Lillian Faith Hamby was recognized for her artwork used for the district holiday card. Hamby was the 3rd – 5th-grade winner. She was presented a framed copy of her artwork, 30 cards to share with family and friends, and a $25 gift card. The artwork was featured in the Taylorsville Times, on the district’s website, and through social media. Lillian was unable to attend the December recognition.
Hamby, a 4th-grade student at Sugar Loaf Elementary School, is the daughter of Ricky and Monica Hamby.
Essay winners recognized
Addison Barnes and Caleb Feimster were recognized as winners of the Americanism Essay Contest.
Each year the Alexander Chapter of the NC Federation of Republican Women hosts the contest open to all 4th- grade students. This year’s prompt was Who was Romulus Zachariah Linney, and what [were] his contributions to Alexander County?”
Shari Wetherspoon, past president of the club, presented the awards.
Addison, a student in Mrs. Natalie Millsaps’ class at Sugar Loaf, won first place. She is the daughter of Derrick and Kisha Barnes.
Caleb, a student in Mr. Jordan Hefner’s class at Stony Point Elementary, won second place. He is the son of Josh and Crystal Feimster.
School board appreciation month
The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) sponsors the school board members’ annual recognition during January each year. Alexander County Schools is proud to join with other districts throughout the state to recognize the significant contributions school board members make to their communities.
“We benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 700 men and women across the state. These people unselfishly contribute their time and talents toward the advancement of public education,” stated Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner.
“Even though we are making a special effort during January to show appreciation to our school board members, we recognize their contributions reflect a year-round commitment on their part. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continued success of our public schools and students,” continued Dr. Hefner.
The individuals serving Alexander County Schools are:
Chairman, Harry Schrum
Vice-chairman, David Odom
Scott A. Bowman
Marty R. Loudermilt
Brigette W. Rhyne
Ramie L. Robinson
Taylorsville Elementary School update
Taylorsville Elementary School (TES) Principal Ms. Janel Lingle presented the school update to the board members highlighting academic and social successes over the past year.
Lingle indicated the 2020-2021 school year priorities focus on consistency with structures and routines that build student confidence, provide safety and security, and reinforce an academic growth atmosphere.
“Explicit, intentional, and repetitive instruction with academic concepts partnered with social and emotional wellness practices educate the whole child for success now and in the future,” stated Lingle. “We have a strong, resilient staff with an unstoppable work ethic that has adapted to remote and digital learning. They keep students engaged whether face to face or learning from home.”
Lingle expressed her gratitude for the continued community support of TES.
School board member Brigette Rhyne presented an update from the facilities committee. She explained the scope of work for the Sugar Loaf Elementary School project, which includes an office addition, a new cafeteria, kitchen equipment, lighting, and windows. The expected start date is Jan. 25, 2021.
A request was made for an update on the central office project. The anticipated completion date is Feb. 1, 2021.
Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner announced the school system collected $7,640 in the Alexander County United Way campaign. She thanked Macy Jones for her work with United Way.
Dr. Hefner indicated United Way Worldwide used data to determine an allocation of masks for schools. The distribution formula includes rising COVID-19 rates, Title I student numbers, populations of color, and unemployment rates. Alexander County Schools will receive 31,000 additional masks in the coming weeks.
Dr. Hefner reminded board members of the federal programs audit this week. She encouraged board members to contact Debra Watts on Thursday rather than calling her cell number.
The Head Start refunding application is due Apr. 1. Dr. Hefner requested any suggestions for projects or goals for Head Start be communicated to Macy Jones or board member Matt Cooksey.
Alexander County’s tier designation changed from tier 2 to tier 1 for 2021. The county’s economic distress rank is now 29th a change from 57th in 2020. The shift is primarily attributed to the unemployment rate rank of 34th instead of last year’s 96th slot.
The North Carolina General Assembly will begin their long session on Jan. 13, 2021. Dr. Hefner indicated the major goals reported for 2021 by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators include the following
1. Additional COVID-19 Relief & Recovery
2. Effective Measurement of School and Student Success
3. Excellent Educators for Every Student
4. Adequate and Equitable Resources for All Schools and Students
5. Efficient Operations and Safe Learning Environment for All Schools and Districts
Dr. Hefner participated in a meeting today with the ABC Science Collaborative and North Carolina legislators. A school-specific metric guide was shared to guide decisions with the school district related to COVID-19. She indicated only one school, Taylorsville Elementary, has had a cluster transmission. The confirmation came during the Christmas break; therefore, no action was needed.
School board policies presented
The board approved six policies after a second reading.
Policy No. 1510/4200/7270 – School Safety
Policy No. 1710/4020/7230 – Discrimination and Harassment Prohibited by Federal Law
Policy No. 1740/4010 – Student Grievance Procedure
Policy No. 1742/5060 – Responding to Complaints
Policy No. 1750/7220 – Grievance Procedure for Employees
Policy No. 1760/7280 – Prohibition Against Retaliation
Ms. Sharon Mehaffey presented eight policies for a first reading.
Policy No. 2120 – Code of Ethics for School Board Members
Policy No. 2121 – Board Member Conflict of Interest
Policy No. 3000 – Goals and Objectives of the Educational Program
Policy No. 3102 – Online Instruction
Policy No. 3300 – School Calendar and Time for Learning
Policy No. 3410 – Testing and Assessment Program
Policy No. 3460 – Graduation Requirements
Policy No. 3620 – Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations
These policies will be presented for a second reading next month.
Alexander County Board Policies are available for review by the public at www.alexander.k12.nc.us or by appointment at the Alexander County Board of Education Office on Liledoun Road, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
School calendar change for 2020-2021 approved
Mrs. Jessica Anderson, director of accountability, presented changes to the required remote days in the 2020-2021 calendar. Schools were required to designate five remote days in the 2020-2021 calendar. Those days were originally on other dates that we designated as in-person days on the AA/BB day schedule. The change moves those days to Wednesdays, which are already designated as remote days. The change allows those to be optional workdays for staff.
The following remote days have been changed.
Jan. 29, 2021 is moved to Jan. 27, 2021.
Feb. 19, 2021 is moved to Feb. 17, 2021.
Mar. 11, 2021 is moved to Mar. 10, 2021.
One other change includes the change of Mar. 30, 2021, from an A day to a B day to even the number of A and B in-person learning days. The current total for the second semester is 38 days for both A and B designated days.
Comprehensive needs assessment and school improvement plans approved
The board approved the comprehensive needs assessment and school improvement plans required by North Carolina regulations under §115C-105.27 of the School Based Management & Accountability Program.