BOE splits W.O. Parmer; reforms Greenville Elementary

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Students who finished the second grade at W.O. Parmer Elementary School last year will have a new school and a new principal when they return to classes this fall.

In a recent decision by the Butler County Board of Education, W.O. Parmer was split into two schools. W.O. Parmer Elementary will now be comprised of grades kindergarten through second, and the newly reformed Greenville Elementary will be comprised of grades three and four with former Greenville High School assistant principal Joseph West as principal.

Butler County BOE Superintendent Mike Reed said the decision to split the two schools was made in an effort to reduce the student to teacher/administrator ratio, and provide the resources to give each child more personal attention in the classroom.

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"W.O. Parmer is a relatively large school as far as elementary schools go," Reed said. "And we felt the community could be better served by providing a smaller learning environment for our students."

As a K-4 school, W.O. Parmer had a little more than 1,000 students enrolled. That number will be cut to about 600 after the split with the remaining 400 attending Greenville Elementary.

Reed said the split will allow teachers the opportunity to work together in a close-knit, hands-on environment and develop a curriculum

specific to the learning needs of certain age groups. He said coordinating the curriculum

with a smaller faculty helps teachers be more efficient in their teaching methods.

"This is helpful to the students because they will develop a closer relationship with the teachers and the principal," Reed said. "It will allow the teachers to be more focused in the classroom, and it will give the school the chance to offer more programs to enhance learning."

The announcement comes at the heels of good news for the BOE when they were informed this year that all county schools had achieved academic clear status for the first time. The changes at W.O. Parmer, Reed said, is an effort to continue improving.

W.O. Parmer has also been recently named a demonstration site for the Alabama Reading Initiative. This program, which works on reading skills of grades K through three, will now be implemented in both schools.

As a separate school, Greenville Elementrary will now be able to apply for state and federal grants and offer other educational programs it would have once had to share with W.O. Parmer. Newly named Greenville Elementary School Principal Joseph West has already begun meeting with the faculty and

said he is looking forward to working with the faculty and students of the new school. He said the split gives both schools the opportunity enhance the level of education offered to the students.

"It will provide more individualized time with the students," West said. "The number of problems

and the amount of time spent dealing with those problems will be greatly decreased which will leave more time to concentrate on educating the children."

West, who was assistant principal at Greenville High School for 12 years,

said he is happy to have the opportunity to work with the students and faculty at Greenville Elementary and looks forward to the new year beginning.

"Kids of this age need more supervision than older students, and the types of disciplinary problems will be different," West said. "But I love all children and it will take only a mild adjustment on my part."