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Pell City School Board approves teachers for summer bridge program

Pell City Board of Education 2020-24 teaser

The Pell City Board of Education for 2020-24 was sworn in Tuesday, Nov. 17. The board includes incumbents Joe Sawyer, Cecil Fomby and Laurie Henderson along with newly elected members Greg Crump and Norman Wilder.

PELL CITY — The Pell City Board of Education held a called meeting Wednesday to deal with several personnel matters related to this year's summer school programs. 

During the morning meeting, the board approved eight contracts with teachers for the summer bridge program. The system announced last month that the program, which is for fourth through eighth grade students, would be a part of their expanded summer programs which also includes an enhanced summer reading program for kindergarten through third-grade students and expanded summer school for high school students.

Pell City Superintendent Dr. James Martin said getting contracts ready for the bridge program’s teachers was a priority so the teachers did not go ahead and make summer plans. 

“One thing we had to do too is we had to secure those teachers during the summer,” he said. “Really we are locking in the fact that we have teachers in place to serve the kids during the summer.”

Martin said the increase in summer programs is to make up partially for lost instruction time, but also to make sure students are developing skills they need.

 “The kids, through assessment, may be lacking certain skills in order to be successful at the next grade level,” Martin said. “We want to provide those skills and reinforce those skills in order for them to be successful.” 

The superintendent said one big issue is that some skills, especially in subjects like math, build on each other. If students miss out on those skills, it can cause problems down the line. 

“One of the things we have is this, in our standards there are essential standards that our students have to master before they move on to the next grade level,” Martin said. “If we don't have something in place to reinforce where we have lost those essential standards we are setting them up for failure and that's something we do not want to do.”

He said the key is that this year’s summer programs will be more focused on meeting needs of students as seen by assessment data. Martin said while assessments were a cause for concern early in the pandemic, the system has fallen back on in-house assessment to identify student needs. 

In other matters, the board:

—Approved hiring Jeff Smith (driver’s ed teacher at Pell City High School) and Gage Hazelwood (bus driver);

—Approved transfer of Tammy Luellen (from custodian at Iola Roberts Elementary School to custodian at Eden Elementary School);

—Approved supplement for Jeff Smith (boys varsity basketball coach at PCHSchool), Sunni Wyatt (national board certified teacher mentor/cohort leader), Tammy Vincent (NBCT mentor/cohort leader and Kelly Whittington (NBCT mentor/cohort leader);

—Approved contracts for the summer bridge program with Tara McBurnett (middle grades math teacher), Shelly Gregg (elementary teacher), Amy Smart (elementary teacher), Breanna Carr (elementary teacher), Very Schofield (secondary math teacher), Michelle Perry (secondary math teacher), Ivy Patterson (secondary english language arts teacher) and Megan Pruitt (secondary english language arts teacher);

—Approved the retirement of Jean Paulette Jimmerson (teacher at Williams Intermediate School); and

—Approved resignation of Tara White (teacher at Eden Elementary School) 

In his superintendents report, Martin:

—Recognized Sheree Jackson, teacher at Iola Roberts, for performing the Heimlich maneuver and saving the life of a third-grade student, and 

—Announced that there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of Duran North Junior High School around the end of April.


Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.