Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘Decatur City Schools’

Driving Decatur to the Future – The Keys to Success

Posted by alalto on January 16, 2011


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Yes, I know, it’s been FOREVER since I posted on this thing. I’m going to have a lot more free time this semester, so I’m hoping I can revive this thing. I know I’ve said this many times, but maybe I can get it done this time.

Keys to Success
I think we can agree that most of us look at our city and wonder why it isn’t succeeding like we know it can. Also, I’m sure we all can agree that some of the things that need to be done/fixed are pretty obvious, and don’t take much imagination to think of.

Let’s start with the obvious.

Self Worth

I’ve noticed that most citizens and officials in Decatur have a low sense of pride in their town. I mean, I agree that Decatur isn’t exactly the most exciting city on the planet, but it’s not like we don’t have anything to be proud of. I’m not going to go through the long list of things that we have to be proud of, because honestly, people should do that on their own and they would probably be surprised at what all we have to offer.

Anyways, we all know “that person” that is constantly calling Decatur a boring town, hick town, lame town, or a dump… We’ll call that person… Gorgonn, King of Stupidity… we all dislike Gorgonn when he/she opens their mouth, cause usually it’s just utter stupidity that spews from it. Hopefully, Gorgonn will hate this blog post.

I really feel like something needs to be done to boost Decatur’s “rep.” Basically, we need to get something going that creates a sense of pride in the community. Unless the city is proud of itself, we will never prosper.

Young People


We need young people, not the kind that are trampling all over grandpa’s lawn while he’s trying to watch wheel of fortune, but the kind that are educated and are looking to start professional careers in or around the city. These kinds of people not only make a greater amount of money over their lifetime, but they bring a certain “vibe” to the city that just can’t be fabricated.

I’ll say that the city is moving closer to attracting more of these young’ns, but more needs to be done. The monthly downtown funtime that occurs on the Friday is a good step, it brings people downtown, and though I haven’t yet visited one of these things, I can only assume that they’re fun.. ish. Like I said, more needs to be done. What can be done to attract more young people?

Young Professionals and their Social Lives

If I’m not mistaken, there is already an organization in town that brings young professionals together. If there is, good, if there isn’t, it needs to be created. I know Huntsville has one, and they’re pretty good things that bring young professionals together to meet, greet, gather, and socialize. They’re great ways to meet new people in a town that’s pretty spread out and sub-urbanized.

Not only do these bring people together to socialize, but they also do great things for the community. Typically, they do volunteer work like cleanups, tutoring, and other things.

Not only do these organizations bring together and maintain young professional populations that increase quality of life, and grow tax bases, they aid in attracting new industries and businesses, typically the ones that employ educated people.

Education

How many times have you talked to Gorgonn and heard the stupid King mention that Decatur is dumb, and has education problems. Being a product of the Decatur City School system, I can tell you that the resources are available for kids to succeed. When I arrived at the University of Alabama, I was prepared, and I wasn’t the kid that was sitting on their bed the night before an exam wondering why he couldn’t understand everything.

What I’m getting at is that Decatur doesn’t have an educator problem, it has an educated problem. What I mean is that the kids that are being taught are where we’re going wrong. Before you call me Gorgonn and say that I’m calling our kids stupid, I’m not, I promise. What I mean to say is that we have a problem with our kids not being inspired to learn, having a lack of aspirations, and just plain not wanting to learn.

There’s a big problem with kids not feeling like they’ll amount to anything, at all. Basically, we’re turning them into more Gorgonns… that isn’t what we want. We need to create a way to inspire our children, get them to be excited about their future, and helping them understand what they’re doing so they’ll want to learn.

I was a kid not too long ago, so I feel I know pretty well what it takes to get kids interested. As adults know, in college, classes get easier as you get into the ones that are more specific to your major, you know, the ones that you’re really interested in. Why can’t we find a way to connect the interest they have in various subjects to the subjects they’re being taught in class?

The problem that most kids don’t know what they wanna be when they get done with school. It doesn’t matter if it’s simply to be a hairdresser, or being a nuclear engineer, we need kids to want to be something so that they’ll know they need to get through school to get there. Even the simplest of jobs takes some kind of education.

I know that we went through career stuff in middle school, but it’s something that need to be injected into their minds early in elementary school. If a kid wants to be an astronaut when they’re in 1st grade, who cares? I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was that age, and what am I in school for now? Geography. Kids’ aspirations change, it’s inevitable.  But, to not inform them about their possible job prospects (even the unlikely ones) at a young age, simply because they’re gonna change what they want to do as they get older or they don’t understand how hard it is to get to these careers, is utterly Gorgonn-like. The fact is, the kids will eventually realize what their capabilities are as they age, and their aspirations will become more and more attainable. Another fact is, we aren’t doing enough to foster the kind of “career imagination” that we should be. The best part about doing this stuff is that it doesn’t have to cost money.  Start this at a younger age and I guarantee you increase the likelihood of their desire to be educated.

Corporate Involvement

Decatur City Schools has a very good relationship with area business and industry, this much is a fact. I remember receiving many benefits and visits from industry representatives in the Decatur area while I was going through school. This needs to be maintained, and expanded. Yes, these are rough economic times for the economy, but they are improving. Besides, an investment in an industry, or business’s, community is also an investment in that industry or business’s vitality and success. This is something that needs to be spread around. Happy and successful children equals happy and more productive parents (who are also employees of these companies).

Higher Education

I think this is an area that all of us know needs to be improved.  Morgan County will not have a single institute of higher education until the North Alabama Center for the Arts open in a few years.  While this is a great development for both downtown and the areas education, we still need to do more.  The nearest legitimate 4 year college is UAHuntsville, which is a good distance from Decatur.  We have education opportunities, but they aren’t convenient.

I’ll say, this is one field that I don’t know much about.  Higher ed politics are very complex and confusing, and rather costly.  Something should be done.  We see branches of Troy University in Dothan, Montgomery, and even Panama City, FL, why can’t we have something similar in Decatur?  Wallace State also has various branches of its school in the state.  I believe this is something that our city leaders need to look into and act upon.  We need someone to meet with leaders of Troy, Wallace State, Alabama, and maybe even UNA to examine the possibilities of opening a campus in Decatur.

NEXT TOPIC:

Transportation:  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

 

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More about District 2 race and Bama gets a B

Posted by alalto on August 5, 2008


Some interesting things in this article.  When asked about whether or not they would support current council president Billy Jackson (District 1) for another term of president, David Bolding raised some interesting points.  They weren’t specifically about a council president though.

He proposed demoting the position of mayor to a part time position and giving it a salary that is about equal to the current city council salary of $15,071, random number…  Anyways, He says that the former money used for the mayor’s salary ($100,480) should be put towards hiring a well qualified city manager to deal with all the budget issues and such.  I’m a fan of the idea of a city manager, these have been shown to be very effective in other cities.  Greenville, SC has a city manager if I’m not mistaken.  Vestavia Hills, AL has proposed it too I believe. 

The problem with the whole proposition of the city manager position is that I like Don Kyle, and I don’t wanna do him any wrong by paying him less.  Either way, I support David Bolding for the District 2 position.  He’s convinced me that he’s the man for the job.  If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the Daily’s articles that have all these question in them for the candidates.  They’re actually quite interesting.

In other news, the State of Alabama gets a B overall in the No Child Left Behind junk.  Three schools in Decatur did not make the cut, Austin High, Brookhaven Middle, and Decatur High.  The high schools have been hitting a rough spot lately, and Brookhaven regularly is on these lists.  Hartselle Schools met all their goals, as did all in Lawrence County except for RA Hubbard and Hazelwood.  Morgan County schools also did great. 

It was a pretty good day for Decatur Metro Area schools.  These results don’t sound good, but they’re an improvement over last year.  Looking at the high, middle, and elementary school details in the articles, I noticed that there is a wave of improved student scores coming up from the elementary schools and it looks to be pretty strong.  Looks like it’ll hold on through once the first few classes come through.

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Buses, Sweetwater and a sit down with the Mayoral candidates.

Posted by alalto on July 27, 2008


Decatur City Schools has approved expanding the current bus systems from 17 routes to 27 routes.  This will enable the busing system to encompass the entire system and allow full busing for all students.

The Daily recently sat down with mayoral candidates Don Kyle and Don Standford.  Both candidates talked about things like energy issues, citizen complaints, and Calhoun’s venture to locate an arts program downtown.  Both candidate’s answers were almost exactly the same, and both seemed like genuinely good candidates, but I’m still partial to Don Kyle. 

Some things I found interesting in the interview with the candidates was the mention of the downtown redevelopment proposals and some road construction proposals.  The downtown redevelopment was what I most enjoyed.  They both expect to have lower Bank Street redevelopment started in fiscal 2009 (if funding is available) and 2nd Avenue started in fiscal 2010.  2nd Avenue would be the most expensive at around $1.2 Million and Bank Street would be the least  at $874,000.  The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has already given $350,000 to the 2nd Avenue cause and local businesses have amassed some $112,000. 

As for road construction, there was mention of a proposed connector of Auburn Drive and Modaus Road in Southwestern Decatur.  This was interesting to hear, cause I’d NEVER heard of it.  There weren’t any details really offered at all.  But, it definitely sounds like a good proposal that would encourage a lot of residential growth in the Cedar Ridge area.

Finally, after 4 months, the city council is set to vote on whether or not to approve a contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater development.  If approved, Genesis would develop the first planned phase (125 acres) of the 536 acre property at the corner of Alabama 20 and I-65.  Sweetwater is to contain a Bass Pro Shops.  Genesis USA has yet to formalize a deal with any hotel developmer, which is key to repaying the debt that the city of Decatur would incure by offereing incentives to Genesis.

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