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Jenkins seniors may graduate on June 10

If students in Jenkins Independent Schools don’t miss any more days, Jenkins High School seniors will graduate on Friday, June 10. At the March meeting of the Jenkins Board of Education, newly hired Middle-High School Principal Laura Barker suggested the date and the board approved it unanimously. The date for eighthgrade graduation was set for June 9. Both graduation ceremonies will be held at 7 p.m. in the Jenkins High School gymnasium.

Principal Barker was hired on March 3 and told the board that in the three weeks she has been at JMHS, she has worked with teachers on instructional strategies. Barker said she lives in Pikeville and has been in education for 14 years. She told the board she hopes to lead the MHS to a higher plane.

In other business, Superintendent Deborah Watts reported that ACT testing is now complete and the Comprehensive District Instructional Plan (CDIP) has been updated. Watts told the board that staff is meeting weekly to work on implementing core standards and welcomed Principal Barker to the system’s leadership team. She praised the comprehensive efforts of staff, students, and volunteers who helped Jenkins to host this year’s 14th Regional Basketball Tournaments.

Watts also told the board that state tests have been rescheduled for the end of May to allow for the days the system missed because of bad weather. She said that students who do not meet the standards on the tests will retake them the following year. Watts said she feels this year has been successful with everyone working hard to improve and called it a focused year.

Superintendent Watts also gave the financial report in the absence of Candala Gibson. She said the system is still doing all right in light of state funding cuts and added that although the system is operating on less, and expects to see further cuts next year, they will have to make it work. Watts said the central office staff will start working on staffing for next year.

Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett reported that attendance currently stands at 91.46 percent for the year. Tackett also said the school system used its final emergency hour on Monday when it declared a one-hour delay because of the unexpected snow. He told the board that school nurses reported seeing 261 students at the MHS between March 1 and March 22, with 535 visits at the Burdine Campus and 288 at McRoberts. Tackett said that while most nurse visits were from regular ailments such as headaches and coughing, there were also reports of flu-like symptoms.

In the Safe Schools report, Tackett told the board that Safe Schools assessments have been completed and accommodations and recommendations were attached to the report he gave to the board. He said that students in the Student Technology Leadership Program have been assigned to gather photographs electronically from all staff members in order to have photo IDs made for next year. Tackett said planning is underway to block the rear road at McRoberts Elementary School and that officers with the Jenkins Police Department have visited weekly during lunch and break times to allow students to become more familiar with them and to see them in a friendly capacity. A request was sent to the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office and Kentucky State Police to have random drug dog visits. Tackett also reported that Frazier’s Farm Supply has donated a digital video recorder for the MHS Campus to allow 16 additional surveillance cameras to be added.

In the Truancy Diversion Program, which is run in cooperation with the Letcher County District Court, Tackett reported that 43 student/parent conferences have been held and 25 calls have been made to student homes. Court Designated Worker Mike Watts initiated 15 correspondences and eight court cases came before District Judge Kevin Mullins. Four final notices were also served and three home visits were conducted. As of March 22, there were a total of 124 referrals in the Truancy Diversion Pre-Complaint stage.

Superintendent Watts praised the Safe Schools team and said that students and staff who participated in Safe School interviews reported feeling safe at school. Tackett said the principals at the three campuses have been very cooperative in addressing threats, including bullying, and have successfully dealt with them.

In the elementary campus report, which was delivered jointly by Burdine Principal Gracie Maggard and McRoberts Assistant Principal Amanda Sturgill, they said staff is working in district meetings on assessment and literacy and writing. Accelerated reading workshops are being conducted and both campuses are participating in the Kentucky Reading Project (KRP), and several teachers attended a Share Fair in Lexington conducted by the KRP. Maggard told the board that Jenkins teachers stood out for the creativity and excellence of their projects at the Share fair and received a good deal of praise from much larger systems. Jenkins Elementary teachers also participated in a round table discussion at the fair.

Students from Burdine Elementary entertained the board as the meeting opened. Members of the Burdine Music and Rhythm Club, which is part of the After Breakfast Programs Maggard has implemented for students to allow them to use the time after breakfast in a productive manner, played “boom whackers’” or rhythm tubes for the board. Maggard told the board that Band Director Heather Coombs has volunteered her time to help organize the Rhythm Club and Coombs led Alyssa Rose, Brianna Rose, Sophia Hampton, and Cody Mullins in several tunes.

In other board business:

• Federal Programs Director Sherry Wright reported that six students are participating in Kentucky Alternative Portfolios and the test window is May 9-30.

• McRoberts Principal Amanda Sturgill reported on problems with McRoberts residents damaging the fence around the playground at McRoberts Elementary in order to gain access to basketball goals. Board Chairman Narramore said that although the community has been very generous in helping to purchase playground equipment, the playground is private property and belongs to the school system. Sturgill suggested turning one basketball goal around so it will be accessible without entering the fenced-in area.

• Principal Maggard asked the board’s permission to schedule a make-up day at Burdine for the first day of spring break. Maggard said the day is to account for a day missed because of water problems. Her request was approved unanimously.

• The board approved the senior trip to Wilderness Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Principal Barker told the board that about 18 students and six chaperones will participate in the trip, which will take place from April 1 through April 4. She said funding is already adequate to pay for the entire trip and no further funds will be required.

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