Clanton community expresses concerns in town hall meeting

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Project Lead the Way and upgrades at Chilton County High School were major topics at the Clanton Town Hall meeting hosted by Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock on July 17.

“Project Lead the Way is more of a robotics, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-type course,” Glasscock said. “There is a lot of hands-on approach with that.”

The goal is for students to have the opportunity to attend STEM classes from elementary to high school.

In addition to a focus on STEM, Clanton Elementary will continue to have art classes available for students. Glasscock said the STEAM, STEM plus arts, program will launch this fall.

At Clanton Intermediate School, students have already participated in the Science Olympiad. Glasscock said recently released ACT ASPIRE scores for the school show reading scores up 12 points and math scores up 18 points.

Glasscock said several teachers are attending PTLW training this summer. He said it was important to include STEM at each level to prepare students for high school.

“Students that are leaving middle school, they are going to be entering ninth grade … better prepared for AP courses and those engineering courses,” Glasscock said.

More AP Classes are taken at Chilton County High School than any other high school in the county.

He said many science and math teachers had attended training this summer.

An audience member asked how Wi-Fi access issues at the high school would be addressed as the school moves closer to having a Chromebook for every student.  Amy Easterling, Chilton County High School technology coordinator, said more access points have been installed at the school and the network has been secured so that students cannot access the internet on their phones. Easterling said this would keep the connection speeds from slowing down because of too many devices connecting to the access point.

Safety concerns were expressed by Easterling about the back parking lot. Glasscock explained that the contractor who paved that parking lot had been told school buses would be driving on other parts of the parking lot and not on the back lot. School buses have used this lot and now there are ruts and holes. Fixing the issue was recommended to the school board during a July 17 meeting, prior to the town hall meeting.

Concern was also expressed about the visitor’s side of the stadium at the high school. Glasscock said he was recommending assessment of all of the school athletic stadiums in the county.

“Typically the board tries to avoid stadiums … it kind of falls under the booster club until it becomes a safety issue,” Glasscock said.

Easterling asked if the inside of CCHS could be painted, so students could have more pride in the school. Glasscock said he would look into it.

An audience member asked when a new principal would be selected for Chilton County High School. Ron Pinson is serving as interim principal. Glasscock said a committee of community members will be selected to help with the search, which he hopes will begin after former Principal Dr. Cynthia Stewart’s official last day Sept. 1

An audience member asked if it had ever been considered to consolidate some of the high schools in the county. The audience member said there could be a cost savings and other benefits to consolidating.

“I’m not sure with an elected board and an elected school superintendent that you would ever have school consolidation,” Glasscock said.

He said if consolidation of the schools ever happened it would likely be because of prompting at the state level.