by Donna Williamson

Opelika Observer


The Opelika City Board of Education approved the revised policy for graduation requirements during Tuesday afternoon’s monthly meeting. A minimum of 26 credits in grades nine through twelve must be satisfactorily completed in order to meet the graduation requirements. This includes four units each of English, mathematics, science, and social studies.

The Board also approved the adoption of new language arts textbooks for grades K-12. Dr. Brenda Rickett, assistant superintendent, explained that especially on the elementary level, the emphasis has shifted to reading more nonfiction than fiction, with added focus on critical thinking skills.

Dr. Farrell Seymore, Opelika High School principal, and Keith York, Opelika Middle School principal, shared additions to their curriculums.

Seymore explained that three technology courses will be added to the high school curriculum.  These include: an information technology fundamentals course, which is designed to introduce students to basic computer skills; Networking I, designed to provide students with skills involving a hands-on career-oriented approach to learning networking; and a course on information technology support services, which is designed to “prove” students with knowledge of computer hardware, operating systems, and software.

“These are appropriate courses for our community,” Seymore said.

According to York, the middle school is expanding the exploratory program by adding Spanish and Kodu, online software that teaches an introduction to computer programming.

Lee County Family Court Judge Mike Fellows presented Superintendent Mark Neighbors, along with each board member, a Character in Action certificate. Fellows commended them for “helping teach character” to students and for their assistance in further developing character through the “uncommon initiative” as presented in former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s book Uncommon.

In other action, the board:

– approved recommendations for personnel changes.

– approved a bid of $30,859.86 from Hawk, Inc. for the child nutrition program, which includes new steamers for Morris Avenue Intermediate School and Opelika Middle School and a convection oven for West Forest Intermediate School.

– approved a bid of $25,000 from TNT Maintenance for the exterior painting of Northside Elementary School.

– approved a bid of $30,000 from TNT Maintenance for the exterior painting of Southview Primary School.

– approved a bid of $11,100 from Colts for Yamaha Timpani  drums for the Opelika High School band.