Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Board spotlights success


January 2, 2020

The Escambia

(Ala.) Board of Education dis- cussed possible funding to address mental health in pub- lic schools and local student success before going into exec- utive session at its Thursday, Dec. 18 meeting.

School Superintendent John Knott told board mem- bers that the Alabama State Board of Education approved the math course of study, and plans have begun to formulate committees to do the reviews for text book adoption. Knott said now they will start work- ing on the English Language Arts (ELA) course of study also.

“This year and last year we had one of our teachers, Christie Fox, who had served on the state math course of study team,” said Knott. “I will be making recommendations to the state for one of our teachers to serve on the state course of study team for ELA. Hopefully, we will be able to have local representation that can be to help communicate our thoughts. We are proud of that.”

Knott was appointed to serve on the state educational focus and task force for mental health needs in education.

Knott said he met with that group for the time last week, also met with people form

department of mental health, those with the legislature and several of the representatives and senators, who are working on legislation that will help supply resources to our local schools. Began working, devel- oping a proposal for the legis- lature that will identify prob- lem areas we are experiencing in our schools, establish a hier- archy of needs we have and making a recommendations for priorities that we focus on in our schools.

“There are huge problems with mental health being able to staff their programs and be able to provide the services that we need for our students,” said Knott. “There is some talk that there may be a movement to help provide some funding directly to our local school agencies to provide some men- tal health professionals for the therapeutic needs of our stu- dents.”

Knott reminded board members that school coun- selors are not the same as mental health counselors and that school counselors have enough on their plates cur- rently.

Knott said there is research going on currently to look at the numbers in our school sys- tem and that the issue of men- tal health in the public schools is on a state-level. Knott said he discovered recently that 10 percent of the state's mental health funding is allocated to meet the needs to school-age

children, which shocked him.

Spotlighting success

Fourth-grader Jayla Wilson and fifth-grader Alondrea Bayne, two students at Escambia County Middle School, participated in the 2019-2020 National Scholar Society's Poetry Contest. Wilson's poem, "What My Family Means to Me”, and Bayne's poem, "Feeling", were selected to be published in the National Scholar Society's annual student anthology, Award-Winning Young Writers of America 2019-2020.

“We are proud of them for their accomplishments there,” said Knott.

Seven welding students at Escambia County High School designed and cut trains and racks as a part of the city of Atmore's Art Walk. Esco Fab, John's Paint and Body and Landis Design Co. partnered with the welding program stu- dents to make the joint project possible. Four of the 17 trains were unveiled at ECHS Tuesday morning. The trains will put on the poles with street signs through the town.

In other business, the board:

-Approved a renewal of appointment of board attorney Broox Garrett, for Jan.1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020, with a $1,000 retainer fee.

-Approved the 2020-2021 school calendar.

Board member Cindy Jackson was not present.


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