The Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education started the new year with new board officers and a new meeting date. After years of meeting on the first Monday of every month, the board voted unanimously to change its regular meeting date to the fourth Tuesday of each month. The time, 6 p.m. and place, the Jenkins Middle School library, remain unchanged. The board also designated two alternate meeting dates to accommodate holidays, Tuesday, May 21, for Memorial Day and Tuesday, November 19, for Thanksgiving.
Superintendent Mike Genton said the board had voted to make the change for several reasons, including to make it more convenient for Jamie Hall to videotape the meetings for the Government Channel. There are also more Monday holidays that conflicted with meetings. Sarah Brown was elected Board Chairman and Brenda De- Priest was chosen as Vice Chairman. Superintendent Genton will continue with his duties as Board Secretary and Federal Programs Director Sherry Wright will remain as treasurer.
In the absence of District Financial Officer Candala Gibson, Superintendent Genton announced that as of January 1, the General Fund stood at $1,167,738,31. Genton also read a report from Gibson concerning the draft budget. Due to the lack of state direction, Gibson reported that it was impossible to set a firm budget. The board hasn’t received a forecast from the Kentucky Department of Education concerning state funding, and there are no certain actions from the state regarding pensions.
Genton said that according to the KDE Staffing Formula, the district is two teachers above the recommended number, both at Burdine Elementary. However, Genton said he would rather have too many teachers than not enough. He added that was particularly true at the elementary level, which he said is where the foundations of education are laid.
Genton also delivered the attendance and enrollment report in the absence of Director of Pupil Personnel Rondall Baker. The average daily rate of attendance stands at 92.39. Genton said that while he would like to see it higher, it is still better than it was last year. The district enrollment stands at 427.
The campus reports from Jenkins Middle High School and Burdine Elementary reveal that both campuses have gotten off to a good start in the new year. Elementary Principal Amanda Anderson reported that the American Red Cross visited the school and showed students in grades three to five how to make “go bags” for emergencies. Burdine Elementary is preparing for the 100th day of school celebration and students will participate in the annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser for leukemia and lymphoma by bringing change to school.
Anderson said that signups for Pee Wee basketball were a big success and the school has around 75 students who want to play. She said enough teams will be created to accommodate everyone, and there is a good group of volunteer coaches. The school also has three new 10-foot-wide Lifetouch boards, which enhance instruction. Lifetouch boards are similar to Smartboards and allow instant communication and exchange with other classrooms as well as in the presentation of educational material. Students are also working on Accelerated Reading projects. Anderson told the board she wants to work with parents to get them involved in school technology next year. She said she wants to introduce parents to Infinite Campus, which allows them to keep in touch with school events and monitor their child’s academic progress via computer or cell phone. She added that 100 percent of Burdine students have received Hepatitis A vaccinations.
Jenkins Middle High School Principal Stacy Collier said she had attended a Letcher County Chamber of Commerce meeting as the guest of Board Vice Chair Brenda DePriest and had enjoyed the meeting. Collier reported that staff are conducting Leadership 101 training for an hour every day in classrooms and that different groups of students are addressing different areas. She added that two students are participating in Job Shadowing, a program that allows them to participate in a workplace they choose. She said one is at the Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital and another is at the Burdine Elementary School.
Collier said she is very pleased that “sticky note” artist and Letcher County teacher Tyler Watts is working on a mural for the entrance hallway of the high school. Watts has also designed murals in the windows in the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library in Whitesburg. Genton said the basis of the murals is mathematics, and he is pleased that students are responding in such a positive way.
Collier announced that the America College Test will be given to juniors at JMHS on March 12 and added that she is pleased with participation in dual credit college courses at the University of Pikeville and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College at Whitesburg. Dual credit courses allow high school students to attend college classes and gain college credit for entry level courses before graduating from high school.
The board voted unanimously to go ahead with approval of an agreement to allow a radio tower to be located at the baseball field at Joes Branch. The action is in response to a request from Greg Marshall of WKVG radio at the board’s November meeting. WKVG is a small AM station that broadcasts from Jenkins. Marshall said that the current tower from which the station rents its space is being redeveloped and will no longer be able suitable for AM transmissions, and asked the board to consider leasing the station a site near the Jenkins baseball field in Joes Branch. He said that WKVG will build its own tower on the space if the board will approve his request to lease the land to it. He added that the station, which already broadcasts some Jenkins High School sporting events like boys’ football and basketball games, will be able broadcast 24 hours a day and expand its sports coverage for Jenkins High School teams. Superintendent Genton said the agreement does not bind the board and is still contingent on WKVG adhering to requirements set out by the board’s attorneys and federal laws.