Reading skills improve in schools

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2005

Showing a comparison of fall scores from 2002 to 2005, Gerry Adair, Butler County Schools' federal programs grant coordinator, told the Board of Education that the reading scores for K-3 students have risen significantly according to the District DIBELS Report.

&#8220People want to know if we are using money wisely when it comes to our children's education,” Adair told the Butler County Board of Education at their regular meeting Thursday night. &#8220This will hopefully show that we definitely are.”

Adair said that Butler County schools have received over $300,000 for the Alabama Reading Initiative, which focuses on grades K-3. All of these grades use the DIBELS assessment to show the percentages of students' reading abilities. Using a PowerPoint presentation and graphs, Adair explained how K-3 students in Butler County schools have made significant increases in areas of initial sound fluency, letter naming fluency, phonological awareness skills and oral reading fluency skills over the last four years.

There was also good news in the area of federal grant programs. Adair said that Butler County received the Even Start Grant of $116,800, which will be used for a family literacy program. Adair said that only 14 of these grants are awarded in the state each year. The AmeriCorps Grant of $247,474 is a community and service grant. Adair said that for the last four years, Butler County schools have been rated first in the state of Alabama when it comes to this grant.

Also, Adair said that there have been three 21st Century Community Learning Center grants received. The newest one is Quest for $175,000, which will be used for summer school and after-school programs at R.L. Austin Elementary School. The BEST grant for $75,000, will be used for after-school programs at W.O. Parmer Elementary School and for Greenville Elementary School. The Steps to Success grant for $125,000, will be used for summer camp and for after-school programs at Greenville Middle School.

In other business, Butler County Schools' Superintendent Mike Looney recognized Cindy Lowe, McKenzie School teacher and coach, who was recently awarded the Female Athletic Coach of the Year. This honor is given by the Alabama State Association for

Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Looney gave special recognition and praise to Tina Powell, secretary to the superintendent and office manager. He presented Powell with a Distinguished Service Award and a bouquet of roses.

&#8220This is a special recognition and appreciation for all of her hard work,” Looney said. &#8220Mrs. Powell makes sure that everything is in order, and that everything runs smoothly. I just want her to know how much we appreciate all that she does.”

Looney also presented School Board Member Academy Achievement awards to board president Linda Cook-Hamilton for achieving Level 2, Billy Jones for Master 8 Level, Joanne Peak for Levels 2 and 3, and board vice-president Terry Williams for Level 2.

Wayne Boswell, administrative assistant for operations, reported to the board that the roofing was substantially complete on the Early Learning Center building located at the Butler County Education and Community Learning Center on School Highlands Road. Boswell said that canopies had been replaced between buildings one and two, as well as between building one and the old gym.

Boswell said that the Butler County Commission had agreed to provide labor and equipment for the new school bus parking lot being put in at R.L. Austin Elementary School.

Also, Boswell said that the architects have asked to extend the time for opening the bids on Georgiana High School's bleacher replacements.

A Foundation Grant, Boswell said, is funding new landscaping at the Central Office. The labor, soil and design are being donated by the City of Greenville as in-kind matching for the grant.

&#8220The City of Greenville Horticulture Department was at the Central Office at 7:15 this morning planting flowers,” Boswell said. &#8220We really appreciate what they're doing at the Central Office.”