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May 3, 2013 BCS News and Notes


All info and pictures from http://www.bhamcityschools.org
BCS News & Notes
A newsletter for parents, students, staff and community
May 3, 2013

Dr. Michael Froning will be missed

Dr. Michael Froning was a friend to Birmingham City Schools, both the children who attend them and the educators who work in them.

For the past three years, Froning was the executive director of the Birmingham Education Foundation, an organization that was formed out of the Yes We Can! Birmingham! movement to provide support for the school system.

Those of us who have worked hand in hand with Froning on those efforts were tremendously saddened May 1 when we learned of his sudden death.

Froning led the education foundation in raising funds to support initiatives, including the district’s career academies, Parent University, increasing Advanced Placement courses and enhancing principal leadership. Those things are essential to the future of the system.

Froning was truly an educator. He began his career as a classroom teacher nearly 50 years ago. He came to Birmingham in 1991 to begin the math and science program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. In 1999, he became the dean of the School of Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he served until February 2010.

While at UAB, Froning worked closely with BCS in a number of initiatives. Already a familiar face to many in the system, he was a natural to be the foundation’s first director.

Froning has been a tremendous supporter and asset to the improvement of education in Birmingham. His contributions will have a long-lasting impact.

Craig Witherspoon

Birmingham City Schools

Christian, Ramsay teams win Academic Bowl finals 

Elementary, middle and high finals held a one event
W.J. Christian’s winning elementary team

Hundreds of parents and other supporters gathered at the McWane Science Center May 2 for the final rounds of the Birmingham City SchoolsAcademic Bowl competition.

Preliminary rounds for the elementary, middle and high school divisions had been held in April, with the top two teams in each level meeting at McWane for the finals.

In the elementary division, W.J. Christian K-8 School’s team won the final round against Glen Iris Elementary School.

Christian’s middle school team also won, besting Jones Valley K-8 School.

An awards ceremony followed the

W.J.Christian’s winning middle school team

competition. American Idol and Huffman High School graduate

Ruben Studdard surprised the students by reading their names as they came forward to receive medals and team trophies.

Phillips Academy placed third in both the elementary and middle schooldivisions. Woodlawn High School came in third in the high school division;

Ramsay’s winning high school team


Ramsay senior named Alabama Public Television Young Hero 

Charles I. Caldwell Jr. has excelled despite numerous challenges

Ramsay High School senior Charles I. Caldwell Jr. has been selected as an Alabama Public Television 2013 Young Hero. He is one of five Alabama students honored this year for accomplishments in academics and community service. Charles is being honored for overcoming adversity and inspiring others through deeds and strength of character.

Most candidates for the Young Hero honor are nominated by a single person. Charles, however, was nominated by a team of Ramsay teachers.

At the age of 9, Charles was diagnosed with disseminated glioneuronal tumors. The tumors had spread throughout his brain and spine, requiring him to undergo chemotherapy for a year. He suffered from seizures associated with the presence of the tumors. After the year of treatment, the spread of the tumors seemed to have been halted, but Charles was left with nerve damage in his arms and legs.By 2008, he had developed scoliosis and had to undergo corrective spinal surgery.

In November 2011, Charles was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. The condition required the placement of a shunt to drain the excess fluid from his brain. In July 2012, an MRI indicated the growth of one of the tumors, which means that Charles is undergoing a new regimen of chemotherapy.

In addition to these medical battles, the Caldwell endured a great family tragedy when Charles I Caldwell Sr. passed away within a month after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

In the face of all this, Charles never ceased the struggle to not only survive, but to excel. French instructor Julian Brooks wrote, “Charles embraces life and greets everyone with the most positive attitude. I have never seen him in a bad mood, even when he is weak and nauseated by treatments.”

Charles is a member of the percussion section in the Ramsay band. Band Director Anita Dye commented, “It was a joy to see him attempt and become successful at the maneuvers and routines. He serves as a wonderful example for others to follow.”

An excellent scholar, Charles also participates in the Golden Pen Club, the tennis team and theschool choir. He is a volunteer at the McWane Science Center, the community garden program and the Brother Bryan Mission to feed homeless people. Active in the ministries of his church, Charles also serves as the church’s official drummer.

After graduating from Ramsay in May, Charles plans to attend Lawson State Community College to study in pre-nursing. He plans to transfer to the University of Alabama at Birmingham and major in biomedical engineering. He wants to research cancer in hopes of finding a cure.

Camp Birmingham registration under way 

Camp is set forJune 3 to July 11 at five sites
Registration for Camp Birmingham is under way.
This is the 25th anniversary of the day camp program, which provides students with academic enrichment and recreational opportunities.
Camp is scheduled Mondays through Thursdays June 3 through July 11. Sites this year are Parker High School, Smith Middle School, Hayes K-8 School, Hemphill Elementary School and South Hampton Elementary School.
The fee is $85.
Click here for a flyer with more information.

Team of Huffman Middle teachers wins grant 

Money will pay for study in Ireland

A team of teachers from Huffman Middle School has been awarded a grant that will pay for them to study in Ireland this summer.

Each year, national nonprofit Fund for Teachers asks educators across the country how they can grow as professionals. This week, Fund for Teachers announced $2 million in grants for 534 teachers to turn their ideas into action.

Alabama teachers from 22 schools in 16 districts were given grants.

At Huffman Middle, teachers Nefertari Yancie, Veronica Simmons, Donna Jones and Contanika Johnson will be able to research the cause of Ireland’s “Great Hunger” and how the famine forced migration of millions of Irish immigrants to America to highlight ties between the Irish and African-Americans, a culture also subjected to forced immigration.

The team’s grant is for $9,830, or $2,457.50 each.

Fund for Teachers partners with Alabama Public Television to administer grants across the state.

“This is only the second year Fund for Teachers grants have been available in Alabama and we are very pleased with quality of the many applications we received,” said Cindy Kirk, vice president of educational services for APTV. “Teachers awarded proposed creative and compelling ideas and demonstrated a deep commitment to students and to their own learning.  We are confident that the educational experiences made possible by Fund for Teachers will provide powerful lessons that teachers can integrate into rich learning experiences for students.”


Charge! Huffman enginering students enter competition 

Electric car race held at Barber Motorsports Park

Students from Carver High School’s Academy of Engineering got a real charge out of the recent Electrathon Vehicle Competition held at Barber Motorsports Park. The students had built an electric car that then raced with others at the track.

Carver engineering students built an electric car and raced it

Carver and 13 other teams participated in the event. The race provided a valuable hands-on learning experience for the students and an opportunity to learn from with community partners from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Academy of Engineering Advisory Board members.

While most schools received their car kits in January, Carver students had to complete the construction in approximately three weeks. Advisory Board member Jim Dorsten from Alabama Power played a key role in mentoring the students during the planning and building stages to create the car. “The Carver students have made me proud in this race because they not only built their car in record time but competed at the highest level,” he said.

Senior Victoria Taylor had the honor of driving the car in competition. “The car drove very well.  I was able to maneuver the car in any direction smoothly. It was an experience totally different from what I was used to. It was not like driving a regular car!” she said.

The project allowed students to see their hard work put to real life use. In addition, they learned lessons to carry on with them in their future engineering careers. Freshman Izai Lewis stated, “As a whole, the experience taught me how important accuracy is in the engineering field. I was excited to learn how to wire an electric car using two 12-volt batteries, and Mr. Dorsten taught us how to put the motor in without interfering with the back wheel. It took a lot of team work to create Carver’s first electric car.”

Academy student Jharin Dunson agrees that a successful project begins with a united team. “You must learn the concept of teamwork. I also learned that you need to the know constraints of building an electric vehicle. You must brainstorm the layout of the vehicle, and safety is always first,” he said.

Most importantly, students were able to apply what they learned beyond the project. “There were a lot of high-end cars everywhere, and racing our cars where those cars race all the time was a fun experience. When I saw the expensive cars at the race track, I thought about how those cars were engineered and I tried to tie it to how we built our car,” said freshman Gerardo Soto.

Four lacrosse players win scholarships 

Students play for Birmingham Magic club team

Four lacrosse players from high schools in the Birmingham City Schools have signed for scholarships to play lacrosse at the college level.

The four play for Birmingham Magic, a club team consisting of students from Parker, Woodlawn and Ramsay high schools.

Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America and Birmingham is quickly becoming a hub for talent.

The students who received scholarships are:

  • Justin Evans, Woodlawn High, Tennessee Wesleyan College, Tennessee
  • Ryan Coleman ,Ramsay, Missouri State University
  • Deaquez McKinstry , Ramsay, Huntingdon College, Montgomery
  • Joshua Clayton, Ramsay, Huntingdon College, Montgomery

Birmingham Magic players have earned 18 scholarships in the past three years.


Norwood wins Clean Campus Contest 

Hayes and Robinson place second and third

Norwood Elementary School has won first place in the Keep Birmingham Beautiful Commission’s Clean Campus Contest.

Hayes K-8 School placed second, and Robinson Elementary School came in third.

Schools that entered the contest will participate in the Great American Clean-Up Celebration at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 9, at Linn Park.

Norwood students will demonstrate how they will prevent littering, promote recycling and do things to improve the environment.

Carver students compete in UAB egg drop 

Team places third in engineering challenge

Seven teams totaling 17 studens from Carver High School competed in the recent 24th annual Brent Newman Memorial Egg Drop Competition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Engineering

Carver students competed in the UAB egg drop

The competition draws elementary, middle, and high school students from all around the central part of the state. Students design and build devices they hope will keep a raw egg from breaking when dropped from the rooftop of a UAB building.

The Carver team of Alexander Mays, Keyana McErath and Tyler Sadler placed third in the high schooldivision with their successful and creative entry.

The day included a tour of the different engineering labs at UAB and the opportunity to engage in different engineering experiments and tasks, including the interactive 3-D surround Vid-cube room.

Bush students look to the future 

Visit to Miles shows teens possible careers

students at Bush Middle School are looking to the future, and some are already making commitments to area universities and colleges.

Bush eighth-graders recently paid a visit to Miles College during Career Awareness Week. The objectives of the trip were to expose students to prospective studies and careers. The program’s co-coordinator spoke to the students about how to develop new skills through rigorous classes, clubs and activities.

Students had a chance to conference with Miles College’s counselors and advisors, current students, lecturers and professors about college preparation, responsibilities, exciting college campus life and future careers for college students.

Students also learned about Miles College’s campus policies, procedures and  requirements for college enrollment and graduation. After the visit, several students made verbal pledges to attend Miles College, and others expressed appreciation for the trip saying that it has convinced them to work towards successfully completing high school and attending college.

Parent focus group to meet May 7 

Group will discuss strategic plan
Parents and guardians of children in Birmingham City Schools are welcome to participate in a parent focus group on the update of the district’s strategic plan.
The session is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in the auditorium of the Davis Center, 417 29th St. South.

Vulcan offers teachers free admission May 7 

Teachers must show identification card

Vulcan Park and Museum is offering all teachers free admission Tuesday, May 7, as a way of showing appreciation for the hard work they do for their students.

Teachers must show a teacher identification card to get free admission.

The observation tower is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, and the museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Huffman teacher recognized by CBS 42 

Mary Humphrey receives $1,000

Mary Humphrey, a cosmetology teacher at Huffman High School, was surprised recently when representatves of CBS 42 came to see her. She had been chosen as a winner of the station’s “One Class at a Time Grant” grant.

Th honor included a check for $1,000. She plans to use the money to take students to a hair show in Atlanta.

Click here to watch a video clip of the presentation.

Sun Valley class expands social studies lessons

Field trip Vulcan included

Patricia Kimber’s second grade class at Sun Valley Elementary School has been studying Our Country Today, monuments and motto in social studies. The lessons have gone a lot further than

Patricia Kimber’s students love learning

what students read in a social studies book.

The study coincided with their reading selection for the week,”Red, White, and Blue” by John Herman. In addition the students took a trip to Vulcan Park and Museum.

Many students, as well as some parents, had never been to Vulcan. They were introduced to Vulcan, “The Iron Man,” through use of the Promethean board, computer, videos, books and other readings before the field trip.

On the tour, the docents were quite surprised by the many questions that students answered correctly,and their easy recognition of many images. At the end of the tour, friendship/ freedom bracelets were given to the students.

The children and the parents came back with a vast amount of knowledge concerning the history of Birmingham. Visitors to Sun Valley may stop in the hallway near Mrs. Kimber’s room and read the many descriptive paragraphs of their trip to Vulcan Park and Museum on display that were written by her students.


Coming events 

The Birmingham Board of Education will have a special caled meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7,in the auditorium of the Administration Building,2015 Park Place.
The Birmingham Board of Educatin will have a regularly scheduled meetng at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, in the auditorium of the Administration Building, 2015 Park Place.

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This entry was posted on May 3, 2013 by in News and Events and tagged , , .