Opportunities for IHS discussed at town hall meeting

Published 12:15 pm Friday, July 28, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools superintendent Tommy Glasscock wrapped up his summer town hall meetings at Isabella High School on July 28.

Glasscock expressed his excitement at the IHS Leader in Me program.

“You can see the difference in the attitude of the students here at Isabella, and I hope that is something that eventually becomes implemented across the district,” Glasscock said.

IHS is the largest K-12 school in the Chilton County.

“This fall approximately 700 students are going to walk through the doors at Isabella,” Glasscock said.

An audience member expressed concern that the school system may limit the number of students that could enroll at Isabella. Glasscock said he would be against such an idea.

Dual enrollment and STEM opportunities were discussed.

“Twenty percent of 11th and 12th graders at Isabella attend Jeff State Community College and receive dual enrollment,” Glasscock said.

Glasscock said this was a significant increase over one percent in previous years.

A parent whose student is interested in math and science asked what STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) classes were available to her child. The parent commented that high school students used to attend the STEM Academy at LeCroy Career Tech Center, but she understood it would not be an option any more.

“For the younger kids, we really don’t have anything here as far as STEM,” IHS principal Ricky Porter said. “It is something that we would like to work on in the future.”

The possibility of adding project Lead the Way engineering classes for middle school students is being considered.

Isabella High School students do have the option of attending the Career Tech Academy at LeCroy, Glasscock explained.

“Those students who are going to Career Tech and are specializing in welding or cosmetology, any of the 13 programs … Those students can stay there all day and take their core courses,” Glasscock said. “Those courses are not watered-down courses. They are just a little bit more technically oriented.”

For example, a welding student would be taking an English class focused on technical writing.

Glasscock said even while attending the academy, students are still involved in IHS’ extracurricular activities and will graduate from IHS.

High school students also have the option of attending STEM or other specialty classes at other high schools. Porter said there have been issues in the past with these classes being full, and Isabella students not being able to enroll.  Glasscock said he has talked with school administrators to make sure students are specifically interested in a specialty, not just filling a class slot, to free up some spots for those from other schools that have a genuine interest in the subject.

Facility issues and opportunities were also discussed.

“The board voted at a March meeting to fund a feasibility study for a multi-purpose facility here at Isabella, and we are waiting on the drawings,” Glasscock said.

The facility would be used for physical education classes, weight lifting and possibly batting cages.

Several maintenance concerns were also brought up, including no air conditioning in the gymnasiums and a restroom that has ongoing issues. Glasscock said the restroom issue could be addressed, but the air conditioning would be a more expensive issue to tackle. The cost of retrofitting the buildings is being researched.