The Tupelo School Board’s noon meeting is about to begin. The board held a work session earlier this morning and discussed dual enrollment, construction projects, the new accountability model, its marketing plan, its professional development plan and Bring Your Own Device.
It will also meet again at 5 p.m. tonight at the Early Childhood Education Center. It will not take any action at this meeting, but will just discuss its agenda. It will vote on those items during the evening meeting. It will also have several public recognitions during that meeting, including naming its Parent of the Year.
The board meeting has begun. New board member Joe Babb will take the oath of office. Babb has been sworn in.
The board recognizes Director of Federal Programs Dale Warriner and Athletic Director Danny Porter who are each retiring at the end of the year. Porter said he has had a wonderful 35 years working for Tupelo Public Schools. Warriner said thank you to Tupelo Public Schools for the memories she has had and the opportunities she has had to serve.
Executive Director of Curriculum Leigh Mobley is now presenting about the district’s trip to visit schools in Santa Rosa, Fla., during spring break week. The district went to learn more about the Florida education reform model that Mississippi is borrowing from.
Mobley said they were able to sit in on principal planning meetings. They heard about their accountability model and visited their high schools and elementary schools.
Mobley: “The biggest takeaway we got from those meetings in Florida is that it is very evident that Florida has spent a lot of money and a lot of energy on their early learning initiatives and right now they are reaping the benefits of that. We felt like that validated the support we have in place for our preK efforts. We feel we can compete and stand next to any district and do a really good job.”
Diana Ezell will present about elementary school clubs. Right now there are some elementary school choral groups. Beginning next year, each school will have science, art, fitness and book clubs. Each school will also have two additional clubs unique to that school. They will meet after school for 45 minutes to an hour and they will have sponsors that the district will support with a supplement.
Also, each K-6 school will have a community liaison that will work with school and community groups. They will schedule tours and will answer questions. K-2 schools have chosen family school coordinators and the 3-5 schools have chosen a counselor or someone else, someone who is very familiar with the school and has built relationships with the community.
AEE President Brent Waldrop will make a presentation about the organization. He is presenting 19 grants that AEE will fund this year at nine schools totaling about $66,000.
Total request this year was $260,000. The organization will do $66,000 in grants and $10,000 in Teacher of Distinction Awards. It will pair with the CREATE Foundation to help it expand the Teacher of Distinction.
They will recognize the teachers and announce the grants at its annual meeting on April 25 at Carver Elementary.
Although the names of grant winners are being given to the board for approval, they will not be released until the AEE meeting on April 25. Winners will be surprised then.
Assistant Superintendent Kim Britton is announcing a summer reading program for the district for elementary schools. Students will be given a list of books to read. Media centers will be open during the summer for students to borrow the books.
Britton is making another presentation about extended day at the Early Childhood Education Center. Parents will be able to pay a fee for their students to remain at the school longer and be engaged in focused play. It will be staffed by teachers and teacher assistants.
Britton said when here children added ECEC it was cumbersome to determine where they would go after school. She said hopefully this will make it easier for more children to attend the school.
Finance director Linda Pannell is making a presentation about the district’s financial statements.
Diana Ezell will make a presentation about a proposed change to K-12 grading scale. It would be changed to a modified 10-point grading scale. She said that will help students compete for scholarship opportunities they weren’t eligible for in the past and will help them in qualifying for good student discounts with insurance.
Students would need to get at least a 65 in order to pass a course.
Ezell said the district will hold its Opportunity Camp again this summer.
Director of Human Services Jim Turner will make the personnel report.
Board President Beth Stone recognizes Andy Schoggin, whom the district has chosen to replace retiring Danny Porter as athletic director. Schoggin is now principal at Senatobia High School.
Schoggin: “I would like to think Dr. Loden and his administrative team and the board of trustees for their confidence in me.
Schoggin: It is wonderful to be part of the athletic excellence that Coach Harmon and Coach Porter have established. Said he looks forward to working with Coach Hammond and to helping provide resources for the district’s athletic programs. He said he appreciates the quality of life elements Tupelo provides for his family.
Stone announced that Parkway Elementary Principal Anna Guntharp will be recommended to be the district’s new federal programs director. The board will vote on that at 5 p.m. Guntharp would replace Dale Warrier, who is retiring. The move would leave two vacant elementary principals: at Thomas Street and Parkway. Thomas Street principal Kay Collins is also retiring.
The board moves to executive session to discuss personnel and a student discipline hearing.