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Jenkins High looks for 4th principal since ’08

The Jenkins Independent School System is left looking for a new principal for its middle-high school after the sudden departure of former principal Lisa Barker.

Superintendent Deborah Watts announced at the October meeting of the Jenkins Board of Education that a vacancy does exist for a K-12 principal at Jenkins Middle High and said she expects to fill the position soon. Watts said the departure of Barker was unexpected. Barker was the fourth principal, counting interim principals, for the middle high school since 2008.

Watts also announced a vacancy for the position of Director of the Family Resource Center to replace Jennifer Malan, who has accepted a job with the new Letcher County Recreation Center.

The school board was also presented with news of improvement on No Child Left Behind test scores.

Elementary school principals Gracie Maggard of Burdine and Amanda Sturgill of McRoberts Elementary conducted the presentation and Watts praised staff and students alike for the improvement in test scores. Watts was also left to explain the scores for the Middle High School in the wake of Barker’s abrupt resignation.

The Kentucky Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress Report lists the Jenkins Independent Schools System as having met seven of 10 Target Goals. Because of its status as single entity system, which was adopted in 2008, test scores are figured for the entire system, Kindergarten through grade 12. Reading and Participation were positives while the system as a whole did not meet Mathematics Annual Measurable Objectives.

In Reading the system is “safe,” which means that while it did not meet its Annual Measurable Objectives, it is still in “Safe Harbor” and considered to have made Adequate Yearly Progress because the system reduced the number of students who perform below proficient by at least ten percent. Both elementary principals pointed out that not only had the number of students scoring proficient increased, the number of students scoring novice had decreased considerably.

Both elementary principals attributed the improvements in scores to the hard work of their staffs and Principal Maggard added that the continuity in leadership had meant a great deal, to students and staff as well as to the principals.

“We were both new last year,” said Maggard.

Watts told the board she was very pleased with the district’s overall progress and added that Jenkins Independent compares well at grade levels with other schools in the region. She added that strategies for raising Math and Social Studies scores are already being developed.

In other business, Finance Officer Candala Watts informed the board the General Fund stands at $201,801. Gibson said the fund is getting low but will be replenished when property taxes start coming in. She said she would have a draft budget for the 2012-13 School Year ready in January.

Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett reported that attendance for the district stands at 92.82 percent and added that the attendance leader is Grade 8 with 94.39 percent. Tackett said that school nurses throughout the district have received 1,259 office visits from September 21 through October 19. Enrollment stands at 556 in K-12, with 38 more students in pre-school

Suicide Prevention Training for middle school students was conducted on October 3 by Dessie Bowling, Kentucky Valley Educational Coop Safe Schools Director and a Drug Education Awareness Presention is planned for the first week of November to be conducted by the Jenkins Police Department.

Tackett said he has placed a request with the Kentucky State Police for a drug dog visit for the MHS and said Officer Jim Stephens of the Jenkins Police Dept. is conducting periodic walkthroughs.

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