By Nathan Prewett
LEEDS – When the Leeds City Schools Board of Education met on Tuesday, Jan. 14, members recognized local teacher, Christina Allen, who was nationally certified.
Allen teaches U.S. History at Leeds Elementary School and is a graduate of the Leeds school system.
“I have a lot of goals and one of the things that I was very personally very committed to was ensuring that at least 10% of our staff was national board-certified,” said Leeds Schools Superintendent John Moore.
Moore added that more than 10% of Leeds teachers are nationally certified, estimating 13% to 14%. Allen expressed her appreciation to the Leeds school board and briefly discussed the process of getting her certification.
“It means so much that y’all support this,” Allen told the board. “I know the value of this, of going to the UAB cohort, working with some of those teachers and then talking at the AP national conference and networking with different teachers. I know that there are very few and far between that still support teachers that do this.”
In other business, the board approved a field trip of 20 students to the 2021 presidential inauguration. Students will fly to Washington, D.C. where they will stay for five days until the inauguration concludes. In addition to flight costs, expenses will include food and security but will be paid by students, parents and chaperones through the travel company.
During the meeting, Moore said that progress on the press box at Leeds Middle School is still ongoing but that Feb. 1 is the estimated date of completion.
Moore also gave an update on the after-school supper program that was discussed in November, in which free meals can be given out to students to be consumed on campus. He said there were 11 days of the program at the primary and middle schools and that there was $24,000 worth of reimbursement.
Moore said there were 13 days of the program serving breakfast and lunch at all four schools yielded $35,000 worth of reimbursement. Next week, the program will serve meals to students on the Leeds High School football team, as well as band and drama students.
Moore further commented that he attended a meeting of school superintendents where there “appears that there’s an understanding in the legislature and a desire to help K-12 with mental health.”
He said that there is a proposal that would fund social workers or counselors to work system-wide to train teachers on how to handle students with mental health issues. He also said at the meeting, other superintendents discussed “telecounseling” where mental health professionals can be contacted through online services such as Skype.
“There’s an eventual desire to have a dedicated person for the school,” he said. “I don’t know how far off we are from that, but any help would be fine. As I’ve discussed with several people, our teachers know trouble when they see it, but the problem is if the parent doesn’t follow through, there’s often not any place to send them. And that’s what we don’t always have the answer to.”
In other matters, the board approved a rental agreement with Mosaic Chapel to use the Leeds Elementary School gym for worship services. The board also approved a contract with EMCOR for heating and air conditioning.
The next session of the City of Leeds Board of Education will take place on Feb. 11 at the middle school library at 6 p.m.