UC School Board critiqued by area board members
Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 9:01 pm
By TERRI JENKINS-BRADY
Special to The Messenger
As the homecoming parade for the Union City High School Golden Tornadoes disbanded Thursday evening, the Union City School Board convened for a rescheduled session, necessitated by the fall break which interfered with the regular second-Monday board business meeting. Members of the board hosted representatives of two other school boards for an evaluation session.
Present for the annual critique, as required by the Tennessee School Boards Association for systems striving to meet the standards of the Board of Distinction, were Gordon Morris, chairman of the Weakley County Board of Education, and his fellow board member Barbara Trentham and Jimmy Copous, chairman of the Milan Special School District Board of Education.
After asking all Union City board members to recite the mission statement of the Union City Schools, board chairman Glenda Caudle introduced the new student representative, Union City High School senior Rebecca Easley, and asked her to lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The board then addressed its agenda, with Mrs. Caudle saying the Oct. 8 monthly orientation meeting had been held to address some revisions of board policy and that these included:
• Board Policy 3.200 regarding Buildings and Grounds Management, which will now include the word “contractors” as well as employees;
• Board Policy 3.206 regarding the Community Use of School Facilities, which will now read “school property” instead of school buildings;
• Board Policy 4.406 regarding Use of the Internet now states that employees of the school system will receive training in Internet security on an annual basis.
Another item on the consent agenda included consideration of the lowest bid for the purchase of a Distance Learning Lab.
Ellarine Moses moved to accept the consent agenda, Karl Ullrich seconded the motion and it was carried by an affirmative vote by all present.
Mrs. Caudle took a few minutes to remind those present of school board policy and procedures related to citizens addressing the board. The board then heard from a parent with a concern.
Mrs. Caudle advised the concerned parent to begin addressing the issue with the person with whom there was a problem. She said if the problem was not resolved satisfactorily, the concerned citizen should approach the principal of the school. “If you feel the principal has not addressed the problem, then you have the right to contact the director of schools, Mr. (Gary) Houston.”
The parent who had requested permission to come before the board said she had tried all the usual courses of action already and the issue had not been resolved.
Mrs. Caudle said the issue was one with which the board would not become involved in a business session since it did not concern a change in policy but thanked the parent for coming before the board and assured her the concerns would be addressed by the appropriate authority and she would be informed of action taken.
Houston then provided the board and those assembled with the personnel update. Julie Morgan, Union City Elementary School third-grade teacher, is on maternity leave, with former UCES teacher Anne Townes filling in for her. Carmen Billingsley, educational assistant, is on medical leave, with Jennifer Durham filling in for her. He also congratulated David Denning, UCHS Engineering Procedures teacher and his wife, Debbie, on the addition of a baby daughter to their family and offered the same sentiments to Mrs. Morgan and her husband, Lance Morgan (UCHS physics and math teacher) on the birth of their son. “Perhaps they’re future Tornadoes,” Houston added.
“There’s lots of activity going on, too,” Houston continued. “After- and before-school tutoring; ball games in full swing, and some sports programs, like girls’ softball and golf, wrapping up.”
He noted the UC Schools Foundation would be providing $50,000 for instructional and technology benefits to the schools this year. “We are fortunate to have the foundation in our community. Since it was formed 10 or 15 years ago, I would speculate it has given out well over $300,000 to the schools for their requests.” Houston said this year the system has asked for feedback from the teachers through their principals as to what they would like funded.
“We’ve also had the first nine week’s Parent-Teacher conferences today,” Houston continued. “We had all-day student dismissal, and tomorrow (Oct. 9) will be a Professional Development Day for teachers. We gave students a head start on Fall Break by having them out of classes on Thursday and Friday.”
Ullrich addressed Houston and the audience, saying “I’ve heard generally positive feedback on the all-day Parent-Teacher conferences. I can only speak for the elementary and middle schools, as that’s where my children attend, but the comments have been very favorable.”
Houston responded, “The all-day conference with student dismissal is a better schedule. We try to have a parent/student/staff-friendly calendar.”
Mrs. Caudle announced there will be another special 13-day trip abroad this coming school year, with all expenses paid for selected Class of 2011 students. She said the students selected to go on the trip would have their names announced before Thanksgiving, and interested students and parents would be required to attend orientation meetings Oct. 19 or 20 if they wished to be considered for the trip. A student will also be selected from Obion County Central High School and one from South Fulton High School.
Houston then gave his monthly progress report, saying the highlight was the recent ACT Prep Session. UCHS principal Wes Kennedy had suggested the novel approach.
“The students are taken off-campus and given a tutorial for taking the ACT test, as well as advice in academic areas,” Houston said. “We had 18 students attend this first session and almost all of them raised their ACT scores significantly.” Lunch was included at the session.
Houston also brought forth two names, Treymar Johnson and Allison Bruff, for special recognition they have received from the National Merit Scholarship program. Johnson was named an Outstanding Participant in the National Achievement Scholarship Program for scoring in the top 3 percent of more than 160,000 black Americans who took part in the program. Miss Bruff was named a Commended Student in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Terri Jenkins-Brady, a Kenton resident, is co-owner of Write Up the Road with her husband, Tim Brady.
Published in The Messenger 10.13.09