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Decatur School Board gets Talley Street school update, plans to join fiber optic network


Decatur School Board gets Talley Street school update, plans to join fiber optic network

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Maggie Fehrman speaks to the Decatur School Board. Photo by Sara Amis.


By Sara Amis, contributor 

The progress on the new Talley Street Elementary School was a focus of the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education meeting on April 16, 2019, along with the equity program and a possible new fiber optic network to be built in partnership with the city of Decatur.

Board Chair Lewis Jones recently attended a tour of the Talley Street Elementary building, still under construction, which he included in his chair report.

Jones said, “I was very impressed with how that building is coming together.”

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Jones also complimented Executive Director of Operations Noel Maloof for “keeping us on track, despite all of the challenges with the weather.” The building is scheduled to be open July 1.

Executive Director of Schools Maggie Fehrman presented the Talley Street Elementary progress report because Principal Billy Heaton was meeting with new staff and faculty. The School Leadership Team and Parent Teacher Organization have had initial meetings, and the school is taking bids for library materials. Transition meetings are being scheduled at all of the K-2 feeder schools in the spring, with a formal welcome and tour planned for the fall

Requests for proposals to complete Talley Street Elementary’s shade system, theatrical controls, audio visual systems and playground are all in process.

Equity Director Lillie Huddleston presented an Equity Report highlighting CSD’s participation in the Courageous Conversations About Race Affiliate Practitioner training program.

The original goal was to have two employees of the system attend the training; so far 12 have done so.  Rochelle Lofstrand, Curtis Armour Jr. and Chanell Huff-Cox and Heidi Whatley offered reflections on their experiences.

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Lofstrand, who is principal of Westchester Elementary, said she was applying what she learned in order to support teachers as they go through diversity training.  Armour, who is principal of Clairemont Elementary, agreed, saying “I’m especially excited to get the tools I need to assist our staff when they go through their Beyond Diversity training.”

Chanell Huff-Cox, the school nurse at Clairemont Elementary, said “I’m grateful that I’ve been able to go through the program. It has helped me evaluate my own views on race.”

Huff-Cox added, “We all know how meaningful the conversations can be, but also how emotional those conversations can be.”

Huff-Cox emphasized the importance of “wrapping our arms around our students, who need to know that we are there for them, regardless of our race.”

The board approved giving Superintendent David Dude authority to enter an agreement with the city of Decatur for the joint construction of a city and school underground fiber optic network.  The fiber optics will be the physical structure for a wide-area network that will provide for the internet connection needs for the City Schools of Decatur.

Installation will be the most expensive part of the project and will be shared with the City of Decatur.  The first-year capital costs for CSD will not exceed $700,000.

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