Whitesburg KY
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Jenkins schools to get more iPads

Students at Jenkins Middle High School are preparing for end of course testing and the junior class will take the American College Test on March 5. Middle High School Principal David Lee told the Jenkins Board of Education at its February meeting that final preparations are being made to get the students ready for the high stakes testing and teachers and staff are focusing on areas that need remediation in order to ensure that students will be successful.

Lee said two of the three computer labs at the MHS have been renovated and the board approved renovating the other lab. The renovations will allow the school to qualify for additional funding. iPads have been issued to students in grade six as part of the school system’s plan to furnish iPads to every student from grade six through seniors in high school. This year’s sixth graders will keep their iPads and new ones will be issued to next year’s class to continue the cycle.

Superintendent Deborah Watts told the board that the iPads are being integrated into classes and assignments are being placed on them as well.

Elementary Principal Stacy Collier said that report cards went out on Monday and added that the Read Across America program will pair older elementary students with younger ones, pairing grade five students with kindergarteners, fourth graders with first graders, and second and third graders. The older students will read to the younger ones. Collier said the grade partnerships will celebrate the birthday of children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss. Career Day will be held on Thursday at Burdine Elementary School.

Rondall Baker, the system’s new Director of Pupil Personnel, reported that nurse visits were high for the month between board meetings, with 344 visits at Burdine Elementary, 172 at the MHS, and 214 at McRoberts Elementary. Baker said most of the complaints were sore throats, runny noses, and other cold-like symptoms. Attendance for the period stood at 89.89 percent, with February attendance at 90.63. Overall attendance for the year is 90.93 percent. Baker said he has been doing home visits to deter truancy.

Food Services Director Susan Baker reported on the Nutritional and Physical Activity public forum that was held recently. The forum is mandatory for the school system and Baker said that she was the only person who attended. The board approved a payment of $48,000 for repairs on heating and air conditioning units and District Financial Officer Candala Gibson told the board that the General Fund stands at $414,963.51. Gibson said she expects cuts from the current General Assembly Session and added that the federal cuts as part of the Sequester will probably affect Kentucky schools as well. The Sequester is the result of the bi-partisan Budget Control Act of 2011 that will enact automatic cuts on Congressional spending if the parties cannot reach an agreement by March 1.

Harlan “Tootie” Seals, president of the Jenkins Baseball Boosters group, told the board that the baseball coaches and boosters have been operating under a misunderstanding regarding the rental arrangement that allows Jenkins to play its games at Sky View Park. Seals said the baseball field at Joe’s Branch that belongs to the school has been continuously vandalized by people riding all-terrain vehicles on the field and the grass and field have been destroyed so it has been unusable for several years. The Joe’s Branch field doesn’t have lights to allow for evening games either. He said that coaches and boosters had been led to believe by a previous athletic director that the board had agreed to pay the rental fee of $800 a year for the Sky View Park at Ramey’s Fork, which does have lights. Seals said the boosters had learned last spring that this was not the case and that they owed several years back rent. He said most of the back rent has been paid and asked the board if it could come up with $400 to bring the rent up to current status. Seals said if the board could do that the boosters could pay this year’s rent and still provide supplies to the baseball team.

Board Vice Chairman Tracy Goff, who serves as the board’s liaison with the athletic teams, apologized to Seals for the misunderstanding, but said the while the board authorized the baseball team to hold games at Sky View Park, it had not agreed to pay the rental fee. Goff said there are some funds left over in the Educational Foundation and after sign rental sales costs are paid to the cheerleaders and track team, there should be just over $400 left. The Jenkins Educational Foundation met following the board meeting and agreed to approve allocating $400 to the baseball team.

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