October 2017
From the Superintendent
What a way to start the school year! Tropical storms, hurricanes, solar eclipses. I’m glad we don’t have a volcano near Mountain Brook!

Even with all the non-school events transpiring around us, it has been an excellent start to the 2017-2018 school year. Many in the community think about the start of a school year as the day students return to school. In our school system, we believe the start of a new school year begins about two weeks into the summer break. We begin our year with a focus on professional development for all our teachers. You can read more about our professional development below. I think you will be amazed at how much we have going on during the summer.

The week before school starts we gather for “Institute Day.” This event is held in the high school Fine Arts Center and is attended by everyone who works at Mountain Brook Schools, including all teachers and all support staff. Also present are members of our Board of Education and guests, including city officials, PTO leadership, Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation leadership, and former school board members. In spite of its rather uninspiring name, Institute Day is a time for us to celebrate all the many great things happening in our school system, all the fine people who work here, and members of the community who do so much to support us. On that day, we recognize performance award winners, service award winners (employees who have been with us for 10, 15, 20, 25 years of service and up), and our top three awards: the “Promise of Excellence” Teacher, the Margaret Spencer Ragland Award, and the Ann Pritchard Award for Excellence in Teaching. It isn’t your typical staff recognition event. We have a lot of fun, and we end the day by reflecting on our accomplishments and focusing on our next steps as a school system. It is a special day that helps us prepare for the new academic year.

Why write about this to you? I have the privilege of being able to see all of the work that goes on in the school system not just just during the academic year, but during the summer. I know how proud it makes me of the people I work with. I want to share some of that with you in the hope that it reinforces the appreciation your family and this community have for our dedicated staff.

We are well into the year now and have much to accomplish in a short time. It is my hope that this is the best year yet for you, your children, and Mountain Brook Schools. Enjoy your fall and the entire school year!

Dicky Barlow

Mountain Brook Schools and ALL IN MOUNTAIN BROOK Present "I'll Push You: A Story of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair"
Through the power of storytelling, Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray draw from their life experiences and their incredible 500-mile wheelchair journey through Spain to demonstrate how to overcome the greatest of odds. Through Justin and Patrick's message, our students and the Mountain Brook community have an opportunity to discover how to be happier, more engaged, and more productive through the power of teamwork.
"I want to invite everyone to come and listen to these two men tell their wonderful story. I have heard them speak, have read their book, and look forward to their documentary that comes out on November 2. I want you to have the same privilege I have been given to hear this inspiring talk."

-- Dicky Barlow
Justin and Patrick will visit Mountain Brook High School to speak to our students on the morning of October 18 th . That night, the rest of the community will have the opportunity to hear their story when Justin and Patrick speak at the Mountain Brook High School Fine Arts Center at 6:00 p.m. 

Tickets are free, but must be reserved by going to this website

Still not convinced you should come? We challenge you to watch the trailer of their documentary, below.

We hope to see you at the Mountain Brook High School Fine Arts Center on October 18 at 6:00 p.m.

School Staff Members Recognized with Awards for Excellence

Ann Pritchard Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Ann Pritchard A ward for Excellence in Teaching , which the school district calls its highest performance honor, was awarded to Johnna Noles , kindergarten teacher at Crestline Elementary. This award is given to the most outstanding nominee among the performance award recipients as determined by the selection committee. This award includes an additional $500 stipend making a total award of $1,500. At Mountain Brook Schools Institute Day, all MBS staff and guests heard Johnna Noles' touching and inspiring acceptance speech.
Kindergarten is arguably the most necessary year of schooling in a child’s life. It is the year a child learns to share, work cooperatively, read, write, and participate in a full day of instruction. I get to be the one who encourages their curiosity and helps build their love of learning that will last a lifetime. This is my passion.

--Johnna Noles 
Margaret Spencer Ragland Award

Shannon Millhouse , math teacher at Mountain Brook Elementary, was named winner of the Margaret Spencer Ragland Award , awarded to a professional staff member for “superior contributions above and beyond the call of duty” and sponsored by the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation . The award carries a $1200 bonus that may be used for professional development or educational technology in the school or classroom.
Performance Awards

At the beginning of each school year, Mountain Brook Schools honors outstanding employees with Performance Awards, which include stipends. Award winners are nominated by their principals or other supervisors and then selected by a committee. The Performance Award winners for 2016-2017 are listed below. Congratulations to all of them!

Allyson Martin, Promise of Excellence Award, Mountain Brook Elementary, 2nd Grade Teacher

Ann Scott Cohen , Brookwood Forest, 4 th Grade Teacher

Kelly Hargrove , Brookwood Forest, Library/Media Center Assistant

Meg Sims , Brookwood Forest, 4 th Grade Teacher

Christopher Cence , Cherokee Bend, Physical Education

Lizzie Vansant , Cherokee Bend, Special Education Teacher

Laura Rives , Crestline Elementary, Math & Science Teacher, 3 rd Grade

Adam Craiger , Mountain Brook Elementary, Bookkeeper

Courtney Doan , Mountain Brook Elementary, 1 st Grade Teacher

Ricky Moran , Mountain Brook Elementary, Custodian

Amy Kathryn Gannon , Mountain Brook Junior High, Mathematics

Millie Gardner , Mountain Brook Junior High, Technology Assistant

Sharon Lyerly , Mountain Brook Junior High, 9th Grade Counselor

Rhonda Guillory , Mountain Brook High School, Mathematics

Cory Morris , Central Office, Administrative Assistant for Instruction
Summer Is a Time for Teacher Learning!


Number of Sessions

Free-standing Programs 13
Small Group Learning 120
2017 Learning Conference 80

Contact Hours

Free-standing Programs 3176
Summer Small Groups 3898
2017 Learning Conference 3199
TOTAL 10,980

W hen summer comes, the learning does not stop at Mountain Brook Schools. During the summer of 2017, like all summers, Mountain Brook Schools offered a wide range of opportunities for teachers to develop as educators.

"This summer, the school district logged nearly 11,000 contact hours of professional development for our staff," said Dr. Missy Brooks, Director of Instruction. "These covered a wide range of topics and a number of different modes and formats for our staff to come and learn."

Professional development offerings included free-standing half- or full-day workshops; small group activities, in which a group of teachers establish a learning plan and meet in the summer to study and interact about an area of study; and a large, week-long Learning Conference which is offered by Mountain Brook Schools, but is open to educators from any location.

Topics included several programs on educational technology, student mental health, promoting and developing student voice, and a range of topics related to content areas and instructional methods.

In addition, the school district held it's annual week-long New Teacher Orientation. All newly hired staff attended a packed week of activities designed to get them ready for teaching in the school district. "We have to spend a little time during New Teacher Orientation week on practical details," said Lanie Kent, Associate Director of Instruction at Mountain Brook Schools. "But much more time is devoted to helping our new staff learn about the purpose, values, and culture of the school, along with our commitment to an effective, challenging and engaging education."
2017 National Merit Semifinalists

National Merit Semifinalists, Commended Students

Twelve Class of 2018 National Merit Semifinalists were formally recognized and congratulated by the Mountain Brook Board of Education at its September 2017 meeting.
National Merit Semifinalists: First Row, (L-R): Ellie Lipp, Ann Douglas Lott, Jack Smith T, Anne Clayton Cole, John Pankey; Second Row, (L-R): Haskins Jones, Jonah Allen, Cars Chandler; Third Row, (L-R): Will Forbus, Britton Johnson, Henry Evans, Hamp Sisson.

"These students, are wonderfully well-rounded," said Amanda Hood, Principal of Mountain Brook High School. "Like so many of our students who achieve great things, they are not just academically strong. They are highly involved in the culture of the school and in a range of school and community activities. We are proud of them all."
National Merit Commended Students:
First row, (L-R): Freddie Nunnelley, Margaret Shufflebarger, Mary Emery Skelton, Warner Neal; Second row, (L-R): Adele Bloodworth, Lauren Gilbert, Celia Benedict, Justin Brouillette; Third row (L-R): Harrison Clark, John Galloway, Hughes Mitchell, Mac Thomson; Fourth row (L-R): Eli Sellers, Thomas Bugg, Jay Pankey, Russell Weas; Not pictured: Aken King, Michael Knight, Lyda McComber, Mead Oliver, Banks Walston

Please Download the Mountain Brook Schools App!
The Mountain Brook School district, along with each of our schools, constantly works to enhance communication with staff, students, and parents.  We ask that staff, secondary students, and parents download the Mountain Brook Schools app.  Users can download the app for Apple or Google based on your mobile device by searching for  MBS Schools ( in the Apple App Store ) or Mountain Brook Schools ( in Google Play ) . Once the app has been downloaded, users have the opportunity to configure the app to ensure relevant information is received and a cell number for SMS/Text messages is entered. To get the full benefits of the app, users should log into the app using provided credentials.  

  • Send you text messages on urgent school matters, such as early closures and cancellations due to weather. Edit your profile in the app and include your cell phone number.

  • Give you access to Chalkable information, such as attendance, class schedules, and posted grades.

  • Provide much information you would get on any of our school websites or the district website, including directories, calendars, and news items.

  • Provide directories of staff at all schools.

  • Supplies a link to pay on lunch accounts and access to lunch menus.

  • Much more!

For assistance, email MBSsupport@mtnbrook.k12.al.us
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