Board of Education Discusses Test Score Gains and Proposed Increases for Training

Published 9:32 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

On November 6th the School Board met for their monthly work session. Kimothy Hadley presented rising grade levels.
The data for early literacy reading was as follows:
Urgent intervention decreased from 37% to 28%
Intervention level students went from 28-22%
Students at or above grade level increased from 23-34%.
Hadley gave the results for Star Reading:
Beginning learners increased from 47-49%.
Developing learners went from 30-40%.
Proficient went from 10-16%.
Hadley gave the results for Star Math:
Beginning learners decreased from 54-49%.
Proficient students went from 31-34%.
Distinguished students went from 3-4%.
Dr. Adrienne Davis then addressed the Board.
Davis gave the Federal chronic absentee rate for August as 7.35, the rate for September as 6.32, and the rate for October was 7.35. To be considered chronically absent, a student must miss at least 10% of school days.
The Board heard about infractions. Overall infractions increased due to the new cell phone policy however other infractions decreased. The Board also heard updates about a positive referral policy for the buses, so that students are encouraged to display positive behaviors instead of merely penalizing negative behaviors.
Margaret Goodin presented information to the Board, including breakfast stats. She mentioned that last year 67% of the students ate breakfast, and that this year 74% have. She mentioned that breakfast improvement was a focus.
The Board also heard about the Caring Adult Program where one staff member meets with ten students every Wednesday.
Billy Thompkins talked about a new initiative where each member of maintenance would be assigned to a school for a whole week, allowing them to work on regular maintenance. Also, they will be given a radio so administration can work directly with them.
Knighton talked about the additional professional learning allocation increase.
“I mentioned that the Board was under a court order relative to legislation as it relates to a cap on the professional learning.”
Knighton read the details.
“Each Board member shall be entitled to reimbursement up to $2500 dollars a year, for expenses necessary travel outside of the County on the business of the Board of Education, including but not limited to any training, and things of that nature.”
The Board discussed the costs of various workshops for Board member training.
Knighton mentioned the general assembly was coming up soon, and that any proposed changes would have to be decided on soon.
Sylvia Roland commented on the cost of GSBA training sessions.
“Each of those sessions is between $1,500 and $1,800.”
Roland mentioned the help the Board Chair workshop and the Finance workshop had been. She suggested a $4,000 allowance.
Barnes commented.
“If you want to attend both conferences and another side conference, it needs to be $4,000.”
The Board also discussed raising the board members’ pay from the current salary of $200 a month.
Sylvia commented.
“How much time do you spend in Board meetings and reading documents, like we had to do over the weekend, versus the $200 a month we get now?”
Jackson commented.
“I’m thinking of maybe a stipend of $500 a month.”
When contacted, Sylvia Roland remarked on the benefits of Board training.
“Every year, the GSBA (Georgia School Board Association) provides statewide training sessions in November/December in Atlanta and in June in Savannah. These sessions offer a variety of breakout sessions ranging from legal issues, governance team working together, literacy, differentiated instruction, and many other relevant topics. Many BOE members did not spend their careers in education, and they need to be educated and kept current on issues affecting education. In addition to these sessions, we hear from the Governor and the Superintendent of the Georgia Department of Education. We also see young students displaying their musical talents. Lastly, we get the opportunity to network and to hear about what is working well in other school systems.
In addition to these two annual gatherings, we are offered the opportunity to take a one-day workshop in legal issues, finance class, and other periodic offerings. These are usually held in Tifton, Macon, Athens, and other regional cities. Travel to and from all of these trainings, and a hotel stay for the annual conferences in Savannah and Atlanta, and the registration cost for these sessions are why we are looking to increase our annual allotment from $2500 to $4000.”