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Legislature-mandated calendar leaves narrow options for board

Published 7:28pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Calendar, curricula and commendation were top items at Madison Board of Education’s meeting on Jan. 29.

The committee reviewing the 2013-2014 school calendar recommended the version forfeiting Jan. 3 from winter break. “Consensus is that we don’t like the constraints” on the calendar as mandated by the Alabama legislature, director of student services Dennis James said.

Other options for the ‘lost’ holiday were Labor Day, Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. “The committee said whichever day we chose someone will be upset, and we’ll have absenteeism on that day,” James said.

“What’s the good news?” Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler asked. “Sen. Bill Holtzclaw is working on a way for us to opt out of this” calendar mandate, James said.

Elementary instruction coordinator Judy Warmath discussed the district’s compliance with common core and Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards. “The emphasis is to broaden education for grades K-12 to prepare for the workforce and allow students compete globally” by reaching “consistent benchmarks for English, science and math,” Warmath said.

Currently, Madison teachers are training to implement math standards and will start English standards next week. “Standards go deeper for students to be analytical and critical thinkers,” Warmath said. Board member Connie Spears pointed out that students “aren’t just memorizing facts. They have to ‘own’ their learning.”

The board approved a licensing agreement with Pel Industries Inc. for logo merchandise after stipulating compliance with the Alabama immigration law.

Anthony Graham reported on Ready yoUrself For the Future (RUFF), a leadership program for boys to increase academic success and self esteem. “In two years, we’ve had 450 young men to go through the program,” Graham said. “We want to start a nationwide initiative called ‘Be UnCommon.’” Graham teaches math at Discovery Middle School.

To recognize January as School Board Appreciation Month, Dr. Lydia Davenport, principal at Heritage Elementary School, represented district principals and staff by giving cupcakes to each board member.

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