In the first meeting with newly appointed Superintendent Freddie Bowling, the Jenkins Independent Board of Education addressed several “new school year” issues and tabled the contract with Wise County Schools that allows for Jenkins High Students to attend vocational classes at Wise County Vocational School until interstate legal language can be ironed out.
High school Principal David Lee told the board the contract is mostly complete and that Jenkins students attending the Wise County school have been given priority in choosing classes, but added that some changes will need to be made to accommodate differences in legal language between Kentucky and Virginia. The board voted unanimously to give Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. permission to sign the contract after the changes are approved by both school systems’ attorneys.
Lee told the board that the system has 41 students attending the Wise County Vocational School and 13 students taking dual credit classes at the University of Pikeville. Lee said attendance numbers are up for vocational students over the same time last year and called it a “win/ win” situation for both school systems. Director of Pupil Personnel Rondall Baker announced that attendance stands at 95.73 percent for the entire system, which he said is a two percent gain over last year. Total enrollment for the district stands at 511, with 20 additional students in the preschool program at Burdine Elementary.
In other business, the board met several new high school teachers including Brian Hobbs, (English), Cara DeMoss (biology), Kristen Addington (special education), Crystal Smallwood (librarian), Christle Carter, District Innovation coordinator, and Emily Hawkins, who is working in the system in the Appalachian Regional Initiative, which is part of the Race to the Top Grant.
Technology Director Damian Johnson reported on a training session he attended for the MondoBoard, a 55-, 70- or 80-inch touch pad Internet communications tool used for conferences. Johnson said the board is an impressive piece of equipment and allows users at several sites to interact and to present, annotate, and collaborate on presentations from sites around the world. Johnson said the system should take a close look at the technology. He also told the board the system’s on-line bandwidth will be expanded from 25 MB to 45 MB on August 28.
Superintendent Bowling told the board he was impressed with the system staff and thanked them for their hard work during his transition period. He said student achievement will be his number one goal for the school year and added that the system has purchased new math and reading textbooks for the elementary school.
Burdine Elementary School Principal Stacy Collier told the board that the “active shooter” demonstration put on at the school on August 5, in conjunction with the Jenkins Police Department, Kentucky State Police, and Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, had gone well, and was so realistic, it had presented a scary and eyeopening scenario to the staff. The first day of class for students was August 6.
Collier also told the board that the Burdine Pee Wee Football teams are practicing and that Pee Wee cheerleaders for both squads are also up and going as well. The current total enrollment for Burdine elementary is 255, but Collier said that new students have been coming in on a regular basis.
The board also addressed the issue of passes to school sporting events. Board Vice Chairman Tracy Goff said he has seen so many passes that it is obvious the process is being misused and it is starting to cost the individual athletic teams revenue in attendance fees. Lee told the board that he has never issued a pass and Goff said that one of the problems is who is issuing the passes. The board voted unanimously to declare all currently issued passes void and to ask administrators to set guidelines for issuing passes in the future, and bring them to the board for approval.
In a related issue, the board voted to increase attendance fees for high school sports events from $2 for children and $4 for adults to $3 and $5 respectively. Middle school events were raised from $1 and $3 to $2 and $4. Cheerleading fees for Pee Wee cheerleaders were increased from $10 to $20 and the parking rate for student parking was set at $5 per student per year.