In the first meeting of 2021, the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education elected new officers and set meeting dates for the year.
Chris Banks, who was reelected in last year’s elections, is the new chairman and longtime board member Eileen Sanders will serve as vice-chair. As is traditional, Superintendent Damian Johnson will serve as board secretary and Federal Programs Director Sherry Wright will continue as treasurer. All board meetings will be held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Jenkins Middle School Library, except for the December meeting which will be held on December 21.
In other business, Johnson told the board that in order to better understand the spread of the COVID-19, he has been graphing the virus trends in Letcher County. He also said that while students are attending virtual classes, the buildings are being sanitized and deep cleaned. He added that he hopes people in Letcher County will take advantage of vaccinations when they are available.
Johnson reported that both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams were in quarantine and said that as superintendent, he has to make student safety first the order of business. He said that during quarantine breaks, he has been working with District Financial Officer Candala Gibson to learn more about budgeting. The draft budget is in development, but specific funding has not been set since the General Assembly is still in session.
Elementary teachers are working on teaching reading skills, and teachers will recognize students who complete assignments on time in on-line Google meetings. He added that teachers will take parents’ work situations into consideration and will conduct assessments on a weekly basis. He praised Elementary Principal Amanda Anderson for creating a Cultural Committee at Burdine to address school culture.
Johnson said that 22 students in grades 9-12 are taking dual credit classes and certified nursing assistant students will attend classes in person at the vocational school. ACT tests will be offered in February and March. He also said that every senior who graduates from Jenkins High School will receive a Chromebook upon graduation. Leadership teams are meeting every other week.