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April School Board meeting

Members of the Haywood County School Board met in regular session on Tuesday, April 14. After members approved the agenda, Superintendent Teresa Russell shared her celebration of schools. Board members also approved a policy change, mini-grants, and added days to the school calendar for HHS students and teachers, among other business.

Mrs. Russell talked about the HHS Tomcats winning the state basketball championship and HHS FCCLA students who performed well at the state competition and will be going to the national contest. She also reported that Senator Gresham visited Haywood Elementary last week, welcomed several student authors from Haywood Elementary and students from HMS who are learning about robotics.

In other business the board approved on first reading a policy change recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association. Policy #64001 added wording that limits methods of student identification such as the collection of biometric data without prior written consent from parents. This policy covers student surveys, analyses and evaluations.

Board members also approved four mini-grants. Kellie Haywood at East Side Intermediate will use her grant to purchase the software, Study Island for Math Success. Amelia Morrison, a teacher from Haywood Elementary, will use her funds to purchase two HKC 8″ 8GB Memory Dual Core Tablets. This will help students develop math skills. Also from East side Intermediate, Chelsea Currie will use her grant to subscribe to the website to further develop her students’ math skills. From Haywood High School, John Cunningham will purchase calculators for students to be successful in taking Chemistry I.

Instead of adopting textbooks, which was on the agenda, Mrs. Russell asked board members to make a blanket adoption so that when the state completes its review of the standards for the different subject areas, the appropriate books may be adopted. They approved the blanket adoption.

Although the board voted to approve that the high school be closed two days for the state basketball tournament, those days must be made up, according to state rules. Mrs. Russell announced at the meeting that the school calendar for the last week of school was May 18 and 19 with students out on the May 20 and teachers having a stockpile day, then teachers and students had one-half day on May 21. Now, HHS teachers will make up the stockpile day on Saturday, May 16, then students and teachers will attend school May 18-21 all day and one-half day on Friday, May 22.

Board members approved Parents and Educators for Progress (PEP) as a School Support Organization 501(C) (3) status. They also set Wednesday, April 29, as the date for their Annual Board Retreat.

The April meeting is when the board decides on how many scholarships and what amount will be given from the Catherine Colhoun Scholarship Fund.  Allen Currie and Harrison Jones serve on the Scholarship Committee, and Deputy Superintendent Vincent Harvell reported that the Colhoun Scholarship Fund has a balance of $217,838. In the past, the board has approved six scholarships for $2,000 each so board members agreed to give the six scholarships again this year. Mr. Currie and Mr. Jones will be meeting soon with the HHS guidance counselors to select seniors who will be recipients of the scholarships.

Mr. Harvell reported that the schools had received the Haywood County School District audit for the year ending June 30, 2014, and that there were no findings.

Board members approved the purchase of a 2004 GMC Yukon for $9,800 for the school system. This vehicle is replacing a van and will be used by teachers to attend professional development and the board when they attend meetings.

They approved a contract with Trane for the Chiller Service Agreement for the unit at Haywood High School. It is a three-year contract for about $113,000. This includes inspections and some parts if repairs are needed. They also approved setting a budget amount for a new roof needed for East Side Intermediate. The $625,000 set aside for this major project will come from the schools’ fund balance. If this is the cost of the roof, the fund balance will be about $1.67 million.

Mrs. Russell invited Abby Nichols to speak to the board and guests after all business was discussed.

She works for TSAC, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. TSAC is the state agency that administers the Hope Lottery Scholarship, TN Promise, TN reconnect, and Dual enrollment.  She discussed the Drive to 55 initiatives (TN Promise and TN Reconnect) primarily.

According to Mrs. Nichols, Tennessee Promise offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates beginning with the Class of 2015.Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship, meaning it will cover college costs not met from Pell, HOPE, or TSAA.

Tennessee Reconnect is the Drive to 55 initiative to help more adults complete a postsecondary degree or credential. Tennessee has between 900,000 and 1 million adults with some college but no degree. Mrs. Nichols said, “It is impossible to achieve the mission of the Drive to 55 without re-engaging these students and helping them finish their degree or certificate. As part of Tennessee Reconnect, all Tennessee adults can now attend and earn a diploma or certificate at any of our 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) completely free of tuition and fees.” Mrs. Russell thanked Mrs. Nichols for her presentation.

The next board meeting will be held on May 12 at 6 p.m.