Matthew Chandler is the new head football coach at Jenkins High School.
Chandler, originally from Whitesburg, is the nephew of former Whitesburg coach Doug Chandler. He served as head coach at the junior varsity level in Montgomery County and Rowan County and most recently served as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Letcher County Central High School in 2016.
Chandler was hired during Mon- day’s June meeting of the Jenkins Independent Board of Education.
In other business, Jenkins School Board members were told that Jenkins students may have the opportunity to participate in dual credit courses at the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College as well as in the current program with the University of Pikeville in the coming school year. The board heard a presentation on the subject from Kentucky Community and Technical College representatives including SKCTC President Vic Adams.
Dr. Adams, who was recently named as president of SKCTC, told the board that he is from Middlesboro and has been associated with the college at the Middlesboro campus for some time. Adams said that contrary to rumor, the Whitesburg campus is not in danger of being closed and said in fact it is one of the most dynamic colleges in the five-campus system. He said he and several staff members had attended the meeting to offer Jenkins students the opportunity to participate in dual credit courses at SKCTC campuses that will transfer to any fouryear college in Kentucky.
Jenkins Superintendent Mike Genton told Adams that while he is interested in providing as many opportunities as possible for Jenkins students, he does not want to derail the current dual credit program the system has with the University of Pikeville. The board was enthusiastic about the possibilities and will look into it before making a decision.
The board also voted to approve a partnership with Community Transition to Work for students with disabilities for the Jenkins system in the coming year. The program is part of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and a plan is in place to help with the transition between school and work for the impacted students by getting them into training programs and work-related summer programs. Keith Banks of the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation told the board he would like to get started as soon as possible and the vote to participate was unanimous.
Paul Green of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative presented a new program to the board that will help to provide technological training to students in small schools that don’t have full-time computer teachers and others in technology fields. The Appalachian Technology Initiative will place an experienced technology teacher from one school in the program system in a partnership with an inexperienced teacher in another district to work with him or her during the school year to provide instruction in subjects such as computer programming and coding, and aviation and aerospace technology.
Green said most of the student instruction is done on-site and that the local teachers will be trained by KVECC’s participating teachers before beginning the program. Superintendent Genton said he likes the idea of implementing a more personalized educational opportunity for Jenkins students and said he would like to survey students in grades 7 to 10 to gauge their interest level.
District Finance Officer Candala Gibson reported that the General Fund stands at $805,697.78, and said it should be at between $550,000 and $600,000 when the books are closed out for the fiscal year. Gibson also said that when she inquired about using $40,000 in capital funds to pay utility bills, money the system has set back for emergencies, the Department of Education told her that $90,000 was available and suggested the schools take it all and keep the remainder in escrow for later use.
Gibson also reported that salaries for some classified (non-certified) personnel were not on a level with others and suggested that cooks, lunchroom monitors, custodians, and others who were not being paid at an equal level be given a raise. Gibson said the district has the necessary funds and also suggested that since teachers cannot be given a raise this year, their mandatory attendance at ball games be rewarded with a stipend of $25 per game day. She said it won’t compensate for the lack of a raise, but it will help.
The board also voted unanimously to accept a bid from Jonathan Tucker to provide outdoor maintenance services for the district. Tucker said that while the board had asked for bids for grass cutting services around the schools, his company provides lawn care as well as snow removal, sealing parking lots, pressure washing lots and buildings, and a wide range of outside services for businesses and institutional purposes. Tucker said his crews are well trained and he has a $1 million liability policy and workman’s compensation for his men.
Middle School Baseball Coach Shaun Collier presented plaques to two of his players to recognize their being named to the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference All Conference Team. Collier said that in its first year, the team had finished third in the EKMC with a team full of sixth graders. He said that when he started the team he had hoped to see improvement in his players, and they had far exceeded his expectations. Both Keagan Bentley, who plays catcher, and pitcher John Addington were named to the allconference team. Bentley has never played organized baseball before and Addington is a sixth grader, playing against freshmen and sophomores. Collier said that both boys have a real future in baseball.
The board voted to participate in the “Leader in Me” program. The program, a division of the multi-national Franklin Covey organization that works with organizations to develop leadership skills, teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and “creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader.” Genton said he has seen the program, in action and highly recommended adopting it.
The board finalized its agreement with Hillyard Inc. of St. Joseph, Mo., for cleaning supplies and training custodial staffers. The agreement calls for supplying cleaning supplies and calibrated dispensers for each school, and training custodians and conducting work studies on custodial staff to maximize efficiency. Genton said he believes Hillyard will help the system to have cleaner schools at a lower cost, and the work will be better organized.
The board also voted unanimously to renew its contract with Mountain Comprehensive Health Care for school-based clinics. Rebecca Amburgey, Director of the Whitesburg Clinic, told the board that the school-based clinics have helped to reduce absences at participating schools and keep the students healthier. Genton said he had come from a system without clinic services and likes MCHC’s work very much.
In other business, the board:
• Voted to start a bass fishing team at Jenkins Schools and to try to find a sponsor with a boat. Genton said he will contact members of the Letcher County Bass Club to determine if any of its members would be interested in helping out.
• Voted to adopt a social media policy for faculty and staff that is based on the University of Kentucky policy. Superintendent Genton said he will bring a draft of the policy to the next meeting.
• Voted to look into finding an alternate company to handle the system’s web page and to develop a school “app.” Technology Coordinator Damián Johnson said he has been extremely busy, but he will look at the “Apptegy” system and report back.
Johnson also told the board he has a lot of old and generally useless pieces of electronic equipment in need of disposal. He asked the board to declare the equipment surplus. Genton said he first would like to explore the possibility of auctioning off anything with any value.