Glasscock recaps school system changes

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock recapped recent changes and some that are on the horizon for the school system during the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce meeting on Sept 12.

“This year our motto has been Embrace the Change, “Glasscock said. “Since coming in on Jan. 1 of 2015, we have made some pretty radical changes … whether it be by administrative changes or people retiring out or just making program changes.”

He said major changes take time and several people working together.

Emphasis on Science, Technology Engineering and Math has been integrated into kindergarten through high school in Clanton and Jemison and options are expanding. In elementary grades art and reading are also a strong emphasis. A STEM Academy at Chilton County High School is open to all high school students.

Some changes have come this school year with the opening of the Jemison Middle School in its own building with Principal Kendall Jackson. Jackson was introduced during the meeting. Cory Clements at Thorsby High School was also introduced to the audience.

Some of these changes were in an effort to create continuity across the school system. Glasscock said administration looked at how to implement best practices in all the schools, so that if a student transfers to another school in the district it would be the same.

“From a technology standpoint we were very excited to start a one-to-one internal initiative,” Glasscock said. “What that really means in the school is each student is going to have access to an electronic device.”

Chromebook laptops are the electronic device of choice for the school system.

Cyber Cafes have been added at some schools allowing for larger classes to be split to give some students an assignment to work on their computers while the other half of the class is working on an assignment with the teacher.

“We are fast forwarding to what we call a global classroom,” Glasscock said.

The superintendent said this means a student who may miss class time because of participating in sport tournaments or other school activities can complete their school work on their laptop or mobile device to keep from getting behind.

A virtual school program has also been implemented to give students a fully online option.

Getting students college and career ready is the main focus. Glasscock said only 13.9 percent of Chilton County adults have a four-year degree. He said he would like to see this number increase. He said improvements have been made to help students be more college ready, including meeting with Jefferson State Community College to make sure the rigor of the high school courses adequately prepared students.

Students take a career inventory in eight grade to help them decide what they might like to pursue as a career. Glasscock said they encourage students “to choose a pathway” that will determine the courses they take to align with what they ultimately want to do for a career.

There are about 50 or 60 high school students in Chilton County that take all of their classes at LeCroy Career Technical Center. Core classes like English, math and science for these students are tailored to connect with their field of choice.

Glasscock was elected as the superintendent of school in November 2014. Before that, he served as the career technical director for six years.