BOE considers revision of school calendar

Published 11:33 am Thursday, December 22, 2011

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

Spring Break could come after the state high school exit exam and students and teachers could enjoy a whole week off for Thanksgiving next year if the Lowndes County Board of Education approves policy revisions presented to it on Thursday night.

School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd presented a package of policy revisions for school board members to consider for their Jan. 12 meeting.

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Among proposed changes, according to Yvette Patterson, executive assistant to the superintendent, are Spring Break, which would be set from March 26-30 this year due to a change by the state in the date of the high school exit exam. If approved, the break would come after the exit exam.

Another proposed change she said would be for the next school year to give students and teachers a week off for Thanksgiving instead of three days, as has been the case in the past.

“I know the teachers are very happy,” Boyd said.

Under the superintendent’s report, Boyd said bids for air conditions at the Central High School gymnasium exceeded the amount of an Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs grant.

As a result, he said, the school system will have to come up with the difference. He said the plans for this have been submitted for approval to the state Building Commission.

Boyd said the salary schedule for bus aides approved by the board at its last meeting would not be used, as those services will be provided through contracts.

He also said a list of activities would be submitted to the state to remediate items cited in a comprehensive review of the school system in the areas of transportation and federal programs.

Boyd congratulated Lorenzo Smith, coordinator of the career and technical program, for his efforts to get the school’s masonry program certified.

He said the system has had lots of masonry students in the Calhoun area “go on to do extremely well.”

He also said the school system will received additional revenues for its Dependent Care Program in the amount of $16,000.

The Lowndes County Board of Education recognizes quarterly award winners in October, December, February and April.

Winners recognized by Boyd and the board for the December quarter on Thursday night included:
Student of the Quarter, Javaris Hart, an eighth grader at Lowndes Middle School, who Boyd said works to keep the classroom order and peace in the classroom and who was represented by his sister Angela Hart. Jarvis was playing in a basketball game.

Parent of the Quarter, Tonya Holcombe of Hayneville Middle School, who Boyd said is involved with the education of her child and others and who provides assistance to teachers and the principal.
Volunteer of the Quarter, Lenora Davison of Fort Deposit Elementary, who Boyd said works with Head Start and the school as a whole.

Support Personnel of the Quarter, Cathy Robinson of Central High School, who Boyd recognized for her hard work with the successful operation of the school cafeteria.

Teacher of the Quarter, Elizabeth Flachsbart of Calhoun High School, who Boyd said made it possible for 19 of 22 seniors to pass the high school graduation exam based on her prescriptive teaching.

Principal of the Quarter, Kenneth Fair of Calhoun High School for what Boyd called a “truly outstanding job” and changes put in place regarding the academic program there.

Administrator of the Quarter, Bernard Mitchell for what Boyd called his efforts to improve the school district.

Joe N. Pernell Sr., a concerned parent, appeared before the school board to speak on “bridging the gap” to improve the quality of life for students and making the difference between their being able to earn minimum wage and earning a living.

He asked the board to reassess the Lowndes County Public School System to meet the needs of the marketplace by preparing its children for STEM area jobs by placing emphasis on those subject areas.

He proposed an “immersion program” based on STEM be established to enhance the gifts and talents of students who have already exhibited the characteristics of being forward thinkers in the Gifted/Talented Program.

The board went into an executive session to discuss the general reputation and character of various persons, but said no decisions were made or votes taken.

School Board Attorney Henry “Hank” Sanders reported that both the school system’s and the county’s redistricting plan for upcoming elections were pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department.

He also reported on an attorney general’s opinion regarding gifts the board and teachers could receive. He said no amount was listed, but it was suggested that gifts from students to teachers should be $15 or less. But he said fruit baskets and homemade cookies are okay.

Under the heading of action items, the board approved:

•Contracts between the board and William “Think Big” Gailliard (Motivational Workshops and Presentations, Hayneville Middle School students) and Annie Terrance (Bus Aide Services).

•Equipment lease agreements (copiers) for Calhoun High, Central Elementary, Central High, Fort Deposit Elementary, Hayneville Middle, Jackson-Steele Elementary and Lowndes County Middle.

•Distribution of At-Risk Funds to community agencies.

•Mathematics Textbook Committee.

•Bid for contractor, electrical upgrades at Central Elementary School (Moore Electric).

•October 2011 Financial Statement for the Lowndes County Head Start Program.

•Approval of the revenue and expenditure report, financial statement and October 2011 payroll register based on reconciled bank statements.

The also approved its agenda, minutes from Nov. 10, 28 and 29 meetings and the personnel report.

However, Board member Ben Davis abstained on item two on page two of the report and Board President Steve Foster abstained on the last person on page one of the report.

The next scheduled meeting will be held Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at Central High School.