Whitesburg KY
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Jenkins school board OK’s plan to improve dressing rooms at field

The Jenkins Independent Board of Education voted unanimously this week to give Jenkins High football coach Matt Chandler permission to begin raising money needed to rehabilitate the field house and dressing rooms at the Jenkins football field.

Chandler told the board at its March meeting Monday the entire project should cost about $1,500 and will focus on cleaning up the shower room, putting down rubber floor mats over the concrete floor to make it safer to walk on in cleats, and expanding the size of lockers and the equipment area.

Chandler said that some work can be done in-house, like painting the walls white to lighten the room, but other work, like improving lighting and addressing problems with the showers, will require technical help.

Superintendent Mike Genton, a former high school football coach at Trimble County, said it is the school system’s responsibility to address problems with the showers and other sanitary facilities. He said he has had an issue with the plumbing in the dressing room for quite a while.

“Kids need to be able to use the showers,” said Genton.

Chandler also asked about the possibility of getting Wi-Fi in the building and Genton said he has spoken to Technology Director Damian Johnson, who estimated the cost at around $3,000. Chandler said the upgrades would provide a safer and more sanitary space for the football team to change and that it will give them a better feeling about themselves and the program. He said the team is currently selling T-shirts as a fund-raiser and anyone who would like to purchase one can contact him at Jenkins High School.

Elementary Principal Stacy Collier told the school board that Jenkins Elementary students are currently participating in Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Testing and that she has noticed some impact from days out of school because of bad weather. She said report cards went out for the elementary schools on March 26 and that Response to Intervention (RTI) testing is very helpful in showing weaknesses in student learning.

Collier also said that the elementary school has updated safety procedures and that visitors are now asked to sign in at the main entrance to help prevent dangerous individuals from gaining entrance to the school. Collier said that while it goes against her desire for an open educational space, it has become necessary to limit access to buildings to keep the students safe. She also said that staff members have adopted bulletin boards around the building and have added personal touches with learning themes to them. Self-awareness programs are in place to help students be better citizens and take pride in their environment as well as personal achievement.

In other business, the board unanimously re-affirmed an agreement with Operation UNITE to accept drug-testing kits in order to supply them to parents in the Jenkins system. According to Tammy Meade who works with UNITE, the purpose of the testing kits is to serve as a conversation starter and a preventive measure. She said the kits, which are part of a program called “Give Me a Reason,” use a saliva-based testing method, and can be used to affirm early signs of drug use, or to give students a reason not to use drugs by their presence in the home.

The kits are given to parents at no cost and with no strings attached. No records are kept except for the number of kits given away. Meade said the program gives parents, rather than law enforcement agencies, the power to intervene if they learn their child has been using drugs.

Resource Director Angie Collins, who will oversee the distribution of the kits, told the board that the program has been in place more than four years and that while the initial demand was great, it has dropped off lately. Several board members said they were unaware of the program, but all agreed it could be helpful in preventing drug use.

Operation UNITE is an acronym meaning Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education launched in April 2003 by Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers in response to a special report, “Prescription for Pain,” published by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper during January and February 2003.

The board also:

• heard from Director of Pupil Personnel Rondall Baker, who reported that attendance stands at 92.22 percent, which is close to last year’s final total. Superintendent Genton said he will set a goal of 94 percent for next year.

• revised the school calendar to eliminate a holiday for Good Friday (March 30).

• learned that Jenkins High School freshman Paul Breeding will attend the National Science and Technology Summer Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer.

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