TCSS News & Notes - 4.9.21

News for Our Tuscaloosa County School System Community

Introducing a New Publication for Our TCSS Community

Welcome to TCSS News & Notes, a publication for our entire Tuscaloosa County School System community! This newsletter will be published twice a month and shared through our TCSS notification system and also available at our TCSS web site. TCSS News & Notes is a place where you can learn about some of the exciting activities and accomplishments happening within our schools, as well as important news and reminders. As we get this new publication started, we'll add additional features along the way. Thanks for taking a few moments to learn about what's happening within TCSS!
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What a wonderful experience for Brookwood Elementary School student Lily Jacobs and a group of BES teachers! BES Special Education Key Teacher Callie Miller recently ran the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon while pushing Lily, her student of three years. Ms. Miller and Lily were joined by BES Library Media Specialist Jolynn Fenton, Music Teacher Amber Hartley, and Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative specialist Kim West (also a former BES teacher). At the end, Ms. Miller helped Lily walk across the finish line.

Their participation in the half marathon was in conjunction with Ainsley’s Angels. This organization helps ensure everyone can experience endurance events, and builds awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Congratulations to Lily and her teachers on achieving such a meaningful accomplishment together!

Kindergarten Registration to Be Held Online

TCSS kindergarten registration for the 2021-2022 school year will be held online. The online registration portal will open later in the Spring. Once a specific date is determined, it will be posted on our TCSS web site and other official TCSS communication channels. Information will also be shared by our elementary schools. Please share this information with any families you know who have a student who will be five years old on or before September 2, 2021. We welcome next year's kindergarten students and their families to the Tuscaloosa County School System!

Alabama's Safer Apart Order & Masks in Our Schools

Alabama’s current Safer at Home Order, which includes the state mask mandate, expires Friday, April 9, at 5 p.m. At that time, Alabama will transition to a new Safer Apart Order, in which masks are no longer mandated statewide, but individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask when in public and in close contact with other people.

As we have throughout this school year, TCSS will continue operating under the current state health order. When the state mask mandate expires on April 9, TCSS will no longer require students, faculty, and staff to wear a mask. However, masks will certainly be allowed. The Safer Apart Order recommends the use of masks when in public and in close contact with others. In keeping with the Order, TCSS encourages the same.

Read more from the Office of the Superintendent about the Safer Apart Order and masks in our schools.

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TCSS is honored to be chosen as a 2021 Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education. Just seven districts nationwide received this distinction! TCSS was selected based on a program called RealTalk, in which our school counselors and social workers have participated in a year-long focus on building relationships to foster positive, candid conversations about race and other difficult topics. The RealTalk team (pictured above) has been invited to share their program with other educators from around the nation at the 2021 Model Schools Conference this summer. The team includes Greg Hurst, Director of Student Services; Cheryl Wallace, Director of Assessment; Jackie Hudgins, Director of Accountability; Suzette Wyatt, Attendance Officer; Ty Blocker, Coordinator of Student Services. Congratulations to this team on a big honor and for demonstrating such leadership and initiative. Read more about this achievement and the RealTalk initiative.

2021 High School Graduation Dates

We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2021! Graduation ceremonies will be held on each high school's campus this year. Graduation dates are:

Thursday, May 20, 2021 – Hillcrest High and Sipsey Valley High

Friday, May 21, 2021 – Brookwood High and Northside High

Saturday, May 22, 2021 – Holt High and Tuscaloosa County High

Each school will communicate additional details about ceremonies to students and families.

Read Our Latest COVID-19 Data Update

Every two weeks, TCSS publishes new data regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our schools. These updates are published on our TCSS web site. The most recent update, published April 5, is available here.
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TCSS is excited to announce that our Social Work Team has recently grown by five additional school social workers. TCSS thanks the Tuscaloosa County Commission for providing the funding for these new social workers. With the support of the Commission, and our continued partnership with Tuscaloosa's One Place Family Resource Center, TCSS now has a total of 14 social workers serving our students and families.

With increasing mental health needs among students, the services of social workers are essential. Learn more about our TCSS Social Work Team and meet our school social workers.

Academic Calendar Notes

  • Friday, April 16 is a regular school day for TCSS students, faculty, and staff. April 16 was a holiday on an earlier version of this year's academic calendar. An internet search may still return an image of this outdated calendar. A link to the correct calendar is always available at the home page of our TCSS web site. It is a black button near the top of the page. The updated calendar is also available in the News & Announcements section of our web site.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

DCH Health System has asked us to let our families know that there are appointments available this month for those who would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit their web site for more information and to make an appointment.

The Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency also has information about COVID-19 vaccine availability in our area.

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April 5 - 9 marks National Assistant Principals Week. TCSS is grateful for the work and dedication of our Assistant Principals. Thank you for what you mean to our students!
Be sure to check out the News & Announcements section of our TCSS web site for frequent news updates from our school system. You can access it from the home page, under "About TCSS" at the top of the page. Here's a few of the most recent stories:

Davis-Emerson Teacher Named Outstanding Alabama Middle School Science Teacher

Myrtlewood Elementary Selected for Alabama's P-3 Program

Child Nutrition Team Serves More Than 2.8 Million Meals Throughout Pandemic