City school board recognizes student, staff achievements; principal gives update on West Elementary


West Elementary Principal Dr. Jay Page talks to the Cullman City School Board Tuesday about the state of his school. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cullman City School Board had a full agenda Tuesday at its last meeting during the 2017-18 school year.

Recognitions and awards

  • Johnny Cook from Premier Bank presented the board a check to be divided among three Innovation Grant Award Winners:
    • Jennifer Crumpton, West Elementary, $1,000 for Lego robotics, to help students learn about coding and programming
    • Priscilla Henshaw, Cullman Primary, $500 for OSMO kits that will pair students’ iPads with hands-on manipulative activities to expand learning activities beyond the tablets’ screens
    • Savannah Wood (Principal David Wiggins accepting), East Elementary, $500 for STEM engineering and coding technology, including Sphero SPRK “Spark” robots
  • Kane Ward, first grade, Cullman Primary School, received the 2018 annual State Superintendent’s Art Exhibit Award.
  • Cullman County 4-H shotgun team: Griffin Barksdale, Ezra Burks and Cole Herfurth of Cullman High School, along with Blake Arrington of Vinemont High School, were recognized for winning the state 4-H shotgun competition and received $500 toward their trip to the national championship in Nebraska this June.
  • Cullman High School, Cullman City Primary School and West Elementary School received Alabama Bicentennial Commission Commendations sent from Gov. Kay Ivey.  CHS Principal Kim Hall, in receiving her school’s certificate, asked science teacher Kyle Morris to stand with her. Morris teaches a special class, “The Science of Alabama History,” and has led the school’s application process to be named a Bicentennial School.
  • Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson gave certificates of appreciation to PTO presidents:
    • Bethany Aldredge, Cullman City Primary School
    • Melissa Aaron, East Elementary School
    • Tina Dover, West Elementary School

State of the School: West Elementary

Principal Dr. Jay Page made a presentation to the board about West Elementary School.  He began by pointing out the school’s results on the recent state report card:

  • An overall grade of A (94), one of three schools in the county to receive that letter grade
  • Academic Achievement score of 88.04
  • Academic Gains score of 100
  • Attendance score (lower is better) of 10.83

He attributed the report card results to faculty team effort, teachers understanding the standards to help students understand expectations, students being familiar with the academic rigor that the standards require, and a multi-pronged approach to professional development.

According to Page, the next steps in West’s progress will include:

  • helping students develop a deeper understanding of the standards
  • helping students answer the “why” of what they are learning
  • having students articulate what they are learning and why it is important
  • having students track their own progress by using data to identify areas of strength and weakness, and even leading their own parent conferences
  • involving students in project-based learning using AMSTI science models and technology, and teaching students to identify problems and formulate solutions

Page emphasized the need to connect with kids using approaches they are accustomed to, like social media, and invited those interested to search the hashtags #westway and #weststory to learn more about what the school is doing.

Other agenda highlights

The board’s approvals included the following requests:

  • CHS Band to travel to Orlando Nov. 10-14 to perform in the Stars Performance Program during Veterans Day Celebration Week at Universal Studios
  • CHS Fishing Team to travel to Paris, Tennessee Aug. 2-4 for the 2018 Bassmaster High School National Championship
  • CHS HOSA Future Health Professionals to travel to Dallas June 27-30 for the International Leadership Conference and Competition
  • An increase in nonresident student fees for the 2018-19 school year from $750 to $800 per student, and $1,300 to $1,400 for two or more students
  • A contract with Bridges Therapy and Consulting of Florence for behavior analytic services.  Bridges is one of the first mental health care providers in the region to offer Applied Behavior Analysis, which studies the relationship between specific behaviors and the person’s environment and seeks to develop acceptable alternatives to offensive behavior.  According to Patterson, the contract allows access to services on an as-needed basis.
  • Approval of the Memorandum of Understanding between Cullman City Board of Education and Cullman City Council to provide police officers at each school.  The measure will give school resource officers a raise to match the standard pay scale for Cullman Police reserve officers, and will increase the number of SROs at Cullman High School from one to two.
  • Several measures concerning Cullman City Head Start:
    • Permission to enter a partnership agreement with Dr. James Thomas of Urgent Care Center of Cullman to provide TB screenings
    • Approval of the Health Services Advisor Agreement between Cullman City Head Start and Dr. Mark Addison
    • Approval of the following Cullman City Head Start Community Partnership Agreements for the 2018-2019 school year: Cullman Housing Authority, Cullman County Department of Human Resources, Cullman City Parks and Recreation, Cullman Caring for Kids, The Crossing, Good Samaritan Health Clinic, The Link of Cullman County, United Way of Cullman County and Brooks’ Place (Child Advocacy Center)

The board also approved the following personnel changes:


  • Daniel Hassell, computer technician at Central Office
  • Austin Mansell, instructional assistant at Cullman High School
  • Renata Puckett, Special Education teacher at Cullman Middle School

Leaves of Absence:

  • Rita Dean, requests extension of Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Elizabeth Shaddix, counselor at West Elementary School, requests Family and Medical Leave beginning approximately Aug. 6, 2018 – Nov. 25
  • Kim Shelton, instructional assistant at Cullman High School, 15 on-the-Job Injury days
  • Roxi Lee, instructional assistant at West Elementary School, on-the-Job injury days for May 10-11


  • Michelle Nix, transfer from CNP Manager at West Elementary to CNP Manager at Cullman High School
  • Employments: Conditional employment under the terms of the Child Protection Act of 1999, Act No. 2002-457, and pending certification, as applicable.
  • Hannah Shelton Hunt, fifth-grade teacher at East Elementary School
  • Sadie Gregory, temporary math teacher (to fill a leave of absence) at Cullman High School, April 16 through May 25
  • William David Hannah, instructional assistant at Cullman High School, effective Aug. 2

Modification of Employment:

  • Paul Ross, computer technician at Central Office, transfer from Step level 4 to Step level 5 to include prior years of IT experience

Athletic Supplements

  • Austin Mansell, resignation of football, basketball and softball supplements
  • Taylor Sasser, resignation of CHS assistant baseball coach supplement
  • Remainder of Taylor Sasser's supplement of $867.30 to Maison Goodwin as assistant baseball coach for the remainder of the 2018 season

The Cullman City School Board will hold a special called meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 24, and its next regular meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 7.  Both meetings will be held at the Central Office board room. The public is invited to attend.

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