Progress 2021: Tony Reddick discusses 2021 plan for Gadsden City Schools

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By Katie Bohannon, News Editor

Though several of Gadsden City Schools System’s goals were interrupted by the pandemic, the combined efforts of the board of education and the system’s educators overcame the obstacles that arose. Superintendent Tony Reddick stated that despite the challenges of 2020, 2021 remains a hopeful year to reroute and continue on the course toward success.

In 2020, state report cards emphasized the school system’s academic improvements and inspired the collection of innovative and creative directors, principals, educators and staff members who presently strive to accomplish the original goals of the former year. Moving forward to 2021, Reddick shared that Gadsden City Schools are restarting its engine, while ensuring the health and safety of its students and mitigating potential risks.

“My mindset [for 2021] is trying to engage more stakeholders,” said Reddick. “We as a staff run the school system, but we’re taking care of people’s children – not just academically, but socially, athletically and emotionally. I think it’s important to engage more stakeholders, in particular parents, and provide opportunities for them to be a part of what we’re doing.”

Reddick referenced the loco parentis law, which states that when parents entrust their minors to a school, the parents delegate certain responsibilities to the school, who in turn possesses certain liabilities. In other terms, the school serves as a parental figure for those children during school hours, nurturing them and assisting them as they learn. Reddick noted that if more parents could embrace that philosophy and recognize the schools as partners who care about their children, he believes a positive change will occur.

In 2021, Reddick plans to continue the evaluation of the schools’ programs and staff to discuss educational effectiveness and return to its state prior to the pandemic. Reddick believes the school system will recover and exceed expectations.

He shared his hopes moving forward, focusing on creativity and inclusiveness to encourage students in a direction that grants them the opportunity to compete and succeed in the future.

“My expectation [moving forward] is inclusiveness and for us to consider diversity issues,” said Reddick. “Nowadays, with the climate of our country and community, I think it’s important for us to have some conversations about the lives that matter. All lives do matter, but we do understand that there is a portion of our society who might be disenfranchised. 2021 is a time to really evaluate that. We’ve got to learn to embrace that, and share an appreciation for our understanding as to why we need to embrace it and move forward.”

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