Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year

The end of a year is always a good time to reflect on the previous year and plan for the upcoming year. Every year has great moments and low moments. In school, we typically think about a new year starting in the fall, but the end of a calendar year is also a great time to reflect.
We all should ask ourselves if we have accomplished the goals we set for ourselves the previous year. If we have not accomplished our goals we should ask ourselves why. If we did accomplish our goals we should set new goals to accomplish the upcoming year.

Personal goals may relate to our health, our spirit, our family, our education, or any other aspect of our lives. We should never limit our goals to just one area of our lives, but consider ourselves as a whole. I hope each of us has a little time to reflect on the previous year and honestly analyze what we have done right and what we can improve.

A new year is an exciting time and there is never a wrong time to set new goals for ourselves. There is also never a wrong time to begin the improvements we want to see in ourselves. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step so we should never feel overwhelmed; but rather take the initiative to begin working on our goals, regardless of how daunting they may seem.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What is Most Important?

Any person, group, or organization can easily lose focus and forget the things that are most important. We are all extremely busy and “busyness” can get in the way of personal relationships, and business. Our main purpose in public education is to provide students with learning opportunities they will need for the remainder of their lives. Providing this education is a multifaceted endeavor and requires a multitude of people and resources.

Core classes are the most obvious venues to help provide this education, but elective classes, vocational classes, and extracurricular activities supplement the core curriculum. While all of these components are important, we must constantly be vigilant to ensure one area does not take undue preeminence over the others. There are trends in education just like any other aspect of our society and we must try and make sure the curricula and strategies we use are sound, and not just the latest, greatest idea.

Student safety never goes out of style and making sure our students’ needs are met is a big part of what we do. We have students that are hungry, tired, and abused which makes it very difficult to lead them to focus on their academic tasks. While schools were not created to address such issues our most important concern is our students because we know that unless physical and emotional needs are met the students will not receive the best education possible.  The job of the school is also to make sure we provide a safe haven for our students to grow, mature and learn. When human beings are placed together in large numbers there will invariably be conflict. Administrators must sometimes punish those that break rules, but we must also try and teach the desired behavior.

Sports, and other extracurricular are a very important part of school for sure, but they must not replace the academic instruction as the most important thing we do. During this semester break I hope we will all have time to reflect and refocus ourselves on our main job as students, parents, teachers and administrators to make sure we are spending our time wisely on what is most important. As the old saying goes, “Keep the main thing the main thing.”

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Crest on Tower

The front of Ardmore High School recently received a renovation during the construction of our new gym. The tower in front of the school now contains a copy of the school crest. The crest is a good addition to our school and helps top off the renovations. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thoughts on Public Education

Horace Mann is quoted as saying, “The public school is the greatest discovery made by man.” I don’t know if this is true or not, but I certainly believe public education is vitally important to the history, and future, of mankind.  A plaque in the Library of Congress reads, “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.”  Public education plays a vital role in a community, state, and a nation. The older I grow the more I believe in the importance of public education.  I have witnessed countless people’s lives enhanced by public education. Many people who have disdain for public education owe a debt of gratitude for their education although they do not recognize the impact of their education on their lives.

I have seen people succeed without an education, but I have never heard someone say they wish they had quit school, or had less education. I have heard adults cry while telling a child who is about to quit school that they didn't want them to make the same mistake they made by quitting school. I have witnessed parents beg their child not to quit school, but I have never witnessed a parent tell a child they quit school and were glad.

I have witnessed numerous people have productive and happy lives without a good education. They persevered by hard work, intelligence, and a never quit attitude despite a formal education. I think educators do a disservice and frankly are dishonest if we ever imply that an education guarantees wealth or happiness. There are no guarantees in life, but most civilized societies value an education and most tyrants fear an educated society.

I am not saying that public education is perfect and private schools and/or home schools certainly have their place.  However, in my opinion, in order to effectively educate society as a whole I truly believe in the value of public education. One of the wisest men I have ever known (my grandfather) only finished seventh grade. He quit to work on the family farm and his education served him well for his chosen lifestyle. He gave his first grandson to attend college some great advice as he was going off to college, “Son if you take a smart man and educate him you have a great thing, but if you take a fool and educate him you have an educated fool.” I have never forgotten that advice. Certainly an education will not make one wise but wisdom with knowledge is a powerful combination. 

As a school community we must constantly remind others the importance of public education. We must be our own advocates and we should not expect others to value what we do if we do not tout its value. In my opinion, public education is at a crossroads and without strong voices it could soon become a relic of a bygone time. Like everything, public education has changed through the years and the change has grown increasingly swift in the last few years. Some of the changes are exciting and hold great potential, but we must all work to ensure positive changes for the institution that has such a dramatic impact on something as precious as the lives of our children. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hunter's Highlights

Ardmore High School is always proud to help the Melissa George Foundation which supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Huntsville Hospital. Playing for Preemies was started by Mr. Rusty Bates, when he was assistant principal and athletic director at Ardmore. Rusty and his wife Kristen had their daughter Lauren at Huntsville Hospital. Lauren was born prematurely and spent several weeks in the NICU at Huntsville Hospital. Rusty and Kristen noticed the beds were furnished by the Melissa George foundation and vowed to help raise money. Every year t-shirts are sold and students at Johnson, Cedar Hill and Ardmore buy chances to Pie the Principal to help raise money. This year the students at the three schools will have raised over $20,000 in a five year period.

Our 6th and 7th grade students attended the Storytelling Festival in Athens. I heard from everyone that the performers didn’t disappoint and our students seemed to have a good time. It is important for our students to be exposed to as many experiences as possible to enhance their education. We are very fortunate our students have the opportunity to attend the event and we hope we are able to do this in the future.

Our chemistry students celebrated Mole Day this week. No we are not talking about the ugly, little, furry creatures that burrow in your yard. What is a mole you ask, well it is defined as, ” The quantity of anything that has the same number of particles found in 12.000 grams of carbon-12..” The exact definition may not make a lot of sense to most of us but think of a mole as simply a unit of measurement used when other units such as grams would be more difficult to use. A mole is also known as Avogadro’s number but Mole sounds better. Enough chemistry for the day, our students had a party to celebrate mole day and funny (or corny) jokes were place over the school to celebrate Mole Day. What is a mole joke you may ask, well here is an example, “Where did Avogadro stay on is vacation? A mole-tel. I told you they were corny but we want to extend a special thanks to Mrs. Tolen for teaching our chemistry classes and making Mole Day a great learning experience for our students.

Mrs. Hobbs’s classes took a Field trip to Redstone Arsenal this week. Students were given an opportunity to hear about many different types of careers. These classes have taken a couple of trips and others are planned. It is great for students to hear from as many people as possible the careers they have the opportunity to pursue. Alabama is trying to make sure every graduate is college and career ready and this is one way Ardmore High School tries to make sure our students are ready for the world after school. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Most things in life are seen through the prism of one’s experiences. Most situations we encounter we judge based upon our own perspective. In schools, students, parents, teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and administrators have their own perspective on school issues. Every issue may seem very clear cut to one person and another person may see them very different based upon their own perspective.

The key to helping each other is to understand the perspective of the other person. Sometimes we may still disagree, but it helps to understand why the other person views a particular situation differently than we do. One example that many people have differing opinions and perspectives concerns homework. Many teachers, especially math teachers, see homework as a crucial component of the students’ education. Spending time studying and trying to complete problems on their own allows teachers to see where students struggle, therefore allowing them to help the students more effectively. However, many parents see homework as an additional burden in an already busy schedule. Many parents believe school work should be done at school and work assigned outside school is cutting in on their family time. While it is true that the two sides may not agree on the homework issue, understanding the perspective of each other may establish some common ground. Both parents and teachers want the student to receive a quality education, but opinions may differ as to the best way to accomplish this outcome.  The ways to achieve the goal may be different but if we are both striving for the same goals we may be more tolerant of the other view point.

The homework example is just one example of how perspective skews our way of thinking. For people such as me that have worked their entire lives in a school, things that seem very normal may seem very strange to those who have not worked in a school. Just like any job, we do not truly understand how things work behind the scenes until we do the job. We all have friends and family that work in institutions with which we have regular dealings. Sometimes after having things explained to us, many things make much more sense than they did on the surface. The only answer to solving many of the world’s problems is effective communication.

Our school has many tools to communicate with parents such as Twitter, e-mail, Remind, and the website just to name a few. Unfortunately, many of these methods are one way communication which do not allow parents to speak back with us. We sometimes administer surveys which a very small percentage of parents decide to take but the surveys do give us some feedback. Many times we are asked questions at school functions and despite what many people believe, we do not hate questions. Actually we had rather answer a question than for rumors to spread that are grossly inaccurate. I recently heard of a rumor that the principal decides which classification our school is in terms of athletics. For example the principal decided to move us to 5A from 4A. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, but somehow this rumor had started. I only heard about this rumor after a grandparent asked a board member about the issue at a ball game. This is an example of miscommunication and the school having no idea of the misinformation that existed.

Our school officials, we rely on parents and community members to be our ears when it comes to school matters. We truly want questions from the parents and community because we want our supporters to know the truth and not false information. Any organization struggles with public misinformation and perception and schools are no exception. We will continue to try and make ourselves more accessible and hopefully working together we can improve the communication between home and school.

We constantly look for ways to improve parental input, but we know everyone is very busy and attending formal activities may be difficult. We have tried things such as “Breakfast with the Principal” but only two parents signed up so we discontinued the program. I know that parents have a perspective that school workers do not have. We want to listen to our parents but are constantly looking for a method to make it convenient for parents to provide the feedback. We encourage our parents to call, e-mail, or come by and see us when you have an idea that you may think could improve our school.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hunter's HIghlights

The past several weeks have shown the generosity of the students and staff of Ardmore High School. Our administrators and coaches participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in order to raise money for ALS research. We have some very generous individuals give large donations and our students donated money as well. All total Ardmore High School will be sending nearly $1700 dollars to help with this worthy cause.

Childhood cancer is a horrible disease and several students in Limestone County have been affected. Limestone County participated in Childhood Cancer Awareness Day by dressing like super heros. Students at Ardmore actually dressed in their favorite super hero t-shirt at the pep rally and at the game Friday night. Ardmore students are always willing to help a good cause.

Our fall sports teams continue to work hard as they represent Ardmore High School. Our cross country team, football team, volleyball team, band and cheerleaders display excellence in their respective activities. I always leave a game or event knowing that it is great to be an Ardmore Tiger.
Mrs. Williams, our FACS teacher, has students involved in a variety of interesting activities. Her parenting class recently celebrated their “children” they are taking care of like new parents. Of course the “children” are really dolls, but students must keep the children with them or arrange for sitters like real parents. The activity is intended to give students some idea of the responsibility required to raise children. This is an excellent learning opportunity for our students.

September is school attendance month in the state of Alabama. We encourage all parents to make school attendance a priority in their households. Sickness and other unavoidable reasons for absences are certainly going to occur during a school year so it is crucial to be here on days when it is possible. It doesn't take long for even the best of students to fall behind in their studies. We want everyone to be in attendance at school on every possible day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hunter's Highlights

Activities are beginning to pick up at Ardmore High School. Teachers are busy making a difference in the lives of our students and making sure our students have outstanding educational opportunities.
One of our new teachers is Mrs. Lacy Williams who teaches Family and Consumer Sciences. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Williams here to help our students and are extremely excited about the direction our FACS program is heading. Working with Mrs. Graham, our Agriculture teacher, we know our vocational department will soar to new heights.

Our Yearbook Staff is encouraging our students and faculty to “Dress for Success” this year in our school pictures. They have begun a clever marketing plan and have posters all over campus. They thought it would be good for students to dress up and make Picture Day a special occasion. We are excited to see how great our students look when they dress for success on September 4.

Our new gym is coming along very nicely and we will be announcing the grand opening in a matter of days. We are currently thinking that it will be toward the end of September, but we anticipate a specific date to be announced very soon. I believe the gym will be something the community of Ardmore will be proud to call their own.

Our fall sports teams are in full swing. We have teams playing multiple times during the week and we invite you to come out and support our band and athletes as they compete this fall. We are very proud of our students and the things they are able to accomplish. Students who participate in extracurricular activities typically perform better in school and have a more positive school experience. They need our help and support in order to achieve their goals.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Picture Day

Picture Day is September 4, 2014. No parent's scrapbook would be complete without a school picture from each year.

Do Not Publish List

In order to establish your child as a student that cannot be published in any capacity, the procedure has changed from last year. A parent/guardian must send an email to to make this request. The deadline is end of day August 26, 2014 to be added to this list.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Want to be An EMT?

In partnership with Calhoun Community College, Limestone County is planning to offer the EMT program at the Limestone County Career Technical Center beginning in November. Classes will meet twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Classes will conclude in May.

Calhoun Community College will pay approximately $1,800 of the cost for each student. Students will be responsible for a small portion of the entire cost, approximately $200 to cover the cost of background check, drug screening, and online testing.

Students will need to meet dual enrollment requirements and have no history of attendance or discipline problems. Also, it is recommended that students be enrolled in no more than one AP course during the duration of this program as the EMT program is 12 hours of college credit.

 Those interested in any type of public safety or medical field would be perfect candidates. Emphasizing the cost will certainly interest parents. We want to ensure that we have enough students for the program to make so our students can take advantage of this amazing opportunity while still in high school!

Any student interested needs to see Mrs. Rowe ASAP. A parent meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday night, October 27th, at the CTC beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Strategic Planning Survey


The district has been charged with updating our Strategic Plan. Strategic planning is used to set priorities in order to focus energy and resources and to strengthen operations.

The goals of a strategic plan are gathered from the thoughts of the staff and parents in the district via surveys. Your answers will allow us to gather valuable information concerning the district's accomplishments and challenges.

Below is the parent survey that we are asking each of you to take. Please make every effort to take this survey today. We can't do this without you and we value your opinion.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FFA State Officer

Ardmore High School student Kelsey Faulkner is a state FFA officer. We are very proud of the leadership exhibited by Kelsey in our school and state. The officers made a trip to Montgomery this summer where they met the governor and other state leaders. The magazine "Cooperative Farming News" recently had an article featuring the trip.

Future Farmers of America (FFA) offers our students excellent leadership opportunities. We are very fortunate to have a strong FFA program at Ardmore lead by Mrs. Lauren Graham. We are very proud of our students, especially when they are recognized at the state and national levels.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New School Year

Back to school commercials fill the airways, excited teachers prepare for the return of energetic students. These events signal the beginning of a new school year. Some students will be more excited than others to welcome a new school year but most of them will be excited even if they do not want to admit it. Some teachers will also have a little apprehension about the new school year but the majority welcomes the challenge to make a difference in the lives of students.

The great thing about a new school year is the feeling of a fresh start. Each year brings anticipation that this year will be even better than the previous years. For those of us who have been in schools the majority of our lives we are renewed by the possibilities a new year brings. One pleasure veteran teachers have is to see new teachers come into the profession. New teachers typically have tons of energy and excitement about the task they are about to undertake. Statistically, and sadly, many teachers leave the profession in the first three years but most will continue to serve students for years to come. The idealistic views of many new years are an encouragement to those who have been working in the field for many years.

Students view the new school year in a multitude of ways shaped by many factors in their lives. Some love the interaction with their friends and are excited to see them for the first time in a couple of months. They want to share stories about their summer and while social media has allowed many of them to stay in touch it is still better to see them in person. Sadly, some students are glad to be back because they will have two meals a day and friendly faces to greet them each day. Some students will not be excited about the school year because they have had unpleasant school years in the past and do not have the expectation that this school year will be different. Hopefully, somewhere deep down in these students there is a ray of hope that this year will be a little different.

One never knows what a new year has in store, but a positive attitude and hopeful anticipation can help when facing inevitable challenges. In some ways school has changed dramatically over the last twenty years while remaining unchanged in others. The challenge for school leaders is to make the changes necessary to fit the needs of our new society while holding fast to the ideals of providing an education that equips students to face the challenges of their lives. Some exciting things are taking place locally and across the state of Alabama with respect to public education. We look forward to serving your students this year and in the years to come. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Phone Calls

The Limestone County Central Office has had several calls that the messages that were sent recently were blank. School personnel checked the website and looked at the calls details with the representative. There doesn't seem to be any issues with the calls. School and company officials developed one theory as to why people are having issues with the phone calls.

The system is very sensitive to noises giving it the ability to leave a message on an answering machine/cell phone message. When it hears an extended amount of noise, it waits until the noise ends to begin the message. It thinks the noise is the message on an answering machine. This could be happening to the people that receive a phone call and do not hear a message. We are assuming there is enough background noise (children, TV, at a ballgame, wind, radio, etc.) that the system is mistaking it for a recorded message and it is waiting for silence.

To solve this problem, a person needs only to press 1. This will make the recording play in its entirety.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes and Schools

I am old enough to remember the tornado outbreak in 1974 which changed many people’s lives, including mine, forever. I was a young boy, but can remember it like it was yesterday and for years since then when I hear about a tornado warning I take it very seriously. I have been in public schools for over 25 years and have been in many hallways during a tornado drill. Thankfully, I have never been in a school that has been hit by a tornado, but we have come close a few times.

Everyone in this area can remember April 27, 2011 when we had a horrible outbreak of tornadoes in this area. Our area was devastated and school was out for over a week. The tornadoes did not behave exactly as predicted and we were at school for a large portion of the day. We spent time in the hallways for protection and waiting on parents who were unable to get to the school due to debris in the road. Thankfully everyone at Ardmore was safe and the school was not hit. East Limestone High School and Creekside Elementary School were very close to the path of the tornado but thankfully no students were injured.

There are times in North Alabama when things happen so quickly we are at school when a tornado warning is issued and we will always take our precautions to try and protect the students on our campus. We practice these drills every month and due to the frequency of tornadoes in our area I believe the students take the drills seriously. Obviously, the best answer would be safe shelters for every school, but money has not allowed the state to build shelters on each campus. Maybe one day this will become a reality, but for now the current plans are the best we can do to provide safety at school during a storm.

The weather forecasting is much better than it was in 1974 and many times we know days in advance of the severe weather event and school systems can take precautions to ensure students are not on campus during severe weather. However, April 27 proved that things don’t always go as predicted in terms of severe weather in North Alabama.  I know people will debate forever whether schools should dismiss due to the threat of bad weather, but in my opinion we should always error on the side of caution when it comes to the safety of our children. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

QR Codes

QR codes are posted at various spots throughout the school. I am conducting a little experiment to see if anyone is paying attention to them. The first ten students to say anything to Mr. Hunter about the QR codes will receive a coupon for a free ice cream in the cafeteria.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bring Your Own Device Alert Now Message

Hello, this is Tommy Hunter, principal at Ardmore High School. In preparation for the Bring Your Own Device Initiative students will be allowed o used devices before school, during lunchtime, and between classes beginning Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Once again devices will be allowed during non-instructional times beginning Tuesday, March 11, 2014. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

How to Stop Bullying

Here is a link to a PPT video created by our school to help stop bullying. This is similar to the presentation our students will see next week. Please make sure the volume on your computer is cut up when viewing the slide presentation.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Days

I remember as a boy looking out the window in great anticipation watching the snow fall and hoping for enough to build a snowman or make snow cream. I remember thinking that since it always seemed to quit when I was watching it that somehow it was better just to wake up and find it on the ground. As I have grown older and started working in the education field, my love of the snow has somewhat changed to dread. While I still enjoy a good bowl of snow cream and don’t really mind making a snowman, the chaos that ensues during the school days affected by the mention of snow seems to outweigh the excitement.

Forecasting weather in North Alabama is a precarious proposition so people tend to get excited when the “s” word is mentioned on the Six O’clock News. Recent events in Birmingham and Atlanta show what can happen in the south. We know from our own experience that days leading up to a snow event and days following can impact schools due to our county being relatively large and the way snow bands move in the south. It is possible for Tanner to get a couple of inches and Ardmore not get a flake.

We ask for your patience during these crazy days. We will get everything made up that was canceled at some time and at the end of the year the education received by the students will be exemplary. You will be receiving “Tweets”, e-mails and phone calls over the next few weeks to inform you of the new dates for canceled events. I hope everyone had a great time while we were out for the snow and is ready to strongly finish the school year.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bring Your Own Technology

Many school systems across the country and beginning technology initiatives which put a mobile device in the hands of every student. Our county is beginning a one-to-one initiative as well, but it will take a few years to reach the high school grades. Buying all of the necessary devices in one year is cost prohibitive, but in order to ensure our students have the best opportunity to learn using modern technology we are beginning a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plan this semester. Our school will be a pilot program for the county and we are extremely excited.

The concept is to allow students to bring their own technology device to be used in the classrooms. Many of our students already have a mobile device and use it every day of their life, only not at school where it can really benefit them the most. We plan on allowing students to use tablets, laptops, and yes even smart phones. It only make sense to me to allow students to use the devices they already own to enhance their education. A large percentage of students have a device in their pocket with more processing power than the computers that put a man on the moon, but never get to use them in class.

While beginning a new initiative such as this poses some challenges such as new policies, new wireless infrastructure, and new procedures,  the benefits should be enormous for our students. We hope to have the wireless network up and running by April or May which will allow us to hit the ground running. If things should fall into place earlier, we will certainly notify everyone and begin as soon as possible.

We are very excited and thankful to our central office for allowing this initiative. Mrs. Karen Tucker has been a huge advocate for this program along with Mrs. Rhonda Stringham and Dr. Tom Sisk and we certainly appreciate everything they have done to make this initiative a reality.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Clarinet Ensemble

This picture is from last Thursday after the clarinet ensemble finished their performance at the Alabama Music Educators Association Conference. This was a huge honor for our students and they represented our school in an exemplary manner.

Things I wish I Knew Before I Became an Administrator

I was recently sent an e-mail from an aspiring administrator asking me for my responses to a few questions. My first thought was, "I don't have time for this" but after doing it I found it beneficial for me as well. I am certainly not saying I do all of these perfectly every day, but these are my honest answers. I hope you enjoy them.

- Things I wish I had known before I started

I knew being an administrator was late hours, but I guess I was still a little surprised at the amount of time after school. A HS administrator can away from home 4 nights a week until 9:30 or 10:00. This is especially difficult with small children.

- What is the biggest issue(s) facing your school right now?

I would say the biggest issue facing our school is attendance. Many students and parents don’t seem to see the correlation between school attendance and learning. We try everything we know to encourage attendance, but it seems to be a persistent problem.

- Top 10 important things to remember

1.    Be honest.
2.     Be fair.
3.     Be strong.
4.     Hire great people.
5.     You will never please everyone.
6.     It is not a popularity contest. You must do what is right for students.
7.     Don’t take a job for a boss that will not back your decisions. I have been fortunate to always have a boss that would back me and I can't imagine trying to be an administrator without their support. 
8.     There will be days you want to quit, but others you see that you made a difference.
9.     Always be fiscally responsible (some call it tight, but I prefer frugal).
10.  Never give up!

- Skills that you need to have to be a successful administrator

1.    Communication, communication, communication.
2.     Technology skills.
3.     Problem solving skills.
4.     Ability to see the big picture.

- What skills, characteristics do you look for in an assistant principal?

1.    Honest, trustworthy and loyal.
2.     Hard worker.
3.     Takes initiative and can self monitor.
4.     Great people skills.
5.     Desire to continue to learn.

- Tips for being successful with students

1.    Be honest with them.
2.     Treat them fairly.
3.     Build a rapport, but always keep a professional relationship. We must be friendly, but not their friend.
4.     Be consistent.

- Tips for being successful with parents

1.    Try to always remember you are dealing with the thing that the love the most in the entire world, their children.
2.     Most parents honestly want what is best for their child.
3.     Administrators must have the courage to deliver bad news.

- Tips for being successful with school staff, teachers, etc.

1.    Treat everyone fairly.
2.    Try to spend time getting to know them.
3.    Be available for them to ask questions.
4.     Even professionals must be accountable.

- Books and/or magazines that helped you and are useful

1.    What Great Principals Do Differently. – Todd Whitaker
2.     Shifting the Monkey.- Todd Whitaker
3.     The Energy Bus- Jon Gordon

- People/organizations you follow on Twitter, Facebook, etc. that have good ideas and suggestions

1.    Todd Whitaker

Monday, January 27, 2014

No Breakfast Served on Delay Days

Due to the two hour delay on January 28, 2014, and January 29, 2014 Limestone County Schools will not be serving breakfast. Students who normally report to the cafeteria should report to the appropriate gym.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

No Breakfast Served Friday, January 24, 2014

Alert Now Message:
This is Tommy Hunter, principal at Ardmore High School. Due to the two hour delay on January 24, 2014 Limestone County Schools will not be serving breakfast. Students who normally report to the cafeteria should report to the appropriate gym. Once again school is delayed two hours on Friday, January 24 and breakfast will not be served.

Legislative Session 2014

It is that time of year when the Alabama State Legislature meets to tackle the challenges of our state government. Many bills related to public education are usually introduced along with budget talks that directly affect how our educational system is funded. This year, the Common Core and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) will be discussed. The CCRS is the curriculum developed by the state of Alabama to prepare students for their future that is aligned with the Common Core.

I am not an expert on the Common Core and so much of the discussion has been political that it is hard to know what to believe.  I have been to several meetings concerning the Common Core and from talking with numerous respected educators I fully endorse the Common Core and the CCRS. The Common Core was not developed by the federal government but by collaboration at the state level. The federal government endorsed the Common Core and linked some funding to it in order to encourage states to adopt the standards and that is when the political storm began.

Regardless of how you feel about the CCRS or the Common Core there will certainly be many more issues related to public education addressed during this legislative session. I encourage each of you to stay abreast of the proposed bills and to make contact with your local legislators according to your beliefs. I believe in public education and the value of an educated citizenry and I hope our state continues to support public education. In my opinion, a good public education system can be a great asset to our state economically and socially. I believe we owe it to our kids to ensure they receive an education that prepares them for the challenges they will face in their lives.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Extended Day

This is my twenty sixth year in public education and I have never had an extended school day to make up a missed day; mainly because in the past it was not allowed by the State Department of Education. If you missed a day, you had to make up a whole day. Other states, such as Tennessee have been adding minutes to the existing days to make up for missed days for several years.  I am not sure which is better since this is my first try on the extended day, but I do know that either way there are going to be people who are inconvenienced and people who prefer the other way.

Once we received the word we would be adding extra minutes, the task was to come up with a schedule at the local school that would be best for the majority of our students. Of course the most obvious and easiest option would be to add a different period at the end of our regular day. For example after seventh period on Monday, first period would meet and on Tuesday, second period would meet and continue the cycle until the end of the two weeks. There were several problems with this schedule mostly dealing with tech. school and early release/late arrival students.

We decided to add a few minutes to each period and to move our remediation period to the afternoon to adjust our schedule. Two main factors drive our schedule; lunch, and tech. school. The reason for this is because they are two of the factors that may not be changed without causing personnel issues or causing major disruptions. The Career Tech Center has students from every Limestone County School, and Athens City so if we start making major changes to our schedule, they will have some major issues with which to contend.

We look forward to having a strong finish to a great year.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bell Schedule

After much deliberation and input from several groups we have finalized our schedule for the extended days. There is no way to meet everyone's needs so we tried to formulate a schedule that would be best for instruction and accommodate everyone's schedule as much as possible.

Weather Make-up Days Schedule

Release Bell From Gym     7:48

1st period        7:55- 8:54 (59)
2nd period       8:59-9:58 (59)
3rd period       10:03-11:03 (60)

4th period       11:08- 12:03 (55)
5th period       12:08-1:28 (Lunch-80) HS lunch, see alternate schedule.

4th period       11:08- 12:28 (Lunch-80) MS lunch times will be the same. 
5th period       12:33- 1:28 (55)

6th period       1:33- 2:28 (55)
RTI                  2:33-2:55 (22) (AM Tech will go to the library.)
Break              2:55-3:05 (Warning bell rings at 3:00)

7th period       3:05-4:00 (55)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Delayed Because it is Cold?

School delays and cancellations are inevitable but are very disruptive to schools and to the schedule of parents. Those that make these decisions are in a precarious situation because they will be second guessed regardless of the decision. The overriding factor always must the safety of the children. Some people consider this to be cliché’ or just an excuse but the safety and welfare of our children must be our primary concern.

Regardless of whether the cancellation is due to tornadoes, ice, or frigid temperatures, many times hind sight shows we could have stayed on a regular schedule and been just fine. However, in a county system where all schools must be on the same schedule weather conditions can vary greatly from one end of the county to the other.  This time for instance I have heard there were some icy bridges in the West Limestone district which prompted school to be canceled. All it takes is one bus to slide off a bridge and we have a horrible tragedy. Of course tragedies can occur any day, but when one can be foreseen, it is prudent to take steps so it can be avoided.

This is the first time I remember in a long time school being delayed for cold temperatures, but when you examine the details of what is taking place I still believe it was the wise choice. Limestone County has students, some of which are very young, waiting on buses very early in the morning. Diesel buses are sometimes slow to crank in subfreezing temperatures and a fifteen to thirty minute delay is not out of the question if a bus doesn't crank. None of us want a young child not dressed for single digit temperatures to have an extra thirty minutes to wait on a bus.

I am glad to say that I do not make the decisions to delay or cancel school so this is not a rationale for a decision I made. However I hear a lot of different opinions on TV and around town and just wanted to give a perspective of a school employee that deals with students and their life situations on a daily basis. Hopefully it will warm up soon and we can be back to a normal schedule. Caution is always warranted when dealing with the lives of our most precious treasure.

Friday, January 3, 2014

School Delay Phone Call Script

Hello parents this is Tommy Hunter, principal at Ardmore High School. As you probably already know, Limestone County Schools are delayed two hours on Monday, January 6, AND Tuesday, January 7. We have posted our schedule on our website for our parents and students, especially late arrival students since they will be affected more than other students. Periods 1 and 2 will meet on Monday and periods 1 and 3 will meet on Tuesday. Periods 4, 5, 6, and 7 will meet both days.