Change in the making at PHS

Published 8:54 am Monday, July 28, 2014

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I have something for you tonight,” said Rebecca Burnett. My dear friend, who recently suffered the sudden passing of her mother had come out to help at registration—and I knew that she was exhausted. Selfless as always, she insisted on volunteering.

“We can do that another time,” I said. “You’ve had a long day.”

“Can’t wait,” Burnett said. Stopping at her car, she revealed a lovely, chevron-patterned, hand-painted door decoration created by Abbey Chenault Thompson. The art piece is the state of Alabama painted with the word Pelham enveloping a heart. Beneath, hangs an oval-filled with a Panther paw indication that we are PCS—Pelham City Schools. I love this gift and this concept.

Kaitlyn Gailey, a rising seventh grader who accompanied her sister, Allison Gailey, to PHS registration. (Contributed)

Kaitlyn Gailey, a rising seventh grader who accompanied her sister, Allison Gailey, to PHS registration. (Contributed)

Changing school systems is momentous and frightening. We have a new principal, a new assistant principal, a new room numbering and locker numbering system (which makes amazing sense), numerous new and shifting roles with fewer teachers attempting to meet the needs of a diverse student body.

Registration this week underscored the change. Still struggling with reposting and re-creating 14 years of Internet presence, registration forms were unavailable online; however, students and parents alike were good-natured about the minor glitch. Running registration with a small 12-month staff, most of whom haven’t been involved in the event before, along with a handful of teachers volunteering vacation time to help presented challenges.

Discovering that networked printers must now be re-networked, that previously established accounts must be re-established, that purchasing will involve a bank card with a cash back reward for the system have delivered a roller-coaster ride of change with sharp turns, never-ending climbs and rushes that that are thrilling—and sometimes confusing.

“Why isn’t INow on the payment form?” one mother asks.

“INow is provided free from Pelham Board of Education,” Marylou Russell responds.

“Who do we make checks out to for fees?” another parent asks.

“Pelham High School,” Bookkeeper Robin Glass responds. “We’re still Pelham High School.”

One constant—we’re still PHS. We’re also PCS. How will this new distinction set the system apart?

Discoveries are being made daily.