the same.
    The Greene County CSFO presented a financial snapshot of the system as of June 30, 2019. The general fund balance is $1,228,849.73; the same reconciles to the Summary Cash Report; total checks written for the period – $259,806.57; Payroll Register – $855,633.73 (total gross pay to include employer match items; Combined Fund Balance – $3,727,224.02; Local Revenue – local taxes collected totaled $107,243.84; Bingo Collections totaled $45,120.

Greene County High School holds 4th annual Tie Tying Ceremony

. — photography Cynthia Crawford

Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne assisting student
Marcus Steele assisting students
Student assisting student

The Greene County High School 9th Grade Academy, in its fourth year, held its annual Tie Tying Ceremony, Tuesday, August 6, 2019 in the school gymnasium. The Academy program focuses on detailed guidance and assistance for the incoming Freshman Class. The students will receive in depth academic monitoring, counseling, tutoring and guided postsecondary advising The 87 student Freshman Class, with an expected high school graduation date of 2023, will adorn the classic school uniform of navy blue blazer, white shirts and kaki pants with their own distinguishing red and white stripped tie. The ties were provided complimentary of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, where District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne serves as President.
School Personnel and community stakeholders assisting students in learning appropriate tie tying included Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, GCHS Principal Willie Simmons, Assist. Principal Andrea Perry, Marcus Steele, Sr., Alphonzo Morton, III and Alphonzo Morton, Jr., Mr. Gary Rice, Mrs. Theresa Mack and Joshua M Campbell.

School board hires additional personnel

At an emergency call meeting held July 31, 2019, the Greene County Board of Education added additional personnel to its school rosters. The board approved the following personnel recommendations of Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones:
Valerie Moore, Physical Education Teacher, Eutaw Primary School; Lakeisha Johnson, Pre-k Auxiliary Teacher, Eutaw Primary School; Dotha Williams, Long-term Substitute Special Needs Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Glenda Hodges, Long-Term Substitute, Special Education Collaborate Teacher; Sanjanika Prince, Long-term Substitute Elementary Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Andrea Perry, from 10 ½ month employee to 11 month employee; Dorothy Branch, Long-term Substitute 4th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Ginger Glass, English Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Tyler Mitchell, Social Science Teacher, Greene County High School; Mattie Underwood, Bus Aide, Department of Transportation; Frances McGee, CNP Manager, Greene County High School; Nkenge Reynolds, Social Studies, Robert Brown Middle School; Russell Rivers, Automotive, Greene County Career Center.
The board approved the voluntary transfer of Gwendolyn Webb, Pre-K 2 Auxiliary Teacher to Pre-K Auxiliary 1 Teacher, at Eutaw Primary School.
The following resignations were approved by the board: Shequeria Wright, Pre-K Auxiliary Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective immediately; Katlin Whittle, Visual Art Teacher, Eutaw Primary School; Ruby Bell, Social Science Teacher, Greene County High School, effective immediately; Korto Dapolar, Science Teacher, Greene County High School, effective July 16, 2019; Barbara Burroughs, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective August 31, 2019; Cheerleader Sponsor, Supplemental Contract, Linda Little, for the 2019-2020 school year.
A supplemental contract was approved for Lurena Smith as Greene County High School Cheerleader Sponsor for the 2019-2020 school year.