Tag: Jefferson County schools
Jefferson County Schools will begin accepting students back onto campuses in just more than a week.
Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin announced on Facebook Thursday that the system would resume traditional learning starting Sept. 21. Grades will have staggered starts on the in-person learning. Students will go to class two days a week at first. Wednesdays will be set aside for remote learning for children and cleaning schools for staff. After two weeks, they will transition to five days a week on campus.
Students who want to may continue with virtual learning. Read more.
UPDATED — The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Tuesday to begin the 2020-2021 school year Sept. 1 with nine weeks of online education only and no option for traditional classroom learning, as educators and parents continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
The recommendation came from Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin after weeks of town hall meetings with parents, faculty, staff and other stakeholders, as well as an online survey in which Gonsoulin said 80% of JefCoEd families responded. In that survey, 56% were in favor of online learning, and 44% wanted traditional face-to-face classroom learning.
The board approved the recommendation by a 4-1 vote in Tuesday’s online meeting.
Gonsoulin in a later press conference said that some student athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, as have some faculty and staff members, as the schools gear up to reopen. He said no employees will be furloughed because of the return to virtual learning. Read more.
In 1971, when the U.S. District Court first ruled that Jefferson County Schools were segregated and required the court’s supervision to integrate, most of the people who would be directly affected had not yet been born — in numerous cases, their parents hadn’t born yet, either.
But that era might be coming to an end at long last, though that end may still be three or four years away.
JefCoEd is scheduled to file a motion with District Judge Madeline Haikala that seeks to amend an order handed down in Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education, the landmark case that found the county system operated separate schools for white and African American students. The motion to amend comes after lengthy negotiations with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which originally filed the lawsuit in 1965, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Read more.
Raisa Eady never saw it coming — which was by design.
The biology teacher at Pinson Valley High School knew something big was happening when officials from the Alabama State Department of Education, Jefferson County Schools, local governments and the Milken Family Foundation showed up for an assembly in the school auditorium. Some teacher was about to receive a big award.
But when her name was announced as the winner of the Milken Educator Award, she sat in disbelief.
“When it (the announcement) happened, everyone looked around and I said, ‘Oh, it is me?’ They said yes and I said, ‘No way!’” Eady told reporters afterward. “I’m so honored and overwhelmed today. I definitely had no idea this was happening. … I have not even grasped what’s happened yet. I feel extremely blessed, grateful — and overwhelmed.”
She did have a literal grasp on a big check, though. The award, given by the Milken Family Foundation, comes with a prize of $25,000, and no restrictions on how it may be used. Read more.
Three weeks after telling a friend on social media that she was “having a great time” in her job, Michelle Rodrigues has been fired from her post as the head of human resources for Jefferson County.
“Michelle Rodrigues is no longer working for the county,” county manager Tony Petelos told BirminghamWatch. “On personnel matters, I can’t comment on that. All I can say is she’s no longer working here.”
Rodrigues declined a request for comment from BirminghamWatch.
Rodrigues is the second top manager the county has lost in a week. Armika Berkley resigned from her position as executive director of Cooper Green Mercy Health System.
Petelos squelched thoughts that the actions might be related. “No, it had nothing to do with that,” he said. “Michelle has absolutely nothing to do with Armika leaving or her contract.” Read more.
With State Supt. Michael Sentance having stepped down Wednesday after a contentious year at the helm of the state school system, the man whom Sentence originally beat out for the job is, by his own admission, playing his plans close to the vest.
Jefferson County Schools Supt. Craig Pouncey told reporters Thursday that he would not commit to seeking the state’s top education position for a third time, but he wouldn’t exactly rule it out, either. Read more.
Don’t be surprised if school board presidents and superintendents attending a luncheon with the Jefferson County Commission skip the cake or pie that follows their main course.
They’ll have a much bigger treat awaiting them.
While meeting in committee this morning, commissioners authorized the county manager to distribute the remaining unspent proceeds from the education sales and use tax, an amount totaling $69 million. Read more.
A federal judge has denied a request by Jefferson County Schools to change attendance zones for Gardendale and Snow Rogers elementary schools.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala ruled against the request in a hearing Thursday morning. JefCoEd officials wanted to shift the boundaries between the two schools’ zones to move students away from Gardendale Elementary — which has suffered from crowding in recent years — and send them to Snow Rogers Elementary, which has available space.
Earlier this year, Haikala ruled that the two elementary schools could be put under the control of the new Gardendale Board of Education, as part of the city’s long-running effort to break away from JefCoEd and form its own municipal system. That decision has been appealed. Read more.
The City of Gardendale has tried for more than three years to break away from the Jefferson County Schools to form its own municipal system. The county system has tried equally hard to keep that from happening.
On Monday, a federal judge gave each side some of what they wanted, but maybe not enough to satisfy either.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala ruled that the Gardendale City Schools – a system that has existed as only a legal entity for three years, without any schools to operate – may take over Snow Rogers and Gardendale Elementary schools for the 2017-2018 academic year. But Gardendale High and Bragg Middle schools will stay in the Jefferson County system, for at least the next year “and until this Court orders otherwise,” in the judge’s words. Read more.