SCS Showcase highlights student work, accomplishments

ALABASTER – The work and accomplishments of the thousands of students in the Shelby County School system was on display at the Showcase of Schools on Friday, May 3, at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center.

“Today, you get to see the best of what we do,” Superintendent Lewis Brooks said.

Brooks noted the system’s 95-percent graduation rate, which is well above the state average of 89 percent.

Other recent recognitions include Oak Mountain High School’s Hayden Belisle being named state Elementary Counselor of the Year, Chelsea Park Elementary School’s Vickey Bailey being named District Teacher of the Year and Montevallo High School being recognized for an increase in ACT scores.

Vincent Middle High School’s JROTC presented the colors before Kendal Williams of the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation welcomed those in attendance at the event, which was sponsored by Regions Bank.

The Montevallo (Elementary) Dance Crew and Oak Mountain Middle School Show Choir also performed before attendees broke off to various classrooms at the SCISC for the Student Interactive Showcase.

Eight different rooms at the facility were devoted to various areas of study, with students and teachers from schools across the system presenting projects and lessons they have learned.

In the English Language Arts room, Elvin Hill Elementary third grader Brayden Hutton could be seen on a video presentation he produced as part of a county-wide Imagination Book Festival.

Hutton researched his subject, wrote his own script and won first place in the competition, which included students in grades 3-5, teacher Jennifer Milstead said.

“It’s really student-driven,” Milstead said. “As a coach, I just point them in the right direction.”

Down the hall in the math room, kindergarteners Avery Akers and Jace Garner were demonstrating their understanding of the Base-Ten Number System through Counting Collections lessons.

Math coach/interventionist Barbara Reese said Counting Collections is offered across the district at least once a week.

“We cover every counting and number standard through Counting Collections,” Reese said.

Oak Mountain High School 10th grader Michael Baird won first place in the state Skills USA Competition, and demonstrated his knowledge of plumbing at the Showcase.

Though still in his first year in the plumbing program at the Career Educational Technical Center, Baird will work with a plumbing company over the summer to gain experience.

“We’ve learned pretty much everything we need to know about it,” he said.

Next door in the STEAM room, fifth grader Logan Samuels and teacher Allison Hobbs from Wilsonville Elementary School were demonstrating how young students can learn computer coding using Ozobots, devices for which Hobbs helped the school secure a grant.

“They’re great to start coding with because they’re color-coded,” Hobbs said about the Ozobots, which are about the size of a golf ball and perform simple commands such as traveling in various directions and spinning around. “This is preparing them for real, actual coding.”