The Current - March 2023

Page 1

Orange Beach City Schools


Research by Dell Technologies predicts that 85% of the jobs of 2030 have yet to be created. So how do you teach about the unknown - things that do not exist yet? Try as we will, we must “teach students to learn how to learn,” as learning is a perpetual process regardless of career choice. Next school year, Orange Beach City Schools (OBCS) will add a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) offering via a brand new $200,000 laboratory to all seventh graders and make health occupations courses available to all high school students. STEM occupations are expected to grow nearly 10% by 2028, and jobs in the health field are the highest-paying, highest demand jobs in today’s work environment

Beginning this month, OBCS will host hour-long grade-level meetings for rising seventh through eleventh graders and parents in the Performing Arts Center In addition to STEM and Career and Technical Education courses, we will discuss various topics regarding the 2023-2024 school year Those topics will include but are not limited to, the following:

Orange Beach City Schools vision, mission, and priorities

New (proposed) board policies regarding attendance, course acceleration, nonresidents, class rank, valedictorian, salutatorian, top 10%, credit recovery, and grade recovery

General information - Start and end times, zero period

Core offerings - Honor and standard pathway comparis

Elective offerings - Foreign Languages, Career and ep, education learning opportunities (ELOs), arts, athletics

Mock schedules


Community service hours

Dual enrollment courses

Graduation requirements (i e , credits, Civics Exam, FAF

Assessments - ACAP, PSAT, ACT


Co and extracurricular activities

College bound timeline (rising juniors and seniors)

Determining the right diploma option, choosing the c , g the expectations for the upcoming school year are essential to your child’s career and life success. Join us, please, in our efforts to “future-proof” our students!

M A R C H 2 0 2 3 | I S S U E N O . 5
Randy Wilkes, Superintendent

Welcome Ms. Karen Atkins

I'm thrilled to be joining Mako Nation! I am entering my twenty ninth year in education. I played softball for two years at a small junior college. I went on to UAB and received my Bachelor’s of Science in Health, and Physical Education. I also earned my Master’s and ED.S in Educational Leadership.

I am very excited to serve as the Assistant Principal at Orange Beach High School. I feel that I will be a great support to Mr. Lee and the staff. I am not far removed from the classroom, so I can relate to what teachers actually go through trying to balance a family, and a busy, demanding career. I have always been very student-focused and understand that all students have different needs and learning styles. It is my hope that through collaboration with the administrators, teachers, staff, community members, and all stakeholders that together we can embellish and enhance the great things going on in Orange Beach City Schools.

I began my coaching career as a part-time teacher and coach at Carbon Hill High School in 1992 and led our volleyball team to a 69-10 record, finishing 3rd in the state in my first year as Head Coach. I then went to Dora High School, and led the team to a final four finish and the first state playoffs in the history of the school and helped the first female athlete to receive a volleyball scholarship. After a couple more successful positions, I began focusing on the importance of club volleyball and started my own club. This allowed me to work with several players from a variety of schools, which also helped many high school teams reap the benefits of well-trained athletes in their programs. While at Corner High School, I got a call from Gulf Shores High School in 2019. In four years at Gulf Shores, we accumulated a record of 143-50. While in 6-A, we were runner up for three years to Spanish Fort and made regional playoff’s all four years. This past season, we won Area, placed second in our Region, and while at state, we earned a final four finish.

I would describe myself as a foundation builder. I see the importance of a sturdy foundation which starts at an early age in athletic development. No matter what the sport, male or female, if they do not learn how to move athletically, then the foundation will have some cracks. Player development is my strong suit. I am also very passionate about coaching and developing a great relationship with all my players. All the players I have ever coached know I love them and care about them and genuinely want to have a relationship with them for a lifetime. I believe that life is about relationships.

My relationship with Jesus Christ is first and foremost. I want my players to know how to prioritize their relationships.

I have been blessed with two amazing children, or young adults I should say. Jakob is 23 and is a graduate of The University of Alabama. He is a Realtor with Signature Properties. Molly Kate is 21 and is attending The University of South Alabama. She is an education major and plans on coaching volleyball.

I am thrilled to be at Orange Beach. Together, we can build an even stronger academic foundation, bring home a blue map, and start new traditions here. I would love for the seniors to finish the legacy they began. I want them to always know that what they started here will continue.

Assistant Principal Head Volleyball Coach

The 2023 Orange Beach Seafood Festival was a resounding success! Guests from all over the country visited The Wharf for this annual event. A huge fundraiser for The MAAAC, (Makos Academics Arts Athletic Club) visitors enjoyed the car show, vendor fares, and, as always, delicious food. Beebe's Pest and Termite Control Cooking Team's crawfish always draws a huge crowd, and this year was no exception! The crawfish eating contests was a fan favorite and was so much fun! While the weather was perfect, and the crowds were happy, the true spirit of the fundraising efforts deserves recognition.The MAAAC helps to provide so many "extras" or our schools. Supporting Academics, Arts, and Athletics, this group raises funds to directly assist our students and faculty in multiple endeavors. From science lab supplies to sponsoring the Teacher of the Year Banquet, the MAAAC is ready and willing to help bridge any gap needed for our schools. But, it could not be done without the self-sacrifice and commitment of the members and volunteers. We would like to extend a very special thank-you to the entire MAAAC Board, it's membership, Ms. Jean Hogue, Mr. Ryan Beebe and his cooking team, the City of Orange Beach, Ms. Fitzgibbons, and so many others who worked tirelessly to organize and promote the festival. We would also like to thank those who attended and helped with the parking lots, parade, and clean-up. A particular thank-you to Coach Rob Morales, Mr. Burleson, and their team of coaches and faculty, many of whom

worked multiple shifts and positions along side Coach Morales from dawn to dusk to ensure a smooth event. There are so many others that deserve special thanks for this event. Inadvertently, I'm certain we are leaving someone out, but please know that we are very appreciative of all the efforts large and small of those who contributed the success of this event. Recently, the MAAAC funded the equipment for new our broadcasting class. At the festival, our students got their first glimpse into the world of live broadcast.

Seniors Houston Bryant, River Hallex, and Cate Courtney were incredible commentators and did a tremendous job! Thank you to Mr. Matt McCrary and Mrs. Channa Leighton for their support of this group for the parade. They both helped to work behind the scenes with the commentators and the tech crew to teach them more about all the steps it takes to produce a live broadcast. This is just one of the many ways that the MAAAC supports our students. Please be on the lookout for more to come from our broadcast class. Follow The Island Times on Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel to see what our communications class is learning and now broadcasting! Want to get involved? Visit for more information on how to become a sponsor, member, or volunteer.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Our kindergartners got in the Mardi Gras spirit at OBES in February! With the help of faculty, administrators, parent volunteers, the Varsity

Cheerleaders and the OBMHS

Peer Helpers, they were able to roll through the parking lot in grand style! Lead by the Elementary School Band, a great time was had by all.

VIP Self-Worth Campaign

This initiative was started by our Elementary School Counselor, Mr. Lyle Cooper. The self-worth campaign was presented by our OBES Counseling Department and Peer Helpers through morning announcements, culminating with a red carpet event at the end of the week. Throughout the week, students were educated that self-worth is the opinion you have about yourself and the value you place on yourself. All on campus were invited to discover ways to improve their self-worth by stopping comparisons to others, using positive self-talk, creating a list of strengths, placing people around who encourage and cheer for you, share feelings with a friend, teacher, counselor or Peer Helper, and doing something you love!

On February 8th, OBMHS welcomed Ms. Jayce Werner to our campus. She spoke to 7th-12th grade students about the loss of her brother to a drug addiction Jayce, who is just 19 years old, grew up in Elberta and has started the Benjamin Thomas Werner Foundation She shares her family's story and the creation of the foundation after their tragic loss to students throughout Baldwin County Ms Werner used her own story to caution, educate, and connect with our students

In her own words: The Benjamin Thomas Werner Foundation was birthed from the greatest tragedy that my family had ever faced On September 11, 2022, I lost my brother to accidental drug overdose He was just 35 years young In the days that followed, I couldn't help but think about how I never wanted another family to experience this kind of loss In honor of his memory, our mission is to Love Like Ben We are a non-profit organization dedicated to raising addiction awareness

get get get Registered Registered Registered Be sure to check our website for updates on registration and enrollment.

Isurus Graphics

Isurus Graphics is a full design and print shop operated by students on the campus of Orange Beach Middle & High School. Mr. Michael McCrady assists and teaches students about the design, print, and business processes that it takes to run the shop. Teaching our graphic/digital design classes and CTE Lab, our students are learning real-world applications and working with business leaders. In fact, they have already completed projects, such as company logos, flyers, and other marketing materials for local businesses. Not Mr. McCrady's only way to prepare students for next level careers, he is also teaching students how to professionally use Adobe In-Design and Photoshop. This year alone, 60 students earned the industrystandard credential in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, or both! These students are ready and skilled to begin working and studying in a graphic design field. Please use the link below to read more about this incredible program offered to our students in the local media.

"Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort."
Paul J. Meyer
Gulf Coast Media Article

the making of a school ca

School calendars can be tough! We are grateful for the work of our calendar committee. Comprised of teachers, parents, and administrators, this diligent group took the job seriously. Finding ways to maximize instruction and still find those needed breaks, our committee navigated the world of required number of days in class, testing calendars, a late Mardi Gras, and all the other multitude of factors that required consideration. They were able to present two options to be voted on by our faculty and staff. This collaborative effort is what makes our school system exceptional! We are thankful for the effort and thoughtful conversation that led us to the adopted calendars. So, Mako Nation, without further adieu, please find on the facing page the calendars for the next two years for Orange Beach City Schools.

2023-2025 Sch This just in:


hool Calendars

In the recent editions of The Current, I was encouraged by our school board to “crow a little louder ” There have been so many people, events, and honors in our district worthy of praise and recognition that it has truly been difficult to choose just one each month However, as I have been in the classrooms coaching and evaluating our teachers, it has quickly become apparent that our teachers and faculty are truly exceptional. Each and every day, they give their best to our students Not only are they committed to student academic success, they are also committed to student well-being and personal growth I have witnessed them at sporting events, art performances, and community events supporting and encouraging our students outside the classroom Our teachers make the difference! To that end, I want our community to know what I know about these incredible professionals Over the next few months, I am spotlighting several of our teachers in hopes that you will be able to see them as we do: invested, dedicated, and truly exceptional


Mrs. Ford reflects joy in everything she does. She does such an amazing job building relationships with her families and connecting with her students. She is usually one of the first to arrive and last to leave. She rarely misses a day. She is dedicated to her students learning and teaching them to reach for the stars. Mrs. Ford makes learning fun! Butterflies, science experiments and mystery readers are a few of my favorites! She is an absolute blessing to OBES and building a lasting legacy!

Mrs Ford has proven herself to be an outstanding teacher, highly respected by her peers and administrators, and, most importantly, LOVED by her students We are thrilled to spotlight her and brag a little about one of our best Below is a quick bio she was asked to submit:

I graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Multiple Abilities I was a member of the 1st cohort of educators that graduated with this degree I have been a teacher for 27 years Most of those years have been in a 1st grade classroom, but I have also taught 3rd grade and special education I am blessed to be eMINTS and LETRS trained Both of these have shaped who I am as an educator. I am married to my college sweetheart, Randy Ford. The Ford Family has lived in Orange Beach since the late 1970s. Randy and I have two wonderful sons that bring us great joy. Caden is a junior at OBHS and Connor is a 7th grader at OBMS. Both boys play baseball and basketball

"The best part of being a teacher is watching children get excited about learning. Seeing their eyes light up and get excited brings me great joy. I am also part of an amazing team that supports me each and every day."

Randy Wilkes, Superintendent


Mrs. Tucker is now in her 18th year of teaching. She has taught grades 6-8 in ELA, history, and science. Born and raised in Baldwin County, Mrs. Tucker is eMINTS, AMSTI, A+ trained Her undergraduate degree is in Communication Arts, and her masters degree is in Middle-Level Curriculum and Instruction. She also serves as the National Junior Honors Society Sponsor

Mrs. Tucker is devoted to her family. Her husband, Aaron, and eldest son, Chason, manage the family martial arts school Grayson (9th grade) and Tennyson (8th grade) both attend OBMHS

Highly respected by colleagues and loved by her students, Mrs. Tucker continues to set the bar for what a teacher can accomplish She teaches from bell to bell, keeping students engaged and learning Possessing a true servants heart, Mrs. Tucker always places the needs of her students first, finding ways to connect with and encourage them both on and off campus She is frequently seen at sporting and arts events to support her students. There is no doubt that she is one of our best, truly deserving of recognition!!

Watching Leah Tucker teach and run her classroom is dynamic! She uses every minute of instruction, multiple activities and avenues to deliver information, and seamlessly manages all that goes on. Furthermore, the culture and community she builds with her students in and out of the classroom is genuine, thoughtful, and intentional She is continually supporting them and cheering them on in both their academics and countless extracurriculars she attends I thoroughly enjoy being in her classroom, learning from each other, and working together!

-Instructional Coach, Mrs. Tracy Gully


Spring Meet the Makos

March 8th, 6:30PM Sportsplex

Parent Meetings

All meetings will take place on campus in the theater of the Performing Arts Center

March 15th

7th Grade: 5:30pm

March 16th

Senior Parent Meeting: 5:30pm

April 5th

9th Grade: 5:30pm

8th Grade: 7:00pm

March 22nd

11th Grade: 5:30pm

10th Grade: 7:00pm

May 3rd

6th grade: 7:00pm

"It takes a village." Throughout my life and career, I have heard this many times. However, it has never been so true until I was fortunate enough to be part Orange Beach City Schools. This village is different. We are a small community, all personally invested in ensuring "our kids" are successful. This village needs each other and helps each other. I am grateful for the incredible people in this community who personally sacrifice time, energy, and effort for our school system and our students. From our School Board, faculty, administrators, city leaders, and volunteers, I am in awe at the commitment by so many. I am grateful to have found my village, to celebrate the successes of all our students, and be a small part of the legacy that will be Orange Beach City Schools.

-Mary Courtney, Special Projects

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