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Linden BOE receives updates from principals

Three principals in the Linden City School System offered school updates to the board of education on Jan. 28.

Linden High School Principal Marcus West announced that he is planning to add metal detectors to the school’s main entrance, the students have been practicing emergency drills and teachers are doing ACT Prep with students each day.

With graduation day coming in a few months, representatives from Wallace Community College, the University of West Alabama and Alabama A&M University have all provided students assistance with completing FAFSA forms.

Linden Elementary School Assistant Principal Richard Bryant is interested in inviting members of the Linden Police Department to teach gun safety to students, following a Jan. 24 incident in Camden when an elementary school student brought a loaded gun to school. The gun was accidentally discharged while in the student’s pocket, and a bullet hit the wall. No one was hurt during the incident, but the student’s parents were arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

“We have to educate our children about the dangers of these kinds of things,” Bryant said.

LES also hosted a classroom management workshop for the teachers, which provided strategies for teachers to handle conflict in the classrooms and to conduct successful parent-teacher conferences. A weekly counseling session has also been opened to students.

George P. Austin Junior High School Principal Walter Hampton asked the board to approve eighth-graders to receive high school credits when participating in the new Patriot Bridge Program. Selected students will take certain classes at LHS or online. No action was taken by the board at the time.

A GPA teacher is also working on a fundraiser to add another pavilion to the school. Hampton also reported success with the outdoor classroom and education intervention tools Edgenuity and Gizmos and that he and the teachers plan to increase rigor in lessons to prepare students more for standardized testing.

The school’s robotics class teacher also partnered with the Hale County School System to get supplies to build a robot.

“The students are excited about putting together their first robot,” Hampton said.

Each principal also started an after-school tutoring program at their respective school. Each Tuesday and Thursday, students spend approximately an hour after-school taking additional instruction, and the principals all said that there has been good participation.

Following the principals’ reports, Superintendent Timothy Thurman presented board member Donte Dukes with an Alabama Association of School Boards Certificate of Achievement for completing Level 2 in the AASB School Board Member Academy for 2018-19. Board member Glenda Hayes also earned the certificate of achievement for completing Level 1 but was not present at the meeting.

Thurman also shared the School System Snapshot for 2020 from the AASB. It was compiled based on data from Fiscal Year 2018-19.

The Linden City School System is the 11th highest ranking school system in terms of per-pupil expenditures across the state of Alabama. With the $20.8 million in funding provided to the school system from federal, state and local entities, the LCSS spent $11,460 per student. The system’s per-pupil expenditures are $1,559 more than the average Alabama school system expenditures, but $1,142 less than the national average.

“This board has done so much over the last four years, as far as the growth of Linden City [School System], it’s unreal,” Thurman said.

The board of education also approved the letter of intent for the retirement of Mitzi Gates, who taught English and Language Arts at LHS. The board gave Thurman permission to proceed in the process of filling the position.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, February 5 issue of the Demopolis Times.)