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Parents signing contracts for summer school effort

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Heritage produces video to encourage students

By Todd Martin

Shelby County Public Schools Superintendent James Neihof said preparations for summer school have been taking up a lot of time.

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He told the school board at its meeting Thursday that principals have been dealing face-to-face with families to achieve signed contracts with parents for summer school participation.

"We have parents sign contracts in one-on-one meetings that mandate the student will be at summer school every day and that they will read at least one hour every night with them, and, in turn, we guarantee one grade level improvement in their child's reading level based on MAP assessments," Neihof said. "This takes a lot of principal time."

Although testing is not quite finished, Neihof said the numbers for summer school should be around 150 for seventh and ninth grades and about 250 for first, third and fifth grades.

He also expects to have a report this summer that will layout the difference between students that qualified for and attended summer school last year, compared to the yearly progress of the students that qualified for and did not attend.

Neihof also reminded the board that the tentative budget will be on the agenda for the May 27 meeting.

"This is the second phase of the budget, and of the big questions I can give a few answers," he said. "Is it balanced? Yes. Is there a salary increase included? No, however I do believe a discussion for raises I merited. As we discuss the budget, we will present options of ways that we can offer salary increases."

Host school presentation

Simpsonville Elementary fifth-grade teachers Philip Wakeman and Sloane Barnett had students recite monologues of famous people in history. The production is part of the school's Wax Museum to learn about historical figures and work on transitive writing pieces.

Shelby Hogan and Miranda Rein both spoke as Amelia Earhart, regaling the crowd with Earhart's final transmission and the fact that she was bitten by the flying bug at an air show with her father in 1920.

Dollee Porter told the tale of Maria Tallchief, the first American and Native American prima ballerina.

And Kamden Weathers represented Robert Baden-Powell, considered the father of scouting.

Rifle team honored

The Shelby County High School JROTC rifle team was honored for winning the national championship. The team, consisting of Keri Marlin, Brandon Thompson, Heather Kirby and Connor Davis, set a new national JROTC mark on the way to the title. Davis also won the individual national championship, and SCHS Athletics Director Sally Zimmerman showed the board the banner that will hang in the school's gym with Davis' name and national title.

Heritage video

Heritage Elementary presented one of four videos made by students that highlighted the school's motto of Effort Creates Success, and incorporated that with the school's efforts to help students be college and career ready at an early age. The video was put together by brothers Calob (a Heritage second-grader) and Matthew Wolfe (an SCHS sophomore) and Heritage Family Resource Center Coordinator Nathan McBroom. The video showed Calob learning that Effort Creates Success at Heritage and using it as he grows older (into Matthew at SCHS) and then into a doctor.

"The project really just started as a way to encourage the kids and give them something they can hear, see and believe in and it turned in to something really great with the hard work of Calob and Matthew," McBroom said.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Board chair Sam Hinkle asked for future reports on how the foreign language program at Southside was doing and how the high schools were making an effort to keep the final weeks of senior studies rigorous.
  • Recognized What Outstanding Work award winners Jennifer Ruckriegel and Amber Mason, guidance counselor and teacher from Southside Elementary; Amanda McClain, instructional assistant and bus monitor from Simpsonville Elementary; and Keno Turner, custodial supervisor from SCHS.
  • Approved applying for the COPS Secure Our Schools grant.
  • Declared a positive first reading of board polices revisions and review of administrative procedures.