At the Blount County Board of Education’s special meeting Monday to handle late-breaking personnel matters for the new school year, the board also heard the final report from Mitchie Neel on the summer camps program sponsored each year by the Blount County Education Foundation and the board itself. Total attendance for this year was l,221, bringing total attendance since 2011 to 9,028, and setting up 2020 as the year the three-pronged Summer Learning Program will break the 10,000 mark of student participation, Neel said.
The three major components of the Summer Learning Program are Dreamcatchers, library programs, and academic camps.
Dreamcatchers – camps focused on reading and math – served 99 students this year, with 77 of them recognized for 85 percent or better attendance. Students averaged gains of six months in reading proficiency and 12 months in math proficiency during the six-week camp period. Sixteen reading students and 24 math students scored gains of a full school year or more. And they apparently loved doing it. They evaluated the program as 4.9 on a 5.0 rating scale at its conclusion.
The library program, serving more than 600 students this year, provided one week of library enrichment activities for elementary-aged students at each of nine schools.
More than two dozen academic camps, serving some 400 students and covering subjects like visual arts, music, fire academy, Lego, STEAM, coding, robotics, and many others, were provided in each school community.
Supporters contributing to the Summer Learning Program include the Alabama Arts Education Initiative, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Blount County Literacy Council, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation, CAWACO RC&D Council, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, HomeTown Bank, The SAIL Coalition (Summer Adventures in Learning), and United Way of Central Alabama.
Superintendent Rodney Green reported that the start of the 2019 school year has been smooth. Visits he and assistant superintendent Stoney Beavers have made during its first week of operation have found all scheduled projects in progress and facilities generally to be in outstanding shape for the coming year.
The board approved Green’s operating recommendations for the period. It approved:
• Tony Fallin, school bus driver for Locust Fork Schools, effective with his Nov. 1 retirement.
• Warren Kelley, teacher at Susan Moore High School.
• Megan Lowery, school nurse for Blount County Schools, effective Aug. 23.
• Wendy McCollum, special education teacher at Locust Fork Elementary School, effective July 26.
• Melinda S. Scroggins, utility school bus driver, effective Aug. 16.
Leaves of absence
• Cathy Cox, teacher at Locust Fork Elementary School, from Aug. 16 to Sept 30.
• Robin Estes, Child Nutrition Program employee at Hayden Primary School, from Aug. 6 to Sept. 30.
• Elizabeth Ikard, teacher at Hayden Primary School, from Oct. 19 to Nov. 20.
• Lindsey Johnson, teacher at Hayden Primary School, from Aug. 5 to Nov. 15.
• Rhonda Tinney, auxiliary teacher at Appalachian School, from Aug. 6 to Sept. 30.
• Andrea Pollard, from special education aide to collaborative/special education teacher at Locust Fork Elementary School.
• Lisa Bartlett, science teacher at Hayden Middle School, effective Aug. 20, contingent on certification through the Alabama State Department of Education.
• Priscilla Abbigail Pettit, teacher at Susan Moore Elementary School, effective Aug. 20.
• Paula Rush, Child Nutrition Program employee at Cleveland High School, effective Aug. 20.
• Kayce Thomas Smith, utility school bus driver, effective Aug. 20.
• Celina Longshore, RN, school nurse for Blount County Schools, based at Cleveland, effective date to be determined.
Contracts and agreements
• Blount County Board of Education: service agreement with Stark Exterminators for rodent control; contract with Karron Standridge to serve as ACT test coordinator for national testing and backup test coordinator from Oct. 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020; contracts for nursing services to be provided to students requiring medical care during extracurricular activities from Sept. 3, 2019, to Sept. 3, 2020; contracts with school technology coaches from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020; contract with Rynthia McCoy to provide achievement/developmental evaluations for special education referrals from August 2019 through July 2020; contract with BBB Enterprises Inc. for one day of professional development during the 2019-2020 school year.
• Appalachian School’s contract with Mary St. Laurent from Aug. 9 to Oct. 31.
• Cleveland High School contracts with: Kristina Butts and Linda Robertson to prepare pre-game meals for the varsity football team on game days from Aug. 30 through Nov. 22; Rebecca Maniscalco to maintain and create the school yearbook and website from Oct. 1, 2019, to Sept. 30, 2020.
• Locust Fork High School contracts with: Sonya Boatright for stadium cleanup during the 2019 football season; Hannah Bradford to supervise the concession stand during the 2019 marching band season; Adam Edwards to film 10 regular season football games and playoff games during the 2019 football season.
• Susan Moore High School contracts with: Amy Hill to serve as yearbook sponsor from Aug. 5, 2019, through Aug. 4, 2020; Farrell Walker to serve as C2C administrator from Aug. 5, 2019, through Aug. 4, 2020.
• amending the substitute list by adding individuals named on a supplementary list.