Linden school leaders consider limits on cell phone usage

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 27, 2006

Although cellular phones have preoccupied the lives of the most people, the Linden Board of Education is considering ways to decrease cell phone use among staff and students.

“We have to take a close look, develop guidelines and enforce sound policies on cell phone use in the schools,” Linden superintendent Walter Davis said at Monday’s meeting. “Each school board is responsible for coming up with and enforcing its own policy.”

Thus, the Davis plans to create a committee as soon as possible to meet during the summer and create cellular guidelines to place in the school handbook for the 2006-2007 school year.

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Davis informed parents and school officials that Alabama has deemed the first weekend in August “tax-free” for back to school shopping. Except for some exceptions, school supplies will not be taxed across the state of Alabama.

The Alabama State Council of the Arts has provided the system with an $8,000 grant, which all schools in the system will use to provide funding for arts-related trips to Montgomery and other area exhibits.

The board also had the opportunity to see a final draft of the plans for the Linden High School gymnasium and Davis said everything looks as though “it will be o.k.”

Construction on the new gymnasium is set to begin in late May after the school year is complete and Davis said it should be finished by late September.

Also at Linden High, principal

Timothy Thurman informed the board that his students have improved math scores on their graduation exams, but as a consequence on focusing on one subject, the students’ reading scores dropped.

LHS seniors are also looking forward to a May 26 graduation and their final prom which is planned for next week.

In conjunction with the Rev. Terry Gosa, principal of George P. Austin, the city will welcome its annual all-you-can-eat barbecue.

Gosa also informed the board his students showed up for and have completed their spring assessments. He is also preparing orientation for incoming sixth graders and preparing his eighth graders for classes at LHS.

Although area schools have already been working together on projects and large purchases, Davis informed the board the state has passed a joint purchase agreement and now “it’s a law” that school systems can help eachother out in their times of need.

Instead of having to get approval on community grant bills from local representatives or senators, Davis said, grant applications now have to go to an executive committee which will make the final decision.

The board also accepted a new wellness policy for Linden Schools and approved a team to constantly review and make necessary adjustments to it in order to keep the policy updated.

The System Coordinated Health team consists of Davis, child nutrition coordinator Rita Wright, system nurse Natalie Patrick, school counselor Gwendolyn Rogers, teacher Eddie Armstead, and parents Helen Bates and Debra Boykin.

“It’s good to have a team charged with the responsibility,” board member Joyce Yeager said, “so we can stay up to date on what the state wants us to do.”

Members also discussed information pertaining to the Alabama Black Belt Superintendents Coalition and will determine membership in the group at a later date.

The next Linden board of Education meeting will be held Tuesday, May 16 at 6 p.m.