In Superintendent Phyllis Edwards’ state of education address, she told the community that she was working to “turn this ship around.”

Although there are some who disagree with the direction, Edwards and her staff have been diligently working to adjust those sails.

If you peek over the sides, you can see it all around you.

The Dothan City School system is in the process of being revamped and reworked, top to bottom and inside out. Schools are being reconfigured to accommodate larger and varying student bodies and bringing some facilities up to ADA regulation.

City workers, school board employees, and contracted laborers can be seen at many of the locations completing heavy construction projects and updating and renovating classroom spaces, hallways and bathrooms.

Nearly all teachers are getting new digs. Those at Faine Elementary have opted to paint their own classrooms.

Fresh lacquer won’t be the only whiff of change, however – not even close.

Edwards has been working with administrators to dig into policies, procedures, and finances.

“There is virtually not an area that I haven’t reviewed or worked on to make function better for students and teachers,” Edwards wrote in her superintendent’s report to the board.

Every statute and practice in every handbook and guide has been combed over and compared to the actual practices of teachers and administrators at the schools.

To get students, parents, and those charged with enforcing those policies on the same page, a 422-page Student Progression Plan was born. In an earlier article, I wrote about how the guide would standardize practices among schools and create an easier transition through different schools.

The guide also features a clarification to the board policy that clarifies policies regarding promotion and retention.

It also includes a lengthy list of courses and their descriptors available to students, with more advanced placement courses than ever before. Bill Singleton, Dothan High’s principal, said at an earlier meeting that he believes it is important to provide high-level classes at the school for students who may not have access to dual enrollment courses.

Other recent changes include:

>> Dothan Preparatory Academy is getting a new entrance from South Alice Street for carpool Lanes.

>> Dothan Prep and Dothan High are getting mobile carts with grab ‘n’ go-style meal options for students to eat away from the dining hall.

>> The recently approved code of conduct features harsher punishments for Class III offenders and a return to a uniform policy for all K-12 students.

>> DCS is switching to Kelly Services for all substitute staffing.

>> Central Office staff is advertising for a Public Information Officer and a Director of Career and Technical Education.

>> The board agreed on a revised bell schedule that brings dismissal times a little closer together.

On the horizon:

>> The board is considering approving a plan that would require more credits to receive a Dothan High School diploma. (I’ll have more on that soon.)

>> Director of Safety, Security, and Attendance Scott Faulk will hold parent meetings in the beginning of July to get feedback about the cell phone policy. The date will be advertised in the Eagle.

>> The board is continually approving new personnel.

….. And the winds of change keep a comin’. So stay alert.

The next Dothan City School board meeting is July 15, with a work session on July 11, although it was mentioned at Thursday’s meeting that there will likely be another specially-called meeting before that time.

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