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MOBILE, Alabama The Mobile County school system held its annual meeting with business leaders and its legislative delegation on Tuesday at Murphy High School s Culinary Arts building.
The legislators and members of schools Superintendent Martha Peek s Business and Industry Roundtable heard reports on the district s initiatives, including the It Starts With Us marketing campaign; plans to add more career, or signature, academies in the high schools; how classroom instruction is changing to emphasize college and career ready standards; how the system is helping at-risk students get back on track for graduation; technology innovations; and plans for construction and renovation projects.
The state-of-the-system summit was also a chance for the school officials to thank the legislators for arranging for million in funding to repair Murphy, and to show off the renovated school, nearly a year after the struck the Midtown campus.
Legislators in attendance includedState Reps. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard; James Buskey, D-Mobile; Randy Davis, R-Daphne; Chad Fincher, R-Semmes; Victor Gaston, R-Mobile; and Jamie Ison, R-Mobile; and State Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile.
About 10,000 Mobile County students take a career tech course each year, said Larry Mouton, the school system's executive director of career and technical education, who stressed the system s effort to partner with business and industry and help students plan careers.
Karen Mohr, acting chief academic officer, said teachers were encouraging students to learn in groups and become problem-solvers. The district also wants to offer more professional development opportunities to its teachers as they implement Common Core standards, she said.
At-risk students have a number of options to complete their credits and graduate on time, said Terrence Mixon, executive director of student support services. The system s Twilight School classes are offered in every high school from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., three to four days a week, and have helped students who were under long-term suspensions to get back on track. Many students are more successful in the Twilight School than they are in the regular classroom, he said.
The is another option to help eighth-graders who ve fallen behind in school to earn high school credits and catch up to their peers, he said.
David Akridge, executive manager of information technology services, described the system s Bring Your Own Device program, and Dinish Simpson, chief financial officer, discussed funding needs and the effects of cuts in the state s education budget since 2008, including reductions or eliminations of funds for teacher training, supplies and textbooks.
In the last 14 months, the school system has spent about million in construction projects, said Tommy Sheffield, facilities manager, who also gave the guests an update on Murphy High School.
to make repairs at Murphy and to add portables to Clark-Shaw Magnet School to house the Murphy students while the work was done, he said.
In the next 36 months, the district plans to spend about 2 million on new construction, Sheffield said. That includes the that the school board approved in August 2012.
The new construction will also include million in reroofing projects and million for security enhancements at every school -- reinforced doors and a full system of video cameras and alarms, he said.
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