Roanoke Board of Education was recently honored with the 2019 School Board Member Academy President's Award presented by Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB).

This award is presented to school boards that have 60 percent or more of their members attend at least three AASB conferences (in an academic year) and in that same year, have all of their board members meet state-mandates training requirements. The award is given to school boards in Alabama for "demonstrating a commitment to excellence in education through boardmanship training."

AASB District 4 Director Mary Hooks presented the award and applauded the board for "Maintaining strong relationships with constituents and serving as dedicated ambassadors for the school setting." She continued, "Many of you are parents, grandparents and extremely involved in volunteering your time and talents, yet even with these packed schedules, you've made it a priority to be the best school board members. This is extremely important to your entire school systems."

HMS highlights

During last Tuesday's board meeting, Principal Lynn Robinson, students and teachers of Handley Middle School attended the board meeting. Robinson highlighted the wonderful things students and teachers are doing outside of school. Robinson states, "I've always tried to promote kindness with my kids, so I want to highlight some of my teachers and kids tonight."

Some of the teachers' and students' achievements are as follows: Mandy Craft, language arts teacher, holds Cutting for the Cause. This is an organization for people to donate their hair to others with cancer. Craft has been doing this for several years and has been successful. Science teacher Beth Justice started a food pantry and has a canned food drive in November.

As for the students, Blake Gray has raised money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. He began this when he was only 9. This year, he raised $1,350 to give to St. Jude and has raised $3,775 total. His name is even on a brick outside of the hospital. The Student Council at HMS is sponsoring three children for Christmas this year and has bought them gifts. Language arts teacher Denise Smith gives gifts to people who are in the military. She mails them Christmas boxes each year and said, "I don't want anyone to not have a package." KES is partnering with her and is paying for the cost of shipping this year, which was $700 last year. Student Cayden Earl helps with this as well and read a letter from a sailor who received a package. The letter expressed much gratitude from the recipients of these boxes.

Another special thing that HMS has is the Tiger Bean Coffee Cart run by students in the life skills class. They began this around Christmas last year. The Tiger Bean is run by the special education department and provides a job for special needs students. They make coffee and have other community members donate treats. Almost the whole faculty at HMS buys a coffee on Friday mornings when the Tiger Bean makes its rounds. The students load up and push the cart down the hall, greeting everyone as they go. They have even received donations, and with this money they take field trips and go shopping. There are ten students who participate in this, five at HMS and five at HHS. Special education coordinator Lynn Perry had this vision for the Tiger Bean, and to say it has been a success would be an understatement. In addition to providing coffee to the school, the students also learn how to take inventory each week, manage the money and give change out to customers. In this class, they also learn to do the dishes, sweep the floor and make the bed. This life skills class is amazing as it teaches the students daily skills.

Superintendent's report

Chuck Marcum gave many great reports of what he has experienced in Roanoke City Schools recently. Marcum met with the Superintendent Advisory Committee on Nov. 7. This meeting was dedicated to hearing principals. Marcum delivered the RCS Superintendents Annual Report. This commitment to delivering this annual report was part of the mediated agreement that helped RCS obtain unitary status. The report included information about faculty hiring and assignments, students' assignment and instruction, extracurricular activities, student discipline and graduation/dropout rates. "Our principals did a great job delivering the information. The committee members were pleased with the work being done in RCS. Special thanks to Ms. Tamara Thomas, who is the lead person for the committee. She does a great job overseeing the work," reports Marcum.

Mu Alpha Theta has decided to expand the clothes closet it has kept at HHS for the last couple of years to include basic toiletry items that students may need but do not have access to. This would include, but is not limited to, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, socks and underwear. The ultimate idea would be to have a type of "goodie-bag" put together that could be given to kids in need. Administrators and Nurse Daniel would be the primary ones to distribute items with Mu Alpha Theta doing the behind-the-scenes work. If there is anyone who would like to donate items to the clothes closet, please see Sandy Daniel at HHS.

Roanoke City Schools' mentoring program hosted its annual kickoff at Trinity Baptist Church on Oct. 30. Mentors and students from HMS and HHS enjoyed food, fun and fellowship. "This is a great program that allows students the opportunity to have a mentor and participate in college and career activities," states Marcum. The Rev. Lonnie Houston and Ken Seiffert have been with the mentoring program since the beginning. Seiffert spoke to students about the importance of being kind and presented bracelets to each student.

Handley High School students attended the Language and Fine Arts Tournament at Southern Union this past week. The following students placed and brought home a trophy: Third-Place Composition - Whitney Wright; First-Place Extemporaneous Speaking - Danah Castor; First-Place Art/Drawing -Danah Castor; Second-Place Art/Drawing - Peyton Arrington; Third-Place Language Arts Bowl - Cora Baldwin, Asia Burton, Mailey Norred, Alyssa Gosdin and Aubrey Whiddon; Second-Place Ensemble - Alayna White, Clayton Brown, Taylor Marcum, Rachel Prestridge and Austen Benefield; First-Place Poetry - Asia Burton; Third-Place Music/Voice - Jamarcus Calloway, Whitney Wright and Dakota McCard; and First-Place Drama Duet - Alayna White and Clayton Brown.

All aspects of state monitoring are now complete. After a thorough monitoring of accounting, federal programs, career tech, counseling, transcripts, student safety, educator certification, technology, special education, transportation and nursing, the state monitors administered only seven citations from their inspection of approximately 800 different items. Other than having a few teachers out of field, the other six citations are easily correctable. "I could not be more pleased with the outcome of this visit. Our successful monitoring is due to the outstanding work done daily in RCS. We put our students first, as evidenced by this monitoring visit, and we are one of the best school systems in our state. I want to thank everyone for working together these past months in preparation for our monitoring visit," stated Marcum.

The 2019 football season ended for the Handley High Tigers as they lost to Montgomery Catholic 9-6 in the second round of state playoffs last Friday night. The Tigers finished the season with a 7-5 record. "I am proud of our players, cheerleaders, band members, coaches and sponsors for the way they represented us this year. I want to thank our seniors for their contributions to the football program. We have a lot of returning players next year. The future is bright for Handley Football," exclaimed Marcum. Marcum also received an extremely heartfelt letter from the head football coach of West Blocton High School after Handley defeated them in the first round of the playoffs. The letter reads as follows:

"Dear Administrators, My name is Eric Hiott and I am the head football coach at West Blocton High School. This may seem a bit odd and it's something I've never done before. In 25 years of coaching, I have never taken the time to email a school or community after playing a football game. But I wanted to personally thank the friendly people at Handley High School, Coach Strain (and his team), and the town of Roanoke for the hospitality we received while visiting your community for the first round of the playoffs. Coach Strain went above and beyond all measures to see that we were well taken care of. He offered to feed our team after the game, was helpful in finding us a place to eat our pregame meal, and had several people greet us at the rec center to help us unload the bus and carry our supplies to the field. He was also kind enough to show me around your new facilities. I was impressed with the new field and weight room. That just proves what a small town can accomplish when everyone works together. I heard nothing but positive remarks from our fans, parents, band, cheerleaders and faculty members regarding the people in Roanoke. One fan posted on Facebook that Roanoke had the friendliest people in Alabama. Everyone that replied to her post seemed to agree. From the friendly staff at Sunny's Restaurant, the gate workers, the rec center staff, the police officers (one talked to my wife and I for nearly 15 minutes), to the fans were no doubt the most courteous people I've ever met at a high school football game. You guys are doing something right in Roanoke. By no means was I happy about getting beat, but if I have to lose a game, I'd rather lose to a humble, hardworking, classy program like Handley High School than to a team full of unappreciative, entitled, classless people. I admire the job coach Strain does with his team and truly appreciate the coaching friendship we have established over the past few years. I hope your progress and humility continues and is never taken for granted. There are many small towns in Alabama that can only wish for a school and community like yours. And I wish nothing but the best for your community and school in the future.

Sincerely, Coach Hiott-West Blocton Football."

Other business

All three schools are getting a new security system.

Felicia Cannon-Baker was approved for substitute teaching.

All Alabama Continuous Improvement Plans (ACIP's) were approved for all three city schools.

A minor change to the board policy will be voted on next week. The policy still contained the wording, 'No Child Left Behind,' but will be voted on to say, 'School Admission for Special Student Populations.' This is policy D.4a.

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