Julie Gentry was honored for her six years of service as a member of the Scottsboro City Schools Board of Education. Gentry served on the board from October 2014, until August of 2020 and was the Board president from May 2017 to May 2020.
During her time on the Board Gentry was instrumental in building up the system’s finances and the hiring of the current Superintendent Dr. Jose Reyes.
“Everything that she did she had the students and teachers in mind,” said Reyes.
Reyes mentioned that the process was hard fought, and that Gentry was a strong negotiator when hiring him. And added that once he was the superintendent, she was always willing to listen to his point of view and was important to his success as superintendent.
“Julie was willing to tackle our problems head on and lead our board as president for three years,” said Coach John Esslinger who was not able to be present, in a statement read by Reyes. “She took on this task willingly and without complaint, always taking the welfare of our students and teachers as her primary goal.”
In a point echoed by all of the board of education members present, Esslinger went on to write that Gentry was always willing to listen and to talk about the problems facing the district.
“But I can honestly say that no matter how passionately we argued Julie always treated me with compassion and respect — more importantly, she always listened,” concluded Esslinger.
The board then began their regular work session.
Reyes presented a bid the school district had selected for redoing construction on the Central Office Lunchroom.
The project is expected to cost $186,000 with an additional $14,500 of architectural services required. The bid includes a new flat roof for the lunch room as well as new support structures for air conditioning units that will be housed on the roof.
This bid came in roughly $10,000 below the amount previously allocated for the project.
The board hopes that once completed the lunchroom will provide a more formal event space for formal events needed at both the district and school levels. The end of year volleyball formal was mentioned during a previous meeting as an example of one of these events.
Funding for the project is part of a floated bond currently held by the state board of education. According to Reyes, any funding not used for the roof project can be allocated to other capital improvements.
He also assured the board that the construction company selected has previously done business with the school district and is confident in their ability to complete the work.
Principals and representatives from each of the School district’s five schools presented their Continuous Improvement Plans. These plans are designed to give the board of education an understanding of the progress being made by each school.
Scott Hodges, the principal of Thurston T. Nelson Elementary School, addressed improving early literacy performance of the Kindergartners at the school.
The principal said that the school is hoping to do this by increasing teacher training in reading and math. He also noted that the coronavirus has presented issues with the availability of math training for educators.
Corky Hood, the principal of Caldwell Elementary School, discussed efforts made by the school to give teachers resources for combating challenges presented by virtual learning.
She stated that every teacher at Caldwell has been trained on the Schoology platform which is used for remote and simultaneous learning throughout the school system.
The school is also working on improving their literacy and reading scores as mandated by the state.
Hood also mentioned that they are focusing parent engagement programs on ways that parents can assist their children learning at home.
Jason Haas the principal at Collins Intermediate School, focused his CIP presentation on covering the demographic statistics of the school. He noted that there was a minor slip in the school systems STAR testing data, that was expected due to coronavirus forcing a school closure during the 2019-20 school year.
According to Haas, the 6th grade had achieved an A+ college ready certification for their curriculum.
Jason Arnold, the principal for Scottsboro Junior High School, mentioned that the Junior high had received a $50,000 grant to improve their A+ college ready curriculum.
Over the last school year, the school has also been designated a Title I school which will lead to an increase of funding for the school to assist students.
The school also added a fleet of 40 mountain bikes and associated safety equipment to improve student fitness.
Jeff Tubbs said that Scottsboro High School was focusing on increasing student’s performance growth between their pre-ACT and ACT scores. They also hope to decrease suspensions and improve student engagement through the use of social media.
Each of the principals mentioned how they were proud of their teachers for rising to the occasion of dealing with new standards and programs from the state department of education and the challenges associated with the coronavirus.