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Pell City Schools will conduct summer school mostly online

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PELL CITY -- The Pell City Board of Education has approved its annual summer school program for seventh-12th grades, but not without a few changes due to the pandemic. 

The board gave its approval during its regular meeting Tuesday. The summer term will take place from June 8 to July 13 and will be given primarily online, just like the last few months of normal school. 

Despite Gov. Kay Ivey’s May 21 revised safer-at-home order allowing for in-person instruction to take place beginning June 1 with social distancing guidelines, Superintendent Dr. James Martin said the system will continue plans to hold summer school online.

“We are going to try to operate the same as we originally said,” Martin said Friday. 

He said the revised order would allow the school system more flexibility in how it approaches summer school, but it’s not going to change the overall plan. 

An example of this, Martin said the revised order may allow for one-on-one instruction for students with special needs that could take place in person. 

One issue Martin said the system will face this summer is drivers education, which the board recently expanded by adding more sections to this year’s summer school.

Martin said while the classroom portion can easily be taught online, the practical portion can not be done in a socially distanced manner, due to requiring a teacher and student to both be in a car. 

“That's really where we are trying to get some additional guidance,” Martin said.

He said the system will likely start its kindergarten-sixth grade summer program in July after the end of summer school instruction. 

In other matters, the board:

  • Approved hiring Victoria Pinkerton as music teacher at Eden Elementary School, Jordan Eastham as elementary teacher at Williams Intermediate, Andrea White as first-grade teacher at Iola Roberts Elementary, Sheree Jackson as third-grade teacher at Iola Roberts, Jessica Bannon as third-grade teacher at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary, Caitlyn Freeman as first-grade teacher at Kennedy and April Revell as secretary at Duran South Junior High;

  • Approved hiring Christopher Hurt as cheer competition/skills coach at Pell City High;

  • Reassigned Jeffry Samoranski from science teacher at Pell City High to career and technical education/engineering teacher at Pell City High;

  • Approved the transfer of Alyson Hazelwood from third-grade teacher at Coosa Valley Elementary to third-grade teacher at Eden, Beth Ferguson from speech language pathologist at Kennedy and Williams Intermediate to speech pathologist at Coosa Valley and Williams Intermediate, Megan Sudiamamayasa from title one teaching assistant at Iola Roberts to special education teacher assistant at Kennedy, Jayne Price from special education teaching assistant at Kennedy to title one teaching assistant at Iola Roberts and Javion Johnson from special education teaching assistant at Kennedy to special education teaching assistant at Eden;

  • Approved the retirement of Maj. Malcolm Savage, JROTC instructor at Pell City High, and Evelyn Hardwick, bus driver;

  • Approved contracts with Sebastian White to provide compensatory tutoring services as outlined in a settlement agreement, and Monica Haynes, Kimberly Barber and Brandi Hathron as nurses systemwide;

  • Approved contracts with Chasity Boyle, Daniel Harris, Brittany Gillison, Jennifer Jackson, Kelly Smith, Tammy Tucker, Monica Hartley, Chris Tomlin and Megan Braxton to provide instructional/special education services for students participating in the extended school year program;

  • Approved contracts with Leaps Academy and Elizabeth Benner to provide instructional/special education services system wide as the board deems necessary;

  • Approved contracts with Connie Thomas to provide psychometry services systemwide, Pam Farley to provide early intervention services systemwide and with Cuddle Bugs & Company LLC to provide visually impaired services for students;

  • Approved the first reading of updated job descriptions for the school system; and 

  • Approved accounts payable for April 2020 in the amount of $355,145.08.

Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.