Martha LaCroix, director of accountability programs and support services for the Jasper City Schools, called students to the front of the auditorium to congratulate them and give each one a plaque of recognition of scoring a 30 or higher on the ACT.
“It’s a privilege for me, an honor for me, to be able to congratulate some of these students. ... What many of you don’t realize is that we have students who make 30 to 36, (which) is the top 5 percent in the nation, and those who make 34 or above are in the top 1 percent in the nation on the ACT,” LaCroix said. “On the ACT the score ranges from one to 36. So, tonight we are most honored to recognize some students who have made 30 or above. They are in the top 5 percent in the nation at Walker High School.”
The following students were recognized for their high ACT scores Monday night: Jean Paul Osula, Alyssa Knight, Hannah Langlois, Ryan McKay, Shelby Wesley, Madison Redmill, Jacob Runyan, Kylie Waid, Carson Chambers, Nathan Sanders, Callie Cross, Alex Page, Lucas Johnson, Logan Norris, Dustin Steffan, Liam Punton, Noah Naden and Ethan Freeman.
Runyan was also recognized Monday night as the 2013-2014 Class 5A, Region 7, Bryant-Jordan scholar athlete.
Jasper City Schools superintendent Robert Sparkman thanked parents and guardians who attended the meeting and for the outstanding work not only their children had accomplished, but also for the great work they have achieved as parents of those honored students.
“We have a lot of students who excel in a lot of different areas with all the programs in our district ... Tonight we have a particular emphasis with academics and our students who are excelling in the area of academics,” Sparkman said. “... One of the things that the ACT is, it’s kind of the end in mind for us as a school district. It’s a very good indicator of what has happened with our instructional program from kindergarten on up, so for this many to be doing so well is something for us to be very proud of.”
The last item covered on the agenda Monday night was an update on the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which are leadership principles developed by Stephen Covey. Jasper City Schools assistant superintendent Jean Lollar introduced the night’s two guest speakers and gave a brief overview of how the “Seven Habits” have played a role in the school district.
“I think we can say that we’re one of the, maybe the only, districts in Alabama, maybe the United States, that has implemented [the Seven Habits] district-wide, and we have a lot of schools in the county and in the area that have implemented ‘Leader In Me’ and ‘The Seven Habits for Teens’; however, I think we’re the only district that I know of that has done this district-wide,” Lollar said. “That’s really a great claim to fame. ... The seven habits are presented to adults and to students providing insight into meaningful ways, powerful ways, that students and adults can be successful.”
The programs for the school district are made available through funding thanks to its Excellence in Education fund in partnership with the Walker Area Community Foundation, Jasper Area Chamber of Commerce at T.R. Simmons through individual and private donations, federal funds like Title I and Title II.
Maddox Middle School teacher Christi Ballard and Walker High School student Elizabeth Ward gave their testimonies Monday night on how the “Seven Habits” is a “curriculum for life, not just a curriculum for school.”
Areas the pair covered included all seven of the habits: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand, then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw.
“The way I usually start off the year is with goal setting. Covey does a really great job talking about how it’s important to set up goals so that you can reach for something that is attainable,” Ballard said. “... Helping them understand that whatever cycle they’re in, whatever experience they’ve had as a child, or whatever their background is is not something they have to be confined to. I think as an educator that’s my goal through this.”
Ward gave her synopsis of the “Seven Habits” from a student’s perspective, saying, “These principles are really so basic but at the same time incredibly innovative because I don’t think we realize how much we don’t implement them into our day-to-day lives. So, I definitely took full advantage of learning about all the Seven Habits and how I could better myself from the inside out.”
The next Jasper City Board of Education meeting will be held May 19.