Massey discusses educational goals at community engagement meeting

By Beryl Kessio -- Erin Stender, Editor-in-chief -- In-depth Editor

On April 2, Supt. Matt Massey ventured to Monrovia Middle School for the second community engagement meeting that has been held in the area.

The purpose of the meetings, Massey says, are to provide a transparent view into community’s educational needs and foster a dialogue about the future of education in Madison County.

“We want community members involved with our schools. We are here to communicate with our teachers, parents [and] community members,” Massey said.

Encouraging growth is another objective for Massey. To him, offering students an equitable learning environment which caters to their diverse needs is a must. Massey plans to push for more STEM and career/technical education in county schools. He is currently seeking partnerships with state plumbing and piping entities.

He alluded to a measure discussed at a February board meeting: his revised capital plan allocated $325,000 for a new magnet program at the Madison County Career Tech Center to nurture the educational desires of students and also to fill a gap in the state’s job market.

“Right now the average age for a skilled laborer is 58 years old,” Massey said, emphasizing the need for more young skilled laborers. “Eighty percent [of polled kids] said they would attend [this new tech school].”

Since entering office early this year, Massey has promoted advocacy for the entirety of Madison County and has stressed the need for clarity in today’s educational system.

“In Alabama, we’re going on a very dangerous trend. County school systems don’t have an advocate. We have to maximize our resources in order to be efficient,” Massey said. “As superintendent, I feel it’s my role to [say] what we have and what we need and be transparent about that.”

Controversy over the proposal to build a new high school in the county found its wayPhoto courtesy of
into the meeting when many concerned parents demanded that Massey address the issue.

“If we build a new school, it will be under Madison County standards from day one,” Massey said. “I believe Sparkman can grow. [We should] increase the quality of the facilities not just there, but everywhere else.”

If plans to build the new high school move forward, Massey will ensure that no school is at a significant disadvantage.

“We’ve got to make sure when we divide this out so that it’s socioeconomically and racially equitable. We are going to make sure of that when we do move forward,” Massey said.

Massey is planning to make community engagement Meetings a regular occurrence. Above all, he stressed the importance of transparency and community involvement in the educational process.

“We want students to be advocates of their own education. We also want parents to be advocates,” Massey said. “[These meetings are] going to become a part of who we are. We want that line of communication opened.”

The next meeting will be held at Endeavor Elementary on April 6 at 6 p.m.