Schools, The Braxton Democrat

Board of Education releases calendars for 23-24 school year

The Braxton County Board of Education March 21 meeting opened with a public hearing on the 2023-2024 school calendar. Director Linda Sears presented the two calendars to board members. One calendar has a start date for students of August 16 and the other one is August 17 with school ending on May 22 or May 24. She noted that there were not a lot of differences between the two calendars due to the restrictions set by state code. The two calendars will be on the Braxton County Schools website for public comment.
Rebecca DeNuzzo spoke to board members next with a request that they consider continuing instructional aides for all schools in the first and second grade classrooms. Several of the schools currently have instructional aides and they are very beneficial not only for the teachers but most importantly for the students.
Two more schools presented their LSIC reports to board members, Little Birch and Sutton.
At Little Birch, Principal Jessica Pierson stated the LSIC worked on identifying and prioritizing the needs for the students. Improve academics, decreasing the number of chronically absent students, and increasing parent involvement opportunities. Principal Pierson stated growth has happened in the benchmark testing since the beginning of the year to the mid-year test. The percentage of chronic absent students has decreased and overall attendance is slightly up compared to last year. She also discussed some of the concerns that came from the town hall meeting including unsplitting all classes, continuing to have a daily school nurse, and increased mental health and behavioral support.
Sutton Principal Flora Cox discussed similar issues as the other schools, attendance, ELA/Math scores, parental involvement, and providing emotional and behavioral support for the students. Attendance is up and the staff is working to get student proficient before moving to the next grade level. The school is working on increasing parent involvement especially with academics. The students have shown an increase in scores on the benchmark testing.
On a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal, the board approved to accept the LSIC reports submitted by Little Birch and Sutton.
Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Combs discussed briefly the upcoming meeting with central office staff and administration on school improvement, strategic planning, personnel, discipline and grades. She is working on finalizing personnel RIFS and transfers, but noted there will not be very many staff affected.
She is working with the new security officer getting him acclimated with the schools. Dr. Combs intends to send out information to the community regarding his position.
Dr. Brenda Wells gave a brief update on van purchasing. The board approved to move forward with the bidding process on a motion by Kevin Gregory.
After a discussion on providing financial funding for the freshman class field trip to the Clay Center in Charleston, the board decided to take no action and allow for Dr. Combs to gather more information so she could make a decision. Dr. Seal noted those types of requests should go through the proper channels.
Director of Finance Ginger Altizer presented the levy rates to board members for the 2023-2024 school year. The board approved the proposed levy rates on a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal.
Under regular action, the board approved the following consent agenda items on a motion by Dr. Kenna Seal: minutes of March 7 meeting; transportation requests; budget transfers and supplements; and payment of bills.
The following professional, service and extra-curricular personnel recommendations were approved on a motion by Larry Hardway: resignation of Lee E. Given, BCHS Law and Public Safety, CTE instructor, Jacob Yanero, co-assistant football coach, BCHS, and Tyler Morlan, assistant football coach, BCHS; and employment for Haley Morris, Madison Duffield, Sarah Davis, Jeffrey Evans, Skyler Davis, Hayden Lemon, and Olivia Rose-Instructional Tutors (after-school program), Flatwoods, Lisa Chenoweth, from substitute cook to half-time cook, Burnsville, Veronica Frame, from bus operator #33A to bus operator #30A, Justin Lowther, $1 baseball coach, BCMS, Shannon Rhodes, $1 softball coach, BCMS, Billy McDonald, $1 track coach, BCHS, and Amanda Gum, $1 softball coach, BCMS.
There were no comments for the Cell Phone and Electronic Communication Device (ECD) Staff (1950A) and Students (1950B) policy, currently combined into one policy, 1950. The policy will move on to the next and final reading.
The board approved the following agenda items on separate motions: fundraisers; changing April 4 meeting to April 11; the RFP for paving and striping of the high school, middle school, and board of education parking lots; payment of bills before the April 11 meeting; post for SOLE service positions; and post for Extended School Year positions of teacher(s) of LD,BD,MI,AU,VI,PSN, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapy.
The board went into executive session at 7:56 pm to discuss the additional aide request for Little Birch. They reconvened at 8:37 pm. On a motion by Kevin Gregory, the board postponed posting the position and requested further information be provided.
The board also postponed discussion on the update policy review for Head Start and the approval of the Head Start COLA (Cost of Living) and Quality Improvement Grant until the April 11 meeting.
The meeting ended at 8:51 pm and now stands in recess until the April 18 meeting. The next regular meeting will be April 11 at 6:00 pm in the board office.