Pathways to Excellence

A Monthly Newsletter from Shelby County Schools

September 2021

Welcome back to school for the 2021-2022 school year! While the start of the school year has been met with continued challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, we are excited about what the entire school year has to offer.
Back 2 School 2021

New Administrators for the 2021-2022 School Year

Meet the new school and district administrators recently approved by the Shelby County Board of Education:

Chelsea High School Student Named National Merit Semifinalist

Congratulations to Lily Dong from Chelsea High School who has been named a National Merit Semifinalist. She is among the 16,000 nationwide to be named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. These 16,000 students will be competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered in the spring.

Oak Mountain High School Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Four students from Oak Mountain High School have been named National Merit Semifinalists. Logan Camp, George Graham, Cade May, and William Stone are among the 16,000 nationwide to be named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. These 16,000 students will be competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered in the spring.
2021-2022 Project SEARCH Cohort Group

Project SEARCH Recognized With Employment Award

Congratulations to the Project SEARCH program, which recently received recognition as the winner of an Excellent Outcome Award recognizing that the 2019-2020 intern cohort achieved between 70% to 90% employment. (Pictured are students participating in the 2021-2022 cohort.)

Project SEARCH is a transitional program for high school students who are between 18 and 21 years of age and are in their last eligible year of high school. They participate in three 10- week internship rotations where they learn various job skills that will help them gain competitive employment within the community once the program is completed.

The national Project SEARCH organization awards the Excellent Outcome Awards to recognize programs that achieve between 70% to 100% employment for all participants in a given program year. The awardees are recognized at a formal awards ceremony at the Project SEARCH International Conference each summer. Due to COVID-19, the 2019-2020 cohort is just being recognized for their employment achievement.

Shelby County Schools Recipient of Community Partner of the Year Award from The Arc of Shelby County

Shelby County Schools has received the Community Partner of the Year award from The Arc of Shelby County. The award was given during a special virtual ceremony held on September 16. According to Jennifer Thomas, Transition Specialist Trainer with The Arc of Shelby County, Shelby County Schools was chosen for the award because of the many years of partnership and collaboration with Project SEARCH and The Arc of Shelby County's Summer Youth Program.

"We value our ongoing collaboration and partnership with The Arc of Shelby County," said Special Education Coordinator Marla Aldrich. "The work they do with the families we have the pleasure of serving together is tremendous."

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Chelsea High School Selected as First Alabama Chapter Location for Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA)

Donate Life Alabama and Legacy of Hope are pleased to welcome Chelsea High School as the first chapter in Alabama for students advocating for organ donation. The national organization, Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) recently approved the school as the first of its kind in the state.

“It speaks volumes that we have a group of students who understand the great need for organ donation and are eager to learn and support our mission,” said Ashley Anderson, Legacy of Hope Community Liaison. “We want to thank the faculty, staff, and especially the students at Chelsea High School for working so hard to be the inaugural chapter in the state.

“Student Organ Donation Advocates is a non-profit organization that inspires and supports student-led organ donation education and registration efforts through high school and college chapters.

“The students of the Chelsea High School Healthcare Academy and HOSA – Future Health Professionals chapter are thrilled to partner with Legacy of Hope and SODA National to launch the first Student Organ Donation Advocates chapter in Alabama,” said Andrea Maddox, RN and advisor for the school’s HOSA and SODA chapters. “Our student leaders are excited to partner with these amazing organizations to begin the life-saving work of educating their peers about the critically important need for organ donation registration.”

Interested students should visit for more information about creating a SODA chapter in their schools.

Legacy of Hope is Alabama’s federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation for transplant and research. Founded in 1979, Legacy of Hope is a mission-driven organization that builds broad-reaching alliances to educate people about the importance of organ and tissue donation and inspire them to become donors.