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Students on course to complete work in May

By Michael Butler

Tallassee grade school students are a few weeks into coursework that will round out the school year. Some are completing their studies in paper packets. Others are using iPads. According to superintendent of schools Wade Shipman, things are rolling along fairly smoothly.

"We're doing the best we can in these circumstances," Shipman said. "The state came out with critical standards that we needed to finish. The assignments that we've given out are supposed to target those standards. We've encouraged every school to reach out to their teachers and teachers to their students."

Shipman said that work is getting turned in despite snags that can occur with lack of internet for some.

"Communication is part of the key. If you're having issues, reach out and contact your teacher or administrator. We have a contract with our internet provider. We're in the process of adding two additional access points on the exterior of the three campuses, so we have internet access for the student devices. It's kind of an extended hotspot on the exterior of the campuses.

"Hotspot access in the community is an issue. That's why we have packets. The elementary school handed out over 600 packets. That's a challenge."

Tallassee Elementary (Pre-K - 4th) students do not utilize iPads which are in place for students in middle school (5th-8th) through high school (9th-12th).

"There are a lot of things that are the same. One of the things I did stress is that we don't need to send a bunch of busy work home. It's a difficult time. I've heard people say, 'Is this going to push a lot of people into virtual school?' I really don't think so. A gentleman was asked, 'How is it being the teacher?' He said, 'I'm not the teacher. I'm the principal.' I thought that was a good perspective."

Senior Night Awards will be conducted online on May 7. Shipman added that the expectation is to finish work by the end of May.

"We have up until June 5 to finish out our year as needed. We're kind of on a wait and see on a decision about graduation. We feel like May 1, we'll start getting the idea if Alabama is starting to resume normal activities."

A decision on conducting some type of ceremony for graduation is still up in the air.
Photo by Kyle Thornton