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Jaramy and Alex Dozier, the salutatorian and valedictorian of Calera High School, were interviewed by Miss UAB Harley Chapin at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Jaramy and Alex Dozier, the salutatorian and valedictorian of Calera High School, were interviewed at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Helena Mayor Mark Hill speaks at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Sarah Elizabeth Shelton, a student at Elvin Hill Elementary, speaks at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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School booths allowed community members to learn more at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Harrison, a Forest Oaks Elementary student, presents a coding project at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Oak Mountain High School students Callen Popwell, Jackson Sauers, Will Rice and Luke Rakers at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Chelsea High School Principal Wayne Trucks and Chelsea High School Junior Class President Tanner Middleton at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer and Shelby County Manager of Community Services Reggie Holloway at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Kendall Williams, development and community relations director for the Shelby County Schools Educaction Foundation, speaks at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
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Superintendent Randy Fuller speaks at the Shelby County Schools Showcase luncheon on April 20, 2017.
Shelby County Schools are shifting their mission, Superintendent Randy Fuller told attendees at an April 20 Showcase Luncheon hosted by the Shelby County Schools Education Foundation.
When Fuller started as Superintendent of Shelby County Schools 11 years ago, they conducted a book study called “Good to Great” by John Maxwell, Fuller said. This was because many people believed they had a good system and wanted to work to become a great system.
“Well, 11 years later, we’re assuming a new position in our school system — it’s called ‘great to greater,’” Fuller said. “We believe that the best systems must keep getting better, as we continue to make great gains, as we continue to improve, we’re not going to rest on our laurels.”
The system aims for continued improvement through a focus on development of the “total child,” Fuller said, meaning they will focus on a child’s leadership skills as well as their academic success.
“Businesses ask for it, colleges have asked for it and as a parent and a grandparent, that’s what I want for my own child,” Fuller said. “We want them to take ownership of their own learning. We want them to set goals. We want them to be involved in student-led conferences.”
They also aim to provide experience in team building, time management and speaking and communication skills, as well as other skills that will “prepare them for life,” Fuller said.
“This initiative is a paradigm shift for Shelby County because not only are we maintaining that solid foundation of academic excellence … we want to better prepare our students,” Fuller said. “And if they are better prepared in these areas, as well as academics, it’s going to spill over into the academics and they will continue to do better.”
Elvin Hill Elementary School fifth grader Sarah Elizabeth Shelton walked the audience through some of the paradigm shifts at her school, while explaining the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, based on the book by Sean Covey.
“As you grow into these seven habits, you can’t help but be looked up to,” said Shelton, who has helped host student-led conferences and helped establish “Pride patrol,” which helps encourage students at her school to develop new, positive habits.
“We are seeing that our actions are making a difference, and it is so empowering to know that our teachers respect our opinions and are willing to release some of the decision making power into our hands,” Shelton said.
Some paradigm shifts Shelton said she has seen include realizing that all students have great potential and leadership abilities, and that change “starts with me,” rather than only starting with authority figures. There has also been a shift that encourages students to lead their own learning, she said.
On a recently state-issued report card, the Shelby County Schools System was one of 16 that received an “A,” and was the largest system to receive that grade, Fuller said. Dr. Lynn Cook, assistant superintendent of instruction, highlighted some of the instructional framework that she said helps bring continued improvement to the system.
“Instruction today is so much more than just those three [subjects],” Cook said, referring to reading, writing and arithmetic. “In our classrooms, it’s just full of energy, critical thinking, we have problem solving, we have experimentation, we have application of knowledge.”
They also work on higher level thinking skills to prepare students for their future journey, Cook said. Quality instruction in their schools come from their main goals, Cook said — to consolidate, to calibrate and to collaborate. She also reiterated one of Fuller’s points — that the people in Shelby County Schools are one of the system’s greatest resources.
“It’s because of the great people we have in our district,” Cook said. There’s no program, no activity we can do that takes place of the people that we have.”
Luncheon attendees also heard Helena Mayor Mark Hall, a graduate of Montevallo High School, speak and heard a question and answer period with Alex and Jaramy Dozier, identical twins set to graduate as valedictorian and salutatorian of their high school.