COVID-19 impacts

Blount County Board of Education

The Blount County Board of Education’s Nov. 2 meeting highlighted several accomplishments as well as an update on COVID-19 impacts across the system. Superintendent Rodney Green reported that the system will continue its blended learning model despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases in several schools.

Last Monday, Green reported that four schools have experienced interruptions thus far: Susan Moore Elementary, Southeastern, and Cleveland High and Elementary. By Friday, that number had increased with the announced closure of in-person instruction at both Hayden High and Middle as well as Susan Moore High. Those systems will transition to remote learning until classes resume following Thanksgiving.

Green assured the board that all department of health and state department of education guidelines are being followed. He also said that assistant superintendent Chris Lakey will continue to send out reminders and information encouraging everyone to practice proper and appropriate safety precautions.

He also invited everyone to attend the ribbon cutting and open house for J.B. Pennington’s new gym and cafeteria. The event was held Nov. 8. The Blount Countian will share highlights and pictures next week.

The board recognized accomplishments of guidance counselors Billie Joyce Miller, Hayden Primary, and Patti Gilliland, Susan Moore Elementary. They were honored with the Alabama School Counseling Program of Distinction Award. The board recognized Locust Fork principal Tommy Smitherman and teacher Peggy Harris for their work in helping Locust Fork become A+ College Ready.

The board approved several recommendations of the superintendent. It approved:

Agreements/Contracts

• Cleveland High’s contract with Lifetouch for the 2020-21 school year.

• Hayden Elementary’s contract with Natalie Bowen to serve as school safety coordinator for the 2020-21 school year.

• Hayden Primary’s contract with Herff Jones for the 2021 yearbook.

• Hayden Middle’s contract with Franklin Covey to provide Leader in Me support from Nov. 19, 2020 to Nov. 18, 2021.

• Hayden High’s contract with Terri Bibb (concession stand) and Carolyn Rebecca Hargett (gate worker) for 2020-21 basketball season.

• J.B. Pennington’s 36-month contract with Cintas.

• Locust Fork High’s contract with TruGreen for softball field maintenance.

• Southeastern’s and Susan Moore’s 12-month customer care maintenance agreements with Sharp Business Systems.

• Susan Moore High’s contract with Billy Dewayne Standridge to serve as basketball concession stand manager for 2020-21 season.

• Blount BOE contracts for tutoring and intervention; transportation; and nursing services for remainder of the school year.

• memorandum of Agreement with Jefferson-Blount-St. Clair Mental Health Authority and Athens State University College of Education for the 2020-21 school year.

• contract with Communication & Reading Therapies, Laura Promer, SLP, for the 2020-21 school year.

• Charlie Horn as non-compensated volunteer at Locust Fork High for 2020-21.

Resignations

• Joey Saye, diesel mechanic/ technician, Blount County Schools, effective Oct. 15.

• Brittney Tidwell, speech-language pathologist, Blount County Schools, effective Nov. 20.

• Gregory Rodgers, head varsity girls and B-team girls basketball coach, Cleveland High, effective Oct. 23. (This resignation is only from coaching duties.)

Leaves of absence

• Kerstin Lynch, Hayden Primary teacher, beginning Sept. 10 and ending Dec. 18.

• Michelle Lawless Searcy, Southeastern teacher, beginning Dec. 18, 2020, and ending Feb. 26, 2021.

• Belinda Rogers, Locust Fork school bus driver, extend current leave through Nov. 30.

Employment (certified)

• Deborah Peoples, long-term substitute for Abbie Martin, Southeastern teacher, beginning Oct. 13 and ending Dec. 18.

• Kate H. Swann, speech-language pathologist, Blount County Schools, beginning Nov. 30, (contingent upon certification through the Alabama State Department of Education.)

Employment (support)

• Vickie Duncan, Child Nutrition Program, J. B. Pennington, beginning Nov. 3.

•Teresa Lang, Child Nutrition Program, Hayden Middle, beginning Nov. 10.

• Bobby Blair, diesel mechanic/technician, Blount County Schools, beginning Nov. 17 (contingent upon a background clearance through the ALSDE.)

The Blount County Board of Education’s next meeting is Monday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m., in the district’s central office.