School board votes on new handbooks

Huntsville School District Superintendent Dennis Fisher (left) addresses the school board in a special-called meeting Thursday.

The Huntsville School Board voted last Thursday in favor of the recommended 2019-20 handbooks, which had omitted a previous proposal to reduce the number of graduating valedictorians to a single student.

“They took everything out,” Huntsville School Board President Danny Thomas told the board regarding the valedictorian proposal. “It stayed exactly like it has been in the past.”

The board voted in its regular monthly meeting on July 8 to table the recommended changes to the student handbooks. Speaking on behalf of a committee at the high school, Principal Roxanne Enix presented the proposal before the board and said that, if approved, graduating classes from 2023 on would have one valedictorian and one salutatorian. Currently, any student with a grade point average exceeding a 4.0 is recognized at graduation as a valedictorian.

“In 1990, the school board approved that year to allow anyone with a 4.0 GPA or higher that met the core [requirements] for High Honors would graduate as a valedictorian, and the next person would be a salutatorian,” Enix told the board at its July 8 meeting. “That was a local decision.”

Board members at that meeting responded with concerns that by removing the valedictorian title from anyone with above a 4.0, it could reduce the student’s chances for a scholarship or prove a deterrent to excel in the classroom. In an online poll at, 60.2 percent of voters approved of the proposal to drop down to one valedictorian.

One large change that will be enacted at the high school with last Thursday’s approval is that certain Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses will be eligible for high honors credits.

Per the handbook, a high honor graduate must complete nine honors or AP courses, with a minimum of two AP courses in either math, science or social studies. Two sets of the following CTE courses can be used as part of the nine required hours:

• Automotive: Electrical Systems and Engine Performance

• Agriculture: Poultry Science and Agri Metals

• EAST: EAST 3 and 4

• Business: Marketing and Marketing Management

• EMS: CERT and Fire 2

• FACS: Orientation to Teaching I and II

• Computer Science: Robotics I and II.

Honor graduates must complete at least four honors or AP courses with a minimum of one AP course in math, science or social studies, and one of those CTE courses may be used as part of the required four hours.

In other business last Thursday:

• The board approved a resolution recognizing the board and previous Superintendent Tammi Davis for their work toward passing the district’s 3.9 mill increase in May.

Per the resolution, “any and all construction plaques placed within any and all buildings constructed as a result of the successful passage of the 2019 millage tax shall include” the names of Davis and the board members who were active during the campaign.

The millage increase will fund an activity center, two CTE facilities and air conditioning at the Charles H. Berry and St. Paul gymnasiums. Davis left the district at the end of June.

• The board voted to remove Davis from all district-related bank accounts and add Superintendent Dennis Fisher to them.

• The board approved the resignation of Stephanie Reid, Huntsville High School FACS teacher.

• The board approved the following hires: Calance Griffith, Huntsville Middle School custodian; Johnnie Whittle, HHS custodian; Kelli Hafen, HMS nurse; Kim Coles, HHS special education paraprofessional; Mary Beth Ivie; HMS FACS teacher; Lenilla Daniel, Huntsville Intermediate School resource teacher; and Emma May, HIS teacher.

• The board approved the following transfers: Tynette Brown from food service to HIS custodian; Laura Aynes from dyslexia interventionist and special education aide to full time dyslexia interventionist; Mike Keck from HIS maintenance to HMS maintenance; and Betty Jo Smith from HMS FACS to HHS FACS.

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