GEAR UP Alabama Kick-Off

by Marva Smith

Shown Above: Mr. Erwin Dudley, former UA basketball player, GCH Assistant Principal Andrea Perry and Marva Smith, Site Facilitator, with GEAR UP students. and Mr. Erwin Dudley, Motivational Speaker, shares his coming-of-age story with GEAR UP students

The Greene County School District kicked off its fourth year of participation in GEAR UP Alabama. GEAR UP Alabama is a federally funded initiative through the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The program had its beginning at Carver Middle School and Paramount Jr. High School during the 2015-2016 academic year when the current tenth and eleventh grade students were in the seventh and eighth grades. The program will follow the students through high school graduation and into post-secondary institutions. September 23-29, 2018 is National GEAR UP Kick-Off Week. This year’s theme is “Super Heroes” which denotes that there is a super hero inside each of them…just waiting to be discovered. The week kicked off with a program in the gymnasium at Greene County High School. The program included a welcome and greetings by Mr. Willie Simmons, principal and Dr. James Carter, Superintendent; respectively. The high school choir under the directorship of Mr. Siegfried Williams rendered two melodious selections that were sung to perfection. The highlight of the program was a speech by Mr. Erwin Dudley. Mr. Dudley played basketball during early 2000s at the University of Alabama. While at the Capstone, he consistently made a name for himself. During his college basketball career, he was named All-American by the Associated Press, a consensus SEC 2002 Player-of-the-Year and an unanimous All-SEC First Team Pick. Dudley led the SEC in rebounding for three consecutive seasons, becoming the first to do so since Shaquille O’Neal. He also holds the University of Alabama school record with 129 career starts, ranks seventh all-time in scoring (1,764 points) and fourth in rebounding (1,184). Dudley recorded 43 double-doubles, giving him the nickname “E-Double-Double”. The message he drove home to the students in his closing remarks was that you can accomplish your goal if you put God first, be committed and work hard. He has had many hardships and obstacles in life but didn’t let that hinder him. His achievements have been abundant during his basketball career. He played thirteen years in an overseas basketball league in Turkey and is currently semi-retired. The National Kick-Off Week Celebration continued with “Teachers Tell Their Stories” of their college experiences on Tuesday, Graduation Commitment Day on Wednesday where students signed a poster committing to graduating from high school with their cohorts. On Super Hero Day Thursday, students dressed as Super Heroes and completed the phrase, “I will be a Super Hero by…”. On Friday, students dressed in that favorite college gear or Fresh Start or GEAR UP tees. Students will culminate their GEAR UP Kick-Off Week activities by attending the Future Proof Let Us Make Man Conference at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) on Saturday. GEAR UP Alabama objective is to cause the students’ hopes, dreams, and possibilities be a reality.

School board retains Dr. James H. Carter as Superintendent

Dr. Carter

Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, Sr.

 

At its monthly meeting held March 31, 2016, the Greene County Board of Education terminated its superintendent’s search and entered into a two year agreement retaining Dr. James H. Carter, Sr. as Superintendent of Schools.  The new contract goes into effect June 1, 2016.
Dr. Carter initially came on board with the Greene County School Board in June 2015 as a consultant through the Alabama State Department of Education. He has been serving as Interim Superintendent of the Greene County Schools since September 2015.
The board commenced its superintendent’s search last June 2015 and when Dr. Carter was asked to serve as the interim superintendent the search was put on hold in August until the following Spring of 2016.
In less than a year’s time, Dr. Carter has introduced various programs and initiatives to boost the academic and cultural exposure for students. These include developing academic partnerships with the University of Alabama, University of West Alabama and Shelton Community College; adding additional career-tech courses and opening a Performing Arts Program.
He has also been successful in securing qualified administrators and instructional personnel for the system.  Currently he is directing significant improvements and updates to the structures at the former Peter J. Kirksey Vocational School. At the March board meeting, Interim Superintendent Carter gave the following report:
* Carver Middle School and Eutaw Primary School will be the sites for the Summer Feeding Program.
* Summer school will be held the first week in June to the first week in July.  Lunches will be provided for those students enrolled.
* A two week Academic Academy will also be available for students at each of the schools during the first two week in June.
* Plans are to explore more academic and athletic scholarships for students.
* Develop more academic plans for special needs students.* Devise strategies to enhance the menus in the Child Nutrition Program.
* Allow Dress-Up Day for students and faculty twice a month.
* Devise action plan to assist students in scoring above 20 on the ACT.
* Expand course offering at Career Center.
* Board must sign up as Charter School Authorizer by August 1, 2016.
* Planning for Virtual School Pilot.
* Advance Ed will review school system documents regarding accreditation April 17-19.
* Principals, coaches and bus drivers should be certified in CPR.
* Planning mentoring and induction program for new teachers.
* Board work session with TCU scheduled for April 11, 2016.
* Board is pursuing consolidation of Carver Middle School and Paramount Jr. High. Board will hold community meetings throughout the county to discuss this proposal.
* Greene County High School graduation set for May 20, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.
In other business the board approved the following Personnel Items as recommended by the superintendent:
* Employment of the following teachers at Eutaw Primary School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Lashawn Henley; Keshia Williams; Charlease Smith; Brenda Washington.
* Employment of the following teachers at Paramount Jr. High School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Shante Morton; Sukova Hicks; Felicia Smith; Mona Duncan; Brenda Grant; Tameshia Abrams; Lonia Dancy-Brown.
* Employment of the following teachers at Carver Middle School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After school tutorial sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Vanessa Bryant; Joseph Polk.
* Employment of the following teacher at Greene County High School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Tonia Sparks.
Employment of the following bus drivers at a rate of $15.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Ayanna Crawford; Felicia Davis; Jammie Davis; Brendan Gaines; Jaida Goree; Joe Webb.
Under Administrative Services, the board approved the following recommendations of the Interim Superintendent:
* School Calendar for 2016-2017 School Year.
* Development of a school district teacher evaluation instrument commencing with the school year 2016-2017.
* Reorganization of the administration at Greene County High School.
* Permission to repair roof at Peter J. Kirksey Vocational Center.
* Permission to modify Peter J. Kirksey into a bus shop as funds come available.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by Mr. Leon dowe, CSFO.
Designate Greene County High School as a storm shelter open to the community.
The following Instructional Items recommended by the Interim Superintendent were approved by the board:
* Requirement for all students to take Algebra I & II, Chemistry, and Biology prior to graduation commencing with the 2016-2017 incoming Freshmen students.
* A 9th Grade Academy at Greene County High commencing with the 2016-2017 school year.
* Cursive writing course for grades K-2.
* Financial independence course for grades 6-12 (Banking Course) and develop an agreement with Citizens Trust Bank and Merchants & Farmers Bank to provide support.
* Course that will encourage students to participate in voting process and to teach them more about local, state and U.S. government.
* Revision of the Information Guide for Students and Parents.