Transportation Director John McCurdy presented an update on the school system transportation department which is made up of 6 full time staff. He shared the following statistics.
The fleet is made up of 140 vehicles including mower, driver education cars, service trucks, and buses. Service vehicles include:
Six state trucks aging in range from 1999 to 2011
Three local trucks
Two fuel trucks.
They are scheduled to get a new truck in 2020. The service trucks traveled 27,751 miles and staff logged over 11,500 hours last year.
The school system operates 47 regular buses and 4 lift buses. Each bus must have a 45-point inspection every 30 calendar days. New cameras have been installed on the buses and 70 buses are equipped with GPS units. The buses traveled over 638,000 miles last year.
Due to the consolidation effective this school year, the department took 8 buses out of service.
Digital Learning and Innovation Report
Jessica Esposito reported on the Digital Learning Initiative funded through a grant from the Department of Public Instruction and the Friday Institute at NC State University.
The school system’s focus was to visit, learn, share and implement what they learned. They attended several conferences and workshops as well as hosted a training at Taylorsville Elementary School for district staff and others from the area. The team averaged six days or 36 hours of professional development.
The team then focused on personalized learning including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) investigation.
The grant helps educators become future-ready to in turn prepare students. Mrs. Esposito will host, “Teched-out Tuesdays” this year at Ellendale Elementary for district staff to participate. Staff will be able to earn digital CEU credits required to renew teaching licensure.
Mrs. Esposito finished the presentation with a demonstration of virtual reality (VR) headsets that were purchased through the grant.
The school system maintenance department is made up of seven crew members including six full-time staff and one temporary full-time member. Five of the seven staff members are alumni of Alexander County Schools.
The update presented by maintenance director, Chris Campbell, highlighted the use of Facilities Management Express (FMX) which is a system that allows work order submissions to be electronically. The assignment, progress, and resolution of each work order is tracked using the system.
Mr. Campbell reported 1,341 maintenance requests have been submitted since Oct. 1, 2018, indicating only 46 are currently open for resolution. The team has 96.5 percent completion rating. He cited the use of iPads and the ability to assign work orders from any location at any time has streamlined the process for the department.
Numerous summer projects have been completed. Several schools received new tile and paint, maintenance to HVAC units, sink replacements, updated lighting and floor maintenance. Two notable projects involve Bethlehem Elementary School and Alexander Central High School.
The first project was the much-needed traffic pattern rerouting at Bethlehem Elementary. The project was completed in conjunction with North Carolina Department of Transportation. The intent is to reduce traffic congestion on Hwy 127 in front of the school.
The second project was updating Alexander Central’s media center. Layers of carpet were removed, and new tiled carpet was installed. Old book cabinets were removed, and LED lighting was retrofitted to give the media center a more modern look and feel.
Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hefner shared information about the new teacher orientation that began yesterday with 29 teachers in attendance. She indicated that approximately half of the new teachers are Alexander Central graduates.
Opening session for school system employees will be held Tuesday, Aug. 20 beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium. Breakfast refreshments will be served by Crosspoint beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the high school cafeteria.
Dr. Hefner announced other upcoming events including board member visits scheduled for Hiddenite Elementary and Alexander Central in September.
Dr. Hefner announced a new program, Wise Guys, will be implemented at Alexander Central beginning this year. The program is designed for male students and teaches them how to become good citizens while also encouraging abstinence and providing examples of what a healthy relationship looks like. The program also provides a mentor teacher. The instructor for Wise Guys will be Jerry Ratchford. He is well-known in the county and is a former juvenile court counselor. Students must complete an application to be part of the program and receive gift cards for completing the program. The following topics will be covered in this curriculum: Masculinity, Personal and Family Values, Communication, Sexuality, Dating Violence, Abstinence and Contraception, HIV, AIDS and other STD’s, Goal Setting, Decision Making and Fatherhood.
School Board Policy Revisions Presented and New Policies Approved
The school board members approved the five policy revisions listed.
Policy No. 3101 – Dual Enrollment in Higher Education Courses
Policy No. 4152 – Unsafe School Choice Transfer
Policy No. 4240/7312 – Child Abuse – Reports and Investigations
Policy No. 5030 – Community Use of Facilities
Policy No. 4320/5026/7250 – 100% Tobacco Free Schools
All Alexander County Board Policies are available for review by the public at www.alexander.k12.nc.us or the Alexander County Board of Education Office on Liledoun Road, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
Federal Program Plans Approved
Executive Director of Federal Programs Director Dr. Robyn Helton reviewed the 2019-2020 Federal Programs Title I, II, III & IV. The board approved the allocations in the federal program funding.
Title I is the largest federal educational program, founded in 1965 as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorized in 2002 as part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Amended as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Its purpose is to make sure that all children have the opportunity to have a high-quality education. Title I provides federal funding to schools to help students who are low achieving or at most risk of falling behind. The program serves millions of children in schools. About half of the NC schools (in all 115 school districts) receive Title I funds.
For the 2019-20, school year, six elementary schools qualify for Title I Assistance. Bethlehem Elementary does not qualify any longer. Funds are provided to schools based on the number of students qualifying for the free/reduced price lunch program. Schools with a percentage of at least 40 percent are eligible for a schoolwide program.
Title II is improving teacher quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom. It was authorized through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It increases the flexibility with accountability. The funds will be used to develop and implement initiatives that will assist in hiring highly qualified teachers. It will fund some professional development activities for teachers, principals, and paraprofessionals and stipends for beginning teachers and mentors.
Title III is for language acquisition. These funds help provide support in various ways for the students identified as LEP (Limited English Proficient). Currently, we have 106 identified LEP students. The funds will be used for teacher assistants, workshop expenses, supplies and materials, and iPad licensing.
Title IV is for student support and academic achievement. These funds are for relationship building skills to help improve safety through the recognition and prevention of coercion, violence or abuse.
Funds are also used to establish community partnerships. The money will be spent on an ESL teacher and partial funding for a School Resource Officer at the Student Success Center and the early college.
Sponsorship of Alexander County Public Education Foundation Sports Hall of Fame
The board approved a $5,000 allocation for sponsorship of the Alexander County Public Education Foundation Sports Hall of Fame. The event will be held Monday, Nov. 25, 2019.