Principals report academic status to BOE

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 17, 2004

Greenville High School Principal Kathy Murphy and Georgiana Principal Roland Pettie presented their plans for improving academic achievement at their respective schools to the Butler County Board of Education Thursday night.

Pettie reported to the board that Georgiana remains in academically clear status under state Department of Education rules.

He said it is not the time for he and his faculty to relax and they continue to work diligently in preparing students to pass the Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE). He said they now begin very early working with students who may have a problem.

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&uot;If you have a student failing on one part, by the time they take it again, it’s a sure thing they’ll pass,&uot; he said. &uot;Failing at two parts, there’s a great possibility of passing.&uot;

However, Pettie said three or more parts of failure and students couldn’t seem to catch up. He said by working through various programs, they catch those students up.

He said you have to &uot;hope and pray&uot; that teachers spot the problems in advance and stop everything to help those students cross the barrier.

He said his school also pushes community and parental support for the students.

&uot;You’re not going to have the students on your side, until you have their parents on your side,&uot; he said. &uot;Everyone must be involved.&uot;

Dr. Murphy told the board in 2003 during the December testing period, Greenville High School had 87 percent of those taking the AHSGE pass. This falls below the state’s rule that no less than 90 percent of seniors can pass. This is up from 86 percent in 2002.

Because less than 90 percent but more than or equal to 80 percent of Grade 12 students pass all required subject area tests in reading, language, math and science, and the drop-out rate is greater than 15.59 percent.

To improve the school’s administration and faculty set goals to do the following:

Increase students’ academic achievement to a 90 percent passage rate on the AHSGE by implementing instructional strategies to address subgroups’ learning styles.

Achieve state standards on the Alabama Direct Assessment of Writing in the tenth grade.

Work to push down the drop-out rate, because as Murphy said, one child dropping out is one too many.

Some of the methods being used include an oral daily language exercise or writing project. Math students are now being tutored by Linda Jarzyniecki Monday through Friday at 7:15 a.m. Another way they are helping students improve their social studies skills, the school’s weakest subject, teachers now do a 10-minute AHSGE Review and Todd Henderson and Billie Faulk will tutor students at 7 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Murphy said the social studies tutoring will expand to Monday through Friday but for now its’ two days a week.

The board appeared satisfied with both schools’ presentations and awaits further results.

Another speaker before the board was Cedric Williams with the Boys and Girls Club. He is working with various people in the community about bringing his organization to Butler County and gave the members a courtesy call on what the plans were about.

&uot;We want to come together as a whole community and see what the needs are here,&uot; he said. &uot;We want to use programs that will benefit this community. We are not coming here to compete with what is already here, but to increase what others are already doing.&uot;

In other business, the board voted Joanne Peak as this year’s president and Frank Thigpen as this year’s vice-president. They also took the following action:

Approved maternity leave for Evonnie Sanders from Georgiana High School and Kathy Pickens from Greenville Middle School.

Approved the hiring of three teachers including a new band director for the Panther’s Marching Band.

Approved bids for telecommunication services and delivery systems.

Approved of Superintendent Mike Reed executing appropriate papers to settle out of court with the company that installed the sprinkler system at Greenville High School for $15,000.

At next month’s meeting, Dr. Reed informed the board that they had to address the status of the ROTC program at Greenville High School that has been in limbo for several months due to budget cuts.

&uot;It looks like finances are turning around and the ROTC numbers are up,&uot; he said. &uot;We need to discuss this because we are going to have to notify the Army if we are keeping it or not.&uot;

There will also be a work session at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 to work through whether seniors can walk at graduation if they haven’t passed all parts of the AHSGE.