By Ashley McCleery

The North Jefferson News

Formed several months ago, the Fultondale Educational Committee (FEC) is now helping to bridge the gap between the Fultondale schools and the surrounding community.

Stemming from the confusion about the Fultondale and Gardendale merger last spring, the FEC allowed parents to have a voice in the debate.

“Out of all this confusion, our committee was formed, which was exciting,” Stephanie Robinson, assistant principal of instruction at Fultondale High School, said.

Since Gardendale High School is building a new building, the Jefferson County School Board of Education proposed that Fultondale High School students attend Gardendale High School, converting Fultondale Elementary into a school for kindergarten through eighth grade.

This idea was not well received in the Fultondale community, so they formed this committee in order to present their opinion to the school board. Actually, the majority of both communities opposed the merger.

In Robinson’s opinion, the FEC allowed concerned parents to join in unity and speak intelligently to the school board. Soon after, the school board listened to the community and decided against merging.

Following their initial gathering with the school board, the FEC began meeting monthly, the first Wednesday each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Fultondale High School media center, to establish goals and a mission statement.

Even though the committee may seem like the Parent Teacher Association, Robinson stressed the difference.

“This is not a PTA. We’re not raising money or holding fundraisers — we’re just promoting the education of our kids,” she said.

Their mission statement says the committee’s purpose “is to advocate a standard of excellence in education for the students of Fulton-dale, striving to do so by ongoing improvement of communication and partnerships with all stakeholders.”

There-fore, the FEC’s goals are to build relationships between Fultondale Elementary School and Fultondale High School as well as the parents from the schools, the city leaders and the surrounding community.

The more specific goals include identifying physical needs, grants and funding sources; improving communication and public relations between all stakeholders; and promoting parent/community involvement.

Committee member Jan Black said she joined the committee because she wanted to announce the accomplishments of the Fultondale schools to the public, which FEC does with mass emails and newsletters.

“We’re [Fultondale High School] the best kept secret, but we know we have outstanding teachers and students,” Black said. “The schools are only as good as the committee behind them.”

Overall, Robinson said she desires FEC to boost the school in the eyes of the community and students.

“I hope to see our community grow, which we are growing, and see our school continue to grow and move. We want the kids to leave Fultondale High School knowing they received the best education they possible could have.”

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