Superintendent Jones lays out conditions for reopening schools

At the Greene County Board of Education’s virtual meeting on February 22, 2021, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones informed the board that he has created a School Reopening Committee to explore the conditions that will be favorable for face-to face instruction again. Jones stated that there will be no recommendation to the board to reopen schools until all employees have had the opportunity for vaccinations; the county’s COVID positivity rate has declined to a safer rate; a determination is made on the number of students to bring back at a time; and a summer school plan is explored to assist students to remain on grade level.
Superintendent Jones noted that the committee will contact surrounding school districts that are currently providing face-to-face instruction, and what safety protocols are in place – what has worked well for them. “The committee will use this information to strengthen our re-opening plan, ” he said. According to the superintendent, the school facilities are already equipped with plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizers in all classrooms; foggers and other cleaning methods are employed on a regular basis, as well as a process to increase air flow throughout the building.
Board member Veronica Richardson raised the question on a timeline for students receiving COVID vaccines. Dr. Jones agreed to seek information regarding state plans for student vaccinations.
Jones noted that on Saturday, Feb. 20, over 200 citizens were vaccinated at the Greene County Health Department in Eutaw. The next scheduled dates for vaccinations are February 24 and March 3. He said that Greene County had a COVID-19 positivity rate of 11.4% for the previous 14 days. “This is a good sign, if we can just continue on this path,” he stated.
The CSFO Ms. Lavanda Blair presented the snapshot financial report for December. She noted that the system is financially strong, even with the current decrease in property and sales taxes. She provided clarity on the budget adjustments involving carryover funds to the current fiscal year.
The board approved the following recommendations presented by the superintendent.
Personnel: Arnthena Hill, Special Education Consultant, for the remainder of the school year.* Administrative Services: January 2021 Budget Amendment; Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.

Greene County Schools establish tutorial partnership with Stillman College

From the Office of School Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones


Greene County Schools and Stillman College have established a partnership with the goal of supporting students during this unprecedented time. The system’s academic program has been virtual since the opening of the 2020-2021 school year.
Greene County School System has solicited the assistance of Stillman College to assist in filing the gap that has occurred with our students during the COVID 19 pandemic. The tutoring program focuses on those students in grades 4-12 needing assistance in successfully navigating online learning as well as assisting students who need more practice in all core subjects.
The Peer Tutors are members of the special Harte Honors College, the scholarship program at Stillman, who major in Education, Journalism, History, or Psychology and are selected by each Academic Dean. The Peer Tutors are assigned to students at a ratio of one tutor per five students for elementary students (Grades 4 & 5) and one tutor per three students for middle school and high school students (Grades 6-12). Ratios are subject to change and depend upon the number of students in Greene County Schools who take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Currently there are 35 students from Robert Brown Middle School and 25 students from Greene County High engaged in the Stillman Tutorial Program.
To ensure the success of this endeavor, Stillman has also provided a Program Administrator selected from the college faculty who will appropriately assign peer tutors to students receiving the tutorial services. The Program Administrator will review the daily and weekly progress reports on the program outcomes for each elementary, middle, and high school student enrolled in the program.
In addition to providing tutoring services to students in grades 4-12, Stillman College and the Stillman Foundation also provide a weekly update on the academic status and improvements on each student participating in the program as well as recommendations and suggestions for specific course work assignments.
The program is virtual and is in session Monday – Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For More Information regarding the Greene County Schools/Stillman College Tutoring Program, contact Dr. Charla Jordan-Riley, at 205-346-9540 or cjordan@greene.k12.al.us.

School board holds emergency meeting to consider personnel items

The Greene County Board of Education met in an emergency call meeting on Thursday, January 28, 2021 to act on personnel recommendations from Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones.
The board approved the recommendation to accept the resignation of Dr. Jamara Wright as Special Education Coordinator for the school district. Subsequently, the board approved the superintendent’s recommendation to employ Ms. Wanda Blakely in the position of Special Education Coordinator for the school district.
These were the only items considered at the call meeting.

School board acts to secure Birdine school property, anticipating sale to Town of Forkland

Shown above former Birdine School in Forkland, AL

The Greene County Board of Education met in a virtual meeting, Tuesday, January 19, 2021with all board members in attendance. The sale of the former Birdine school property to the Town of Forkland was among the superintendent’s recommendations approved by the board.
In preparation for this sale, the board had to certify to the State Superintendent of Education that any funds derived from this sale will be used for public school purposes and that it is to the benefit of the Greene County School District that Birdine School Property be sold.
According to school board legal counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders, years ago county boards of education could not own real property. School property had to be in the name of the State of Alabama. The Birdine School Property was in this category and even after boards of education could own real property, property owned by the state remained with the state.
“The Greene County Board of Education is now working to get the Birdine School Property out of the state and in the Greene County Board of Education by authorizing the superintendent and board president to execute the necessary documents of certification as required by the Alabama State Department of Education, ” Attorney Sanders stated. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, the Town of Forkland is prepared to purchase the Birdine School Property when all state requirements are met.
In his report, Superintendent Jones noted that the total positive coronavirus cases among school personnel is 18 and to date the total that reportedly have been exposed/isolated/quarantined is 40. He assured the board the all school facilities are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized daily.
Jones provided updates on the maintenance and repairs associated with various school facilities, including an update on the new roofing project at the central office.
The following personnel items were approved by the board:
Maternity Leave for Kalyn Bryant, Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective January 4, 2021.
Employment of Angela Taylor, Long-term Substitute Science Teacher, Robert Middle School; and Milton Jones, Greene County Board Maintenance Department.
Retirement of Atausha Tinker-Mitchell, effective January 7, 2021.
Rescind employment of Latonya Taylor, Special Needs Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School. She did not accept position.
The board approved the following administrative service items:
Sale of Birdine Elementary School to the Town of Forkland.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Approval for the Extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response ACT (FFCRA) Leave until March 31, 2021.
Ms. Lavonda Blair, CSFO, presented the following financial snapshot for the period ending November 30, 2020: General Fund Bank Balance – $1,124,226.97; Accounts Payable Check Register – $450,615.36; Payroll Register – $815,656.88; Combined Fund Balance – $4,424,586.70; Local Revenue: Property/Sales Taxes – $136,055.01; Bingo – $57, 873; Total Local Revenue – $193,928.01

Coronavirus keeps school system in virtual mode Superintendent Jones provides academic updates through curriculum coordinator

The Greene County Board of Education held its December 21, 2020 meeting virtually, due to the rise in COVID-19 positive cases in the county. In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that the rate of cases for Greene County was above 33%. He noted that the safe rate to consider returning to school facilities is 5%. “ With these statistics, there is no way we can move from the Phase I approach in our academic program,” he said.
According to Dr. Jones, 14 school employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since the opening of school with 37 having to be quarantined. “At this time we have 16 employees currently in quarantine,” he stated. Jones explained that, fortunately, teachers who were in quarantine were able to conduct their virtual classes from home without taking leave days. “We try our best to be compassionate during these difficult times,” he said. Superintendent Jones presented the system’s Curriculum Coordinator Consultant, Ms. Malysa Chandler, who gave an update of her role with the instructional staff. Ms Chandler noted that her work with the Greene County School System began last school year at Robert Brown Middle School, however, her work this year has extended across the system. According to Chandler, a major component of her role has been to assist in the development of a curriculum map and pacing guide for the system. She also assists teachers with lesson plans, suggesting various activities to enhance student engagement. “I actually observe the virtual classrooms of teachers, and Greene County has some awesome teachers,” she stated.Chandler reported that there are classes with excessive student failures and, working with school leaders, small recovery groups have been organized to assist those students. “The students who have participated in the recovery groups have shown significant improvement,” she stated.
According to Chandler, virtual team meetings will begin in January in an effort to link middle school and high school curriculum, including a designed component for the infusion of Black History across the curriculum.
Chandler noted that she is also prepared to assist teachers who have not satisfied the practice exams. “I would like to have input in the district’s Continuing Improvement Plan,” she said.
In other business, the board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
Employment: Jamara Wright, School District Special Education Coordinator; LaTonya Taylor, Special Needs Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Jessica Lake, from CNP Department to full time custodian at Robert Brown Middle School, effective January 2021; Carl Oliver from Maintenance Aid/Custodian to Lead Maintenance; Sarah Wallace, Substitute History Teacher, Greene County High School.
Retirement: Samuel Newton, Janitor, Eutaw Primary School effective January 1, 2021; Alfonzo Noland, Maintenance Department, effective January 1, 2021.
FMLA Employee Leave: Tyler Mitchell, History Teacher, Greene County High School from October 12, 2020 – TBD, due to child’s daycare being closed during this time.
The board approved the following administrative items:
Drug Testing and Screening Agreement between Greene County Board and Safety-First Behavioral Health System, Inc.
HVAC Program Agreement between Greene County Board and Wallace State Community College.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Following Attorney Hank Sanders report, the board approved a resolution which sets out the completion of the sale of the former Mt. Hebron Pre-School property to the non-profit organization, SCORE. Attorney Sanders also noted that the former Birdine School property, which is still under state ownership, is now in the process of being transferred to the Greene County School Board and will become available for the board to take further action. The Greene County Board of Education agreed to pay all full time active employees a one-time supplement of $500 each and all part-time employees a one-time supplement of $250 each in the pay period for December. These one-time supplements are for additional services provided during the 2020-2021 school year based on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

School Board installs three members; re-elects Zippert and Cockrell as President and Vice President

A key feature of the November Greene County Board of Education meeting, held Monday, Nov.16, 2020, was the installation of three board members to six year terms each. First time board member, Mrs. Veronica Richardson, of the Dollarhide Community, now represents District 3. Mr. Leo Branch and Ms. Carrie Dancy were reelected in 2020 to their respective Districts 4 and 5. Greene County District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne officiated at the installation.
November is also the designated time that Alabama school boards must reorganize, selecting a president and a vice president; setting regular meeting dates and time. Dr. Carol P. Zippert and Ms. Kashaya Cockrell were unanimously re-elected as Board President and Vice President, respectively, for the 2020-2021 year. The board also agreed to continue its current monthly meeting schedule of the third Monday at 4:30 pm in the Central Office.
In his report to the board, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones began his remarks with an update on the current COVID-19 positivity rate in Greene County, 22.13%. He stated that this impacts the school system’s overall goal of moving the academic program from Phase I – total virtual learning. “Health officials state that the COVID-19 positivity rate must be no more than 5% before it is safe to bring students and school personnel in face-to-face classes,” he said. He noted that it is likely that the system will begin the third nine week period continuing in Phase I if the coronavirus pandemic continues on this rising path.
Jones emphasized that the system is enacting multiple approaches to enhance student achievement during these difficult times. These efforts include retaining a curriculum specialist to assist teachers in designing and implementing effective class presentations that engage students in their learning. ACT tutors provide enrichment and tutoring, including Booth Camps before the actual test to further prepare students. The second year of the STAR Academy targets 7th & 8th graders providing more intensive studies in the core curriculum, and the 21st Century After-School Tutorial and Enrichment Program is also conducted virtually for students at Eutaw Primary and Robert Brown Middle Schools.
According to Dr. Jones, his office is in the process of arranging for additional tutors from Stillman College to provide one-on-one assistance to local students. “The Stillman tutors will be selected from honor students in the Department of Education,” he said.
Superintendent Jones announced that he is planning Virtual Town Hall meetings to connect with parents and other community persons to continue the efforts of engaging them in students’ education.
The board approved the following recommendations presented by Superintendent Jones.
Employment: Gerald Holloway as bus driver, Department of Transportation; Quinten Walton as Math teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; James Gaines, Supervisor, Transportation; Department; Tabitha Smith as long-term substitute for sixth grade Social Studies at Robert Brown Middle School.
One-time stipend for Corey Cockrell for Athletics Training with Greene County High School football team.
Resignation of Ms. Angelia Hood as Special Education Coordinator, effective January 29, 2021.
Memorandum between Greene County Board of Education and Stillman College for academic tutorial assistance to benefit students in their virtual classroom learning experience, to be prepared by Superintendent Jones and Attorney Hank Sanders.
In her report to the board, which represented the financial reports of September, 2020, CSFO, Ms. Lavonda Blair, stated that the finances of the school system were in good condition. She reported the following in her financial snapshot: General Fund Balance – $913,320.14; Check Register Accountability Report – $1,026,615.82 (This amount includes $326,131.13 debt service payment for the Star Academy Program, which is reimbursable from a State Grant); Payroll Register – $822,117.51; Combined Fund Balance – $4,290.024.18.
Local revenue totaled $158,128.65, with $109.075.65 from property/sale taxes and $49,063 from bingo.
Ms. Blair noted that the system was able to collect back revenue from the GEAR-UP Program, back to 2015, in the amount of $20,000.

Superintendent Jones says schools will remain in Phase I with remote learning

In his report to the Greene County Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting, Monday, October 19, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced that Greene County schools will continue with remote student learning for the second nine weeks. Jones stated that he has kept a daily vigil on the COVID-19 positive reports for the county as well as state-wide to assist him is making the most prudent decision for students, their families and the community.
“ I want our students back in the classroom, but I also want them and their families to be safe,” he said.
Dr. Jones explained that he conducted a survey with parents and with the instructional staff to get their input on whether students should return to the classrooms. He reported that in the parents’ survey, 56% were for students returning to the classrooms while 44% wanted to remain with remote learning. According to Jones, there was a big difference in the teachers’ survey: 85% wanted to remain with remote classes, while 15% favored returning to the classroom.
The superintendent said that he is aware that some students are struggling with the remote process. “I realize that for some students remote classes may not be the best approach for them individually; there are distractions in the home; there may be insufficient home support for students while parents are at work; some students are not logging in on a consistent basis; however, protecting lives still is the highest consideration at this time,” he said.
Jones also stated that once progress reports are issued, failing students will be brought back to the classroom for on-site instruction. “This will only be carried out with the greatest of precaution for a smaller number of students. Every safety measure will be in place,” he emphasized.
According to the superintendent, if COVID-19 factors decrease significantly, Phase II, which includes a hybrid instructional approach with a blend of remote and face-to-face classes, will be implemented for the entire school system.
Jones reported that his staff continues to sanitize all school facilities, including fogging. ‘We are expecting plexiglass for our facilities to arrive this week,” he said.
In other business, the board approved the following recommendations of the superintendent:
Employment: Marilyn Finch, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation; Latasha Lewis, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Voluntary Transfer: David Peterson, from Maintenance Helper to Mechanic Helper, Department of Transportation.
•Resignation: LaToya Consentine, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective September 30, 2020.
Administrative Service Items:
•Contract between Greene County Board and Criterion Consulting, Formative Administrator Evaluation Support Services.
•Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc.
•Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll
Dr. Jones presented a plaque of appreciation to Board member William Morgan for his service to the Greene County School System. Morgan’s term of office ends in November. Morgan also received a plaque of achievement from the Alabama Association of School Boards for reaching the Master’s level in board training.
Board member Carrie Dancy received a plaque of achievement from AASB for meeting all requirements for school board training for 2020.

Superintendent Jones addresses challenges in students virtual academic program

Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones displays the School Board Member Academy Team Training Achievement Award 2020 presented to the Greene County Board of Education by the Alabama Association of School Boards for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in education through boardmanship training.

At the Greene County Board of Education regular meeting held Monday, September 21, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones gave an update on the school system’s remote learning program. He noted that there are still issues with providing connectivity for some students who reside in certain areas of the county. “ We purchased additional Hots Spots from At& T as well as Verizon in efforts to assure that all our students are able to access the virtual services for their classroom work, and we are exploring alternative community sites that could assist students,” Jones explained.
Dr. Jones informed the board that the school administrators are monitoring students’ access to their daily classes. Parents or guardians of students who are not participating on a daily basis will be contacted to determine if the problem is related to technical access, the need for other academic assistance, or just delinquency on the part of the students. “Students who choose not to participate in classes through the system’s remote process will be noted as truant and subject to the appropriate follow-up,” he stated.
The superintendent warned that the COVID-19 positivity rate in the county is still high and the school system will continue to monitor the local situation. “ We really don’t know how long we will be in Phase I with our academic program. We want our students to be safe, but we are also mindful of doing our best to provide them the opportunity for a great academic program, “ Jones said. The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent. * Retirement: Nathaniel Webb, Mechanic, Department of Transportation, effective September 1, 2020; Mona Duncan, 4th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective October 1, 2020.
Employment: Brandi Eubanks, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, for the 2020-2021 academic year; Rebecca Coleman, Technology Coordinator, effective September 21, 2020; Sharon Washington, Maintenance Supervisor, effective September 21, 2020; Dutchess Jones, Math Teacher, Greene County High School.
Confidential Settlement Agreement canceling Mr. Garry Rice’s Principal Contract and implementing a Math Specialist Employment Agreement.
The board approved the following administrative services recommended by the superintendent.
Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Links 2 Learning Consulting.
Contract Services between Greene County Schools and Hands LLC, Alabama Autism Assistant Program.
Contract between Greene County Schools and ATT Assistive Technology Association.
Accept Bid from Assurance Service Group for re-roofing and alterations to Greene County Board Central Office.
Dr. Jones presented the board with the School Board Member Academy Team Training Achivement Award 2020, from Alabama Assoication of School Boards for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in education through boardmanship training.
Prior to its regular meeting on Sept. 21, the board held a work session to continue the annual evaluation of Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones. As per his contract, Superintendent Jones will submit his annual work plan to the board by October 19, which will include goals and objectives for the current school term. Subsequent superintendent evaluations will be based on the duties of the superintendent and the goals and objectives of the school system for the year in question.

Greene County schools postpone all extra-curricular activities

The Greene County Board of Education held an emergency meeting Tuesday, July 28, 2020 to take action on the superintendent’s recommendation regarding extra-curricular activities for the 2020-2021 school year.
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones explained that the school system has already determined a three-phase opening for the coming school term and in efforts to keep the students, school personnel and community safe, the Greene County School System will operate its first phase virtually for the first nine weeks.
According to Jones, if it is unsafe to bring students together for classes, it is unsafe for students, faculty and others to gather for any extra-curricular activities, including football, cheerleading, dance, etc. He stated that as we progress through the school term, we will reassess the health condition of the local community and do what we must for the safety of all

School Board approves three-phase plan to re-open schools, beginning with remote learning

Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones presented his long anticipated plan for reopening the county’s schools at the Greene County Board of Education’s monthly meeting held Monday, July 20, 2020, in a virtual setting, again observing safety measures due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The board approved the plan.
The three-phase plan proposes a Remote Learning Option in Phase 1, scheduled for August 20, to Oct. 16, 2020, covering the first nine weeks of school, where students will participate in courses remotely. Dr. Jones explained that the curriculum has been adjusted to accommodate this new approach, with teachers stationed in classrooms in respective schools guiding students through lessons remotely.
Jones noted that all students will be provided the devices necessary to access their courses remotely. The devices will be issued prior to August 20.
The board is also striving to provide access to the internet for all students, which includes providing hot spots, as well as connecting to appropriate towers in the rural communities. School buses can also be equipped with internet services and placed as needed in various communities. “Using our buses is also an option, but not necessarily the best option,” Jones said.
During Phase 1, meals will be delivered daily via scheduled bus routes. Each school will conduct virtual parent-guardian and student orientation during the week of August 10.
Phase 11 of the plan provides a Hybrid Instruction approach. Students will attend school in split sessions – part time at the facilities; part time remotely. Dr. Jones and his team have devised the specific arrangements for implementing this plan. Students will still have the option to enroll in the District’s Virtual School Program. Phase 11 is scheduled for the second nine weeks period, October 19 to Dec. 18, 2020.
Phase 111 is a return to Traditional Learning, with campuses reopening for all students for traditional instruction. Phase 111 is scheduled to begin January 5, 2021.
Superintendent Jones emphasized that the Coronavirus will dictate which phase is implemented and for how long. He noted that if the virus continues to spread throughout the county during Phase 1, the remote instructional timeline will be extended. “ The status of the virus will also determine if we need to return to Phase 1 at any given time. Our focus is safety for students, school personnel and community,” he said.
According to Jones, during Phases 1 and 11, Fridays will be reserved for student intervention and acceleration.
In other business the board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones.
Resignations: Linda Little, History Teacher, Greene County High School, effective June 30, 2020; Rachel Nickson, Administrative Assistant/Secretary EPS, effective July 31, 2020.
Voluntary Transfers: Makane Morrow, from Technology Coordinator, to Accounts Payable, effective July 8, 2020; Sharon Washington, from Accounts Payable to Interim Maintenance Supervisor, effective July 8, 2020; Rebeca Coleman, from Computer Science Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School, to Interim Technology Coordinator Central Office, effective July 8, 2020; Charlease Smith, from EPS 2nd grade teacher to 3rd grade teacher; Domonique McDaniel, from EPS 3rd grade teacher to 2nd grade teacher.
Employment: Latasha Tinker-Mitchell, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School for 2020-2021 school year; Allison Newton, 6th Grade Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School for 2020-2021 school year; Clifford Reynolds, History Teacher, Greene County High School, for 2020-2021 school year; LaMonica Little, Career Prep Teacher, Greene County Career Center for 2020-2021sSchool year; Russell Rivers, Career Coach, Greene County Career Center for 2020-2021 school year; Brianna Bryant, Pre-K lead teacher Eutaw Primary School for 2020-2021 school year; Hillary Bruner, 2nd grade teacher Eutaw Primary School for 2020-2021 school yea; Youlonda Coleman, Cafeteria Manager, Eutaw Primary School for 2020-2021 school year.
The board approved the following administrative services.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
*Approval of Budget Amendment II
*Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Amy Quitt, Speech-Language Therapy Services, for 2020-2021 school year.
Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Mattie Strode, Homebound Services, for 2020-2021 school year.
Contract between Greene County Board of Education and WeCare Therapy Services, LLC, 2020-2021 school year.
Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Deonna Haley, Psychometric Services for 2020-2021 school year.
Contract between Greene County Board of Education and West Alabama Therapy, LLC for Physical and Occupational Therapy Services, for 2020-2021 school year.
Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Kim Herren, Developmental Delay Services, for 2020-2021 school year.
Plan to reopen Greene County Schools for 2020-2021:Phase I- First nine weeks -Remote learning for all students. Phase II- Second nine weeks -Hybrid Learning. Phase III- Third nine weeks -Traditional learning
Revised 2020-2021 Greene County School calendar.