STRONG RELATIONSHIPS YIELD STRONG SCHOOLS: More than 400 Attend Annual Convention Alabama School Boards Welcome New Leaders Official Publication of the Alabama Association of School Boards
‘LEADERS FOR LEARNING’ Likely to be Focus for New Term
OFFICERS Jim Methvin . . . . . . . . . . . . . President Alabama School of Fine Arts Sue Helms . . . . . . . . . . President-Elect Madison City Florence Bellamy . . . . . Vice President Phenix City Tommy McDaniel . . . . . Past President Cherokee County STAFF Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, Ed.D. Executive Director Sally Brewer Howell, J.D. Assistant Executive Director Denise L. Berkhalter Director of Public Relations Editor, Alabama School Boards Susan Rountree Salter Director of Membership Services Lissa Astilla Tucker Director of Governmental Relations Debora Hendricks Administrative Assistant Donna Norris Administrative Assistant Kay Shaw Bookkeeper Lashana Summerlin Receptionist Tammy Wright Executive Assistant Janelle Zeigler Clerical Assistant BOARD OF DIRECTORS Patsy Black . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District 1 Monroe County Steven Foster . . . . . . . . . . . . District 2 Lowndes County Jeff Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District 3 Covington County Katy S. Campbell . . . . . . . . . District 4 Macon County Jennifer Parsons . . . . . . . . . . District 5 Jefferson County Sue Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District 6 Jacksonville Susan Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . District 7 Winfield Dr. Charles Elliott . . . . . . . . . District 8 Decatur Laura Casey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . District 9 Albertville Sandra Ray . . . . . . . . . . . . State Board Tuscaloosa Robert A. Lane.. NSBA Board of Directors Lowndes County
December 2005 Vol. 26, No. 6
IN THIS ISSUE COVER STORY
Legislative Preview: Elections to Follow 2006 Legislative Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Legislators convene next month in the throes of an election year, traditionally a difficult time to push anything more than budgets through the Alabama Legislature. The 2006 regular session starts Jan. 10 and ends no later than April 24. So, what’s on the agenda for education? In the aftermath of disastrous hurricanes, skyrocketing fuel prices and with the looming deadlines and demands of No Child Left Behind, the state’s education budget is a big deal.
Face to Face with Rep. Richard Lindsey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 FEATURES
Strong Relationships Yield Strong Schools: More than 400 Attend Annual Convention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Alabama School Boards Welcome New Leaders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 ‘Leaders for Learning’ Likely to be Focus for New Term . . . . . . . . 16 Five Leaders Named All State School Board Members . . . . . . . . . . 18 DEPARTMENTS
Alabama Education News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Education & the Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 At the Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Calendar of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Potpourri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 PUBLICATION POLICY Alabama School Boards is published by the Alabama Association of School Boards as a service to its member school boards. The articles published in each issue represent the ideas or beliefs of the writers and are not necessarily the views of the Alabama Association of School Boards. Subscriptions sent to members of school boards are included in membership dues, and complimentary copies are sent to public school principals throughout the state. Additional subscriptions can be obtained by contacting AASB. Entered as third-class mail at Montgomery, AL. Permit No. 34. Alabama School Boards is designed by J. Durham Design, L.L.C., Montgomery, AL. Address all editorial and advertising inquiries to: Alabama School Boards, Editor, P.O. Drawer 230488, Montgomery, AL 36123-0488. Phone: 334/277-9700. Alabama School Boards • December 2005 3
Alabama Education News St. Clair Considering Call for Appointed Superintendent The Daily Home newspaper is reporting that St. Clair County Board of Education is considering a resolution that would call for an appointed rather than elected superintendent. The resolution would open the way for the board to ask the local state legislative delegation to introduce a bill that would allow the board to make the appointment. The article quotes school board President Drew Goolsby as saying the proposed resolution is likely to materialize. Goolsby told the Daily Home that he “would like a unanimous consent for something like this. This is not a knee-jerk situation. This is something we’ve been considering at least for three years.” Not only is St. Clair County among the few boards of education in the state that still elect their school superintendent, but Alabama is among a small number of states that actually still have elected superintendents. Candidates for the superintendent’s position in St. Clair aren’t required to live in the county. Goolsby, according to the article, said the appointed process would widen the pool of candidates for the board and do away with some of the political forces. Though there are some very effective elected superintendents, AASB has long supported appointments as the best process for selecting superintendents.
ACCESS Distance Learning Initiative Delivers Courses Statewide Alabama has identified 24 pilot sites for the state’s new ACCESS distance learning initiative, also known as the Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide program. The pilot schools are connected to classroom courses, teachers and technology via the Internet, allow4 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
ing schools to help other schools by offering advanced level courses and electives that might not otherwise be available. According to the Alabama Department of Education, ACCESS provides the ability to deliver and receive state-approved curriculum using the latest interactive instructional models. At least eight eteachers will deliver courses in real time from the pilot sites beginning in the 2006 spring semester. As the 2006-07 school year draws to a close, the state Department of Education estimates 10,000 of Alabama’s 205,000 high school students
will have been served by the ACCESS project. Thousands of these students will not only receive needed courses currently unavailable to them, but they’ll also have access to online graduation exam remediation courses. “Many high schools have not been able to provide advanced diploma courses such as foreign language, electives and trigonometry,” said state Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton. “The ACCESS approach will help solve that problem by offering curriculum and teachers to meet course requirement needs.”
Alba Middle School students and Elm Place Middle School students visited Lighting Point Park in Bayou La Batre. The mouth of the Bayou is shown in the background. Alba students shared stories of Hurricane Katrina with their visitors.
Alabama School Paints Picture of Katrina Tragedy for NSBA Students of Alabama’s Alba Middle School in Bayou La Batre partnered with Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park, Ill., to create a traveling exhibit that tells the story of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy in pictures and words. The “Merging Culture” exhibit will greet thousands of National School Boards Association members at the annual conference April 8-11, 2006, in Chicago at Lakeside Center at McCormick Place. Early Bird Registration is open through Jan. 6. Speakers include Gen. Colin L. Powell, Jane Goodall, David McCullough and Richard Simmons. Elm Place students took a tour of Bayou La Batre along with Alba Middle School students, who took their cameras to photograph the history-making destruction. The Illinois students were able to experience the tragic loss during their visit and actually stayed the night in a simulated shelter and learned to prepare MREs, or meals ready to eat. The schools hope to raise funds to share the “Merging Cultures” exhibit nationwide and plan to bring Alba Middle School students to Illinois in the spring to experience Elm Place Middle School’s culture. For more information about the 2006 NSBA Conference, call 800/9506722 and press option “1” or visit http://www.nsba.org/conference online or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encourage High School Seniors to Apply for Scholarships College is costly. Winfield city schools and Jefferson County schools recognize that fact and post lists of scholarships available to Alabama students on their Web sites, www.winfieldal.org and www.jefcoed.com, respectively. According to Winfield’s guidance counselor, Peggy Meherg, “Nearly $6 billion in scholarships, grants and prizes are available each year.” If you’re aware of a high school student with the dream of pursuing a college degree but with few resources to pay for it, consider pointing them in the direction of these scholarship opportunities: • The Alabama PTA’s Yvonne Ballentine Memorial Reflections Scholarship 20052006 awards one $500 scholarship to a high school senior. The deadline is (postmarked on or before) Feb. 1, 2006. Ballentine was a staff member of Alabama PTA for 18 years and was enthusiastic about the National PTA Reflections Cultural Arts Program. Call 334/834-2501. • The National School Boards Association’s 2006 Hispanic Caucus Scholarship for the Southern Region is one of five scholarships awarded to graduating Hispanic students, one from each NSBA region. The other regions are Central, Northeast, Pacific and Western. Scholarship applications are due Feb. 28, 2006. Call 703/838-6157 or send e-mail to email@example.com. NSBA’s Black Caucus offers a similar scholarship, but details are not yet available. • The Alabama Science Scholar Search and Gorgas Scholarship Competition is accepting applications from Alabama high school seniors who will graduate in spring 2006. Complete guidelines are available at www.gorgasscholar.org. The deadline is Jan. 6, 2006. Call (205) 934-6799 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. • The J. Craig and Page T. Smith “First In Family” Scholarship is open to Alabama public high school seniors involved in community and civic-oriented activities or who have provided assistance to family members. The scholarship gives favor to students who would be the first in their families to attend college. High school counselors have access to these applications, which are due Feb. 15, 2006.
The $10.3 million initiative provides $100,000 for each state-funded pilot site and funds to implement the initiative statewide in the course of the next year. Pilot sites will use the funds for such equipment as tablet computers and multipoint videoconferencing equipment, installation and other related costs. Support for e-teachers and facilitators and interactive software will also be provided. The pilot schools were chosen through a competitive grant process to receive and/or deliver ACCESS courses in interactive distance learning labs. Twelve of the pilot high school lab sites are funded by the state, and the state-secured community partnerships and an Appalachian Regional Commission federal grant to fund an additional 12 sites.
By summer 2006, the state funding for ACCESS is expected to: • Include increased connectivity for 50 percent of all high schools; • Connect the existing 113 interactive videoconferencing labs across the state so they can communicate statewide; and • Increase the variety and quantity of distance learning online courses. The pilot sites include the following high schools: Barbour County, Boaz, Bullock County, Dallas County, Southside in Etowah County, Spain Park in Hoover, Bob Jones in Madison, Douglas in Marshall County, Alma Bryant in Mobile County, J.F. Shields in Monroe County, Brewbaker Technical in Montgomery County, Robert C. Hatch in Perry County, Bibb County,
Huffman in Birmingham, White Plains in Calhoun County, Chilton County, Cleburne County, Lanett, Wilson in Lauderdale County, R.A. Hubbard in Lawrence County, Gordo in Pickens County, Sheffield, Tarrant, and Oakman in Walker County. To find out more about ACCESS online, visit www.alex.state.al.us and click “distance learning.”
Enhancing Education Through Technology Awards Announced Forty-six Alabama public school systems are receiving more than $3.4 million to help improve technology use in the classroom. Under the Enhancing Education Through Technology Program, the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to eligible state educational agencies. The Alabama Department of Education allocated the one-year awards, which ranged from $55,000 to $389,486. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton said, “The professional development component of these grants will help enhance and integrate the ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide) distance learning initiative.” The primary goal of the program is to improve student academic achievement through the use of technology in elementary and secondary schools. The program is also designed to: • Assist every student in becoming technologically literate by the end of eighth grade; • Encourage the effective integration of technology resources and systems; and • Provide professional development activities and curriculum development in order to promote research-based instructional methods that can be widely replicated. For information on how to compete for the grants, contact the Alabama Department of Education, Hannis Roberts, at 334/242-9594 or email@example.com. For the list of schools receiving grants, visit www.alsde.edu. (Continued on page 7) Alabama School Boards • December 2005 5
Education&the Law FERPA Protects Student Privacy he Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are “eligible students.” • Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school. Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records. Schools may charge a fee for copies. • Parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to be inaccurate or misleading. If the school decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student then has the right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent or eligible student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information. • Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions: • School officials with legitimate educational interest; • Other schools to which a student is transferring; • Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes; • Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; • Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school; • Accrediting organizations; • To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena; • Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and • State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law. Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each ▲ school.
Reprinted with permission from the Family Policy Compliance Office of the U.S. Department of Education, www.ed.gov. 6 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
IT’S THE LAW Each year, there should be notification of rights under FERPA given to students and their families. Below is a model Notification of Rights under FERPA document for elementary and secondary schools. Though this model does not, a school may also want to include its directory information public notice.
Model Notification of Rights Under FERPA The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. These rights are: (1) The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the School receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the School principal [or appropriate school official] a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The School official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. (2) The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Parents or eligible students who wish to ask the School to amend a record should write the School principal [or appropriate school official], clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it should be changed. If the School decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the School will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
Alabama Education News... Continued from page 5
(3) The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the School has contracted as its agent to provide a service instead of using its own employees or officials (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. [Optional] Upon request, the School discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. [NOTE: FERPA requires a school district to make a reasonable attempt to notify the parent or student of the records request unless it states in its annual notification that it intends to forward records on request.] (4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA are: Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5920 — Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education
FEMA Issues Reminder of Tax Claims Related to Hurricane Katrina Not only did Alabama schools open up to more than 5,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees, but many in education opened up their hearts and homes to those devastated by the disaster. Some were even victims of the massive storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued a reminder that there will be tax relief for those who suffered losses in Alabama. “This has been an unprecedented disaster. The new tax benefits recognize that every penny taxpayers save will help them in rebuilding their lives,” said Michael Bolch, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for the Alabama recovery. Under the Hurricane Katrina relief bill passed on Sept. 23: • Limits are suspended on individual cash contributions made to qualified charities beginning Aug. 28 through Dec. 31, 2005. • There is a tax benefit for people who volunteer to take in Katrina victims, a $500 deduction for each person they house for at least six months, up to a cap of $2,000. • Filers who itemize no longer have to deduct 10 percent of adjusted gross income and a $100 deductible to claim disaster losses. You can claim the full amount of a disaster loss. • Katrina victims can withdraw up to $100,000 without tax penalties from certain retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts, to pay for disaster-related needs. • Certain filing and payment deadlines are extended. Check with the IRS or your tax consultant to see which deadlines may apply to you. • The option to file an amended 2004 return or wait until the end of the year and claim the loss on your 2005 return is offered. FEMA asks that tax forms and attached documents be filed with the words “Hurricane Katrina” written in red ink at the top to alert the IRS tax examiner. For answers to Hurricane-related tax questions, contact the IRS disaster hotline at 866/562-5227 or online at www.irs.gov.
Intel and Scholastic Searching for Schools of Distinction Boards of education may wish to recommend schools for the Intel and Scholastic Schools of Distinction awards. The awards program recognizes K12 schools in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in implementing innovative, replicable programs supporting positive educational outcomes. The awards showcase the effective use of technology, the benefits of strong teamwork and the development of excellent classroom teachers. Winners are chosen — one each in elementary and secondary — from nine categories: academic achievement, literacy achievement, mathematics achievement, science achievement, technology excellence, technology innovation, leadership excellence, professional development, collaboration and teamwork. From among those, one each from elementary and secondary are selected as “Best of the Best.” Each category winner receives a $10,000 grant from the Intel Foundation and a host of educational products provided by Scholastic. “Best of the Best” winners receive an additional $15,000 from the Intel Foundation. To apply for ▲ the awards, visit www.schoolsofdistinction.com before Jan. 5, 2006. Alabama School Boards • December 2005 7
Elections to Follow 2006 Legislative Session By Denise L. Berkhalter
Legislators convene next month in the throes of an election year, traditionally a difficult time to push anything more than budgets through the Alabama Legislature. The 2006 regular session starts Jan. 10 and ends no later than April 24, just months before the June 6 party primary election and the June 27 runoff. The general election is Nov. 7. So, what's on the agenda for education?
8 Alabama School Boards â€˘ December 2005
n the aftermath of disastrous hurricanes, skyrocketing fuel prices and with the looming deadlines and demands of No Child Left Behind, the state’s education budget is a big deal. The state’s request for $370 million in K-12 education funding for the 2007 fiscal year is still pending. It’s a delicate balance, to be sure, but Alabama must manage the state’s education budget with the fiscal responsibility that prevents proration but moves toward adequate funding of education. Alabama only spends $6,313.60 per student (2002-2003) compared to the U.S. per pupil expenditure average of more than $8,000. Since 1980, Alabama’s schools have gone into proration seven times. The threat of proration is always on the horizon as long as funding for education isn’t stable. Until Alabama’s tax structure is reformed and suitably supports education, the state remains vulnerable to the rollercoaster ups and downs of sales taxes and income taxes, which account for 86.5 percent of the tax sources for the Education Trust Fund (ETF). Alabama has an estimated $191 million in recurring funds for education — more when counting one-time money. Some have considered this a surplus despite the deep cuts K-12 education suffered in the proration years, persistent underfunding in many areas and the heavy budget burdens of pay raises and increasing insurance premiums. In recent years, the ETF has even been drained of $60 million to bolster the anemic General Fund. As long as the General Fund is in dire straits, there will continue to be political pressure to funnel monies to it from the ETF. Redistribution of the so-called ETF surplus is floating about now as a gubernatorial campaign issue in a time when there already exists steep competition for education dollars. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education, for example, is expected to request an estimated $150 million, as well, from the Legislature to boost its budget to $1.3 billion. With additional dollars available, non-state agencies that were cut from the ETF after a difficult multi-year effort will be back with outstretched hands. It will be a challenge for lawmakers to hold the line and restrict ETF dollars to the state agencies that desperately need them. Granting funding to non-state entities once more would signal that K-12 and all of public education are adequately funded — a claim the state is far from ready to make. So AASB’s challenge is to take steps toward the association’s goal of providing the state’s children an adequate and equitable public education. To accomplish this task, AASB maintains local school board members and state legislators must work together on state education funding to ensure Alabama’s public schoolchildren benefit from this year’s ETF growth and get more for each education dollar.
K-12 schools are presenting their proposal of ETF requests to the Legislature, the most fundamental of which includes basic operating costs for local schools or other current expense (OCE). In 2001, OCE was cut $100 million during proration which continues to be felt deeply in every school system. The Legislature has restored $68 million, and school boards will join others to request an additional $49 million — $32 million plus the inflation cost — to restore OCE to its 2001 funding level. The request simply restores basic operating costs to pre-proration levels and is not a funding increase. The OCE pays for a broad range of school needs, from utilities and the toiletries used in school restrooms to salaries and benefits for some employees. There is no wriggle room in OCE, which has been woefully underfunded for the past five years. In this session, state legislators should take a careful look at other education funding issues, as well. Local schools are struggling to afford and provide the mandated number of nurses and special education instructors on each campus. Many school systems are also seeking help to accommodate the needs of a growing number of students whose second language is English. Teachers should take another step forward in pay increases. And this year, Alabama will seek to add instructional days to the school year to give students more time to master the coursework they need. Alabama’s Reading Initiative, the Alabama Math and Science and Technology Initiative and efforts to upgrade technology are all important programs that are slated for funding, as well. AASB will be acting as watchdog on other issues expected to emerge and that must be monitored to preserve community ownership in school governance. Local autonomy, for instance, is often threatened with bills, such as a recent push for a uniform calendar which threatens local board control. In an election year, it is a difficult position to stand up for annual reappraisals for many lawmakers, but the school boards are disappointed that there is a move away from accurately reflecting fair market value of property in tax revenues and letting public schools realize that appreciation. As political winds gust in the direction of reverting to longer intervals between reappraisals, school boards will work with political leaders to address this unfavorable move for Alabama’s schools. Another familiar threat to public schools that is often bandied about in the halls of government is school vouchers. This national issue rears its head in Alabama, particularly when the idea of charter schools arises and the home school and private school communities become more vocal. A bill expected to be taken up during the next session of the Legislature would, if passed, allow non-public school students to participate in (Continued on page 11) Alabama School Boards • December 2005 9
FACE TO FACE
with Rep. Richard Lindsey This face-to-face interview with Rep. Richard Lindsey, chairman of the House Education Finance and Appropriations Committee, is the first installment of a series of features recapping one-on-one conversations between school board members who serve as members of AASB’s grassroots Leader to Leader program and their legislators.
indsey (above, right) sat down in December with Tommy McDaniel (above, left), president of Cherokee County Board of Education and the immediate past president of AASB. McDaniel began the Leader to Leader initiative under his term as AASB president. The program not only provides a trusted resource to lawmakers on education policy and issues, but also furthers
About Rep. Richard Lindsey Lindsey, who was elected in 1983, has proven a strong advocate for K-12 education on many issues and has sponsored valuable legislation to enhance and support the achievement of public schoolchildren in Alabama. A graduate of Jacksonville State University, Lindsey also manages the family farm and cotton gin business. He’s busy as a father, as well. He and his wife, Johna, have a son, Rich, and a daughter, Anna. The Lindseys worship at Ebenezer United Methodist Church and enjoy spending time as a family. Lindsey’s District 39 includes Cherokee County.
school board members’ role as a voice for schoolchildren and public education. Here’s what McDaniel and Lindsey shared in their face-to-face conversation.
■ Lindsey: We’re getting old (laughs). I
▲ McDaniel: Thank you so much for
▲ McDaniel: I can remember the first
agreeing to this interview. What we hope to accomplish by doing this is to encourage open dialogue between school board members and their representatives. We want to help our legislators craft education policy in a way that reflects the needs and concerns of local public schools, parents and students. ■ Lindsey: Sure. O.K. ▲ McDaniel: I know it’s not unusual to
go to a home football game and see you and your entire family working the concession stand. Is that what you do for fun? What is your favorite pastime? ■ Lindsey: I farm and work all the time (laughs). I do enjoy the kids. My son, Rich, enjoys farming, so he’s right in there with me doing the farm work. Anna, my daughter, she’s big into cheerleading and gymnastics. We go to ballgames and enjoy those along with her. We try to find a Sunday afternoon or two along Weiss Lake to ride jet skis and play around on the lake. ▲ McDaniel: We’ve known each other
for a long time, haven’t we? 10 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
still remember when the first man walked on the moon. I was a kid. I remember that just like it was yesterday. time you were elected to public office. Something had happened to our legislator, and they called a democratic committee together at the courthouse. ■ Lindsey: It was during the redistricting. ▲ McDaniel: Now for the serious stuff.
Let’s look ahead toward long-term education goals. What are they? ■ Lindsey: One thing is equitable funding for education. We have, for too long, underfunded education in Alabama. I certainly want to see Alabama properly funded educationwise. Many facilities in Alabama are in disrepair and substandard, and I would like to see the state work with the local boards to come up with a program to bring all of our facilities up to modern standards. ▲ McDaniel: AASB supports annual
reappraisals, but the issue of reverting to reappraisals every four years is bubbling up, again. What’s your take on this issue? (Continued on page 22)
Legislative Preview... Continued from page 9
extracurricular activities at public schools. AASB sees the move as just another back-door approach to siphoning funding from public schools. Even through the emergency disaster relief bills, such as those related to the devastating hurricane season, the voucher issue surfaces. Improving the health of Alabama’s youth is indeed a worthwhile effort, one that has AASB’s support. In 2004, Alabama was ranked the “fattest state” in the nation, according to the Trust for America’s Health, falling to second behind Mississippi in the ranking this year. AASB is participating in Alabama coalitions charged with studying and addressing the state’s health crisis, particularly as it relates to children. The Healthy Team Leadership Network and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Alabama Obesity Task Force search for a strategic plan to prevent and control Alabama’s weight problem. The Legislature’s Statewide Committee to Review the State of Health of America’s Youth places emphasis on improving the health of Alabama’s children. Already, bills are prefiled to be considered during the session impacting our schools. The topics range from cell phones to bullying, curriculum to stipends. An important bill for AASB is the School Bus Safety Act which was just shy of passage last year. The act would curb the thousands of Alabama drivers who illegally pass school buses each year. In a single-day survey last year, Alabama school bus drivers counted nearly 2,000 drivers who failed to stop as required when students are getting on and off the bus. Local school boards and the state Department of Education urge lawmakers not to delay this safety issue for the 366,000 children who ride the school bus each day. Since the last session, an 8-year-old child was killed by just this type of offense. Rep. Randy Davis will once again sponsor the bill to impose fines and penalties that increase for repeat offenses. Looking ahead to the 2006 regular session of the Alabama Legislature, it’s easy to see some matters will become campaign fodder and others may ease through the legislative process. For that reason, AASB must gauge whether the timing is right to introduce some key education concerns and must keep its eye on key education topics already on the Legislature’s agenda. AASB is confident that the primary focus of the session will and should be the funding of Alabama’s public education. ▲
At the Table Dan Meissner School Board Tuscaloosa City Hometown I was born in Atlanta but grew up in Birmingham, where I attended public schools in Mountain Brook and Birmingham City systems. I’ve been a resident of Tuscaloosa for 38 years. A Board Member Since: Well, I served one four-year term as a district board member and became chair — a citywide elected post in our city – in the summer 2005 municipal elections. Books at Bedside The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader and From Good to Great Inspiration I’m most inspired by my 16-year-old daughter, who is the pride and joy of my life. Motto as a Board Member A motto used by the CEO of my company that I have found applies in most every component of life is: "It’s never time for everything, but it’s always time for something. What is it time for now?" Walter Mitty Fantasy I don’t really want to be anything other than what I am, but I would really like to have some musical talent (which I don’t) because it is such an enriching part of life. Advice to New Board Members Plant good seeds (hire good teachers); water and fertilize regularly (encourage them and offer meaningful professional development); don’t forget to weed (don’t be afraid to remove personnel who are not contributing). Then be patient – the garden will grow (students will succeed). Greatest Accomplishment as a Board Member Seeing our system grow and our test scores improve in underperforming schools. Pet Peeve as a Board Member People who take a narrow view and don’t take the time to listen to broader issues and concerns. Reason I Like Being an AASB Member The AASB meetings provide a great opportunity to focus on measures to continually improve our process and learn how others are approaching the same issues we face. My Epitaph "God gave me work while I lived, and life ’til my work was done." Still, I’ve always liked Frank Sinatra’s song and epitaph on his tombstone: "The best is yet to come." Alabama School Boards • December 2005 11
STRONG RELATIONSHIPS YIELD STRONG SCHOOLS More than 400 Attend Annual Convention By Denise L. Berkhalter
Strength is the power to move. People are moved through relationships.
eynote speakers at the 2005 AASB Convention asked the more than 400 K-12 school board members and superintendents in attendance to move schools toward change, convince communities to support schools and inspire students, including those at risk, to achieve. The Dec. 8-10 convention in Birmingham hinged on the theme “Strong Schools Building Strong Students.” Career educator and counselor Dr. Rita Pierson kicked the convention off with her Friday morning discussion of the education challenges poverty creates. She emphasized the need to seek out and understand the “hidden rules.” “For so many years, race and class in America have been coupled as one,” Pierson explained. “They are not the same thing. It’s not what race you are; it’s how much money you’ve got. The real problem has been that we don’t understand the hidden rules of racism, the hidden rules that govern class.” Pierson called for an end to what she sees as a major problem in education. (Continued on page 21) 12 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
More than 400 attendees learned lessons based upon the 2005 AASB Convention theme “Strong Schools Building Strong Students.” Here are scenes from the Dec. 8-10 event in Birmingham.
Alabama School Boards â€˘ December 2005 13
ALABAMA SCHOOL BOARDS WELCOME NEW LEADERS By Denise L. Berkhalter
Alabama school board members recently chose two new Alabama Association of School Boards district directors and elected several new officers to lead the organization that serves more than 800 education leaders. The leaders took office following AASB's annual convention Dec. 8-10 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham. More than 400 attended the event.
im Methvin of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Board of Education takes the reins as AASB’s new president, while Cherokee County Board of Education President Tommy McDaniel begins service as the association’s immediate past president. Sue Helms of the Madison City school board is now the association’s president-elect and will automatically assume the presidency when Methvin’s term ends in 2007. Florence Bellamy of the Phenix City Board of Education is AASB’s vice president. Officers serve one two-year term, which is a recent change in the bylaws. The new District 4 director is Katy Smith Campbell of the Macon County Board of Education, and District 2 will be led by Steven T. Foster of the Lowndes County Board of Education. The two join recently elected or re-elected district directors, Jennifer Parsons of District 5, Sue Jones of District 6 and Dr. Charles Elliott of District 8. They are among nine members of the AASB Board of Directors. As representatives of geographical areas of the state, the board governs the association’s activities along with the elected officers and a representative from the state Board of Education. The existing district directors are District 1’s Patsy Black of the Monroe County Board of Education, District 3’s Jeff Bailey of the Covington County Board of Education, District 7’s Susan Harris of the Winfield Board of Education and District 9’s Laura Casey of the Albertville Board of Education. AASB’s board also includes Sandra Ray, vice president of the state Board of Education, and Robert Lowe, a member of the National School Boards Assoociation Board of Directors and the Lowndes County Board of Education. Methvin has been a member of the Fine Arts school board for a little more Methvin than two years and currently serves as 14 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
vice chairman. He previously served on the Homewood school board for a decade and has been active in numerous AASB activities. Methvin also gives back to his community by serving on the Homewood City School Foundation Board and on the Board of Directors for the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association. Last year and again this year, Methvin will represent Alabama on the National School Boards Association Policies and Resolutions Committee. Professionally, Methvin is a disability administrator for the state Department of Education Disability Determination Service. McDaniel served two terms as AASB president and has been a member of the Cherokee County school board for 10 years. He spearheaded AASB’s effort to create a new grassroots lobbying program that pairs an elite group of school board members with key legislators and oversaw efforts to rework the School Board Member Academy. McDaniel McDaniel also has served as a delegate and alternate delegate to the National School Boards Association/ Southern Region Delegate Assembly, a member of the Southern Region Resolutions and Bylaws committees and National School Boards Association’s Policies and Resolutions and Nominating committees, and a delegate and alternate delegate to NSBA’s Delegate Assembly. He is a member of the NSBA Federal Relations Network. Helms, who is president of the Madison City school board, also chairs the committee to revamp AASB’s grassroots lobbying efforts. In addition, she is a member of the association’s Executive/Legislative Committee and previously served four terms on the Resolutions Committee, which proposes AASB’s legislative positions for the Helms coming year. She has served for a number of years as a member of the Federal Relations Network and as a participant in the NSBA Technology and Learning and the National Association for Year-Round Education initiatives. She also frequently travels to Montgomery to confer with Madison County legislators about pending legislation. In AASB’s Academy, she has reached the master level. Prior to her membership on the city school board, Helms served on the Madison County Board of Education.
Phenix City school board member Florence Bellamy had just been re-elected to her second twoyear term as District 4 director. She released that position upon the start of her Bellamy vice presidency. A school board member since 1989, Bellamy formerly served the Phenix City Board of Education as vice president and board president and has achieved Master School Board Member status four times in AASB’s School Board Member Academy, which is an ongoing school for board members. In 2001, AASB named her an All State School Board Member, which is the association’s highest honor. She also has served on the association’s Budget and Finance Committee and chairs the Bylaws Committee this year. Bellamy is supervisor of adult protective services for the Russell County Department of Human Resources. Campbell fills the void left by Bellamy and looks forward to her new District 4 directorship. Campbell, who is in her third year as president of the Macon County Board of Education, Campbell has been a board member since 2000. A Selma attorney, Campbell commutes each day from her Tuskegee home to work, yet she still finds time for community service. She has been an active PTA member for more than 22 years and currently serves as immediate past president of Alabama State PTA. She was appointed by Alabama’s governor to the Commission on Instructional Improvement and Academic Excellence and the Governor’s Congress on School Leadership. Campbell is a partner in the law firm of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway & Campbell LLC. She has also served on AASB’s Multicultural Committee and has reached the fourth level of the association’s academy. She has earned the Master Board Member distinction. (Continued on page 17)
Retiring Officer and Directors are Proven Leaders Perhaps John Quincy Adams said it best: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” At the 2005 convention, AASB bid farewell to four proven leaders. AASB issued a special thank-you to retired Past President Linda Steed and district directors James Ware, Don Burns and Leon Garrett. They served with excellence, said AASB Executive Director Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried. “The membership and staff,” she said, “salutes these outstanding members of the AASB family for their untiring leadership and support of AASB and their service to Alabama’s public schools.” Ware has served on his local board in Selma since 1997 and served two full terms as District 2 director. He has been an active member of AASB in a variety of capacities, including serving as chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee. He serves on the association’s Executive/legislative Committee and was vice chairman of the Summer Conference Committee. Ware also completed four levels in AASB’s School Board Member Academy and twice earned the Master School board member designation. Burns has served as District 5 director since 2002 and on the Midfield Board of Education for 19 years. He has been active on AASB committees, including the Convention Planning, Budget and Finance and the Nominating committees. He also completed all four levels in the Academy and earned the Master School Board Member status six times. Garrett has served as District 6 director for two full terms and a partial term and is an 18-year veteran of the Piedmont School Board. The retired educator earned the Master School Board Member distinction an impressive 14 times and was named an All State School Board member in 1994. He has served as trustee and chairman for the Alabama Risk Management for Schools, and his service to AASB also includes serving as the first chairman of the Multicultural Committee and vice chairman the following three years. He was also a member of AASB’s Executive/Legislative and Resolutions committees and was chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee and vice chairman of the Nominating Committee. Immediate Past President Linda Steed of Pike County retired from the AASB Board of Directors. She has been a devoted member of AASB’s leadership team since 1991 when she began serving on the board as District 3 director. She has been a member on the Pike County school board for 21 years and reached the Master School Board Member rank a remarkable 12 times. In 1997, she received AASB’s highest honor as an All State School Board Member. Steed served and held leadership positions on almost all of AASB’s committees, including Executive/Legislative, Nominating, Academy Assessment, Convention Planning, Bylaws and the Resolutions committees. In addition, she has served as a trustee for Alabama Risk Management for Schools and AASB’s legal Assistance Fund. On the national level, she has served as an Alabama delegate and alternate delegate to the NSBA annual delegate assembly and served on several prestigious NSBA and NSBA/Southern Region Committees. She also has lobbied congress on behalf of Alabama school children as part of the NSBA Federal Relations Network since 1994.
Alabama School Boards • December 2005 15
‘LEADERS FOR LEARNING’ Likely to be Focus for New Term By Jim Methvin, AASB President
Many past AASB presidents have had a focal point of their tenure. I’m not sure whether this should be called an “agenda,” “focus,” “spotlight” or “target,” but I know it is important. Having a focus over the next two years will enable the Board of Directors to continue moving AASB forward and make the organization even stronger.
s an association, we are meeting all 13 purposes for the organization that are laid out in our bylaws — from providing training opportunities for board members to lobbying for stable funding and strong educational programs. There is no question that the association is on target. But, there is no such thing as status quo for us. AASB cannot stand still. If it does, it will move backward. Thus, at a meeting at the close of our recent convention, the Board of Directors agreed to hold a retreat within the next three months to discuss and select our focus for the coming year, set our goals and make plans for achieving them. At the retreat, we will discuss the work to be done on two central issues: helping our members work to improve student achievement statewide and strengthening members’ leadership and boardmanship skills. A few years ago, AASB adopted “Leaders for Learning” as our motto. It reflects the fact that, in our role as school board members, student learning must be the foundation of just about every decision we make. As local leaders, we must strive to support student achievement in meaningful and purposeful ways. As exam16 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
ples, we do that through: • Reviewing expenditures and budgets; • Approving personnel actions; • Purchasing technology; • Building or maintaining school facilities; and • Ensuring safety measures. We must always strive to make sure a challenging education system is in place to serve all children. To accomplish this effectively, all of us need to: • Keep our feet to the fire and stay keenly aware of student achievement; • Continually ask questions about where our schools are academically; and • Continually demand information on academic accomplishments throughout the calendar year — not just when major test scores are released. But, as local board members, we also must balance our leadership of student achievement efforts against the need not to micromanage. Part of the challenge for AASB’s Board of Directors and staff regarding student achievement will be to devise programs that equip you for this important role without crossing over into your superintendent’s and staff’s roles. We want to be very careful about that. The other important focus area that I will ask the Board of Directors to con-
sider is providing even more meaningful opportunities for the advancement of leadership and boardmanship skills. Each of you is already a respected leader in your community. And, each of you is both an advocate and a representative for schoolchildren. With these responsibilities come important discussions and decisions. Concurrently, I see AASB tapping into this statewide leadership you provide to further strengthen the association. After attending my first new school board member orientation in June 1993 and then my first convention, I saw that I was welcome as a member of AASB. I felt that the association opened its arms to its members; the more I gave to the association and the more participation I had with the association, the better educated I could become as a board member. I want all our members to feel that way. There is a place for each of you to contribute to AASB. As the Board of Directors looks to the future, we are all looking forward to continuing to work with AASB Executive Director Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried and the association’s staff. They have demonstrated their competency. And we appreciate their commitment to the association, to the Board of Directors and to the full membership. I also am very appreciative of the opportunity that lies ahead of me and the Board of Directors. We all look forward to serving the association and serving you. AASB is here to assist you in any way possible. After all, our most important goal is providing you the resources you need to do your school board job as effectively as possible for the schoolchildren of Alabama. ▲ Jim Methvin was installed as AASB president at the 2005 Convention. He is serving a two-year term.
AASB Welcomes New Leaders...
• Age: 54
Continued from page 15
• Home: Homewood • Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Montevallo; Master of Arts in Education, University of Alabama in Birmingham • Career: Disability Administrator, State Department of Education Disability Determination Service, 31 years
Board Service: • Vice chairman of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Board of Education; ASFA board member since 2003 • Member for two terms of the Homewood City Board of Education
AASB: • Chairman, 2005 Convention Planning Committee • Member, Executive Committee • Trustee, Legal Assistance Fund • Master School Board Member for nine years
NSBA: • Member, Federal Relations Network • Delegate, 2005 and 2006 NSBA Policies and Resolutions Committee • Delegate, 2005 NSBA Delegate Assembly
NSBA/Southern Region: • Vice Chairman, 2006 NSBA Southern Region • Member, 2005 NSBA Southern Region Resolutions Committee
State of Alabama: • Member, Alabama Department of Public Health’s Alabama Obesity Task Force • Member, Governor’s Congress on School Leadership Implementation Committee • Member, Board of Directors, University of Montevallo National Alumni Association • Member, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
Community: • Member, Board of Directors, Homewood City Schools Foundation • Member, 2006 Homewood City Schools Strategic Planning Committee
Foster, the new leader of District 2, has six terms as president of the Lowndes County Board of Education under his belt. He is also a former vice president of the board he has been a member of since 1992. An active member in AASB, Foster has reached the third level of the Academy and has attended many AASB events. He has served AASB as a member of the association’s Convention Planning, Academy Assessment and the Budget and Finance committees. Foster replaces retiring director James Ware of the Selma Board of EduFoster cation. His civic duty is also fulfilled in his work with Gov. Bob Riley’s Blackbelt Action Commission, as a member of the Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee and of the Fort Deposit Chamber of Commerce, which he served as president. He is minister of New Providence Church of Christ and is senior vice president of First Lowndes Bank. Foster is also an adjunct professor at Faulkner University. Jefferson County Board of Education member Jennifer Parsons was elected to represent the 14 school boards in Jefferson and Shelby counties that comprise District 5. Parsons, who has been a member of the Jefferson County school board since 1998, succeeded Don Burns of Midfield. Parsons previously served as vice president and president of the district and as president of the Jefferson County board. This year Parsons reached the third level of AASB’s School Board Member Academy and serves as a state member of the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network. She is currently a member of AASB’s Nominating Committee and formerly served on the Summer Conference Planning and Bylaws committees. The longtime educator taught for 17 years, including more than a decade at Pleasant Grove Elementary School. In addition to her board service, Parsons also supervises student teachers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jacksonville City School Board member Sue Jones officially assumed the District 6 post. She succeeded Leon Garrett, a Piedmont school board member. This year Jones reached the third level of AASB’s School Board Member Academy. Jones, who previously served as the board’s vice-president and president, has been a member of the Jacksonville City School Board since 2000. She was elected to her second term in 2004. In 1997, she co-founded the Focus Program, a student-led prevention program at Jacksonville High School. Long dedicated to serving the children of Jacksonville, Jones retired from Jacksonville High School in the spring of 2000 after a 27-year teaching career. Jones presently works as a health education consultant, replicating the Focus Program statewide. Decatur Board of Education President Dr. Charles Elliott was re-elected as District 8 Director on Oct. 6. A member of the Decatur school board since 1996 and president since 2000, he leads a district that encompasses 18 school boards in eight north Alabama counties. Elliott has served on the statewide committee to review the health of America’s Youth, a committee which looked closely at Alabama’s youth. He has also been an active member of AASB and serves this year as chairman of the association’s Resolutions Committee, which drafts and reviews proposals governing AASB’s legislative positions. He has long served on the Resolutions Committee and was vice chairman in 2004. In addition, he has completed all four levels of AASB’s Academy and the anesthesiologist has earned the distinction of Master School Board ▲ Member five times. Alabama School Boards • December 2005 17
Five Leaders Named All State School Board Members By Denise L. Berkhalter
Five education leaders were recently honored for distinguished service by their peers and the Alabama Association of School Boards.
a member of the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education in 2001 and ll have been named 2005 All State School Board Memhas served on the finance and personnel committees. In nominatbers. James E. Barnett of the Tuscaloosa County ing Pearson for the All State honor, his fellow board members Board of Education along with Ella R. McElroy of the described him as an involved, supportive school leader who Sheffield City Board of Education, Karen J. Odle of the Vestavia believes in professional development for board members. Among Hills City Board of Education, Milton Pearson of the Tuscaloosa his many school board accomplishments, Pearson helped secure City Board of Education and Harold C. White of the Macon funding to help build three new neighborhood high schools. County Board of Education received the honor Dec. 10 at He also helped the board navigate reorganization of middle and AASB’s convention at The Wynfrey Hotel near Birmingham. high schools and the transition between two superintendents. It is the highest award AASB bestows. The board has also twice received the National Magna Award “All of this year’s honorees are leaders among leaders and by the American School Board Journal during his tenure. He exemplify the highest ideals in boardmanship service,” said has enjoyed a long career in education, AASB Executive Director Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried. including his former superintendent All State candidates are nominated by their fellow role. board members and judged by Active in the Tuscaloosa commua panel of distinguished fornity, Pearson serves on the board of mer school board members. Trinity United Methodist The winners are chosen Church, and he readily for their commitment to ethiattends Chamber of Comcal standards, proven merce-sponsored events, records of activism, City Council meetings rapport with local and other events impactofficials and leadering education. He is ship in education no stranger to AASB and community service, and has attendactivities. All of ed association conferences, this year’s winners workshops and meetings. have been active parBarnett also has taken ticipants in AASB’s advantage of AASB training, School Board Member attending 18 courses and activAcademy, a continuing ities. He has attended all local school for school board AASB meetings in his district. members. He has been a voting delegate Pearson, a former for the Tuscaloosa County member of the TusBoard of Education and caloosa city school serves on the AASB Multiboard for more than cultural Committee. four years, and Barnett, Barnett’s first term of a member of the Tuscaboard service was from 1978 loosa County school until 1988. He was reelected board for more than 14 years, took home the The 2005-06 All State School Board Members honored for their distinguished service to the Tuscaloosa County distinguished award. were (seated l-r) Ella R. McElroy, Karen J. Odle; (standing l-r) Milton Pearson, James E. Board of Education in 2002, the first person in the Pearson was elected Barnett and Harold C. White. 18 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
Chamber of Commerce carves out time to frequently attend 135-year history of the board to be elected to non-consecutive AASB events and local District 5 meetings. She has been a terms. The Birmingham native attended the University of member of AASB’s Convention Planning Committee and has Alabama after service in the Air Force. Northport and other participated in 20 boardmanship training programs thus far. Tuscaloosa County communities benefit from Barnett’s dedicaIf there were one word to describe Odle’s five-year term on tion to giving back. He is a board member and president of the the board, it would be change. Students from annexed Cahaba West Alabama Planning and Development Council and is a Heights and Cahaba Heights Elementary School were assimimember of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development lated into the school system, a comprehensive five-year strateAuthority’s board of directors. gic plan was developed and is grinding into its fourth year, a For two terms, Barnett served as president of the Northport long-range technology plan for schools has begun and a new Civitan Club, which recently awarded him the Medallion Award board member orientation program has been devised. Odle’s for meritorious service. In addition, he is the vice president of nominators describe her as “a superb role model for all current Regions Bank in Northport. Barnett represented Northport City and future board members.” Council’s fourth district from 1992 until 2000. His school board White, who is now vice president, has colleagues say Barnett was instrumental also served as president of the Macon in working with the County CommisCounty Board of Education and has chaired sion to obtain the resources to fund the the board’s Five-Year Plan, Sales Tax and elimination of portable classrooms to 10-mill Ad Valorem Tax committees and its make way for safer classroom space Resolution Committee, which helped more conducive to learning. thwart efforts to place a regional landfill in McElroy, a member of the Sheffield Macon County. White worked with other City Board of Education for more than school board members to secure voter six years, is a former president and vice approval of a 10-mill ad valorem tax that president of her school board. She is has provided increased revenue for the serving her second five-year term and schools and to support the construction of a doesn’t mind that the job comes without new state-of-the-art elementary school for pay. She has completed all four achievegrades 1-3. ment levels in AASB’s Academy and is —Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried This All State winner has advanced a Master School Board Member. AASB Executive Director himself in AASB by serving twice as McElroy was recently unanimously District 4 director and volunteering his reappointed by the Sheffield City Countime as chairman of the Summer Conference Planning and the cil to serve another term on the Sheffield city school board, Resolutions committees, vice chairman of the Convention which ends in 2010. She has been a delegate to AASB convenPlanning and the Resolutions committees and as a member of tions and has served on the association’s Bylaws Committee. the Nominating and the Budget and Finance committees. The retired teacher has not missed a year of attending AASB White has attended 102 AASB events and has completed all activities since 1999. four achievement levels in the Academy. He earned the disSome may consider it an urban myth, but it’s true that McEltinction Master School Board Member nine times by continuroy’s dedication to board service prompted her to drive more ing his training. than 500 miles one way to interview a candidate for the superAn active community member, White has participated in intendent position. In addition, she was instrumental in the clean-up projects and Read Across America Day events at local tedious writing and updating of the board’s policies. McElroy’s schools and is often a guest announcer at Booker T. Washington tenure has seen the successful completion of a number of capiHigh School football games. He also gives back to Macon tal projects, including a new cafeteria, a new wellness center, County through his service as a member of the Optimist, Lions, new elementary school classrooms and the replacement of Jessie Lewis Auto clubs, the Southeast Alabama Miles College roofs. Glowing nomination letters described McElroy as a true Alumni Association and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Colleagues member of the community, often seen at student activities, athpraised White’s uncanny communication skills and unyielding letic events, teacher activities and other functions. dedication to board service even though he’s busy with family, Odle attends Vestavia Hills High School functions not only as work, church and community service. a school board member, but as a parent. One of her two children Nominations for the 15th annual All-State School Board attends Vestavia Hills High. She is an active member of the Members Recognition Program will be accepted in fall 2006 PTA, having served as legislative liaison. Odle is also very when AASB sends nomination forms and detailed guidelines to active in the school system as president of the Vestavia Hills school boards. The awards program commends up to five past school board for nearly five years. She takes good boardmanor present school board members across the state who have ship seriously. She has completed three of the Academy’s four exhibited exemplary boardmanship. levels. Somehow the executive director of the Vestavia Hills ▲
“All of this year’s honorees are leaders among leaders and exemplify the highest ideals in boardmanship service.”
Alabama School Boards • December 2005 19
Alabama Association of School Boards
Professional Sustaining Members
AASB appreciates these professional members for supporting association activities and you all year long. Exford Architects Birmingham, Alabama 205/314-3411
Lathan Associates Architects PC Birmingham, Alabama 205/879-9110
Alabama Gas Corporation Birmingham, Alabama 205/326-8425
Fuqua & Partners Architects PC Huntsville, Alabama 256/534-3516
McCauley Associates Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/969-0303
Alabama Soft Drink Association Montgomery, Alabama 334/263-6621
Gallet & Associates Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/942-1289
Alabama Supercomputer Authority Montgomery, Alabama 334/832-2405
Goodwyn Mills and Cawood Inc. Montgomery, Alabama 334/271-3200
McKee & Associates Architecture and Design Montgomery, Alabama 334/834-9933
Barganier Davis Sims Architects Montgomery, Alabama 334/834-2038
Hoar Construction Birmingham, Alabama 205/803-2121
PH&J Architects Inc. Montgomery, Alabama 334/265-8781
Jenkins Munroe Jenkins Architecture Anniston, Alabama 256/820-6844
Sain Associates Birmingham, Alabama 205/940-6420
BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama Birmingham, Alabama 205/220-5771 Christian Testing Labs Montgomery, Alabama 334/264-4422
JH Partners Architecture/Interiors Huntsville, Alabama 256/539-0764
Council of Alabama Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/841-2653
KHAFRA Engineers, Architects and Construction Managers Birmingham, Alabama 205/252-8353
Davis Architects Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/322-7482
Paul B. Krebs & Associates, Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/987-7411
20 Alabama School Boards â€˘ December 2005
Payne & Associates Architects Montgomery, Alabama 334/272-2180
Select Medical Systems, Inc. Birmingham, Alabama 205/967-3453 Sherlock Smith & Adams Inc. Montgomery, Alabama 334/263-6481 Evan Terry Associates PC Birmingham, Alabama 205/972-9100 Volkert & Associates Inc. Mobile, Alabama 251/432-6735
Strong Relationships Yield Strong Schools... Continued from page 12
“Ninety-nine percent of the problems in schools are because we want to make our own agendas, but a lot of our children bring the rules from the streets with them,” she said. “We need to build relationships. Not only can they learn from us, but we can learn from them. Until we decide they have something to offer us, they will never accept what we have to offer them.” Pierson asked the leaders in education to ensure that their schools are analyzing the student body to find out where there are deficiencies in a child’s life. There are five primary resources, she said, that children need to be successful. These include the: • Financial resource or enough money to meet their core needs; • Emotional resource to adequately deal with their feelings; • Mental resource or the ability to read, write and compute; • Physical resource, which Pierson said simply means “your body works;” and • Role model resource. “Do I have an adult attachment to help me distinguish between right and wrong?” Pierson explained. Also on Friday, expert high-risk youth counselor and psychologist Dr. Adolph Brown walked on stage wearing hip-hop gear, right down to the sagging pants and backward baseball cap. He wanted positive, adult attention, he explained. He wanted someone to ask him to pull his pants up, to carry himself with respect, to be the man he could be. Brown said he didn’t get much of that growing up poor in a single-parent household, but he escaped poverty and the threat of academic failure to become an advocate for at-risk children. Underneath the apparel reflective of today’s street fashion, he wore a suit. He peeled back the “child in need” and revealed a well-educated family man. “Young people need us today,” Brown told the attendees. “You have a mission with no finish line. We can teach anyone anything once we get their attention. Relationships yield results.” Brown put himself on display, and he said, “You didn’t give up on me. Someone
AASB Immediate Past President Tommy McDaniel received special recognition for his service to the children of Alabama. Rep. Richard Lindsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Fund Committee, made the presentation.
told me, ‘You don’t have to go all the way to the top, but just meet me halfway.’” When at-risk students are hurting, Brown said, it behooves educators to notice. Some kids, he said, don’t even get the benefit of a handshake, high-five and hug in their lives. They have no positive relationships. It’s time, he said, to renew parent-teacher partnerships and to seek to leave no child behind. “Young people are grieving with behavior,” Brown said. “You’d better communicate with them. We’d better get these kids’ attention. What goes in comes out. Let’s get back to relationships. Strong schools, strong students ... not without strong families.” A highlight on Saturday was Vollmer’s take on improving education employees’ morale and building public support. Once a critic of public education, the attorney and businessman now advocates substantive reform that engages the country in the effort to strengthen schools. He, too, talked about strengthening a key relationship. “There has been a horrible erosion of the public trust ... the media, families have changed, anti-government movements, anti-tax groups,” Vollmer said. “You have to do a better job of telling your neighbor about the challenges your school districts
face. We have to do a better job of getting beyond the schoolhouse walls.” Vollmer said he once thought America’s schools needed to only run like businesses to improve. That was until he realized that schools “have no control over the quality of the raw materials. You take the kids who are sent to you. I’m pretty sure parents don’t keep their good kids at home.” Vollmer outlined the four major building blocks in the world of education, which are curriculum, instruction, assessment and the school calendar. Schools fail, he said, because they are attempting to be all things to all people, and some students are doomed for failure simply because they don’t learn at the rate dictated by the academic calendar. Americans, he said, resist change and want schools reminiscent of those they attended as youth. “Your schools are powerfully flawed. Don’t take this personally. The blueprint was actually laid down by Thomas Jefferson in 1781 ... to ‘separate the genius from the rubbish’ ... to select and sort children. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a system that leaves children behind. It has got to change. We can’t do this alone. We’re going to need the help of the community,” Vollmer said. (Continued on page 23) Alabama School Boards • December 2005 21
Face to Face.. Continued from page 10 ■ Lindsey: That’s going to be a tough
January 2006 10
Legislature Convenes in Regular Session
February 2006 5-7
NSBA Federal Relations Network Conference Washington, DC
March 2006 3
Leadership II(C) Workshop Birmingham
Leadership for Policy and Planning: AASB Academy Conference Birmingham
one. I certainly think that it is an issue that will get very serious debate in the Legislature this year. Having appraisals every four years causes taxes to go up in larger increments. If you do it every year in smaller increments, people are better able to adapt to it and adjust to it. So, I think there are certainly advantages to annual appraisals. I don’t think people fully understand this issue. Having a small raise every year versus having a big raise every four years ... really makes it an amount much easier to swallow. I think people are thinking, ‘They’re not going to go up on my taxes but one time, and every four years they’ll make it a lesser amount.’ So that’s going to be the big challenge, helping everyone understand what this issue is about and how it can be helpful to them as taxpayers rather than harmful to them.
▲ McDaniel: In 10 years, where would
8-11 NSBA Annual Conference and Exposition Chicago, IL
you like to see the education system? Along the same lines, where would you like to see the state of Alabama in 10 years? ■ Lindsey: I think over the next 10 years, we certainly would want to see our tax system revamped and revised so that it does not tax poor people at a higher amount than it does the wealthy. If we structure our taxes properly, we can all pay our fair share and adequately fund both education and the general fund without placing an undue burden on anyone. Right now, what’s happening is we’re giving too much away on the high end.
April 27-May 18 AASB District Meetings
July 2006 9-12 SSA Summer Conference Point Clear, AL 2326
NSBA/Southern Region 2006 Conference SanDestin, FL
December 2006 7-9
AASB State Convention Wynfrey Hotel Birmingham
22 Alabama School Boards • December 2005
▲ McDaniel: What other obstacles face
education today? ■ Lindsey: You’d like to think of education and business working together as a partnership because education is so important to having good businesses locate in the state. Now, as you consider the businesses thinking about
locating here, there are very few looking for common labor. They’re all looking for people who are well trained in the various expertise required. So, that requires a good education system. We should be looking for ways to work together to form partnerships that will provide a good work force for business and provide a good education for our citizens. The obstacle there is that we must see the need of working together rather than working at opposing ends. ▲ McDaniel: With the 2006 legislative
session right around the corner, what do you think will be some of the hot issues that will come to the forefront very quickly? ■ Lindsey: Of course, as always, the budget will be a hot topic because there will be some additional revenue this year. There will be some efforts by various groups to get a share larger than they deserve, so that certainly will be a controversial point. I think the reappraisals we just talked about are going to be controversial. ▲ McDaniel: One of the big issues fac-
ing AASB and other groups in the state is when we have the general election in 2006 with the 10 mill constitutional amendment being on the ballot. What do you think AASB’s role should be in getting this act approved by voters? ■ Lindsey: It’s going to be important for AASB to provide the boards with adequate information to inform the voters in their districts of how important this legislation is to the state. They need to convey the message that this is a fairness issue and one of equality among districts, so voters know they need to vote ‘yes’ so that everyone is on a level playing field. ▲ McDaniel: Do you have a message
that you’d like to share with AASB? ■ Lindsey: An important message is that you don’t underestimate yourselves. This is an important organization. It’s a strong organization. ▲ McDaniel: We appreciate your time. ■ Lindsey: Thank you. ▲
Potpourri PEOPLE ▲ Welcome to Dr. Beverly McAnulty.
The Andalusia Board of Education chose McAnulty to replace the retiring Pete Kelly as superintendent of Andalusia city schools. She starts Jan. 17. McAnulty was most recently a principal in Virginia. She returns to Alabama, where she previously served in Dothan city schools. ▲ Welcome goes to Bill Valentine, who begins work Jan. 1 as superintendent of Lauderdale County schools. He replaces Jerry Fulmer, who is retiring. Valentine has more than 30 years in education in Lauderdale County schools. ▲ Congratulations to Alba Elementary School in Bayou La Batre and Banks Elementary in Birmingham. Both were selected as one of the top schools in the country, the only two schools in Alabama to earn a spot on the national list of 52 “distinguished” schools as designated by the National Association
of State Title I Directors. Schools on the list receive Title I funds because of the number of children from low income families on their rolls. Yet, the “academically outstanding schools” rose “above obstacles of poverty with the help of the Title I program.” ▲ Way to go Chelonnda Seroyer. The Madison City teacher was chosen by Dr. Harry Wong, renowned author for educators, to be in his next video series, which will be viewed internationally. ▲ What a gesture! The Franklin County Board of Education dedicated the Jimmy R. Clements Community House in honor of the Belgreen principal who served in the position from 1959 to 1973. Clements, who also previously served as superintendent, died in 1998. ▲ Hooray for the state finalists in the 2005 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation’s highest honor for K-12 teaching in these fields. The
Strong Relationships... Continued from page 21
Vollmer said he doesn’t know what the exact solutions are. He only knows that it’s time for a national conversation. “Nobody is better positioned than you, who stand in the gaps and represent the community, to begin this conversation ... to get permission to do things differently, so in fact we leave no child behind,” Vollmer said. The convention also featured a series of recurring clinic sessions on Dec. 9 that addressed everything from understanding and using test data and selecting a superintendent to dealing with school bullies and partnering with parents. “The demands of school board service are constantly evolving, which is why AASB’s convention has traditionally been an opportunity to stay abreast of the issues and to keep pace with change,” said AASB Executive Director Dr. Sandra Sims-deGraffenried. “Success isn’t a red light. We must continue to strengthen our schools, build on our successes of our school systems and find new ways to better provide students the first-rate education they deserve.” Also during the convention, outgoing President Tommy McDaniel received special recognition for his service to the children of Alabama as president of AASB and the Cherokee County Board of Education. Rep. Richard Lindsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Fund Committee, presented the framed House and Senate resolution commending McDaniel’s service. It was an emotional moment for McDaniel, who said he considers his public service to be both an honor and privilege. ▲
honorees are Philip Holley of Mountain Brook Junior High in Mountain Brook, Mary Hand of Liberty Middle High School in Madison; Mark Jones of J.F. Drake Middle School in Auburn; Cinda Preuit of Speake School in Danville and Karen Watts of Douglas High School in Douglas. They are among 253 finalists, and the 2005 winners will be announced in March. ▲ Sympathies to the family of Phenix City schools Assistant Superintendent Jeff Adams, who died just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Central High School’s new interim principal, David Wilson, had been handling some of Adams’ duties. Wilson is director of operations and auxiliary services for Phenix City schools until he begins his interim job Jan. 2. He replaces former Central High Principal Carey East, who is now executive assistant for administration services for the school system. ▲
HELP! Must board members publicly present their individual evaluations of superintendents?
No. The new Open Meetings Law does not change superintendent evaluation procedures. With few exceptions, superintendent evaluation had to be done in public under the old Sunshine Law, as well. The superintendent evaluation process calls for each board member to complete an instrument that is tallied, and the composite is given to the superintendent and discussed in a public work session. A 1996 attorney general's opinion notes that individual board members' rating sheets are not public record. Board members can volunteer the information, if they wish. Some do. Only the composite is public record. — Denise L. Berkhalter
Alabama School Boards • December 2005 23
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Legislative Preview: Elections to Follow 2006 Legislative Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Strong Relationships Yield Strong Sch...