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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Boss's Day" turned into a spectacular week at Hal Henderson

Hal Henderson faculty and staff celebrated Boss's Day with our WONDERFUL principal the whole week with food and gifts. We wanted her to know how much she is appreciated for all she does each day. She received a large basketfull of goodies, a tray of fall decorations and candy corn, her favorite drink- diet Dr. Pepper, a darling school lamp with children on a bus with a large tote bag, some sweet smelling body lotions/fragrances from Mary Kay, an Auburn tray, a scrapbook for Brady, and a flower arrangement from the faculty and staff with many, many beautiful cards of gratitude. On Thursday, a brunch was held and Mrs. Laros asked sixth grade girls to watch classes briefly so that each teacher could fix a plate and celebrate with her. We had lots of good food to eat and had a great time. Thank you Mrs. Laros for being a great leader and also our friend. We love you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

K-8 Continues the Pace!

Several K-8 teachers met on October 12 at Graham Elementary School to continue the pace set by Talladega High School's math department.

The efforts of these dedicated teachers to help create pacing guides for our Saxon Math series were very appreciated. I remember how hard it is to plan on being out of the classroom. These teachers are to be commended!

So why do we need pacing guides? The guides will help to eliminate some of the cramming right before testing. Many objectives can wait until after testing because they are not covered in the state course of study. Using guides will help when students transfer from one school to another within the district. The district knows teachers cannot all stay on the same exact lesson, but this will serve as a framework to keep grades across the system together.

So what if you don't administer the ARMT and SAT 10? Even though your grade does not give the formal testing, you are setting the stage to help get them ready. Even Alabama High School Graduation Exam objectives can be found in grades below the high school level.

Math pacing guides for all k-8 teachers will help to assure that when test time arrives our students will be ready. As soon as the guides are complete, everyone will receive a copy!

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Principal's Day

The Talladega City School System has many things in which to be proud. One of them is our new Curriculum Supervisor/Special Education Director Dr. Frank Buck. An article by Buck entitled, " Flexibility is the Name of the Game" can be found in the November/December 2006 Issue of Principal, a publication by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Just an excerpt:
During my nine years as an elementary school principal, I have found the typical day to be anything but typical. I come to school each morning armed with a well-defined list of tasks to accomplish, fully realizing that one event may totally reshape my focus for the day. Flexibility is the name of the game.

Dr. Buck is to be commended for continuing to serve as an example for principals. Congratulations!

Postings for Saturday Academy

Part of our plan for use of Title I funds is a "Saturday Academy" to target students in grades 3 through 8 who are falling behind and are in need of addition help to master state standards. Funding has been set aside for four positions, each one paying $100 per Saturday morning (7:45-noon).

The plan is for the academy to meet at Salter and utilize the Plato Pathways (computer-based software) and Lightspan Adventures (educational games which run on a CD) as a central component of the program. Additional components of the curriculum would be largely up to the strengths and initiative of the individual teacgers involved.

We are planning to begin the program just prior to the Christmas holidays and then resume in January.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Zora Ellis Jr. High featured in national publication

The October issue of PTO Today features a two-page article on Zora Ellis Jr. High and the work that was done on the school during this past summer. All of us that pass the school on a day-to-day basis could not help but notice the transformation taking place. It seems a national publication heard about the project as well. Spearheaded by George and Andrea Montgomery and Wilby Wallace, the project entailed using minimum-security prisoners from the Childersburg Work Release Center. The result of their work is obvious to anyone who visits the campus.

We are trying to get some additional copies of the magazine so that we can all see the color pictures and read the full story.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Play by the Rules: Alabama Laws for Youth

A perfect book to teach teenagers about the laws of the State of Alabama.

C.L. Salter Celebrates Boss's Day

C.L. Salter Faculty celebrated Boss's Day with their new principal, Mr. Shelton Cobb. Since Mr. Cobb is an Auburn fan, everyone enjoyed a cake decorated with an Auburn theme. Mr. Cobb also received an Auburn picture to hang in his new office. His family joined in on the surprise celebration. We all agree that Mr. Cobb is an asset to our school. His leadership has proven to cultivate a positive learning environment among students as well as teachers. We appreciate all of his hard work and committment to C.L. Salter School! Thanks Mr. Cobb!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006


Whether you are a rank beginner when it comes to PowerPoint or an old pro, here is a site that is guaranteed to teach you something you did not know before.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Discovering a Career

Ellis Junior High offers a great opportunity for students to develop interests in a career through David Lipscomb's Career Discoveries Class located in the newest building on campus. Not only are there hands-on activites, but students are required to comprehend the manual and take a test to check for mastery. They work in pairs to complete the assignments and most modules allow students to produce a product at the end. For example, in Engineering Structures students create a bridge which is later tested for its strength. The class even creates signs and other products for the community.

Students are exposed to the following computer based activities: computer aided design, computer animation, computer applications, digital audio production, digital manufacturing, digital music, digital photography, electricity, engineering structures, flight simulator, graphic design, health and fitness, meteorology, plant science, research and design, rocketry and space, vinyl sign making, and digital audio production.

It is great that Ellis is able to offer fun with learning and perhaps play a part in helping students decide on a lifelong career.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Parents Read to Students!

During the month of October the faculty at C.L. Salter Elementary has asked parents to get involved by volunteering to read to students. Through this program parents can set up times to visit the classroom and read to students. This is a great way for parents to get involved. If you would like more information please contact the school at 315-5822.

Huge Turnout for Parent Visitation Day at C.L. Salter

Wednesday October 11 was a great day for C.L. Salter Elementary. Parent visitation day was held in conjunction with Alabama's Statewide Parental Visitation Month. Parents and guests packed the school cafeteria to eat lunch with our students. Parents then visited classrooms to see student work, displays, and PowerPoint presentations developed by students. We are very proud and excited about parental involvement at C.L. Salter Elementary!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Public Comments on draft of Language Arts & Driver Ed. Course of Study

Click here for information on how to give input.

Setting the Pace!

Talladega High School's math department is leading the way toward improving scores on the math portion of the graduation exam. Beth Paris, Chuck Miller, Darius Williams, and Lou Ann McCulley worked throughout the day creating pacing guides with the help of Dr. Frank Buck, Curriculum Supervisor and SDE employee, Connie Lightsey. A pacing guide will help to ensure the course of study and graduation exam objectives are taught and remediated. This effort will benefit teachers who will have the information compiled into one handy document.
Thanks for all your hard work!

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much!
Helen Keller

Virtual Frog Dissection

If you can't gain access to real frogs, needed tools, and a lab setting in which to perform a lesson on frog dissection, here is a site that allows you to do it in a virtual environment. The intended audience is high school students, but it could be used with interested students of any age.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ahead of the curve

In the next few days, the number of hits on this site is likely to top 3,000. As you read the next several posts, you will see a common theme--that of celebrating quality in our school system. Celebrating quality is one of two reasons this blog was established, with the other reason being having a 21st century tool for keeping an entire school system up-to-date on information which impacts them. This week alone, 91 different people have been here to catch up on the latest. Eleven were visiting for the very first time. While most of those visiting here are employees of our school systems, recent visitors to this site are also from Tucson, Los Angeles, and Reston (Virginia). Recent visits to TalladegaCitySchools.blogspot.com have come from Alberta (Canada), Italy, Carbondale (Illinois) in addition to a host of hits from right here in Talladega.

Blogs have been around for a few years now, and like so many other ideas, started somewhere else and then begin to work their way into education. On this one, we are ahead of the curve. Let me give you a concrete example. I received an e-mail within the last couple of days regarding an initiative to start 100 Principal Blogs in 100 Days. Posted in conjunction with the site is an ongoing list of how many principals have signed on to this project. They also have listed blogs they know of that are already being maintained by principals around the country. At the writing of this post, that list numbers 11. That averages just a little over 1 for every 5 states. One of the 11, one is a school that should look very familiar. That list can be seen here.

Taking a few minutes to snap a digital picture and write a paragraph capture a memorable moment in the life of a school and allow it to be share--very literally--half way around the world.

Congratulations to Jenni Griffin!

Congratulations to Mrs. Jenni Griffin, Media Specialist at C.L. Salter Elementary, for being awarded the prestigious Herman Moore LAMP Award of Exceptional Service. This award was presented to Mrs. Griffin for her significant contributions over an extended period of time to Alabama Libraries. This award is given by the Alabama Library Expo. Great Job Mrs. Griffin!

C.L. Salter Prepares for Parent Visitation Month

Talladega, Ala. October is Statewide Parent Visitation Month in Alabama and C.L. Salter is inviting parents and others to Children Are the Future—Share the Vision by attending a special school event on Oct. 11.

With research that shows students achieve more when parents are involved in their education, C.L. Salter will participate in the Alabama Department of Education’s Statewide Parent Visitation Month on October 11. While the event is referred to as “Parent” Month, anyone responsible for raising school-aged children is welcome to attend. The theme for the event is Children are the Future—Share the Vision.

“Parental involvement is very important to the success of our students. We have had great support from parents this year and want to continue this great relationship between the parents and the school. The event planned for October 11 is our way of saying thanks to parents, invite them for lunch and showcase the great happenings at C.L. Salter”. (Mr. Shelton Cobb, Principal of C.L. Salter)

C.L. Salter has planned special events in October as a way of informing adults of the importance of their involvement in their school-aged children’s education. October has been set aside for special activities aimed at getting parents and others to invest in their children’s education and learn more about what goes on in their children’s lives while they are at school.

C.L. Salter will join with Alabama public schools/systems across the state in hosting Children Are the Future—Share the Vision Statewide Parent Visitation Month events. “The goal is to connect home and school better,” said State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton. “Parent involvement—now more than ever—is a key factor to student success in school year-round. By setting aside a specific month, our public schools can focus on the importance of parent involvement and investment in their children’s education.”

Scheduled sessions include local and state initiatives such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, school policies and safety issues.

To learn more about Children Are the Future—Share the Vision Statewide Parent Visitation Month and parent involvement opportunities throughout the school year, contact your local school or school system.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ms. Duncan's Retirement Celebration

On Wednesday, September 27, 2006, Hal Henderson faculty and staff along with a few of Ms. Duncan's dear friends celebrated her retirement. After 33 1/2 years of dedication to Talladega City Schools, the celebration was "bitter sweet." Mrs. Laros shared her personal story of Ms. Duncan's impact on her as a student. Ms. Duncan taught Mrs. Laros P.E. in 5th grade at Dixon Middle School. Mrs. Laros enjoyed sports and because of Ms. Duncan's effort as a P.E. teacher, Mrs. Laros continued playing tennis and softball outside of school. Mrs. Gooden thanked Ms. Duncan for the impact and positive impression she has made on her son, Harrison (student at Houston Elementary). Ms. Gooden stated she has only known Ms. Duncan for a short period of time (approximately two months); however, Harrison's comments about Ms. Duncan demonstrated Duncan's ability to improve self-esteem in children. Mrs. Davis described Ms. Duncan as a "saint." There were many comments regarding Ms. Duncan's kind, encouraging words and her positive comments. Everyone agreed that Ms. Duncan is, and always will be, a "true friend." Ms. Duncan always had a smile on her face and went out of her way to reward students with positive attitudes. Ms. Duncan was famous for her ping pong tournaments. Each year, she gave awards to many students for their effort in P.E. Some awards were given to students who weren't the "best athletes" but were very cooperative and assisted her with keeping score or handling equipment. Ms. Duncan could always find something good to say about anyone. She was an asset to Talladega City Schools and she will be missed!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Doing whatever it takes

The most recent of "Working Towards Excellence," a publication of the Alabama Best Practices Center, spotlights three schools, the gains they are making, and the stratgies they are using to increase student achievement. That issue can be found here.