Demopolis teachers to get discount while pursuing UWA advanced degrees

Dr. Tony Speegle and Lisa Compton explain the new program that will allow Demopolis teachers to pursue UWA advanced degrees at a considerable discount.

Dr. Tony Speegle and Lisa Compton explain the new program that will allow Demopolis teachers to pursue UWA advanced degrees at a considerable discount.

Demopolis teachers will be able to earn advanced degrees from the University of West Alabama at a hefty savings thanks to a program that has been in the works for several months.

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the program at its meeting Monday night after hearing a presentation by UWA representative Lisa Compton and Dr. Tony Speegle, Demopolis High principal. The two have been working on the details of the plan since July.

“This is a way to help staff earn advanced degrees,” said Speegle. The university is offering a $200 discount per credit hour for online courses toward both a Master of Education degree and an Education Specialist degree.

Speegle said the program hopes to enlist a third party partner to help fund scholarships so that the cost of the degree program for Demopolis teachers can be reduced even further.

If such partners can be found, Compton said, “then this is incredibly affordable.” Teachers also will be able to fund the courses through payroll deduction instead of having to pay up front.

Speegle said the program requires a five-year commitment from teachers: two years toward the advanced degree and three years as a teacher in the Demopolis system. He said 14 teachers already have signed up to take part in the program.

The board also unanimously approved a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program for Demopolis Middle School. Principal Blaine Hathcock explained students will take part in directed learning in the classroom using their personal internet-capable devices beginning Jan. 3.

Hathcock said teachers already have been trained in using the program and are excited about the possibilities for the classroom.

The board got good news from CFO Evelyn James when she reported that sales tax income from the county is up almost $25,000 from the same time in 2012.

Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin said the current campaign to shop local during the Christmas season can only help the school system’s bottom line.

The board also heard that Philly Grill will be handling all concessions at the DHS basketball games this season.

Hathcock reported that DMS will be starting a broadcast journalism program and will be making live-stream feeds of the morning newscast on the school’s website.

In other action the board approved:

• A renewal of the agreement with West Alabama Public Transportation.

• Overnight travel by the DHS student council to the Alabama Student Council Leadership Conference in Birmingham March 16-18, 2014.

• Approving a $5,000 grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, to be divided equally between teachers Meggin Mayben at DMS and Jody Tartt at DHS.

• Overnight travel for the DMS basketball team to Birmingham to take part in the Westchester Middle School Holiday Classic December 26-28.

• Hiring William Jackson as Westside Elementary School general lunchroom worker

• The transfer of Traci Stein from Special Education Aide at U.S. Jones to the same position at WES.

• Adding 20 additional work days in 2014 for Donna Rembert Calhoun at USJ.