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Educators update garrison command at quarterly luncheon

Madison, Huntsville and Madison County district staff presented school updates to Redstone Arsenal officials at the Quarterly Redstone Education Session on Feb. 9 at Madison’s Central Office.

Arab and Scottsboro representatives also attended.

“I don’t hold a candle to what your teachers are performing on a daily basis,” Garrison Commander Col. John Hamilton said in opening remarks.

Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler said James Clements High School’s opening is reminiscent of a child’s birth with concerns about the health of mother and baby. “The same thoughts are with James Clemens. Will we be OK? Will we have good teachers and parents? My job is to develop leaders (who) develop student leaders”.

Fowler stressed the slogan, “One vision, one community, two schools.”

James Clemens principal Dr. John Green wants the school to have a “we … then me” level of organization. “We’re trying to build this culture at James Clemens.”

Dr. Barbara Cooper, Huntsville’s deputy superintendent, was introduced to her district with 300 students picketing at Lee High School but realized families were engaged with their school. Huntsville’s newest school will house both Lee and New Century Technology high schools.

The School Foundation is the only 501(c)3 organization assisting all Madison County districts, president Tim Singleton said. The foundation will establish a “free store” with teacher supplies from local businesses.

Geraldine Tibbs said Madison County will build a new high school on McKee Road to alleviate overcrowding at Sparkman High School.

Dr. Maria Kilgore, Madison’s special education director, stressed the importance of impact aid cards, which annually result in $250,000 in federal funds. “About 25 percent of the school population is military connected,” Kilgore said.

Tim Solley with Madison County and Jeana Ross, Madison’s federal programs coordinator, discussed Department of Defense Education Activity grants (DoDEA).

From Bob Jones, culinary students served a buffet lunch. A choral ensemble sang the “National Anthem” and “Amazing Grace.” Students Nick Beavers and Summer Dawkins discussed Student 2 Student, which helps new students transition, especially military families.

“We let them know they’re not alone,” Dawkins said. “Mom isn’t there to hold your hand,” Beavers said. “We’re your momma while you’re in high school.”

Patriotic banners made by special education students decorated the boardroom walls.

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