CMS quickly becoming cutting-edge school

Calera Middle School Principal Brent Copes, left, and Assistant Principal Dr. Allison Campbell, right, were presented a $1,000 donation from Vulcan Materials by plant manager Terry Cummins (Center).

In a statement to Calera chamber members, Calera Middle principal Brent Copes vowed an open door policy to the community. Copes declared the middle school has much to be proud of and the open door will be visible in the upcoming months.

Copes hosted the September chamber meeting as proof of intent.

“I am so proud of the accomplishments attained by our students and staff; it pleases me to show them off.”

In a Power Point presentation, Copes introduced new programs implemented to benefit all students. He pointed out enrollment increased from 490 in 2009 to 550 this year.

A math/ reading interventionist will work with students needing remedial help. ARMT /SAT and ThinkLink data group students according to skill deficiencies. Read Naturally and Failure-Free Reading will assist struggling readers.

Character education is a major issue in schools today. The school recently received a $1,000 donation from Vulcan Materials to be used to educate students about bullying, drug awareness, domestic violence and careers. Safe House, Choice Bus, Girls Inc., Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Campfire USA will assist with programs designed to help students make wise life and career choices.

Community involvement includes parent/teacher conferences. Parenting Day, Oct. 21, included a presentation from Bradford concerning drug abuse, Calera Police Department addressed after school safety, and Best Buy spoke about Internet safety.

Copes offered an explanation concerning the school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) failure. “Our special education subgroup did not pass AYP, but all other groups did,” Copes said. “Shelby County as a whole did not pass due to the complexity of special education.”

The Joymakers from Concord Baptist Church had lunch with students in October. Copes displayed yearbooks dating from the ’50s through the ’70s hoping to spark school day memories. They received surveys concerning volunteer opportunities.

Dr. Allison Campbell, assistant principal, is proud of the significant improvement in math skills between 2009 and 2010. Students were approximately 74 percent proficient in 2009 and now as high as 86 percent. Students are receiving instruction on math investigations and exploring new computation strategies.

“It’s not as important the method used in seeking the solution as it is to find the solution,” Campbell said. “There are several ways to solve mathematical problems. Students can use the method they best understand. Our teachers have a deep understanding of this and teach accordingly ­— we are making gains.”

Prior to the meeting, chamber members enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the cafeteria staff.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.