Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Morgan Cornelison

Here is an article that appeared in the Athens News Courier about Morgan Cornelison who tragically lost her life earlier this year. Click here for the article.

Not Your Typical AG Teacher

Not Your Typical AG Teacher
by Rusty Bates

When you walk into the Agri-science area of Ardmore High School, you quickly notice a major difference from most Alabama AG areas. The classroom is very similar to most in nearly all aspects. The shop is filled with welders, framing tools, and all kinds of equipment. The students are your typical teenagers learning new skills for the first time. The difference that sets this program apart is the teacher, Mrs. Lauren Graham. You read that correctly; the AG teacher is a female.

Lauren (Curtis) Graham grew up in Ardmore on the family farm. She attended Ardmore High School. After graduation, marriage, and the birth of her first child, she decided to go back to school. Agriculture is what she knew and loved. She chose to pursue that passion as a career. Her career choice would lead her to east Tennessee and then back home to her alma mater, Ardmore High School.

Graham understands that most students today don’t get the opportunity to grow up on family farms as she did. The Ardmore community is rapidly growing with subdivisions popping up everywhere. She feels that it is important to teach students and to make them understand that the very fiber of who we are and that the foods we eat all stem from agriculture. Mrs. Graham feels that this message is vital to our young people today.

There are many challenges facing teachers today. Graham says that being part of such a small minority can be one of those challenges. The state of Alabama currently has 306 registered Agri-science teachers. Only 17 of those are female. Graham relates this challenge with some of her earliest memories working on the farm with her mother. In her family, gender didn’t matter; finishing the job did. To her, hard work is just a way of life.

Graham credits her mother and father for her hard work and her success. She is very thankful for their support. She also speaks highly of her teachers and advisors at Middle Tennessee State University for their support as well. Former Ardmore Agri-science teacher Joe McKay also had a huge part getting her where she is today. Graham feels it an honor to succeed McKay, who retired last year.

Lauren Graham believes agriculture is all about life lessons, and from her personal life experiences, she has plenty to share. With the population growth of today, farmers are expected to feed more people on less land. New age farming technology must mesh with one of the oldest professions known to man. Mrs. Graham is certainly doing her part to help this process.

Note: Ardmore High School currently offers classes in Agricultural Exploration (which covers all things agricultural), Agri-construction Framing, Residential Wiring, and Metal Fabrication, all of which Mrs. Graham teaches. Ardmore chapter of The Future Farmers of America has 96 members and competes in 7 different competitions throughout the year.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Parts of No Child Left Behind an 'abomination,' Alabama school leaders, congressmen agree

Here is a very interesting by the assistant state superintendent, Dr. Tommy Bice.
Click here for the article.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Interesting article about the debate in Alabama over the state legislature mandating the starting date for schools. Click here for the the article.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Athens Utilities

We are excited about a new opportunity for our community to help our school. Athens Utilities has agreed to allow us to ask the community to donate a monthly portion of their utility bill to Ardmore high school. We have forms at school that you must fill out if you are interested and we will return them to Athens utilities. Please have your student pick up a form or come by the school and pick one up. We will also have them at some of the sporting events and posted on the website. We hope you will be able to help us with this endeavor. Please look under the FORMS section on the website for the necessary form.

Counselor's Cabinet

If you haven't seen our "Counselor's Cabinet" please check it out at http://www.ardmorehigh.org

Our high school counselor Ms. Leigh Ann Brown has created this especially for our seniors, but if you have a child in high school this is a great place to help with planning your child's future.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Local School Funding

Many people aren’t aware of how local schools are funded and I would like to help shed a little light on this situation. I firmly believe that communication is vital and everyone knowing the fact can only help any situation. The state and federal funding of schools is a very complicated process and varies depending on the part of the country or state your school system is located This article will focus on the individual schools (specifically Ardmore High School) and how they secure and distribute their funds. These tough economic times cause every budget to be strained and the individual local schools are no exception. We will be asking for more help than before and people need, and deserve, to know the facts about school finances.

In years past the local schools received state and local funding to purchase items needed for daily operations. The schools got money specifically targeted for technology, professional development, janitorial supplies, instructional supply money, and common purchase money to be used for paper. In addition to this money the district was able to purchase certain items for the local school as needed. Years ago this would include desks, chairs for computer labs, computers, and other supplies schools need in order to operate. Due to the recent economic downturn the individual local schools in Limestone County do not receive money from the state or the district for these items.

Of course payroll, electric bill, and the “big ticket” items are still paid for by the district, but money for day to day purchases is no longer available. As a result we rely solely on the money we are able to raise through fundraising and things like pictures and vending machines. For example, we spent a great deal of money each year on janitorial supplies for items such as toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, lawn mower repair, and many other items. Although we were very fortunate this year to have a lot of paper donated by the employer of one of our parents, as a general rule we must buy all of the paper we use for copying machines.

In addition to items previously mentioned we also must replace our technology when it breaks down. In the past the district was able to help with this, but now their funds have been cut so much for the most part they are no longer able to help. For example, one bulb in some of our projectors start at $200 and some bulbs are even more expensive. When these bulbs go out we must purchase them and since we have projectors in every classroom and are tying to use them more often to cut down on paper costs it is vital for these bulbs to be replaced. Of course computers are like any other device in that they only work for a certain number of years. In previous years the district was able to help replace these items, but now this is largely the responsibility of the local school.

Many people think that sports programs cost the district a large amount of money, but our sports support themselves through gate receipts and fundraisers. The district pays the cost of coaching supplements, but in terms of day to day expenses the responsibility is left to the local schools. Each sport at Ardmore has its own account and must use this account to purchase the items needed for their sport. In addition to obvious items the sports purchase, the utility bills for their respective fields and concession stands must also be purchased from their account. Without the help of parents, booster organizations, and the local community the sports programs would not have the facilities we currently are blessed to have on our campus.

The Limestone County School Board and central office has done an incredible job of being visionary and cutting back before other systems saw the need to do so, and this has helped us be in better shape than many systems across the state of Alabama and the country. This is a very difficult time for us all but we will weather this storm as we have others, and the quality of education your students receive will continue to be exemplary. The continued support from the town of Ardmore and the surrounding communities will be vital to our success as a school. Thank you for all of your support and we know that working together we will become stronger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Child Left Behind

The phrase, "No Child Left Behind" conjures up varying images in the minds of educators as well as the general public. Here is an article about the dialogue surrounding the re-authorization of this act. Click here for the article.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Helping School Tags

We are asking that parents help our school by purchasing a "Helping Schools" tag when they renew their car tag. I have included a link to the website and I have personally checked out the procedure and can tell you that we receive a check once a year from people that designate Ardmore High School to receive the money. We receive approximately $10 from the $15 tag. Click here for more information.


Here is a newsletter published by the Alabama State Department of Education that has some interesting articles. Please click here to view.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dropping out of School

Here is a very interesting article about dropping out of school. There are some very staggering statistics in this article. Click Here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Teachers Wished You Knew

Here is an article you may find interesting. We have great parents, and parental support, and we truly appreciate the parental support. Her is the link.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baseball Game Change

The baseball game has been re-scheduled for 4:00 today instead of 5:00 due to the weather.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Article About IQ

I am a little tired of putting articles about budget cuts and other bad news on the blog so I wanted to put an article that is interesting and related to education. While it is important to be informed about the economic situation, we can't dwell on it and have to focus on positive things as well. Click here to view the article.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Career Technical Center

For those of you that may want more information about the Career Technical Center please click here to take you to their website.

Comprehensive Course Offering Book

Here is the link to the Comprehensive Course Offering Book to help parents as they prepare for pre-registration. We are available to answer any specific questions you may have about your student's schedule.