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Jenkins school board sets August 7 as opening day




With classes about to end for the current school year, the Jenkins Independent School District this week adopted a calendar for next year.

Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett presented the 2008-2009 calendar to the Jenkins Independent Board of Education at its April meeting on Monday night. School will begin for students on August 7 and staff will report August 4. The last day of school will be May 18, 2009 for students and May 19 for staff. Spring break will take place April 6- 10, 2009.

Tackett said as far as the number of instructional days, the calendar is pretty much the same as this year’s calendar. The Kentucky Department of Education requires a total of 187 instructional days per school year.

The board met at the McRoberts campus this week to inspect improvements and renovations made to the building which include new floor tiles, new ceilings, roof work, interior lighting, and carpet for the library. Similar work is being done at Burdine Elementary School and Jenkins Middle High School. Superintendent John Shook told the board that most of the interior work is complete but cold weather and rain have hampered efforts to complete roof repairs.

Shook told the board at its April meeting Monday that while Elliot Contractors, which holds the contract for interior repairs, has nearly completed the terms of its bid, cold weather and rain have kept Bri- Den, which holds the contract for roof repairs, from being able to maintain the temperature for roof tar necessary to complete its contract. Shook said roof work on the high school gymnasium at Jenkins is complete but roofers had used a route across the band room to the gym roof which caused a seam to come apart, and created leaks which have made it necessary to put buckets and tubs in the band room to catch the water. He said the band room roof will be completed next and if the weather stays warm, roof repairs on all three schools will soon be finished. The board approved pay requests for work completed by both contractors.

Tackett also reported that attendance for the district has held steady at 92.3 percent. Grades two and four are tied for high attendance in the elementary schools at 94.3 percent and grade seven leads at the middle high school with 93.5 percent. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jan Tackett added that attendance for state testing was high and very few students will have to take make-up tests.

Jan Tackett said the state testing will be completed in Jenkins by Wednesday afternoon. She told the board that all three schools had decorated classrooms and hallways in an effort to relieve any testing anxiety students may feel. Tackett said the faculty and staff were very busy but also received a lot of help from the community. She said teachers told students they were ready for the tests and had nothing to fear.

“We told them, we’ve prepared you,” said Tackett. “So relax.”

Tackett told the board it will be several months before the district receives results of the testing. She said the effort was a collaboration among staff, faculty, and administrators and the involvement of community volunteers not only helped lighten the load but showed the strong feeling the community has for its schools.

“Everybody did a lot of hard work,” said Tackett. “I really appreciate that.”

Federal Programs Director Sherry Wright agreed with Tackett and added that she had also received a good deal of help from parents and community members with special needs students. She said that between 30 and 35 volunteers had trained to help students with special needs during the tests.

Technology Director Damien Johnson reported that he has installed a new Internet Filter and Solution from 86 Technologies. Johnson said the filter will do a better job of blocking student access to inappropriate Internet sites as well as sites which are not conducive to educational needs. He said the new software also interacts with search engines such as Google and Yahoo to block access through their sites as well. Johnson told the board that unlike some older technologies, students could not turn off the filter. He also said that a new 4.5 terabyte storage solution has been ordered and will be in place by the beginning of the next school year. The storage solution will allow students and faculty to access their entire computer portfolio from any site in the school system.

In other business:

. The board voted unanimously to re-hire Whitesburg accountant Dennis Wayne Fleming as the school system’s auditor for 2008-2009. Superintendent Shook said that System Finance Officer Candela Gibson said she has a good working relationship with Fleming and Fleming had always done a good job for the system in the past.

. The elementary schools were awarded a Math Achievement Fund Grant to hire a math intervention specialist to work with elementary students. Elementary Principal Diane Baker told the board the grant is guaranteed for two years and some grants are now in their fifth year. Baker said the specialist position could be filled by a math teacher already in the system and the funding would then pay for a replacement for that teacher. She said the specialist will not only work with teachers but will take individuals and small groups of students from classes for special instruction as well.

. The board voted unanimously to extend mileage reimbursements to principals. Superintendent Shook said with gas prices hitting record highs, he felt it was unfair to compensate all other staff and faculty for mileage expenses and not do the same for principals. Board Chair Durward Narramore Jr. said principals had originally been excluded because in the past, some had abused it by including mileage from their home to their work site which is not meant for reimbursement.


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