School board meeting is about to begin.
Jeff Norwood, expected to be named Tupelo High School's boys basketball coach, is at today's meeting. His hiring would be pending board approval. The Daily Journal's Gene Phelps is also here to cover that.
Board member Rob Hudson is not currently present, but is expected to be on his way.
Interim Superintendent David Meadows said there are a few changes to the agenda. The board will review its policy on technology resources and responsible access. Changes to the policy will be made to include changes that were made to the federal Children's Internet Protection Act.
He would also like to give the board an opportunity to study its summer school policy because it has not had a summer school in so long. The district is proposing
Meadows said that the board will recommend the employment of a school graduation coach/ head boys basketball coach for 2012-13 school year. He said that the person to be recommended will be coming back home to Tupelo.
Meadows said that Glenda Scott will retire as of June 30. She is the district's curriculum director.
School board president Eddie Prather said the board will change its second July board meeting from July 24 to July 31.
Rob Hudson just entered the meeting.
The board approved the agenda.
The board approved the minutes from several board meetings. It includes four special-called meetings related to Calvin Ellis hearing.
Meadows is now speaking about the technology resources and responsible access policy. It includes the changes mandadated by CIPA (Child's Internet Protection Act). This is a first reading of the policy.
Meadows said district must include phrasing that technology protection measures are in place and are used for all Internet access. Meadows notes that the district has a very strong filter that keys on language and particular combination of language. He said that the filter is so strong that sometimes it keeps out good emails.
The policy also requires Internet safety training to be provided to minors.
Deputy Supt. Diana Ezell has been working with technology director Brenda Meriweather and the technology staff on the new policy, Meadows said.
Ezell said the district will have a curriculum on acceptable use of the laptops and other technology.
"We have a lot of systems in place to protect our children and we want to continue to do that," she said.
Ezell said they are also working on cyber bullying and that THS Principal Jason Harris has been working with the attorney general to bring a cyber bullying program to the school.
Board approves consent agenda.
Pam Traylor made the student transfer report, and the board approved it
Personnel Director Jim Turner is now presenting the personnel report. It includes two retirements, six resignations, 24 summer curriculum teacher leaders and two literacy team members. Under classified, it includes one new full-time security position and several others.
The substitute pool is now up to 195 individuals.
Turner said there are 3.5 licensed positions to be filled and 19 classified positions that are vacant.
Currently, the recruiting season has ended until October, Turner said. Since January, he has interviewed 161 applicants from throughout MS and LA. Approx. 25 of those applicants were minorities, he said. He said they acquired many secondary math, biology and special education candidates and that it is unusual to have an abundance of those.
Turner said that as of April 13, 10 individuals have given written requests to retire and nine who have said they will resign at the end of the school year.
Hudson asks about exit interviews. Turner said that everyone who resigns is given an exit interview form and asked to send it back.
Meadows welcomes new assistant superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon to the school board meeting. Dillon has been working at principal at Pearl High School.
Board approves the personnel report.
David Meadows now will make two recommendations
Meadows : "Ms. SCott, I can't tell you how much the district appreciates what yu ahve done during your time here. From the time you started as an administrative intern on to your time at Rankin, we truly appreciate your leadership. WE truly appreciate your leadership with the curriculum department. When I came to Tupelo, the things that Ms. Scott has done in the last 2 or 3 years with the curriculum department ahve been phenomenal. The summer work last summer served as a platform for the teaching and learing that have gone on in our district.
Words can not express it.
"I would ask that the board consider approving resignation of Glenda Scott effective June 30 to retire."
Prather: "I hate to entertain the motion for this, but I guess there comes a time for it."
Board accepts Scott's retirmement.
Meadow now makes another recommendation. "To welcome number 10 back home." He refers to Norwoods three state championships
AFter an extensive serach, I am bringing forward Mr. Jeff Norwood on behlf of Dr. Loden who parcitipated in interivew process and community members who ehlped us with the search, I am pleased to recommend Mr. Norwood today.
He brings not only a wealth of coaching experience in teh college ranks. I am also excited because I was on campus of USM up until 1995, so we almost corssed paths.
One of the things I consider a hgihlght, during Mr. Norwood's tenure there, in spring of 2003, USM recognized its boys basketball team for 100 pecent graduation rate. Isn't that wonderful? Cna you imagine the role model that MR. Norwood will be for our young women and men at Tupelo High School and particularly the men that he will be working with on the basketball court"
He is recommending Norwood as school graduation coach. Says it is a position that Dr. Loden has worked with before and that the board is getting a job description of that position. HE will work directly with middle and high school students encouraging them to stay in school and graduate.
Meadows is also recommending him as head boys basketball coach at Tupelo Hgih School.
The board approves the creation of the graduation coach position.
The board approves Norwood as head basketball coach.
Norwood is now making remarks to the board and those at the meeting.
Norwood: "I want to say thanks to the board and Dr Porter and MR. Harris. It is truly a blessing. THis whole process made me realzie I did have some dreams. I never could remember anything I was dreaming about. WHen I started pursuing this position I remembered going to the state tournament and playing against Gulfport High School (thought they would win). We played Gulfport the next day and it didn't unfold the way we expected. I thought I was in good condition. THose guys ran me to death. I always said if I had my own team, I would like them to take the court like Gulfport did.
There was a dream becasue I dreamed about having the same thing here. What makes me most happy is that it didnt even start about basketball it started with my pursuit of my faith and beleiving it was time to come back. (Said his brother Alex started asking him to try to come back and coach several years ago). It took a little maturity to grow up and realize it was time for me to serve and come back here...I've talked to a bunch of friends here in town and they are excited about teh basketball coach part. I'm excited that what really moved me was the graduation coach part. I was an average student and I didn't have hte ditection or foucs and I enver thought about going to college. I know there are so many students who can do it, but they jsut don't have that focus.
I know tehre are a large number that are so naive about if they can go out and do it and we ahve to reach out and go sit down and talk to them. I want you to know that I am here and ready to do that.
I know we will win basketball games becase Tupelo has always won in every sport.
My dad served as the first minority on the Tupelp Public SChool Districty board. I always wondered how I could measure up in this community and I am proud ot have the change to do just that.
AS each day got closer for this day to come, I got a little more excited. I tried to be cool about it, but I am very happy to be here.
I wnat to end by saying thank you agian. The main card is my mom is here in Tupelo and she still can fish...I am thankful. Let's go."
School board accepts claims docket and financial statements.
Finance director Linda Pannell also presents the cash flow statement
Prather asks when MAEP will be approved.
Meadows said the last update he has had is that they anticipate doing that right at the beginning of May, next week. That was as of this morning.
Diana Ezell is now making a presentation about extended school year.
The district will offer extended school year programs at Joyner (K-2), Pierce Street (3-5), Tupelo Middle School (6-8) and the Filmore Center (HSAA, Structure Day and School Aged Mother program). THere will also be one summer school program on the high school campus. It will be for 9th to 12th and will be tuition.
The district will also develop an afternoon program for students with dyslexic characteristics. They are still in the stages of developing that.
Rob Hudson asks when the district last did a program like this. Ezell said three years, but two summers ago. They've had two summers without it.
Extended school year is designed for studnets in danger of repeating or students in tier program who are receiving academic supports and need those supports during the summer.
Hudson asks if it will be mandatory.
Ezell: For K-2, teachers will recommend students. In order for them to be promoted they will have to attend. If they chose not to, they will be retained in that program for the following year.
Hudson: How will we measure its effectiveness.
Ezell each grade level will choose a beginning and an end assessment. They will also have assessments results from teachers to show which skills students mastered during the school year and which ones need extra help. Ezell said there will also be tests given during the school year to measure the progess of those students.
Ezell said the assistant principals who are working during this time will not be under their contract and that the district will need to pay them extra for this.
Ezell said the projections are about 500 students. 95 for 9-12 extedned day. She is not sure about summer school. She said they have also opened it up for school districts around them that need to repeat a course for carnegie unit.
They will not offer subject areas they will be taking for the first time but they can take classes they have failed. She said the hope is that it will repare them for the state test retest in August.
Meadows said the district budgeted for this last spring.
Ezell: "This is part of our dropout prevention strategy helping those students who need extra supports outside of the school year."
Ezell said this part of several summer programs: Opportunity camp, summer school, extended year, extedned school for special education students, adding a dyslexia program and a camp for ELL and homeless students.
On dyselxia program, Ezell said that three teachers in the district are dyslexia therapists and they will be planning that. They hope to have a K-2 group and a 3-5 group and if there is a need for more, "I hope to serve the students who really need it."
Wheeler: How will you determine need for me?
Ezell said those students who ahve been diagnosed with dyslexia or show characteristics, we need to identify those. Will need to see how many can come becuase those students will need to provide their own transportation.
Wheeler: Recommendation will come from the teachers? Ezell: yes.
Board approves motion to add extended school year this summer.
Board also approves offering summer school to students at Tupelo High School.
Board votes to move its July meeting from July 17 to July 31 because of a scheduling conflict.
The budget meeting will also be moved from the 17th to the 31st.
Prather is referring to future agenda items. He is asking about board retreat to state goals. At the May meeting, they will discuss agenda for the retreat.
Retreat will be June 12-13. They are still working on a location. They will discuss superitendent evaluation process and procedures for the school board to monitor itself.
Prather said National School Board Association will host a conference in Mississippi this year. It will be held on the Coast. It comes every seven or eight years, he said.
Rob Hudson said he would like Mr. Turner to think about the best way to provide us feedback from exit interviews. Maybe he can give feedback on his ideas. Maybe what percentage of people fill them out and what that content looks like. It might give us ideas of what we are doing well and what we can address to improve retention. Hudson said it might also show ways they can increase feedback.
Hudson: "Often people say everything is fine, but sometimes they don't. If we are not getting feedback, there might be other districts who are getting better feedback through other methods."