Renovations and iPads Await Students in the Tuscaloosa County School System

Big changes are coming to the Tuscaloosa County school system as approximately 19,000 students prepare to return to school this week.

Many students will be greeted with fresh paint and upgraded facilities when they return to class on Wednesday, which is the first day of school for schools in the city and in Tuscaloosa County.

Several schools in Tuscaloosa County have been renovated for the 2022-23 school year. Some of these upgrades include expanding the dining hall and improving the football pitches and stadiums.

“We’ve had renovations going on all summer. And some of them have been wrapping up since the spring,” said Keri Johnson, Tuscaloosa County School System Superintendent.

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Johnson said renovation projects are still underway for several county schools, including Myrtlewood Elementary School, Vance Elementary School, Hillcrest High School and Northside Middle School.

Hillcrest High School and Northside Middle School will benefit from dining room expansions, Johnson said.

In addition to the renovations, the county system will introduce new tools to help keep students engaged and improve their ability to thrive academically.

The new Northport Intermediate School will accommodate 5th and 6th graders.  This classroom is a typical sixth grade classroom.  [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

This year, each student will be assigned their own iPad, an initiative that Johnson says will help students succeed inside and outside the classroom.

“We want our students to have everything they need to succeed while they’re in school and when they leave us,” Johnson said.

“We are preparing them for a workforce that is constantly changing and evolving. And everything is so technology driven now that it is important that our students have access to this technology while they are in school” , she said.

The iPads are expected to be distributed to students by the end of August.

Johnson said 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 except for fountains designed to refill empty water bottles.

As students prepare to return to school, administrators have reminded parents and students of the importance of attendance.

Johnson said she believes students should make it a priority to attend the first day of school.

May 19, 2022;  Northport, AL, USA;  The Tuscaloosa County High School band plays before graduation as the school celebrated the graduation of 343 seniors Thursday at the football stadium.  Gary Cosby Jr.-The Tuscaloosa News

“We want every student to be in school on day one 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 that everyone is there on day one. They get to meet their teacher and learn all the new routines they can pick up,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she looks forward to a great school year and hopes to meet the physical, mental and academic needs of the students.

The county system’s facilities include 34 schools: two elementary schools, seventeen elementary schools, eight middle schools, six high schools, and a center for students with special needs.

Contact Jasmine Hollie at [email protected]

Jeremy S. McLain