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Marengo County Board of Education receives updates on school district

During the most recent Marengo County Board of Education meeting on April 22, 2021, the Instructional Leader Cathy Seale provided the board with updates from the Marengo County school system.

Seale began by announcing that Caitlyn Rutledge, a student at ALJ High School, received a $1,000 SSA/ Curriculum Associates Student Scholarship. Recipients of this scholarship are students who intend to pursue a degree in education from one of Alabama’s public colleges or universities.

Superintendent Luther Hallmark said that a year ago, he was allowed to select a student within the school system and give them $1,000. He had the counselors at each school submit the names of students they thought could benefit from the scholarship.

“I thought it was so neat the smallest school in our system had the student that most qualified for getting the scholarship,” said Hallmark.

The money from the scholarship goes to the school to pay for textbooks or tuition. Rutledge will be attending Coastal Alabama Community College for her first two years.

Seale also presented the board with a monthly progress report from the Mental Health Services Coordinator (MHSC), Whitney McDole. From April 5th-9th, McDole met with Nicole Hall with Tuscaloosa Safe Center and visited MHS, ALJ, and SWHS. They spoke with the counselors and principals at each school. They discussed ways that Tuscaloosa Safe Center could be an asset to Marengo County Schools. After meetings with principals and counselors, McDole and Hall scheduled on-site meetings with select students for May.

Also, on April 9, McDole reviewed the results from the report card conference held at SWHS for traditional students in third, sixth, and ninth grade. McDole spoke with each student about the importance of grades, attendance, and good behavior.

From April 12th-16th, McDole developed the Rhithim Schedule for May, conducted small group lessons with 8th graders at MHS. She also had one-on-one lessons with individual students and discussed grades and behavior.

McDole also spent time at ALJ and SWHS. At ALJ, she spent time with 1st-grade students whose teacher recently quit, and the students are getting used to a new teacher. McDole made sure they knew that they could talk to her or Mrs. Mitchell about any feelings they were experiencing from the change.

At SWHS, McDole spent time putting together ideas for small group lessons and helping teachers develop ideas to help improve behavior and respect in the classroom.

Seale also announced that MHS will be receiving $10,000 from the Summer Literacy Enrichment funds because of its reading data. The money will be spent on putting books in student’s hands. Classroom libraries will be replenished so that students have access to high-quality reading materials. Students will also get to take books home with them. Seale said the goal is to “get kids reading” and that they are trying to “rejuvenate the love of reading.”

“I’m excited for this $10,000 for books to put in kids’ hands and to send home for the kids who don’t have books at home,” said Seale.

The Alabama Civics Test make-ups were given during the first week of April for students who’d failed the test during the fall semester. After the make-up tests, 100 percent of students in the school system passed the test, with at least a 60, meeting the state requirements.

WorkKeys data was also included in Seale’s updates. Every senior in the school district is participating in the Ready to Work Program, and 82 students are on track to receive their certificates.

Superintendent Hallmark said that masks will be required at upcoming graduation ceremonies. Each student will be allowed to bring four to six people to the ceremony.

Items approved by the board:

Approved financial reports for March

Approved bank statement reconciliations for March

Approved solicitation for bids for 2021-2022

Approved bid for LP gas

Approved opportunity for employees to apply for summer enrichment positions

The next Marengo County Board of Education meeting will be on May 25th at 4 p.m.

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