Demopolis City Schools celebrate upward trends in student achievement

Published 5:02 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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Demopolis City Schools (DCS) Superintendent Tony Willis announced to the Board of Education last Monday that the district is continuing to see upward trends in student achievement.

“Sometimes we’re a little nervous when things go up as much as they did last year, sometimes you see things recalibrate, but we’ve continued to go up,” said Willis.

The district’s scores for the Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program (ACAP), English Language Arts (ELA) and Math both increased over last year; the district’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) reached “an all-time high” of 95%, which Willis said is higher than the district’s current graduation rate. Willis also reported that average ACT scores went up over half a point.

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“Everything is trending up academically,” said Willis.

He also noted that September is Alabama’s Attendance Awareness Month and said that the district will make a push toward improving attendance. Attendance has been one thing that has not quite recovered from COVID.

Other items discussed during the meeting included approving several contracts for DCS. The board approved a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Tuscaloosa ONE Place to provide mental health services for the 2023-2024 school year. The board approved an agreement between ARC Pediatric Therapy Services, PLLC for renewal of a speech service contract for the 2023-2024 school year.

The board approved a bid for Custodial Services at Demopolis Middle School (DMS) and Demopolis High School (DHS). Both the middle school and the high school have had a custodian recently retire, and Willis said that it made more sense to contract the services to a company rather than fill the slots with staff. The company will come in after school hours to complete the necessary work. The remaining custodians will remain in place at their respective schools.

The board approved an emergency declaration of fire alarms at DHS. Willis said that during renovations over the summer, issues with the existing fire alarm system at the high school were discovered. He said that the Fire Marshal will not declare the project complete if the alarm system does not operate properly.

Declaring an emergency situation allows the Board to continue with work without having to seek out bids. The declaration will let contractor Ward Scott Morris find a company that can do the needed work.

The last contracts approved by the board included a Letter of Agreement between DCS and H&H Educational Services, LLC and a contract between DCS and Victor Salazar. The agreement H&H Educational Services is for psychometric testing services for the 2023-2024 school year. The contract with Victor Salazar is to complete lawn care services for all four schools for the remainder of the 2023 calendar year.

The next scheduled Board meeting is Sept. 18 at 5:15 p.m.