School Board Votes to Make up Snow Days, February 21st & March 18th

February 10, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Attendance Supervisor Clay Farler Addresses School Board

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to make-up two school days lost because of snow on the federal holiday of President's Day, Monday, February 21st and on Friday, March 18th which was previously scheduled to be a professional development or stock pile day.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby made the recommendation saying that the school system had already used up all it's allotted snow days when this week's snow storm hit. With school having been out Thursday and Friday, the school system must now make up those two days before the end of the year. Students were originally scheduled to be off for President's Day on Monday, February 21st and on Friday, March 18th. Willoughby said he thought it best to make up the lost days on those dates.

Willoughby also asked that the board come up with a plan at it's work session on Saturday, February 12th on how to make up any further days which might be lost due to winter weather and then have board chairman Charles Robinson make an executive decision and alert the public so parents could prepare for whatever plan is decided. The options seem to be either using a portion of the spring break, adding days to the end of the school year, having school on Saturday, or possibly extending the school day by thirty minutes. "I've closed school another day so that puts us in the ballgame where we have two days to make up. What I'd like to recommend to the board is that on February 21st, President's Day, when we scheduled not to have school, that we have school on that day. Also on our stock pile day on March 18th, I recommend that we have school on that day. I'd also recommend that during our work session on Saturday that we have a discussion about should we miss any more school, what we're going to do at that point as far as making up any other days. These two days (February 21st and March 18th) will take care of Thursday and Friday this week and we'll be back even. But if we miss any more, we'll need a plan take care of those days. During our work session Saturday, hopefully we can come up with an agreement. I realize a work session is only for planning and we can't take any action but if we think we can come up with a plan, I would probably take that to Mr. Robinson, our chairman, and ask that he take executive action the following week so we could let our parents make plans and we could vote on that executive action at our March board meeting," said Willoughby.

Attendance Supervisor Clay Farler said he didn't like the idea of extending the school day or having Saturday school. "In my experience, both as teacher, supervisor, and principal the most affective days of instruction are full days of instruction, not adding on thirty minutes a day or going on Saturdays like we've done in the past. It takes thirteen days of that (adding 30 minutes a day) just to make up one school day. We only have sixty five more days (left) at this point plus the two we have to make up. I think the idea of going to school on President's Day and Teacher's Professional Development Day is a good one and whatever you do after that, I recommend that it be a full day of school."

Meanwhile, on another issue, the DeKalb County High School Construction Technology program will soon go about building houses a different way than in the past.

The board of education Thursday night granted approval for the implementation of a new onsite building program, which will allow students to build a house on the DCHS campus and eliminate the need for transportation to and from a particular job site. Students will retain the necessary training for meeting competencies and standards that are required to complete the construction courses.

Brad Leach, Career and Technical Education director, made the request. "With on-site building, we currently build a house off site at a lot, right now we have a lot at College Street. The on-site building will bring the building back to the campus at the high school. The students would not have to have transportation. Tools would not have to be transported. Everything would be done right there close to the building trades classroom. The students would just be within walking distance. The land we're looking at is close to the baseball field house but it's actually in between the band tower and the bus garage. That's where we're looking to put the house. We would come in and build a permanent footer and foundation for the house and then the house would be constructed. After that, whoever wanted to buy the house, they would be responsible for paying for the house at the price that the construction teacher would set. Then they (buyer) would be responsible for all costs of moving the house and taking the house to wherever they would be putting it on a lot. The way we would have to take the house out would be around by the school bus garage so there would have to be a fence modified for that. We'd also need to put up a fence around the house in case of theft, vandalism, and things of that nature. The other thing I like about this too is that if we put this house on-site, we could do some integration projects with our math courses. Those students could come over and observe or maybe do some calculations on the house. We could also integrate family consumer science for designing purposes. There's a number of different things we can use this for if we do it on-site. The students would still get the concept of building. It's not taking anything away from that. They will still master the competencies that they need for the construction technology program."

According to Leach, the estimated one time cost for permanent footing and foundation is $3,200. The estimated cost for framing, roofing, and windows and doors is $26,000. The price is estimated on a 1450-1550 square foot home

House plans will be developed by the construction technology instructor and students.

Meanwhile, the lot purchased by the construction technology program, located on College Street, will be sold and the money from the property will be returned to the construction technology program.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the board

The following were employed:
Jimmy Sprague, substitute bus driver
Andrew Dixon and Kyle Graham, assistant baseball coaches for 2010-11
Charles Martin, substitute custodian

Janis Barnes, Leigh Bumbalough, Susan Guerin, Juanita Howell, Michelle Hoyle, Benjamin Malone, Rosemary Melton, LouAnn Midgett, Chris Moore, Stephen Moore, Virginia Rose, and Michael Shaw as substitute teachers.

Sarah Jane Parsley, teacher at Smithville Elementary School, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

In other business, the board voted to request that the county commission adopt a budget amendment to appropriate $374,000 of Basic Education Program (BEP) Reserve funds to purchase 57.59 acres more or less on Allens Ferry Road to be used for future educational needs.

The board also voted to contract with three companies to perform professional services related to the Allen's Ferry Road property. Civil Site Design Group, PLLC of Nashville will provide engineering evaluation/analysis of the site at a cost of $3,000. Crockett Surveying of Lebanon will provide a boundary survey for $4,350 and American Geotechnical and Environmental, Inc of Franklin will conduct a preliminary geotechnical engineering study for $2,000.

Fifth district school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said it's time the school system update the chemistry and physics lab at the high school and he wants to discuss the issue during Saturday's work session. "We've talked for the last couple of years about our chemistry lab and physics lab and biology lab at the high school. We have the same fixtures that were there in 1963 when the school was built. We've just moved them from one room to the other. We need to consider asking the county commission before this fiscal year ends to amend our budget if there's capital outlay or BEP monies there for this in order to be able to do it (make upgrades) during the summer instead of waiting to put it in next year's budget. This weighs on my mind very heavily because we're falling behind in this category. We have some excellent teachers and very intelligent students but they can't do what they need to do without the proper equipment. I know we have a long range plan for maybe a school within five, seven, to ten years but we can't wait that long to have a new chemistry and physics lab. So I'd like to put that on the docket to discuss on Saturday to see if we could get something going and get the ball rolling."

DCHS principal Kathy Hendrix reminded parents to make sure their high school sons and daughters take advantage of credit recovery if they need it."At the high school, I would like to encourage the parents to make sure, if your son or daughter has an incomplete or doesn't have a passing grade in some things and needs to do credit recovery, time is running out. It'll be May before you know it. Our progress reports go out next week but you should have gotten a report card after we came back after Christmas. Anybody who has an incomplete or needs to stay after school and get some of this made up, I encourage you to get them (students) there and if you're in doubt call the guidance department and they can let you know whether your son or daughter needs to do that."

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation and set February 17th as Principal/Assistant Principal Appreciation Day in DeKalb County.

The resolution states that "Whereas, principals and assistant principals take on enormous responsibilities and duties including observing, evaluating, policy planning, mentoring and much more; and

Whereas, principals and assistant principals are instructional leaders who provide direction and support to students, teachers and other school employees in our district; and

Whereas, our principals establish a vision for our schools and create strategies for getting there; and

Whereas, principals seek support from parents and community and garner their engagement in their schools; and

Whereas, principals strive to enhance the learning and working environment for everyone in the school;

Now, therefore be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education, hereby adopts February 17th as Principal Appreciation Day in all of our schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses deep appreciation to principals and assistant principals in our system and encourages the students and staff to join us in expressing appreciation to the leaders of DeKalb County Schools."

The board gave permission for Science Club and FFA students to participate in a joint field trip to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky March 16th. The students who will be eligible to go on the field trip are Science Club and FFA members who entered a science project in the DCHS Science Fair on Saturday, March 12th. The winners of the Science Fair will also be eligible for the trip.

Approval was granted for the Health Occupations Students of America Club to attend the State HOSA Conference in Nashville. The conference and competitions will be held February 28th through March 2nd at the Opryland Hotel. Eight to ten students will be competing.

Permission was given for the Junior and Senior Classes at DCHS to have the prom off campus at the Doubletree Heartland Ballroom in Murfreesboro on April 29th from 8:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

The board granted permission for the Tigerette Softball team to participate in the Middle Tennessee Softball Coaches Association Tournament in Clarksville Thursday and Friday, March 24th & 25th

The board also approved a bus transportation request for 4-Hers to go bowling in Cookeville on Monday, February 21st .

Members of the board will be attending the annual "Day on the Hill" Legislative Conference February 22nd. The board voted 5-2 to approve the trip, which is funded by the school system. Board members Bruce Parsley and Billy Miller voted no. Parsley said he thought it might be okay for one member to represent the board but that everyone else attending should pay their own way, if they want to attend. The "Day on the Hill" gives board members an opportunity to meet with state legislators and discuss issues of concern to them regarding education.

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