Roanoke City School System was ranked fifth amongst all school systems in Alabama for the highest graduation rate and College and Career Ready (CCR) percentages.

Roanoke City Schools board members learned of these statistics during the meeting on Tuesday evening of last week.

Roanoke City School System has a 96.5 percent graduation rate and classifies 96.5 percent of their seniors as college and career ready.

Numbers to know for comparison are that the state average graduation rate is 90 percent, and the average CCR percentage is 75 percent. That means Roanoke City Schools are ranking above average in both areas.

Ranking above Roanoke City Schools are Satsuma City with a 96.3 percent graduation rate and 97.2 percent CCR, Coffee County with a 95.1 percent graduation rate and 97.6 percent CCR, Mountain Brook City with a 97.5 percent graduation rate and a 97.8 percent CCR, and the No. 1 school system being Piedmont City Schools with a graduation rate of 98.8 percent and a 100 percent CCR rating.

Board honored

Roanoke City School Board received the Alabama Association of School Boards (AASD) Presidents' Award at the fall district meeting on Sept. 19 in Montgomery. This award was given to the school boards in District 4 "who have shown a true commitment to leadership development." The AASB congratulated the recipients who, "as a team, committed to improving their boardmanship skills during the 2018-2019 Academy Year. Along with Roanoke City Schools were Bullock County, Elmore County, Macon County and Phenix City. The award was presented to these districts that have had, "60 percent or more of their members to attend at least three AASB conferences and all of their members to meet the state-mandated training requirements for the year ending June 30, 2019."

Personnel

The personnel recommendations were also approved. The recommendations are as follows:

¥ Family and medical leave for Wanda Cummings from Sept 3 through Oct. 16. This leave date may vary according to medical necessity.

¥ Mentor teachers attending new teacher orientation on July 25 will be paid a stipend of $50. Mentor teachers in attendance are Leslie Seiffert, Mandi Greer and Donya Beam.

¥ Contracting with Champion, Partners in Rehab to provide physical therapy/occupational therapy as required by student individual education plans (IEP). This contract will be effective beginning Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020. Champion, Partners in Rehab will receive a fee of $85 per hour for physical therapy and $85 per hour for occupational therapy. Funding will be paid through IDEA-B, IDEA-Preschool (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and the general fund.

¥ Contracting with Jimmy McCain to provide testing and evaluation as required by student IEP and state regulations. The amount of this contract will not exceed $15,000 and will be paid through IDEA-B and the general fund. The period of the contract will be from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020.

¥ Contracting with A.C. Consultant and Counseling Service to provide consulting and counseling services to students within the district. A.C. Consultant and Counseling Service will receive a fee of $150 per hour for group counseling and $80 per hour for individual counseling and $50 per hour for consultations. The amount of this contract will not exceed $4,000 and will be paid from At-Risk, IDEA-B and general funds. The period of the contract will be from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020.

¥ Continuing to contract with Gerald Romine beginning Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, to work at the rate of $150 per day as needed on facility projects and/or maintenance items throughout the system. Romine will assist in implementing the 2019-20 Capital Plan and assist as needed with facility/maintenance issues throughout the system. Funding will be from the general fund.

¥ Contracting with Jason Ussery to provide assistance with art instruction at Handley High School and Handley Middle School retroactive beginning Aug. 6 through May 21, 2020. The amount of the contract will not exceed $1,200 per month. The funding source for this contract will be general fund.

¥ Morgan Whaley to be added to the substitute list.

Superintendent's report

Marcum spoke highly of HHS senior Tameyra Drake, who represented HHS and other Alabama teens on the student advisory board for the Alabama Bicentennial. Marcum applauds Drake stating, "I know she did a great job representing us in Montgomery."

Handley Middle School has been awarded a $938 grant from the ALSDE to assist with the robotics programs. Marcum commends Donna Neighbors for securing this grant and says he looks forward to an outstanding year with their robotics program at HMS.

Marcum was involved in many fun activities this month. Earlier in the month he joined RCS Board Vice President Steve Burns, Coach Jody Pike and some students from Handley High School as they robbed beehives. This past week, he observed students work with Mr. Burns, Sabra Burns and Coach Pike as they processed the honey. Marcum reports that this was his first time being a part of this process and he had a great time. Marcum states, "It was educational to watch them all collect, process and bottle the honey at the OEC (outdoor education center). I am very impressed with the work that Coach Pike is doing at the OEC. RCS is blessed to have someone like master beekeeper Steve Burns (to work with our bees. I also want to thank Sgt. Jamie Broome for designing the label that we will put on the honey jars this year."

The first RCS System-Wide Leadership Team meeting for the 2019-2020 school year was held Sept. 11. The leadership team consists of principals, assistant principals, counselors and central office administrators within RCS. Marcum revealed that the meeting focused on their "takeaways" from the book Fish. The four principles are Choose Your Attitude, Play, Make Their Day and Be There. Marcum says they had a great discussion.

A visiting team from Elmore County High School came to the OEC on Tuesday because they recently acquired some property and has plans to build an outdoor classroom at their school. Marcum says that we have had approximately 40 systems from across the state visit the OEC during the past three years.

Marcum expressed his gratitude for homecoming participation. He said, "I want to thank everyone who helped to make our 2019 homecoming a success. All three schools participated in activities during the week, the floats were outstanding, the parade was great, and my favorite part was our Handley Tigers defeating Childersburg 43-6 to improve to a 3-1 on the season and a 2-0 in the region. No doubt that homecoming is a special time in Roanoke!"

Marcum has served as a member of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Superintendent Advisory Committee for the past five years. The committee met last Thursday at the AHSAA office in Montgomery and held a meeting covering several topics dealing with high school athletics. Marcum says it is an honor to serve on this committee.

Marcum states, "The Alabama Teacher Shortage Task Force that I have been honored to chair this year met on Sept. 18 in Montgomery. I am pleased to report that we accomplished our mission, which was to create a document to give to Dr. Eric Mackey. This document included recommendations on how to increase the quantity and quality of teacher applicants in our state. Dr. Mackey will decide which recommendations to accept and pursue. We agreed to not release the document until Dr. Mackey completes his review. I look forward to sharing the document with RCS employees and getting feedback once this review is complete."

Marcum thanked Matt Knight for volunteering his services to have the remainder of the special education department trained in CPR during their half day of professional development on Sept. 16. Knight commented, "Great class; the best one I have done in a while." Marcum says he appreciates their special education staff realizing the importance of knowing how to do CPR.

Marcum reports that they are busy making preparations for state compliance monitoring that will take place on Nov. 12-14. This process takes place every three years. "We all need to work together to make this monitoring visit a success. I want to thank Dr. Kim Herndon for taking the lead in making sure we are prepared for this review," stated Marcum.

HMS eighth-grader Blake Gray spoke recently to Roanoke Rotary Club about his work in raising funds for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. He has more than 70 chickens and sells their eggs as part of his fundraising efforts. Marcum made the remark that, "He is an amazing young man."

Other business

The board of education had an AASB whole board training session Sept. 24. The training was with Dana Vandiver and was titled Social Media Pitfalls, Potholes and Pointers.

The remaining board meetings for 2019 are as follows: Oct. 22 at Handley High School, Nov. 19 at Handley Middle School and Dec. 17 at Knight-Enloe Elementary School. The meetings will all start at 6:30 p.m.

The goals and objectives for the 2019-2020 school year were approved, as well as Roanoke City Schools' family and parent engagement plan for 2019-2020.

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