By J.R. Tidwell
TRUSSVILLE — The main items of business at Monday evening’s meeting of the Trussville City Schools Board of Education were to congratulate two groups on awards they had achieved.
The first group honored was from Paine Elementary School, as the institution recently received a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award.
Among the group recognized was Paine Elementary Principal Dr. J. Tygar Evans.
“I feel like we have a great school at Paine Elementary,” Dr. Evans said. “Our parents do a great job, and so do our teachers. You always look for outside recognition for your school, so I did some research. This was one program that I thought could show off our school. That’s how the process started.”
According to the organization’s website, “Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Inc. (BRSE), has worked over the years to develop and refine a means for a school’s own stakeholders to assess the school’s performance and design program improvement initiatives focused on the results of that assessment.
“The Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award is a recognition program for schools of excellence and is not designed as a typical application process.”
“We checked into it, and we had to send in a lot of information,” Dr. Evans said. “We took some surveys from our students, teachers and parents. We sent in all of the achievement data for our students.
“There were 121 objectives we had to meet, and we were short on 12 of them. They gave us some suggestions, we put those in place, and then we received the recognition of being a Blue Ribbon Lighthouse school.
“The BRSE Blueprint for Excellence is designed to be a positive school improvement process that covers nine major categories of critical performance elements found in excellent schools,” according to the organization’s website.
“Those categories are: Student Focus and Support, School Organization and Culture, Challenging Standards and Curriculum, Active Teaching and Learning, Technology Integration, Professional Community, Leadership and Educational Vitality, School, Family, and Community Partnerships and Indicators of Success.”
“Those nine major areas we felt we already had,” Dr. Evans said. “It helps to get someone from the outside to come in and verify those things. It is very affirming; we are very excited about it.”
Schools that were honored with the Blue Ribbon Lighthouse School Award were invited to send a delegation to a conference held earlier this month in Orlando.
“We took five teachers and myself,” Dr. Evans said. ‘You go there to receive the recognition, but more importantly there are other Blue Ribbon schools there, schools that have done extremely well nationwide.
“It’s basically an educational conference. We learned so much from other schools that are doing a great job with their kids. We shared data. Next year we will go and present at the conference.
“Personally it makes me feel good for our elementary school, for our school system and for the city of Trussville. I am proud we have this accomplishment, not just for the Paine community but for all of Trussville. It makes me very proud that this community has received recognition for the great job it does.”
The school board also recognized and congratulated a group from Hewitt-Trussville Middle School who was awarded the Alabama Middle Schools Computer Initiative Competitive Grant in the amount of $24,992.
The members of the grant team were Rachel Brockman, Michael Bufkin, Matthew Michalke, Jennifer Cardwell, Lisa Berry and April Chamberlain.