Lawrence County Schools superintendent speaks towards the school year ahead

WAFF 48's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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MOULTON, Ala. (WAFF) - School is back in session for the students in the Lawrence County Schools district and Superintendent Dr. Jon Bret Smith is coming in with a fresh perspective.

“When COVID first hit, one of my thoughts and prayers was that we would go back to a pre-COVID world,” Smith said. “And we’re never going to do that.”

What they are doing is looking ahead to the future. It includes increased school security and embracing the arrival of AI in school while also being wary of how it can be used to cause problems.

“We’ve had specific conversations and training for our administrators to make sure that they understand AI and what all benefits it can be to the students, but also what can be detrimental to our school system,” he said.

Smith also says they’re looking to renovate schools across the district. That includes adding more classrooms to Hatton High School, a school that has taken on more students since the closing of R.A. Hubbard last year.

But they won’t need more teachers because of a grow-your-own program they implemented years ago. It’s already paying dividends.

“We have students who are our part-time employees that are going to college and as soon as they graduate, they’ll have a job here within the district,” Smith said. “If all this works out, we’re up to about 20 last school year. Some of those graduates became employed within the district as far as full-time certified teachers.”

Smith also says a plan is already in the works.

“Our Board of Education has developed a plan and we hope that the plan can be completed within three years -- or at least all the projects can be started in three years,” he said. “Right now we’re looking again at expansion at Hatton High School of classrooms. We’re looking at some athletic facilities, we’re looking at renovations at some of our schools, it just depends on need.”

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