Schools get fall break with new calendar

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The 2004-05 calendar for Shelby County Schools now includes a fall break.

Still, the action may not be a step toward a systemwide year-round school.

While the Shelby County Board of Education recently approved a school calendar with a break Oct. 11-15 in addition to the traditional spring break March 21-25, both board president Dr. Lee Doebler and school superintendent Evan Major said they are not in favor of a systemwide year-round school.

The vote to approve the calendar with the fall break was unanimous in the absence of board member Steve Martin at the board’s April 15 meeting.

According to an on-line survey taken by the school board, as of April 14, 1,759 people responded with 1,391 in favor and 368 opposed to the fall break proposition.

That means 79.1 percent of respondents were in favor of the fall break calendar with 20.9 precent opposed. Included in that

total, 583 parents voted for the new calendar with the fall break while 206 were opposed.

Dale Goode, a resident of unincorporated Shelby County with sons attending Shelby County Schools, told the school board, however, &uot;I’m not sure it

(a fall break) is in the best interest of the school kids.&uot;

He also questioned the way the on-line vote was set up.

Goode said the fall break calendar was similar to that of Vincent’s which has year-round school. He said he was not in favor of that and asked the opinion of board members.

Doebler said he was opposed to a year-round calendar for the entire system.

And Major said he will appoint a task force to look into &uot;one calendar for Shelby County Schools&uot; for next year.

&uot;I will not recommend a calendar like we have in Vincent for the entire school system,&uot; Major said.

In another matter, the board approved Resia Thornton as assistant principal at Valley Elementary School.

She served as interim principal for Inverness Elementary School and has more than six years experience in public education. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Montevallo where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a middle school endorsement in language arts.

She obtained her master’s degree in education administration and reading from the University of Montevallo and earned her Class AA certification in elementary education from Auburn University in 2003. She is presently engaged in the final phase of doctoral study in reading education.

The board also approved Linda Chesler as principal for Calera Elementary.

She has more than 18 years experience in public education with the last five years as an assistant principal.

Chesler previously served as assistant principal at Helena Intermediate School. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration from Louisiana State University. She also received certification in gifted education and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In a related matter, the school board approved transfers for teachers from Chelsea Elementary to Mt. Laurel:

The transfer include: Lindsay Elliott and Ellen Wolchok in special education; Tracy Evans, counselor; Christie Martin, physical education; Amy Bryant, Elizabeth Johnson and Allison Nesmith in kindergarten; Carla Kelly, split K/1; Denise Scroggins, Joy Brill and Haley Watts,

first grade;

Nicole Chambliss, Ramona Martin and Joy Watts, second grade; Dana Seal, split 2/3; Judith Metheny, third grade; Elizabeth Ansley and Cheryl Ward, fourth grade; and Rex Brown and Barbara Snead, fifth grade.

The board also approved a proposal for a pilot mentor program for new teachers.

According to the proposal, mentor employees will be paid a stipend of $500 per year at the end of the school year; each mentor coach will be paid on a contract services basis at a rate of $300 per full day; and mentor coordinators will be paid a $500 stipend as a base for 1-10 teachers plus an additional $100 based on additional new teachers in groups of 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 and 51-plus.

According to the proposal, the success of the program and the availability of more grant money has allowed the state to expand the pilot program and offer it to Shelby County schools.

A mentors

coordinator will work with principals to match mentors with new teachers according to similar grade levels and content area; plan local PD for new teachers; assist the mentors and mentee in problem solving as needed; and be responsible for paperwork related to new teachers.

Mentors will work with new teachers on a personal, professional and instructional issues; visit new teachers’ classroom and give feedback; assist with lesson planning, classroom management, parent conferencing, use of gradebook and other topics as needed; assistant the coordinator with planning PD for new teachers; meet each nine weeks with coordinator for troubleshooting and check-in; met with mentee weekly or biweekly; keep track of meeting with mentees through calendar, agenda, notes of discussion;

turn in calendar of meeting with mentee to mentor coordinator month; and present the calendar to the school for board approval in April