September 11, 2013 

School is back in session and we are really excited to embark on a fresh Year of New Things here at Ed! Below you'll read about some of the changes at Ed and new programs that are getting started.  And, like always, we have a new BCS employee to introduce to you.  Let's get this year started right!

Area Partnerships

Birmingham Water Works Board and BCS introduce new Career Academies Job Shadowing Program at local Press Conference


On the morning of September 9, the Birmingham Water Works Board and Career Academies of Birmingham City Schools held a press conference at the Cahaba Pump Station Conference Center to announce their new partnership.  This partnership will place the exemplary students from Career Academies in a job-shadowing program with employees across many departments and facilities at Birmingham Water Works.  These students will gain valuable real world job experience, which they can put to good use in their pursuit of higher education and a rewarding career. 


Sherry Lewis, Birmingham Water Works Board Member, started the conference by introducing the new partnership to the public with great enthusiasm.  Lewis believes Career Academies and Birmingham Water Works Board have presented a rare, yet beneficial opportunity for Birmingham City Schools' students to gain experience in a wide variety of career interests.  Through this partnership, students will be given the opportunity to make the connections and develop the skills necessary to better prepare themselves for their careers.  


As part of the press conference, an ambassador from each Career Academy was called to the stage to say a few words.  Each student represented his or her school and Career Academy professionally with a short speech.  The students spoke of their excitement about and appreciation for being a part of this new program and suggested how the program would benefit each of them and their career goals.


After the press conference, the students were given a chance to present their Career Academy banners to Fox 6 News and to talk further with their respective mentors.  The relationships and connections made through this program will continue to benefit these students throughout their educational and professional lives.  It is programs like Career Academies that make students' lives better by preparing students for college and for their future careers.          


Introducing: the new staff at Ed. 

Ed starts 2013-2014 year with the addition of two new VISTAs and a part-time Intern on staff


We'd like to take this time to introduce you to our new staff at Ed.  This year, Ed continues its partnership with AmeriCorps and has added two new VISTAs as full-time staff, and we will welcome a yet-to-be-named VISTA in November.  VISTA members are employed as part of a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, and work to strengthen relationships with local businesses and organizations to help reduce the burden of poverty in the United States.  This summer, we also added a part-time intern to work specifically on a new Ed initiative, but we'll tell you more about that below.


Home sweet Lincoln Center. 


Ballard Jones. "Future Mayor" Ballard Jones was born and raised in Birmingham and is the city's biggest advocate and fan.  Ballard graduated from Auburn University in 2012 with a degree in History and joined BEF as an AmeriCorps VISTA to help serve and strengthen the community he loves.  Ballard is currently working as the Program Specialist for College/Career-Readiness and Pre-AP initiatives.  


Arden Blackwell. A Birmingham native and self-proclaimed servant leader, Arden graduated from Troy University in 2012 with a degree in Health and Human Services/Leadership studies and is working with BEF as an AmeriCorps VISTA.  She is serving as the new Program Specialist for Parent University and is glad to currently be working in a field that perfectly embodies her collegiate studies.  


Daniel Ross. Hailing from just up the road in Morris, Alabama, Daniel attended the University of West Alabama and earned a degree in Biology.  After working in the field of pharmacology for a couple years, Daniel decided to enroll in the Masters of Public Administration program at UAB and was recruited by BEF as a part-time Intern.  Daniel is currently the Program Specialist for ACT and College Prep.  


JW Carpenter named as Executive Director

After a four-month long comprehensive search, the Birmingham Education Foundation names J.W. Carpenter as its new executive director.


"Our search was incredibly thorough, and in the end I know we selected the right leader for Birmingham Education Foundation," said Fred McCallum, Alabama president, AT&T, and chair of the selection committee for Birmingham Education Foundation.


"I am honored to serve as the new Executive Director of the Birmingham Education Foundation. I look forward to working with our communities to ensure that all of our children get the educational opportunities they deserve, and those serving them have the support they need to make it happen," said Carpenter.


Before being selected as the Executive Director of Ed, Carpenter served as the founding Executive Director for Teach For America Alabama - a branch of the nationally-recognized organization committed to providing and advocating for high quality education for students in low-income communities. 


"J.W. has just the right temperament and experience in education we need to take Birmingham Education Foundation to the next level," said Lawrence Conaway, board chair, Birmingham Education Foundation. 


Carpenter taught for two years as a math and English teacher in the Mississippi Delta, and joined TFA in 2010, growing the region from 30 teachers in the Black Belt region to nearly 170 teachers statewide beginning in 2013.


Prior to his role with Teach For America, Carpenter was a litigator for the Birmingham law firm of Walston, Wells, and Birchall, LLP.  Carpenter earned a B.A. from Boston College and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. 


Carpenter begins his official service as executive director for the Birmingham Education Foundation on September 30, 2013.   

Spotlight on Education with Dorothy George

For this month's Spotlight on Education piece, Wilbron Institute's Louie Dell'Italia speaks with Ms. Dorothy George, a teacher at Parker High School, about the ways in which she is using new technologies to enhance learning in her classroom.   


A.H. Parker High School is taking advantage of the emergence of new technology to improve the classroom.  Dorothy George, teacher of the Business Technology Applications and Career Preparedness courses at Parker is starting a new initiative next week for the classroom to go entirely paperless.  With a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Finance from the University of Alabama, a Master's of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Master's of Science in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University, George has proven to be well-versed in the subject of business and technology.  Motivated by her educational background and her experience teaching at Wylam Middle School, where the students used online educational tools, Ms. George decided to start the initiative using programs such as Dropbox, Google+, and Edmodo in her classroom.  Each of these online learning tools uses a different method to improve education. 


For Ms. George, one of the main motivations for this new initiative is that a paperless classroom gives more time for instruction.  Students can manage their own accounts and access classroom documents online, saving time otherwise spent on making copies and passing out papers - it even makes grading quizzes more efficient.  Additionally, these online tools aid in classroom management, allowing the teacher to monitor the progress of each student more carefully and develop a fine-tuned lesson plan for individual students based on their progress.  Ms. George has also observed that using online tools reduces the number of disciplinary problems in her classroom; she suggests that the students want to use technology and that it makes learning more engaging and fun without sacrificing intellectual development. 


George's classroom is outfitted with computers for every student. 
Until next time...
Thanks for taking the time to browse our newsletter and learn about some of the happenings here at Ed. Please pass along the good news to your friends and neighbors and we look forward to talking to you again next time.  We have a feeling there are great things ahead for Ed and Birmingham City Schools - stay tuned!



As always, the mission of the Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF) is to bring the voice of the community to Birmingham City Schools' leadership and to work with that leadership to provide a range of support to allow the system to fulfill its mission and vision. We do this with a vision that the children of Birmingham will be fully prepared for success in the work and life. We believe unequivocally that current circumstances should not be a barrier to future success.
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