Friday, September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016

Happy Fall All,

We have had a wonderful first few weeks in the Lauderdale County School System, and they have been busy weeks!

I want to recognize Mr. Barkley Hunter, student at BHS. Mr. Hunter has been named a National Merit Semi-finalist. This is an extremely prestigious honor. He will go on to compete for one of the National Merit Finalist Scholarships ,and we wish him the very best in this endeavor.

In addition, the Lauderdale County Board of Education received the President's Award for membership training. Our board attends training throughout the year on relevant issues and topics in education. We appreciate their willingness to serve in this capacity.

The robotics teams are preparing for the annual competition in early October. Our teams spend hours planning and practicing for the event. In the past, our schools have done very well in the local competition (that is part concert, sporting event, and pep's really something to see). Good luck to all of our Robotics Teams!
*Congratulations to Robocon, the BHS team. They have been selected to present at the conference for the School Superintendents of Alabama next month. We know they will represent all of us so well.

School Resource Officers on Campus
I am sure you have noticed our SROs on our campuses. This has been a joint effort between the Lauderdale County BOE and the Lauderdale County Commission. We now have seven SROs serving our schools. They have been so helpful with everything from traffic and security to developing strong relationships with our students. We want to welcome them to our system, and thank them for their service.

Anti-Bullying Rally 
The Lauderdale County School System will sponsor its annual anti-bullying rally for all 6th graders in late October.  We are working hard to teach our students about the effects of bullying. Many community agencies will be in attendance again this year. The rally will be held at Cross Point Church of Christ. We appreciate their graciousness in hosting this event for our students.

Reminder: On October 12, students will be dismissed at 11:30. Teachers will remain on campus for professional development.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Welcome Back, August 2016!

Welcome Back to School!
I want to officially welcome everyone back to school. I hope you are ready for a terrific 2016-17 school year. I would like to say a hearty “Thanks” to our school custodians and maintenance staff who have worked so hard this summer preparing our school grounds. We have several new additions/renovations for new programs on our campuses. Thanks to everyone who worked to get these done on a short timeline.

Strong Message
Our teachers were inspired at our annual inservice by Mr. Inky Johnson. Mr. Johnson reminded those present of two words: Love and Help. Love our students, and help our students. Remember, “you got the wrong guy!”.

Stay Connected and Informed
As we start the year, I encourage parents to get involved with your child’s education. Make contact with your child’s teacher.  Look for and expect notifications from your child’s teacher and the local school. These notifications may come in the form of newsletters, notes, emails, texts, and social media. In addition, our student/parent handbook will be found on-line this year. The forms we will need returned will be sent home during the local school’s parent night or Friday, August 5.

Parents, please remember you have access to your child’s grades and attendance through the INow parent portal. You will need a password to access this site.  If you haven’t already gotten your password for INow, please go to your local school office and ask for this information.

Other ways to stay connected with the system is to follow us on twitter @LaudCoSs or on facebook at Lauderdale County Schools, Alabama.

Familiar Faces in New Roles at Central
Mr. Duane Keener starts the year as Central’s new principal, and Mr. Norman Lovelady will be an assistant principal. We congratulate them as they begin their new positions.  

Safety Updates
The LCSS and the Sheriff’s office is on track to place 7 school resource officers on our campuses. These officers should be on campus on Wednesday, August 10th. We appreciate those willing to serve in this capacity and the resources they will provide.

Almost Time...
Many students have worked hard this summer to prepare for the upcoming seasons. We are looking forward to watching our football teams, bands, cheerleaders, cross-country teams, and volleyball teams as they take the field, court, and course this fall. Good luck to all!

More Advanced Courses Offered
The LCSS is excited to offer more advanced course options for its students. Rogers High has joined the list of schools offering dual credit courses on site. They are offering history, English and pre-calculus this year. The pre-calculus course will be offered via video conferencing with Dr. Roberts’  at Wilson.  In addition, Brooks High School is offering Computer Coding Principles. With two sections full, this looks like a highly sought after course.  Hopefully, this course can be offered at other high schools in the very near future.

New Lights
You may notice a difference at a few of our stadiums as you watch a game this year. We have started the process of replacing the lights on many of our athletic fields. We are happy these projects were able to be completed during the summer.

Everyone have a fabulous year!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Linking Lauderdale a Success!
The LCSS sponsored its second annual Linking Lauderdale on April 28. We had over 75 representatives from local businesses present. The purpose of the event was to help bridge the gap between our students, as future employees, and businesses as their employers. Several of our students and programs were showcased, and Mr. Austin Knight, a senior at BHS, spoke about his experience with work-based learning. In addition, representatives from Forsythe and Long, Engineering, and Marriott Shoals discussed the benefits they have received as being a part of the partnership with the LCSS.  At the end of the evening, a partnership between the LCSS and Northwest Alabama Bone and Joint and Peak Performance was announced. We are looking forward to great things in the future as we work in tandem with our local partners.

I want to thank our students who were involved in this event: Our Shoals Scholar Dollar representatives from each high school served as our hosts and hostesses, the culinary department at ATCTC provided the wonderful food service, and finally, the award-winning Lexington High School FFA String Band supplied our entertainment.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this night possible. It's our students who will be the winners!

Shoals Scholar Dollar Student of the Year
Mr. Austin Knight, BHS, was selected as the SSD Student of the Year at the annual banquet held last week. We are extremely proud of Austin and know he will represent our system well. This is the third year (out of five) the LCSS has had a winner!

State Math Finalist
Mr. Joel White, math teacher at BHS, has been selected as one of six state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. He was honored at a lunch in Montgomery as well as recognized at a board meeting.

Not Too Late
If you have or know someone who has a child of Kindergarten age, it's not too late to register for the upcoming year. Please contact the school for enrollment information.

Skills USA
Adam Steen and Ben Neyman, two of our CTE students at ATCTC, placed first at the state skills competition. They will go on to compete at nationals this summer.

Native Youth Summit
Heloha Hickman, CHS, was selected to attend the Native Youth Summit in Lake Placid, FL. He will learn about Native American agriculture and ways to sustain certain growing methods. We are very proud of Heloha.

Busy Students
It's a super busy time of the year for students and teachers. We have students participating in concerts, band auditions, community service, athletic playoffs just to name a few. Best wishes to all of our students as they take part in these events.

Over 40 of the LCSS teachers have signed up for our partnership with UNA. These teachers will be pursuing advanced degrees over the next two years. We thank them for their willingness to continue their education as they teach our students.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 29, 2016

Hello all,

We have had a busy first two months of 2016. Both our academic and extra-curricular event calendars have been full.

I want to begin by welcoming our newest administrator. Dr. Gary Dan Williams was named the principal of Waterloo High School at the beginning of 2016. He is excited to be a part of our system, and we are proud to have him working with us.

Our system sponsored an anti-bullying event for our 6th graders in January. It was terrific. We had so many outside agencies come to the event. Representatives from the sheriff's department, fire department, UNA athletic department, along with several others were in attendance. Students were able to meet these individuals and hear inspiring messages from Miss UNA and Mr. Gary Bentley. We plan to make this an annual event for our 6th graders!

Our annual Creative Job Fair was held this month. This event was for our gifted students in grades 9-12. It was held at the beautiful Shoals Theater again this year. The presenters were wonderful. Students heard from news anchors, musicians, designers, and chefs to name a few. Thanks to our gifted specialists for organizing the two days.

February is Career Technical Education Month, and our Career Technical classes continue to do amazing things! Students are winning awards and becoming credentialed. This means they are ready to go to work for you! And as you drive around our communities, look for the quilts on the barns. The students from Mr. Cupp's Building Construction class have been busy hanging those to brighten up the landscape.

I want to congratulate the 12 teachers who graduated from UNA as our first eXcel cohort. eXcel  is our partnership with the UNA that allows our teachers who are pursuing advanced degrees to obtain those at a decreased tuition rate. Another cohort will begin very shortly.

We are also working with UNA to increase the number of courses we offer for dual enrollment. If you are a tenth or eleventh grader or the parent of one, please contact your child's counselor for more information.

The LCSS was recognized at the Superintendent's Conference earlier this month for its work with Learning Supports. We were one of the 10 systems in the state to pilot this work. Our focus was and continues to be attendance. Regular attendance in school is critical to a student's success, and we are working to decrease chronic absenteeism in order to increase student achievement.

Our Kindergarten registrations begin this Friday. Please help us spread the word. We would love to have record numbers! The schedule is:
Friday, March 4 Waterloo
Friday, March 11 Brooks, Central, Rogers, Underwood, and Wilson
Friday, March 18 LCHS and Lexington
All will begin at 8:30.

The LCSS Pre-kindergartens are also taking applications. Please see the elementary schools for more information if you know of a child eligible for this outstanding program.

Our bands will be participating in MPA this week. MPA is a performance assessment. It will be held at Norton Auditorium on the campus of UNA. Each band will be assessed on their selections and sight-reading. Sight-reading is difficult. They are given a piece of music they have never seen before, a few minutes to look at it, and then they have to play it. Good luck to all of the bands!

Good luck to the LCHS Lady Tigers. They will be playing in the semi-finals Tuesday for a chance to defend their state title on Friday. We wish them the best.

Mark Your Calendars: 
Early Dismissal for students: March 9 at 11:30
Report Cards go out on March 10
Good Friday is March 25
Spring Break is March 28-April 1.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December, 2015

Hello all,

On Monday, I had the honor of presenting information about the LCSS to a group of leaders from the city of Florence and Lauderdale County. I shared our test data, budget information, and several of our initiatives. They were most receptive and thankful for the dedication of our staff and communities.

If you didn't catch the article in the Times Daily regarding our ASPIRE scores, let me bring you up to date. All of the local school systems' scores were ranked. Our system did very well when compared to our surrounding systems. Only Muscle Shoals School System fared better. While we are excited about our scores, we also understand we have room to improve and will continue to look for ways to increase student achievement. .

Our system recently sponsored a workshop on coding. "What is a coding workshop?" you may ask....Good question. A Coding workshop teaches the principles of computer programming. Our system was represented by twenty staff members who are excited about taking their new knowledge back to the classroom!

Congratulations to our Athletes!
Our athletes have been busy and several teams have won state championships.
The Brooks High Volleyball team won the 4A State Championship.
The Wilson High Lady Warriors XC team won the 4A State Championship, and the Rogers High Lady Pirates were runners up in the 4A State Championship.
The Brooks High cheerleaders competed in the UCA Southern Championship and finished 1st in their division.
Several students across the county have signed to continue their education and play ball. We are very proud of all of their accomplishments and wish them the very best.

Robotics Teams represented the LCS well!
The Robotics teams from Brooks and Lexington competed in the SOUTH's BEST competition in early December. Both teams brought home awards. Lexington won 3rd place in Most Photogenic Robot. Brooks won 3rd place in marketing presentation, 2nd in team wear, and Barkley Hunter won the Simulink Design Award. That award included a $1500 prize. Congratulations, Teams!

Credentialed Students on the Rise
Career Tech Students have been busy credentialing in Precision Machining, Collision Repair, Automotive Services, and Microsoft Office. They are college and career ready!

Exams Time Coming Soon!
Exams will start this Wednesday and go through Friday. At 11:30, students and employees will be dismissed.

Employees will report back on January 4 and students will be back on the 5th. Have a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

September and the first few weeks of October have been very busy. Our students and teachers are involved in many activities.

If you haven't seen a robotics competition, I encourage you to attend one. I was able to see six teams from the LCSS compete Saturday at NWSCC. One spectator described the event this way: part engineering competition, part concert, and part pep rally. WOW, I think I have to agree! There was music, cheering, students driving robots through courses and making needed adjustments after the seeding rounds, marketing teams, and mascots! Something for everyone.

When the day finally ended and the scores were tabulated, the LCSS was represented so well. Robocon, the team from BHS took home 1st BEST award (Best overall), 1st in robot competition, 1st in CAD , 1st in team wear, 2nd in website design, 3rd in engineering notebook, 2nd in booth design and construction, 1st in software design, 1st in spirit and sportsmanship, and 1st in most elegant robot. In addition, the team's leader, Mrs. Alaina Pettus, received the teacher leadership award. Robocon is headed to the southeast competition in Auburn for the third year!

The team from Lexington High took home 1st in Best Teamwork and most robust robot, 3rd in most elegant machine and best robot craftsmanship, and 4th in robotics game. They will also be representing Lauderdale County in Auburn. Congratulations, Lexington!

Other teams that participated included teams from LCHS, RHS, WHS, and WHS. Every team did a terrific job!

Volleyball season is close to wrapping up. The regionals will get underway next week in Huntsville. Good luck to all of the ladies.

Cross Country teams are doing well also. Students from all of our schools are recording personal best times. Wilson High School will be hosting Sectionals this year.

Our crowds at our football games have been excellent, and the games have not disappointed.

Our band students have competed most every Saturday in September and October! Congratulations go out to all of the band members who have brought home BEST IN CLASS and Superior rating awards. We look forward to your shows and appreciate the long hours of hard work you put in each week.

Report cards will go out Thursday, October 15, 2015. Parents and guardians, if you have questions or concerns about your child's grade please contact your child's school to set up a conference with your child's teacher.

Each school has scheduled a parent meeting for Chromebook 101 and/or technology issues. Please check your school's website for the upcoming date. At the meeting, teachers and administrators will demonstrate many aspects of the Chromebook and how they are being used in our classrooms. Your questions and concerns will also be addressed. I hope you will be able to attend!

To stay informed about events at your local school, check out Remind 101. See your school's website for more information!

Fall break will be October 29 and 30. Students and teachers, I hope you enjoy the break!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015

WOW, has time flown. We have already finished the first month of school. I’ve been able to visit many classrooms, and students are busy learning, creating, and participating in various extracurricular activities. Check out our twitter feed to see some of the wonderful things going on in the LCSS.

Our biggest hurdle we have had to overcome this early in the semester has been our connectivity to wifi in our schools. As you know, 4,000 devices are being used daily in our classrooms and put quite a stretch on our bandwidth. In order to meet the increasing demand, we have purchased more bandwidth! The parts have been installed so students and teachers should see a major improvement when trying to connect. We appreciate our teachers facilitating the use of these devices for projects and assignments and thank everyone for his/her patience while we work through this “good” problem.

This week our ACT scores were published. All of last year’s juniors, 599 strong, took the test. Our composite score was 19.7. We continue to score above the state average. But as with anything, there is always room for improvement. The district and local schools will be using the data to work toward identifying strengths and weaknesses as we prepare our students for college and careers. If you have questions regarding your child’s score, please contact the high school counselor at your local school.

Parents and Guardians of 4th-9th graders, be on the look out for your child’s ASPIRE report. It will be sent home next week with the progress report for the first nine weeks.

Remember, no school on Monday, September 7. Enjoy the day!