By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE – The Trussville City Schools Board of Education approved a proposal by Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill to award school system employees extra money and to give teachers extra planning time. The approval came during the board meeting on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020.
All TCS employees will be given a $500 supplement in the month of September. Neill said the purpose of the extra money is to show gratitude for all that the employees have done in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have reimagined education and successfully reopened schools in the midst of a global pandemic,” Neill said. “I’ve never seen a group of dedicated professionals work as hard for the benefit of students. We are truly blessed in Trussville.”
Neill said leadership at schools and teachers have had to plan as changes are made at the state level and with Schoology and Schools PLP, the programs being used inside and outside classrooms.
“Truly, if we had given more time to become totally familiar with these programs, we would still not be open,” Neill said. “We got the email last week that things were being tweaked in Schools PLP. But changes seem to occur each week as new material is uploaded.”
The extra planning time will come in the form of additional teacher workdays. Sept. 8, Oct. 9 and April 23 will be teacher workdays. The time can be used for principals to direct professional development, grading days, collaboration with virtual teachers or anything teachers need to accomplish without students in the classroom.
“It will be very important for parents to know these dates in advance to plan for child care if they need it,” said Neill.
Neill said the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has already approved three additional workdays but a revised calendar will still have to be sent to the ALSDE.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Mandi Logan also announced that substitute teachers will be provided to provide relief for teachers.
“Schools can use them where they need them to help teachers get ahead or plan ahead, learn some more things about the virtual side of schools and use it for whatever they need,” Logan explained.
The school system has already received availability dates from multiple substitute teachers, according to Logan.
Paine Elementary School Principal Lisa Lothspeich said the extra help will be much appreciated among teachers.
“I want to thank the board for recognizing our teachers and staff,” Lothspeich said. “I will tell you I have ever been so proud to be part of a team. They have just done the unimaginable, honestly. I know we’re still learning some things and we’ve got a little bit of a learning curve, but I walk into a classroom and these kids are learning and they’re happy. There’s a sense of normalcy, too because of that.”