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Head Start funding available for TES pre-K students

By Barry H. Hendrix

The federal Head Start program could possibly fund 17 to 20 additional students for the pre-K program at Thomasville Elementary School during the 2020-2021 school year.
Garth Moss, Thomasville school superintendent, met with the regional Head Start director on June 17.
The school system already receives funding for 32 pre-K students for 2020-2021 from the State of Alabama’s “First Class Pre-K” program. The list of TES pre-K students from the annual lottery was announced March 9, and there is a waiting list of approximately 29 students, who would like to join the program.
Head Start is a program of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, which provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families.
Officials from Head Start will contact families on the waiting list, and those families that meet Head Start guidelines will be included in the TES pre-K program.
In other action from the June 16 meeting, held in the Thomasville High School library, Avery Ford reported that accounts payable for May 2020 totaled $113,888.89 and payroll totaled $745,569.55.
• Garth Moss, school superintendent, reported that he will attend the state superintendent conference on June 22-24 in Fairhope, in which state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey will reveal the road map for reopening schools in the fall. Mackey will present the road map to the public on June 25.
• Wi-fi will be installed on system school buses, Moss said. The funding came from the recent federal “Cares Act Higher Education Emergency Relief.” If parents choose to have students learn from home in the fall, the buses will be parked in strategic locations so students, who do not have wi-fi, can have access. “Only our devices will be able to log on,” he said.
• The school system will receive approximately $1.7 million from a recent state bond issue, Moss said. The funding, earmarked for construction and remodeling, will be available Oct. 1, and the school system will use a portion of the funds for roof repair.
• There was a first reading of board policy changes regarding safe schools (drugs, alcohol, firearms and weapons) and delegation of parental authority. The policies will likely be approved at the Aug. 21 meeting.
• The 2020-2021 Parent/Student Handbook was approved. It will be released to the public after policy changes are approved.
• During the recent period of non-traditional instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic (March to May), Moss reported there was a tremendous amount of communication between students, parents and teachers and school communications. Reviewing data from the “School Status” dashboard software, the district received 59,434 text messages, made 2,421 phone calls, and exchanged 1,477 emails.
• “I’m really pleased with the leadership that we have in place – the leader that we have in Mr. Moss, (and) the principals that have been hired,” said board member Martha Gramelspacher. “…I have a lot of confidence in their experience and what they have done so far for their schools.” She had confidence in what is being done “to continue to improve our schools.”
“I think we have a great administrative team in place to lead all three of our schools,” Moss said.
• Sharon Buford was selected as the board president for 2020-2021. Martha Gramelspacher was selected as board vice president.
• The schedule of board meetings for 2020-2021 was approved.
• A special school board meeting will be called for 5 p.m. on June 29 in the THS library.