Sunday, April 12, 2009
By KENNETH KESNER -Huntsville Times
Times Staff Writer
More involvement by parents is one hope after session
Eddie Turner was in the pulpit Saturday morning, delivering
a fervent sermon on the importance of making sure all
students get the best possible education and preparation for
work so our country can prosper in the competitive global
"At the rate we're going, we're giving away
our standard of living," said Turner, principal of the
Huntsville Center for Technology. He was among the speakers
for an "education summit" to explore "Real
Challenges, Real Choices, Unified Solutions" held at
Union Hill Primitive Baptist Church, where about 150
parents, teachers and community leaders shared information,
ideas and experience.
The aim was to empower everyone who is willing to take
action that benefits the school systems, said the Rev. Dr.
Oscar Montgomery, pastor.
"It's going to take all of us," he said,
talking about the need to see teaching as a ministry rather
than a job if you want to make a difference.
Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore
discussed the system's strategic plan and curriculum
audit; Huntsville Times reporter Challen Stephens talked
about what he found in writing about student achievement and
testing; Barbara Williams of Huntsville City Schools Pupil
Services talked about student discipline; and Turner
addressed preparing students for the work force.
After the round of speakers in the morning, everyone met in
smaller groups on the impact of poverty, new teaching
strategies, family and parental involvement, student
perspectives and the A+ College Ready initiative to better
prepare students for rigorous college science and math
Moore fielded a number of questions from the audience,
ranging from how best to get district curriculum or testing
data to whether any federal economic stimulus dollars would
be coming to schools. When someone inquired about the
federal desegregation order the system operates under, she
pointed out that it must be seen as a city-wide issue, not
simply an education or schools problem.
"The school system is a reflection of the local
community," Moore said to applause.
She said people at the summit were responsive to what they
heard, that she expected it to spark dialogue and, perhaps,
"We need as much of that as we can get, as long as
it's positive," Moore said.
"We have people here who are listening intently,"
said Scott McLain, chairman of the Schools Foundation of
Huntsville and Madison County. He hopes that more people,
regardless of their job or role in the community, will
"buy in" to the idea that they must take
responsibility for helping make area schools the best they
"Education is the most important aspect of
Huntsville's quality of life and economic
development," he said.
Montgomery said the summit idea was, in part, born out of
"The frustration as a result of my observations about
the real and perceived inequities across the school
system," he said.
Laurie McCaulley, who represents northwest Huntsville on the
school board, was one of the summit organizers. She was very
pleased with the participants at the "grass-roots"
event, said they captured a great deal of information and is
optimistic they would follow up with action.
"They are truly committed to the process of making
things better," McCaulley said. "When you know
better, you do better."
original link: http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/12395277803050.xml&coll=1