BOE celebrates broadcasting and robotics, tables Clark contract talk

Board-roboticsBeginning with a demonstration by the Demopolis School Robotics Team, the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education meeting Monday focused the spotlight on many of the programs and courses of study going on at its four campuses.

The Robotics Team, which took second place in area competition earlier this month, travels to Auburn on Dec. 6 for regional competition against more than 50 teams from six southeastern states.

Members of the team and their sponsor, Ashleigh Brock, demonstrated their robot and talked about other aspects of the competition.

Demopolis Middle School principal Blaine Hathcock proudly announced the school has been ranked in the top 10 percent of middle schools in Alabama, ranking 46 out of more than 500.

DMS teacher Meggin Mayben showed a prototype promotional video her broadcasting class put together showcasing the school. After the meeting she took visitors to the television studio.

Adam Sealy and Charles Jones Jr. brought the board up to date on the career tech programs at Demopolis High School. Sealy said the school is getting quotes for setting up a culinary arts center in the former home economics room.

board-tvKelly Gandy and Courtney Kerby, who teach the insurance classes at DHS, were asked by the Alabama board to write an insurance curriculum for use across the state.

Jones said three architectural firms are expected to bid on work at the former New Era building to create a tech center for five programs. Already welding and machining courses are being held in the building, and Shelton State Community College holds its truck-driving school out of the site.

Jones said the career tech seniors will receive both the OSHA and Ready-to-Work certificates upon graduation, proving they have the skills to step into jobs.

What concerned the board, however, was the lack of heat in the building. Griffin said he is looking into solving the situation, and the board promised to resolve the matter.

“We must be living right,” Supt. Al Griffin told the board as he presented a grant agreement with ADECA. The $15,000 grant, which will be offset with capital funds from the board budget, will pay for exterior lighting at DHS.

This makes the fourth consecutive year the school system has received ADECA funding. Past grants have helped pay for air conditioning at DMS and U.S. Jones Elementary and energy-efficient lighting at DHS, DMS and USJ.

CFO Evelyn James reported the sales tax revenue for the school system in fiscal year 2014 ending in September was $149,000 over FY 2013. The October figure was up $19,000 over a year ago.

The board also approved a grant agreement with the Alabama State Council of the Arts for arts education in the classroom and DMS and DHS.

The board approved a contract with Colony Office Products to replace three copiers whose contracts have expired.

Overnight travel was approved for:

  • Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) students to attend the state Leadership Conference in Montgomery Feb. 26-27.
  • Overnight and out-of-state travel for the DHS band to attend the Southern Star Festival of Champions in Atlanta, Ga., May 1-3, 2015.
  • DHS Girls Basketball to Birmingham Dec. 29-31, and DHS Boys Basketball to Birmingham Nov. 24-26 and Opelika Dec.19-20.

Also approved was a change order for the DHS geothermal project.

Westside Elementary principal Tony Pittman announced Jennifer Pruitt has received National Board certification.

At USJ, said principal Leon Clark, the professional teacher learning groups are ongoing for all grades. Under the program, select teachers receive training which they in turn teach others in new skills to be used in the classroom.

The groups include College and Career Readiness Standards. Bring Your Own Device, integrated technology, vocabulary strategies and library enhancement.

In personnel matters, the board:

  • Approved maternity leave for Kimberly McCrory from April 3, 2015, through Aug., 2015.
  • Approved family medical leave for Jo Ann Merriweather and Albert Williams.
  • Accepted the resignation of WES teacher Amy Hasty.
  • Posted WES teaching position from Nov. 18-Dec. 1.
  • Hired Leroy Harris for DMS custodian.
  • Tabled consideration of the contract for Leon Clark.