Two groups address Demopolis BOE in Monday meeting

Dr. Milton Young addresses the Demopolis City Schools BOE in Monday's meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Dr. Milton Young addresses the Demopolis City Schools BOE in Monday’s meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

In a standing-room-only meeting of the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education Monday, two contingents of citizens and parents brought concerns to board members.

Heather Wilson spoke for parents of boys on the Demopolis Middle School basketball team asking the board reconsider reinstating Jesse Bell as the team coach.

Bell had been charged with several crimes, but all charges were dismissed in August. He remains a teacher at DMS, but he was suspended as a coach.

Heather Wilson addresses the Demopolis BOE in Monday's meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

Heather Wilson addresses the Demopolis BOE in Monday’s meeting. (WAW | Jan McDonald)

The second group represented graduates of the formerly all-black U.S. Jones High School. Dr. Milton Young, speaking for the former students, said they were attending the meeting to “get understanding and clarification” of the proposal to convert USJ to a tech-prep center. The group was concerned the name of the school would be changed and that it would be boarded up.

Supt. Kyle Kallhoff assured them that he would never consider changing the name of the school, a stand seconded by board member Carolyn Moore, herself a graduate of the school.

Kallhoff will work with the group to set up a date for a community meeting in January to answer all questions and concerns.

The board approved a contract to hire Andy Turberville as an adjunct instructor. She will begin the groundwork for the Education and Training Career Tech program to start in the fall of 2017.

This is the latest in new career tech offerings, with a heating and air conditioning curriculum in conjunction with Shelton State Community College opening in January and one in forestry planned to begin at the start of the next school year.

Kallhoff thanked local benefactors for $10,000 in donations and more than $20,000 in equipment given for the HVAC program.

The board approved the first reading of the High School Diploma Requirements and Endorsements that will go into effect next year for entering freshmen.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 4:30 p.m. Kallhoff said teachers already have had an input. Now it is time to hear from parents and students.

The proposal will provide for four endorsements for students who wish to complete more than the minimum requirements for an Alabama High School Diploma. They are Advanced Placement, Advanced, Advanced Career Tech and Career Tech.

In other action the board approved:

  • Substitute licensed for Louise Warren, Norma Ethridge, Edna Richardson, Ronnie Abrams, Leroy L. Harris and Rodney Rowser.
  • Retirement of Julie Lee, Special Education teacher at Westside Elementary, effective Dec. 31.
  • Meagan Gurley as head Tennis Coach with a supplement
  • Paula Price, CNP worker, a leave of absence.
  • Maternity leave for Janie Basinger beginning Feb. 24, 2017.
  • Travel for Kallhoff to the Alabama Association of School Boards meeting in Birmingham Dec. 8-10.
  • Overnight field trip to Birmingham for the DMS BETA Club Feb. 22-24, 2017.

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In keeping with the tradition Kallhoff started last year, the board recognized students and teachers of the month from two schools. From WES were first grader JeKiyah Ball and second grade teacher Dee Roark. LA’Cher Gray, a 6th grader, and receptionist Freddie James were honored from DMS.

The next board meeting will be Monday, Dec. 12.

DCSF awards $35k in fall classroom grants to all Demopolis schools

DEMOPOLIS, Ala.—Every year, hundreds of private donors and businesses in West Alabama give to the Demopolis City Schools Foundation to invest in public education excellence. This year is no exception, and through those generous gifts and investments, the Demopolis City Schools Foundation has been able to award classroom grants totaling more than $1,100,000.

For fall 2016, the 33-member board of the Demopolis City Schools Foundation is excited to announce that $35,000 in classroom grants will be awarded. These grants will be put to immediate use at all schools in the Demopolis City School System – Westside Elementary, US Jones Elementary, Demopolis Middle School and Demopolis High School.

“Every year I am awed by the depth and breadth of classroom grant applications we receive,” said Sara Chandler Hallmark, board president. “Our teachers are invested in providing the best tools possible to educate our children and we are honored to assist them in their work.”

New this year, the Foundation will award a second set of grants in the spring of 2017.

“We have earmarked $25,000 in additional funds to meet the needs of teachers in the spring,” Hallmark said. “Our community has invested generously in the future of our students and the economic development of our area. We take very seriously our job to partner with our educators and school system leaders to ensure classroom needs are met year-round.”

2016 Fall Classroom Grant Recipients
Demopolis High School

$622 to Connie Boutwell for a buzzer system to start a scholar bowl team.

$2,000 to Cynthia Whitlock for the most current and/or most requested graphic novels, including both fiction and non-fiction, for the high school library.

$2,007 to Courtney Kerby for a teleprompter and Adobe Premier Pro software to provide students with professional quality products to prepare them for careers in broadcasting.

$2,020 to Brittany Dunson for equipment for physical education activities, including tennis, pickle ball, disc golf, and badminton.

$2,886 to Jody Tartt for materials and supplies to enhance instruction and student performance within the DHS Fine Arts curriculum.

$5,906 to Kim Browder for a set of 25 Chromebooks for the high school history department.

Demopolis Middle School

$500 to Susan Browder to support a middle school math team.

$3,000 to Ginger Godwin to purchase books and eBooks for the middle school library.
US Jones Elementary School.

$200 to Dana Hill to support the creation of a US Jones math team.

$495 to Dana Hill for chess sets for the gifted program.

$254 to Adrienne Etheridge for a set of six balance balls for students to use in the classroom.

$671 to Tanya Patterson for writing materials to be used daily in the classroom to produce effective 3rd grade writers.

$2,100 to Emily Windham for new books for the US Jones school library.

$6,100 to Amelia Mackey for materials to create a robotics and coding class for all students at US Jones Elementary.

Westside Elementary School

$2,613 to Mary Lilian Roberts for mini iPads and applications to enhance therapy sessions for speech/language students and improve their communication skills.

$508 to Gabrielle McVay for supplemental math and science materials for Kindergarten.

$1,179 to Sarah Chelsea Morgan for additional STEM kits to be used to teach science in 1st grade.

$1,191 to Lori Giles for library books to enhance the Westside reading curriculum.

For more information about how you can be a part of the Demopolis City Schools Foundation, visit Donate today!


BOE makes personnel changes in June meeting

Resignations from three school system employees, including the robotics team founder and sponsor Ashley Brock, were accepted by the Demopolis City Board of Education at its meeting June 13.

Brock, science teacher at Demopolis Middle School, and Jeremy Silcox, DMS history teacher, resigned effective May 27. The last day for Christopher Glover, the technology coordinator, will be June 24.

Brock’s replacement is Alicia Seale, and Logan Arnold was hired as a 60-day interim technology coordinator, but the opening for Silcox has yet to be filled.

In other personnel action, the board approved the transfer of Sam Mosely as Westside Elementary physical education teacher, to health teacher at Demopolis High; Rubye McKinley, special education teacher, from DMS to WES, and Sylvia Tate, para-professional, from WES to U.S. Jones Elementary.

Conditional employment was approved for Tonya Thornton, DHS math teacher; Lt. Col. Richard White, JROTC instructor; Lincoln Luke, WES physical education teacher, and Megan Gurley, USJ physical education teacher.

The board also approved the contract for the new WES principal, Rashonda Jackson, and athletic supplements for teachers who also coach.

Supt. Kyle Kallhoff received the okay to attend two superintendent professional development programs: the AASB Summer Conference June 16-19 in Orange Beach and the SSA Summer Conference June 19-22 at Point Clear.

The board agreed to advertise for bids on Phase I of the paving projects and gave consent to execute a contract with the best bid.

The next scheduled meeting of the school board is July 18.

Photo of the Day


Trustmark National Bank recently sponsored the U.S. Jones Elementary All-A Trip. There were 96 students who made all As for the entire school year. These students were treated to bowling at Bama Lanes in Tuscaloosa and lunch at Chick-fil-a. Shown below are Stewart Crawford of Trustmark Bank (right) presenting a check for $ 1,179.10 to U.S. Jones Principal, Leon Clark, while several of the All A students look on.  (Photo by Valley Harrison)

Photo of the Day


US Jones students who reached a certain Accelerated Reader point goal celebrated with a delicious cake donated by Vowell’s Marketplace on Read Across America Day. (Photo by Emily Windham)

Clark named new USJ principal, Speegle to DHS

The Demopolis Board of Education voted Friday morning to swap principals as Leon Clark will move from Demopolis High School to U.S. Jones Elementary School and current USJ top man Dr. Tony Speegle will move to the same position at Demopolis High School.

“All of the changes proposed by the Superintendent and adopted by the Demopolis Board of Education were made to match the strengths of our employees to the needs of our system,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin said.

In other moves, the board added 10 additional work days for Demopolis Middle School secretary Freddie James, transferred Constance Cleveland from a second grade position at Westside Elementary School to a Pre-K position at Westside Elementary School, transferred Tammi Western-Scott from a Demopolis High reading slot to a Westside second grade position, transferred James Moody from a Westside physical education position to a Demopolis High School P.E. position and the head baseball coach slot and transferred Kevin May from DHS Access Lab to Westside Physical Education and B-Team Baseball Coach.

The board accepted the resignation of Ben Ramer as the Demopolis High School baseball coach and modified the daily schedule of U.S. Jones P.E. teacher Tammy Causey to include one period a day at Demopolis Middle School.

Hirings included the appointment of Angela Sanders as Special Education teacher at Demopolis Middle School, the hiring of Shane Goodwin as the SAP Director at Demopolis Middle School and the employment of Kevin Trenton Wells as the Agriscience teacher at Demopolis High School.