Big changes are coming to the Tuscaloosa County School System as about 19,000 students prepare to head back to school this week.
Many students will be greeted with fresh paint and upgraded facilities when they return to the classroom on Wednesday, which is the first day of school for Tuscaloosa city and county schools.
Several Tuscaloosa County schools have been renovated for the 2022-23 school year. Some of these improvements include lunchroom expansions and enhanced football fields and stadiums.
“We’ve had renovations going on all summer. And some of them have been wrapping up since the spring,” said Keri Johnson, superintendent of the Tuscaloosa County School System.
SCHOOL LEADERS: Four new principals take helm in Tuscaloosa city, county schools
TUSCALOOSA CITY SCHOOLS: After two tough years, Tuscaloosa City Schools ready to reach new heights
Johnson said renovation projects are still in the works for several schools across the county, including Myrtlewood Elementary School, Vance Elementary School, Hillcrest High School, and Northside Middle School.
Hillcrest High School and Northside Middle School will be getting lunchroom expansions, Johnson said.
In addition to renovations, the county system will introduce new tools to help keep students engaged and enhance their ability to thrive academically.
This year, each student will be assigned their own iPad, an initiative that Johnson said she believes will help students succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.
“We want our students to have all of the things that they need to be successful while they’re in school and when they leave us,” Johnson said.
“We are preparing them to go into a workforce that is constantly changing and evolving. And everything is so technology driven now that it is important for our students to have access to that technology while they are in school,” she said.
The iPads are expected to be issued to students by the end of August.
Johnson said the COVID-19 protocols will remain the same as the previous year for schools in the Tuscaloosa County system. Masks will be optional and all water fountains will be turned off, with the exception of fountains designed to fill empty water bottles.
As students prepare to return to school, administrators have been reminding parents and students about the importance of attendance.
Johnson said she believes that students should make it a priority to attend the first day of school.
“We want every student to be in school on the first day because we want to be able to count them in our enrollment and the enrollment count starts on that first day,” she said.
“It’s important for everybody to be there on the first day. They can meet their teacher and learn all of the new routines that they may be learning,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she is looking forward to a great school year and hopes to meet the needs of students physically, mentally, and academically.
The county system’s facilities include 34 schools: two primary schools, seventeen elementary schools, eight middle schools, six high schools, and one center for special needs students.
Reach Jasmine Hollie at [email protected]