School system faces a multitude of problems, but solutions are being pursued

In her report at the regular monthly meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, Superintendent Isaac Atkins discussed the academic accountability results in the system.

In 2007, said Atkins, the Greene County School System made AYP for the fourth consecutive year. and the high school graduation rate was 78%.

In the 2008/2009 school year, said Atkins, the system made AYP with Carver, Paramount and Eutaw Primary meeting 13 out of 13 goals and Greene County High School meeting 12 of 13 goals, which caused that individual school not to make AYP.

In 2008/2009, Paramount, Carver and  Eutaw Primary met 13 of 13 goals, but the high school only met 8 of 13 goals. The graduation rate also decreased and they did not make AYP in reading and math.

“A child can earn a credit-based diploma if they pass reading and math,” said Atkins.

As for the current Junior class at GCHS, 65% did not pass reading, 54% did not pass math, 73% did not pass language, 89% did not pass social studies and 27% need to pass biology.

“There are 104 juniors currently,” said Atkins. “92% must pass reading for the class to make AYP. 65% have already passed reading; an additional 27% must pass for the class to reach AYP in reading.

“”The class did not make AYP in math either. Only 46% of the students have passed math.”

According to Atkins of the 108 current juniors, only 20% could graduate today. The system has implemented some programs to help the students including assigning all teachers a group of students to mentor; individualizing school plans for all students so that they can work on the areas they need to even without the teachers being present.

“The principals need to improve the climate of the schools and do what is best for the children,” she said.

Atkins also was not able to paint a very bright picture of the financial condition.

Proration has been raised to 9.2%, with 2% coming out at one time at the last month of the year. “Most schools will need a financial miracle,” said Atkins.

Board chair Elzora Fluker asked Atkins how the Social Studies results looked and was told by Atkins that the students would take the test next week. “We hope to bring better results but our kids are not as focused as they should be.

Fluker spoke of seeing one student distracting the entire class. “If a student is in a class and he is distracting the class, I want him out of there. What are we going to do about that student?”“We are going to deal with it,” replied Isaac, adding that the Board of Education will meet again early next week.

Boardmember Lester Brown said he felt ROTC would be part of the answer to the problems facing the school.

“We’ve got a lot of things to fight – it’s not as simple as they aren’t doing it down there or they aren’t doing it up here,” he said.

“Are the parents involved?” asked Brown.

”Our parents follow kids in K-8 but when they become teens, they don’t seem to follow them as closely,” said Boardmember Leo Branch.

The board discussed several areas where improvement might begin such as removing athletes from teams if they don’t pass the necessary tests.

In other business, the board:

*Heard an Audit report from Shelley Patrenos, State of Alabama Examiners of Public Accounts.  She issued an unqualified report for the Federal Assistance Program for 9/30/09 and found no major problems with the Child Nutrition Program.

Some of the problems were that ongoing construction was not reported and at some schools deposits from money paid to teachers were not reconciled.

When it was revealed that no money had been received from simulcasting or bingo, it was suggested that a letter be sent to Greenetrack concerning its relationship with the Greene County Board of Education.

*Approved payment of all bills, claims and payroll.

Approved a medical leave requeset from Ms.Amelia Taylor, CNPmanager at Gteene County High School.

There being no further business, the board adjourned to meet in a call session on September 28.

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