Monday, March 24, 2008

Education stories

The beat goes on, as they say. Here are a few stories I published last week.

Local school boards working out boundary dispute

THE STAR-Jacksonville City Schools officials say 14-year-old Cody Chapman belongs at White Plains High; the Calhoun County Board of Education, which runs White Plains, says he belongs at Jacksonville High.

Each school system has a different map showing who is responsible for educating the children who live on Scotty Lane.

For now, Cody will have to live with the uncertainty while finishing out the school year at Jacksonville. Jacksonville Superintendent Eric Mackey, who agreed to enroll him in the Jacksonville system for the time being, and County Superintendent Judy Stiefel say they are working on a solution.

Both say it's an uncommon case.

"We've got two months of school left," Stiefel said. "We don't need to be redistricting kids in the last two months of school."

Cody's father, Robert, moved to Scotty Lane on March 1. He said neither White Plains High nor Jacksonville High would agree to enroll Cody, causing him to miss a week of school.

Read more about that here.

No movement in superintendent search

THE STAR-In the seven months after the Anniston Board of Education fired Superintendent Sammy Lee Felton, the board has not begun looking for his permanent replacement.

Interim Superintendent Joan Frazier's contract will be up at the end of June; board elections are in August.

As of Friday there were no clear answers about the board's plan for a search and no explanation for the delay.

School Board President Nathaniel Davis said the board would talk about the job opening at its 6 p.m. Tuesday work session on cutting costs. He offered no reason why the board has not addressed it until now.

Learn more about this issue here.

Calhoun County BOE discusses nonprofit for art

THE STAR-Wendy Chapman, a third-grade teacher at White Plains Elementary School, uses art to help children visualize concepts in science.

Wednesday, the children broke out their Crayolas and drew landforms such as mountains and volcanoes.

"There is not a lot of tie-in for art when it's not connected to what we're studying in class," Chapman explained.

Like other elementary schools in the county, White Plains is left to its own devices when it comes to teaching children about art and music. There is zero instruction in foreign languages, Principal Joe Dyar said.

And like school systems across the country, White Plains and the rest of Calhoun County's schools face twin pressures of limited financial resources and increased need to show their students can perform on math and reading tests.

That often squeezes out such subjects as the arts and foreign languages.

But an idea borrowed from higher education could help expand local elementary schools' offerings.

The county school board used a recent work session to talk about creating a non-profit group to better fund arts, music and language education in the schools.

Hear more about this idea here.

No comments: