City School Board recognizes system’s 1st dyslexia interventionist

Patterson addresses Alabama State Report Card, 1-cent sales tax vote

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Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson (left) stands with the system’s first ever dyslexia Interventionist, Rhonda Smith (right). (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – “I’m not sure if you’re aware, but October is Dyslexia Awareness Month,” said Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson at Tuesday evening’s school board meeting, “and Cullman City Schools has had a strong partnership with our city council, and through this, we have received additional funding and we were the first in the state to have a dyslexia teacher in our system. “That’s something we’re very proud of and the city council has been instrumental in providing funding for this teacher unit. We thank them.”

The board recognized that teacher, dyslexia Interventionist Rhonda Smith. Smith is a certified academic language therapist.

The board also recognizes three of its members for achieving new levels in the 2019 Alabama Association of School Boards Academy. Joey Orr achieved Level 3, while Chris Branham and Lee Powell achieved Level 2.

Patterson joked when board members were recognized, saying, “They have to go to school just like the rest of us.”

The board also recognized Cullman Middle School’s FFA chapter for achieving Gold Chapter status at the 2019 Alabama FFA State Convention and for the students’ first-place finish in the Cullman County Forestry Contest.

In other business, the board went through its annual reconstitution, which is required annually. Orr was named the new board president, and Branham was named new board vice president.

The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) last week released its 2018-2019 Alabama State Report Card, its report card for public schools statewide. Cullman City Schools, after a one point drop last year, rose two points to a new high score of 93.

Patterson shared her thoughts on the report card.

“I am so proud of all of our schools, the staff and students, as each of them earned an A on this year’s report card. Cullman City Schools is one of only eight school systems in Alabama to have all the schools earn an ‘A.’ Our focus as a district is to make sure we are always moving forward in providing our students the very best educational opportunities and outcomes,” she said. “Cullman High School implemented several positive changes and due to their diligence was able to achieve a four-point increase, moving them from an 89 to a 93. As our city continues to grow and more businesses locate here, having the ‘A’ quality, along with annually being recognized as a top 10 school district within the state, provides our leaders a great recruiting point. We will be reviewing each area of the report card by school and the district as a whole to find additional improvement opportunities that can assist us in raising our success together.”

Patterson also addressed the news that a one-cent sales and use tax for education will be the March 3, 2020 ballot for Cullman County voters.

“(Superintendent) Dr. (Shane) Barnette shared with me that the Cullman County Board of Education passed a resolution to request the (Cullman) County Commission add a one-cent sales tax proposal to the March 2020 ballot, and I understand the County Commission approved the request in their meeting.”

According to Barnette, the tax revenue would go to both the Cullman city and county school systems, based on the number of students in each system. He said the distribution would come out to approximately 23% for Cullman City Schools.

The Cullman City School Board’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. in the Central Office board room.

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October 22, 2019 CCS Board Agenda by TheCullmanTribune on Scribd

Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson (far left) stands with Cullman Middle School’s FFA Chapter members and CMS FFA Sponsor Lucas McCollum (far right). The CMS FFA group won Gold Chapter at the 2019 FFA State Convention. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)