Students who won in robotics contest honored at school board meeting

Paramount students and teachers participating in the robotics contest were front row – Briana Gordon; 2nd row Chiara Washington, Sabrina French, Jeremy Mobley, Michael Winn, Leotis Nickson, Amber French, N’Khala Richardson, Paramount Principal Dr. Harriet Lewis, Verna Nickson, Dorothy Hughes and student guardian Geraldine Sands; 3rd row – Adreonna Summerville and teachers James Kennedy and Janice Jeames.

At the regular meeting of the Greene County School Board on April 18, Superintendent Isaac Atkins honored the middle school students who took part in a recent robotics contest at Wallace Community College Selma.
She said that 25 middle and high schools from 12 Alabama counties were represented in a special workforce development program held recently on robotics.
The students had to construct a robot, write a program and then program the robot.
Both Paramount Jr. High and Carver Middle School students competed in this program,
Greene County took 1st place in presentation. “Mrs. Jeames with Paramount had them to design a robot and prepare a presentation to sell that robot to industries and businesses,” said Atkins. One of their presentations concerned the freight industry and using robots to place coal, lumber and other heavy items on trains or barges.
Another award they won was 2nd place in spirit and enforcement and The Little Robot That Could Award.
Atkins spoke of a student who is now attending UA majoring in robotics coming to Greene County and helping the students.
The March financial report shows that Greene County had a total cash and cash equivalence of $4,400,328 In March, their total revenue was $1,076,074 and total claimes paid amounted to $1,227,781.

Greene County student population is shrinking

In her report, Superintendent Atkins spoke of the declining population in Greene County, saying that according to the 2010 Census, the entire Blackbelt lost population, with a 9.3% drop in the population of Greene County.
Since state funding is based on the numbers of students attending school, this has already hurt the Greene County School System and with the expected further decline will lose even more.
Apparently, a large number of people in Greene are moving seeking jobs. This causes an even further decrease in student population.
“We’ve had 30 students transfer to Tuscaloosa,” said Atkins.
Atkins also reported on the success of the School Cast system in contacting parents and guardians about the early school closing due to the tornadoes on Friday. “This system makes calls to land lines, cell phones, e-mail and text mail. We can also let parents know when their students are missing school or late.”
Another subject of her report was Drop Out Awareness Month and the campaign in which the Greene County System is participating.
The students at Paramount and Carver got to tour the Inside-Outside Bus, which is half school bus, and the other side a realistic replica of a jail complete complete with bars, cots, etc.
This was to show the students how much choosing to drop out of school could affect their future, since the rate of drop-outs ending up in prison is high.
In other business, the Board:
*Approved by a 3-2 vote the Seamless Summer Feeding Program .*Approved Boardman, Carr, Hutchinson &  Bennett, P.C. (through Alabama Risk Management for Schools) to represent Greene County Board of Education in the Cleveland Austin case and coverage of all Board members and Superintendent and subject to investigation and opinion of the Board’s attorney.

Carver teacher, students and principal are L-R Cilla Morrow, LaDarius Brown, Dearron Freeman and Gary Rice. Brown is pictured holding one of the robots created by the students.

Greene County Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to present 26th Annual Debutante Ball

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will present its 26th Debutante Ball on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. at the Eutaw Activity Center in Eutaw, AL. This year’s theme is “A Night of Elegance.”
Fourteen lovely young ladies will be making their debut.
The 2011 Debutantes are Jasmine Byrd of Forkland, AL, the daughter of Leatha Byrd; Jasmine Cole of Eutaw, AL, the daughter of Dorothy and Otis Robinson; Jessica Edmonds of Boligee, AL, the daughter of Emma Edmonds; Amber Fitts of Greensboro, AL, daughter of Deborah and Ronald Taylor; Tyneshia Fulghum of Eutaw, AL, the daughter of Nadeen Fulghum; Bertheria Goodson of Tuscaloosa, AL, the daughter of Naomi Cyrus; Jonai Gulley of Eutaw, AL, the daughter of Ida Head and William Gulley; Brianna Hughes of Eutaw, AL, daughter of Beverly and Napoleon Hughes, Sr.; Jealae Jackson of Newbern, AL, daughter of Patricia Jackson and Jesse Ward; TyReice Mack of Boligee, AL; Angela Prewitt of Eutaw, AL, daughter of Veronica Chambers and Anthony Prewitt; Kwajamilia Spencer of Eutaw, AL, daughter of Temera Lewis; Natasha Vester of Forkland, AL; daughter of Ulysses and Betty Vester, and Chalise Washington of Boligee, AL. daughter of Sherry Washington and Willie Wilson.
All former Debutantes of Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. are invited to attend this gala affair.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a social service organization sponsoring community activities in the areas of education, health, political and international awareness, youth leadership development and arts & letters. The local community activities of the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of DST include awarding annual scholarships to graduating seniors, participating in the Adopt-a Family Christmas Project with the local Department of Human Resources, sponsoring Senior Citizens Christmas Gala, co-sponsoring the Community Kwanzaa Celebration, directing Delta Academy for young girls, and sponsoring health awareness events and career fairs.
The Annual Debutante Season is an opportunity for the Greene County Alumnae Chapter to devote care and time to guide high school girls in the areas of leadership development, community service, social etiquette and academic priorities as they prepare for their transition from high school to post secondary training.

Sharee Williams signs basketball scholarship with Itawamba Community College

Pictured L-R are Nanci Grace, head girls’ basketball coach at Itawamba; Sharee Williams, Coach William Morgan, head girls’ basketball coach at GCHS and Rhinnie Scott, instructional leader at GCHS

On Friday, April 8, Greene County High School basketball star Sharee Williams signed a scholarship with Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi.
She will join former Greene County star LaPrecious Naylon on the Itawamba squad.
Williams is 6’2” tall. She plays center for the GCHS Lady Tigers and averages 20 points a game and 14 rebounds.
She is the daughter of Rebecca and Albert Williams of Boligee. She plans to major in business in college and eventually open her own cosmotology shop.

School Board approves allowing contractor to pursue purchase of 43 acres for new high school

At a call meeting on Tuesday, April 5, the Greene County Board of Education voted unanimously to allow TCU Consulting to pursue the purchase of 43 acres on Highway 11 as a site for the new high school.
According to Superintendent Isaac Atkins, the location of the site cannot be revealed at this time.
Atkins also advised the board that on Monday, April 4, she had used the School Cast system to make approximately 2,000 calls to parents, staff and others involved in the school system to advise them that school would be closing early due to the inclement weather.
“The only problem we encountered was that some of the parents had changed their numbers and not notified the system. Each parent has a chance to put three numbers in the system, so they should notify us when their numbers change,” said Isaac.

Partnerships promote financial matters for young adults

Professionals the Greene County Board of Education shown here at Money Smart Training at Branch Heights sponsored by the Greene/Sumter EC and other community associations.

The Greene/Sumter Enterprise Community, FDIC, Branch Heights Housing Authority, the Greene County Board of Education, the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition hosted the FDIC Money Smart Train-The-Trainer for Young Adults to a group of 24 professionals from the Greene County Board of Education on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at the Branch Heights Housing Authority Community Center. This free seminar is designed to present the basics of classroom instruction; to enable and empower instructors to deliver approximately one-hour long courses on the FDIC’s Money Smart for Young Adults curriculum to students. The primary purpose is to provide the class participants with tools.

These tools may enhance their skills as a classroom instructor in teaching the modules. The seminar also gave ideas on how to present the Money Smart curriculum. Participants are encouraged to teach one or more of the modules to community members within the next 12 months.
Money Smart for Young Adults is:
*Free; Aligned with educational standards for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands, as well as Jump$tart financial education standards and National Council on Economic Education economic education standards;
*Based on the award-winning Money Smart adult financial education curriculum that can bring proven results in the money management practices and financial confidence of graduates;
*Offers a completely customizable curriculum comprised of modules that can be taught on a stand-alone basis;
*Not protected by copyright restrictions; and A source of unbiased information that is not “branded” with corporate logos or otherwise affiliated with any commercial interest.”
FDIC Community Affairs staff in the Atlanta Region is working in the Black Belt area of Alabama with the two adjoining Gulf Coast hurricane-impacted counties of Mobile and Baldwin.The effort joined with the Alabama Asset Building Coalition (AABC) to form the base for the Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI) coalition. The Black Belt AEI rollout event was launched in April 2007 and now has over 50 members. The multi-county initiative utilizes regional team leaders – a financial institution and a community foundation for the south Black Belt; an enterprise community organization in the west Black Belt and university in the east Black Belt. The regions focus on VITA with direct deposit account openings, savings initiatives, financial education and individual development accounts (IDAs).

Proposed budget cuts threaten economic security of families and elders

Birmingham, Alabama — As Congress works to meet the April 8 deadline for a final budget deal for the fiscal year 2011, the Community Action Association of Alabama will join direct service providers and advocates from around the country in Washington, DC to warn Congress about the impact of cuts that threaten economic security for families and elders. The groups will meet with the Alabama Congressional delegation and other Members of Congress as part of a three-day organizing meeting hosted by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)- a national organization that works to achieve economic independence for families.
“The House budget will hurt job growth and weaken the already tenuous ability of millions of Alabama families and seniors to make ends meet,” said Ron Gilbert, Executive Director of the Association. “Cutting off the very programs that are helping families and seniors stay afloat is a short-sighted move that will stall our economic recovery.
Cynthia Burton, head of Community Service Programs of West Alabama, said that the proposed budget cuts would be “devastating” to low-income people in the Black Belt area, including Greene County.
“I don’t understand why the Congress is even considering this,” said Burton, “If we cut out every single domestic program, that would only be about 10% of the entire budget. How will that help to solve a multi-trillion dollar deficit?”
Community Service provides a number of services to low income and elderly citizens, all of which would be impacted by the proposed budget cuts.
“The cuts would certainly impact our ability to help low income families with energy assistance (LIHEAP),” she said.
“It would hurt the mobile food voucher program. We had anticipated beginning a system where the vouchers could be used at local farmers’ markets. That is now on hold.
“All the programs that we offer will be cut in proportion to the budget cuts.
“In Head Start programs, we would probably have to cut back on staffing, drastically cut some programs such as field trips and the cuts could also affect us bring in professionals to assist with special needs kids.
“In other words,” said Burton, “it would hurt almost the entire area.”
During the meeting, groups will also discuss a new report and measure for family economic security. The national Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST), to be released during the meeting, calculates the monthly income necessary for families to cover their basic expenses, including child care, housing, health care, and transportation, and prepare for the future, including saving for emergencies, home ownership, education and retirement. The report will provide new details on the role public programs for housing, child care and health care play in helping families make ends meet.
Alabama will be among the first states for which Basic Economic Security Tables will be developed. Alabama’s BEST is scheduled for release in May at the Advancing Economic Stability Conference (
Leading economists are projecting a loss of 700,000 jobs nationwide if the most recent House spending bill for fiscal year 2011 (HR1) is enacted. The bill includes $61 billion in cuts, including billions of dollars in cuts to job training, education, elder assistance programs, such as:
*$3.8 billion in cuts to Workforce Investment Act training programs, which have served 8 million people and place more than half of them in jobs in the past year;
*Cuts to Head Start, special education (IDEA) and schools in low-income communities, which derail education programs and eliminate an estimated 72,000 jobs;
*44 percent cut to the Community Services Block Grant program, which provides nutrition, employment, health and other necessary services to over 20 million low-income people, including five million children, 2.3 million seniors and 1.7 million people with disabilities through 1,065 community action agencies nationwide;
*Cuts to Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which millions of families depend on to stay warm in winter;
*A 67% cut to the Section 202 senior housing program, which already has a two-year waiting list for seniors in need of affordable housing.
“Job training programs are helping get millions of Americans back to work, and housing, heating and food assistance programs are helping support the millions more who have not been able to find a new jobs,” said Gilbert. “We need Congress to focus on a budget solution that helps grow, not undercut the middle class.”

The Community Action Association of Alabama is a strong, united network of effective community action agencies, guided by excellence and integrity in the promotion of social and economic justice in the State of Alabama. For more information go to

Five teachers honored by their peers as making a difference in their schools

Special presentations are made to teachers who make a difference in their schools at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting. Pictured L-R are Board President Leo Branch, Shante Morton, Paramount Jr. High; Mattie Strode, Carver Middle School; Charlese Smith, Eutaw Primary, LaShaun Henley, Eutaw Primary and Alphonzo Morton, III, Greene County High School. Each of the honorees will receive a dining out experience at the restaurant of their choice.

Five teachers were honored at the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education. Each month, the teachers in each school vote on the teacher they feel has made a difference in their school. The teachers are given money with which to eat out for being selected.
In her financial report, CFO Evelyn James reported that the board received revenue of $1.396785 and had claims in the amount of $1,115,226.27 for the month of February, 2011.
She also reported that the board received $41,803 in revenue from the 2% tax.
Another portion of her report was a recommendation that the system approve purchasing office supplies from Office Depot.James explained that the board was part of a joint purchasing agreemeent with Lee Russell company.
Board member Lester Brown questioned her as to why the system did not purchase supplies from local business, explaining that he felt since a portion of the sales taxes on local purchases came to the Board of Education, it made sense to purchase locally.
James advised him that any purchase over $7,500 according to Alabama law had to be bid, but that on small purchases they did buy from local businesses.
Board Attorney Hank Sanders explained to Brown that if local businesses wanted to bid on items, they could and if they came within 3% of the low bid, the board could purchase from them.
Brown said his point was that if the board did not establish a local tax base, they would not receive local money. He went on record as supporting spending as much money as possible locally.
Superintendent Isaac Atkins, in her report, told the board that on March 8, 12 students from Greene County High School attended a 21st Century Youth Leadership Conference sponsored by Alabama Power. During this conference, young people from all over Alabama heard presentations from major business leaders as to what they were looking for in employees.
The students from Carver and Paramount Jr. High who participated in a Robotics competition against other area teams in an event held at Wallace Community College in Selma on March 19th won several prizes. She said that at the next School Board meeting, the students would be present and display the robots they had designed and built.
Another recent event was a training workshop held for teachers, principals and Central Office staff concerning teaching youth how to manage money. Subjects ranging from how to balance a check book, use credit and credit cards, the advantages of both home ownership and rental homes, financial goals and purchasing a car were included in this workshop.
On March 10th, principals, assistant principals and office staff were part of a school workshop about prventing bullying in school. “This is very important,” said Atkins, “and we intend to continue with these workshops.
On March 25, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workshop for female students is scheduled to be held at Stillman College.
Atkins also advised the board that the ARM testing for grades 3-9 had been held this week and that the SAT tests for grades K-8 wil be given next week.
She ended her report by advising the board that the system was facing 3% proration in state funds. Due to this, the system will lose $222,000 in the 2011 budget.
Following a lengthy executive session. Board member Lester Brown questioned Attorney Sanders as to where the board stood legally concerning collection of monies from Greenetrack which have not been received since electronic bingo had ben shut down.
Sanders advised him that the board did have a contract with Greenetrack and he would talkwith CEO Luther Winn about the matter.
Brown asked for clarification on the new bingo rules drawn up by Sheriff Jonathan Benison. “We’re not named at all in his rules,” said Brown, adding that Benison had promised to provide a deputy at the school. “At a meeting the other night he asked us to pay for that.” Chairman Branch agreed that the board did need to have a meeting with the sheriff and get some clarification on several issues.
Among the personnel items, the board approved the termination of Marcus Steele and Marilyn Finch as bus drivers effective April 8, 2011.