On July 22, the Blount County Board of Education held a special called meeting regarding mostly personnel matters. Board members William Ferry, Jackie Sivley, and Ken Benton were in attendance. Philip Cleveland and Chris Latta were absent.
Superintendent Rodney Green began with his report detailing the current plans for school reopening, which will proceed as outlined in the current roadmap for reopening unless new mandates are put in place by Gov. Kay Ivey. Start date for students is Thursday, Aug. 13.
In regards to school opening, Green discussed the blended school format the system is implementing for the 2020-2021 school year. Students have the option of in-person instruction or remote learning. Those options, presented to the public last week through its website at www.blountboe.net, cover all aspects of reopening.
The current roadmap remains unchanged with safety precautions such as requiring both driver and students to wear masks on buses. He said that the committee felt the need to make changes regarding the use of masks within schools.
Previously, masks were strongly encouraged when entering and exiting, within common areas, and transition areas; however, masks are now “required” in those areas as well as any classroom or activity where six feet between students cannot be maintained. Disposable masks will be available for students and faculty. The state is providing three washable cloth masks per employee and student. Visitors will also be required to wear masks.
Green said, “The goal right now is to be as traditional as possible.” However, he did mention willingness to go virtual if necessary. Chromebooks will be available for students who choose remote learning, as well as for those choosing the traditional options. The deadline for families to choose remote or traditional learning has been extended until Monday, Aug. 3.
In efforts to make internet more accessible to students, the board is pursuing funds to add WiFi on buses to use as designated hotspots. Those funds will come from Gov. Ivey’s release of $170 million in CARES Act monies, which are earmarked for schools to use for technology, health, and wellness needs.
In other business, Amanda Hensley presented the fiscal year 2019 public exit report from the state examiners office. The board received a clean report and was found compliant in all areas.
Following those reports, the board heard Green’s operating recommendations. It approved: General matters
• Susan Moore varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders’ request to hold cheer camp on its campus with Universal Cheerleaders Association instructing.
• allow a student to transfer to Jefferson County Schools during the 2020-2021 school year with the stipulation that Blount BOE will not assume any liability in relation to the release.
• addition of two days to the 2020- 2021 school nurse calendar beginning Aug. 5, due to additional responsibilities related to COVID-19. Agreements/contracts
• memorandum of agreement #X2O0709 with the ASDE to support the Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates program from July 1 to Sept. 30.
• dual enrollment/dual credit agreement with Wallace State for the 2020-2021 school year.
• Participant District Agreement with the Tallassee City Board of Education for MAC and Direct Services Cost Report beginning Oct. 1, 2020, and ending Sept. 30, 2026.
• audiology services contract with Birmingham Speech and Hearing Associates during the 2020-2021 school year.
• memorandum of agreement with the Woolley Institute for Spoken Language Education (WISE) beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021.
• hourly custodial work contracts during the 2020-2021 school year.
• contracts for Child Nutrition Program staff to work during the Summer Feeding Program as needed in the preparation, service, documentation, and delivery of meals.
• Cleveland’s contracts with Allan Conaway and Lorri Williamson to serve as band camp instructors.
• Hayden Elementary’s contract with Brandy Painter for work during the summer.
• J.B. Pennington’s school portrait photography agreement with Capturing Corvin Photography for the 2020- 2021 school year.
• Susan Moore’s contract with Glenn Cason and James Stack to serve as band camp instructors.
• non-compensated volunteers for 2020-2021 school year.
• participation in the Sand Mountain Supplemental Grocery bid for the 2020-2021 school year. Resignations
• Ginger Holt, office aide, Hayden High, effective July 8.
• Leigha Rogers, assistant principal, Locust Fork High, effective July 7.
• William Joshua Taylor, secondary teacher, Southeastern, effective July 20.
• Patti Thomas, Child Nutrition Program manager, Hayden Elementary, effective Sept. 1 (retirement).
• Katherine Williams, school counselor, Hayden Middle, effective July 14. Leaves of absence
• Kristi Adams, special ed aide, J.B. Pennington, beginning Aug. 10, and ending Nov. 30.
• Natasha Mullins, Blountsville Elementary, beginning Aug. 4, and ending Oct. 13. Transfers
• Samantha Chamblee from Child Nutrition Program employee to special ed aide at J.B. Pennington, effective Aug. 10.
• Meagan Dake from assistant principal at Locust Fork Elementary and Southeastern to assistant principal at Locust Fork High, effective July 23.
• Jaime Higdon from assistant bookkeeper to office aide at Hayden High, effective Aug. 10.
• Rosa Noles from Bridge Academy teacher to counselor at Southeastern, effective July 23.
• Tammy Thigpen from aide at Cleveland High to technology technician for Blount County Schools, effective Aug. 10. Employment (classified)
• Allison Beck, school bus aide, Blount County Learning Center, beginning Aug. 10.
• Angela Nicole Smith, bookkeeper, Southeastern and Susan Moore Elementary, beginning July 29.
• Mallory Church Crawford, elementary teacher, Southeastern, beginning Aug. 4 (contingent upon a background check and certification).
The Blount County BOE continues to provide updates regarding the start of the school year on its website, www.blountboe.net.