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TCSS is excited about the Friday, February 12 launch of Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County, an organization with the purpose of sharing kindness and meeting the needs of students and families in Tuscaloosa County. Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County is made possible by the Tuscaloosa Education Foundation, Tuscaloosa County Commission, Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, and Tuscaloosa County School System.

Neighborhood Bridges is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, launched in January 2017, to respond to poverty in suburban and rural America. The organization began in Ohio and was founded by Rick Bannister. Since then, Neighborhood Bridges has grown to communities throughout Ohio and Alabama.

Through technology and social media, Neighborhood Bridges creates a “bridge” that connects community resources with children and families in need.

The counselor(s) at each school in the Tuscaloosa County School System is the school’s Neighborhood Bridges “advocate.” When a counselor becomes aware of a student's need, such as clothing or shoes, the counselor posts the need on the Neighborhood Bridges website. Needs remain anonymous, and no names or specific schools are listed.

To see needs posted to the Neighborhood Bridges website, become a subscriber. Visit and enter and confirm your email address. Needs will be posted to the Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County website for the first time on Friday, February 12. Subscribers receive an email each time new needs are posted.

When a subscriber wishes to meet a need, they will click “I Can Help.” The donor purchases a new item to meet the need and takes it to one of four designated drop-off sites: TCSS Central Office in Downtown Tuscaloosa, the PARA Bobby Miller Activity Center, the PARA Faucett Brothers Activity Center, or the PARA Jerry Tingle Activity Center. Neighborhood Bridges then facilitates pickup of the item and delivery to the school. The school counselor who was first aware of the need will make sure the student receives the item.

Retired educator and school counselor Connie Coleman is serving as Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County Area Director. In her role, Mrs. Coleman is the key advocate for Neighborhood Bridges. She works to grow the network of Neighborhood Bridges subscribers, helps with the posting of needs, assists with satisfying needs when donations are made, and facilitates pick-up and delivery of donated items.

Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County has been established through funding and support from the Tuscaloosa Education Foundation and Tuscaloosa County Commission. Tuscaloosa County PARA is providing drop-off locations across Tuscaloosa County, which is highly beneficial in reaching donors in all areas of our county.

Tuscaloosa Education Foundation Executive Director Terri Boman emphasized the role of the community in making Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County a success.

“We are on the brink of Valentine’s Day and what better way to show your compassion, love, and kindness than meeting a need for a Tuscaloosa County student,” Boman said.

“The crowd-funded platform is only as good as the advocates that share the information, so we need your help. Please help us advocate for our children and share the Neighborhood Bridges site with all of your friends, civic organizations, church affiliations, family, and work friends.”

Visit or search Neighborhood Bridges Tuscaloosa County for more information.

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Throughout the month of November 2020, the TEF Grant Request Review Committee composed of Pamela Pruitt (Chairperson), Dr. Anne Witt, Kelley Miller, Janet Crowder, and Charlotte Wheeler worked diligently to read 183 grant applications and award approximately $30,000 in grants to deserving teachers (general/SPED), librarians, reading interventionist, administrators, and district leaders in Tuscaloosa City and Tuscaloosa County Schools.

The grant awards addressed a variety of needs: gardening supplies, flexible seating, materials to build a tiny house, additional books, seed money to initiate a debate program, phonics supplies, leadership assessments, social-emotional curriculum, decodable readers, broadcasting equipment, imagination playground activities, books to develop character, novel study books, culture books, and video equipment for media arts class to name a few.

We are so excited to be able to make some of our classroom, school, and system dreams come true by offering this wonderful opportunity.

The award recipients are listed below by grant type:

Classroom Grants

  • Jennifer Anderson – Oakdale Elementary School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Danielle Edison – Southview Elementary School. Tuscaloosa City

  • Jody Evans – Tuscaloosa County High School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Alyson Lamb – Taylorville Primary School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Julie McKinnon – Vance Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Mikki Powell – Rock Quarry Elementary School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Mikesha Stewart – Faucett-Vestavia Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Patricia Tessner – Skyland Elementary School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Georgia Tidwell – Westlawn Middle School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Carly Turner – Northside Middle School, Tuscaloosa County

School Grants

  • David Lammon – Big Sandy Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Fayette Little – Skyland Elementary School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Veronica Long – Central Elementary School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Dr. Donmonique Morgan – STARS Academy, Tuscaloosa City

  • Rachel Sharp – Vance Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Reagan Wallace – Myrtlewood Elementary School, Tuscaloosa County

System Grants

  • M. Blake Harris – Holt High School, Tuscaloosa County

  • Carter Hill – Northridge Middle School, Tuscaloosa City

  • Dr. Keri Johnson – Tuscaloosa County School System

  • Andrea Markham & Andrea White – Tuscaloosa City Schools

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Tuscaloosa Education Foundation announces the 2020 Thomas J. Joiner Award of Education Excellence recipient Ms. Shelley Jones.

Shelley has long been an active community leader and lifelong educator. Her career in education began first as a teacher at Northington Elementary and then a principal at Woodland Forrest Elementary. She is the recipient of countless awards for her work in education including The University of Alabama National Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), three-time State PTA Outstanding Local Unit in Alabama Award, District III Alabama Association Elementary School Administrators Distinguished Principal Award, State PTA Outstanding Elementary Principal of the Year, National PTA Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award Honorable Mention and Alabama National Distinguished Principal Award. After retiring, she served eight years as a Tuscaloosa City School board member. She is also serving the United Way of West Alabama as their 2020 Campaign Chairperson.

Congratulations to Ms. Shelley Jones!

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