School Board Discusses Turf Tank, Assessments, and Staffing
Published 6:45 pm Friday, December 15, 2023
The Sumter County School Board met on December 11. Mark Harnage informed The Board that they were still eight full time drivers short with two drivers in training.
Helen Ricketts with Human Resources reported teacher recruitment strategies after consulting with a teacher retention and recruitment specialist at the office of rural education and innovation with the DOE. Strategies included getting Para pros into training programs to return as teachers. Ricketts also mentioned the potential for a collaboration between South Georgia and Georgia Southwestern and the school district to get students coming out of the early childhood program to work as para pros then transition them into a para pro to teacher program.
Coleman Price, athletic director, came to the Board with a proposal to use turf tank, a robotic marking system. The system would paint ball fields before games, reducing the time taken by teachers to prepare the field. Price estimated savings.
“On average, for the year, it calculated a yearly saving of little over $20,000. That includes labor and paint cost. What would take a project for the football field to lay out for a Friday night game was about eight hours to do, this machine can do it in 2.5 hours by itself.”
Price mentioned the subscription method, which would provide maintenance and any new updates. He mentioned the subscription plan would be a six-year commitment, with the cost being $1,700 for shipping and operations, then the first instalment would be $10,000 by July, then afterward $15,000 per year.
Barnes noted the savings in time.
Superintendent Knighton addressed the Board.
“One of the things we did, we had the Georgia Department of Education come in and do an external visit to our two primary schools, the primary school and the elementary school, so it’s an outside team coming in conducting classroom observations, looking at their data, looking at their documents, looking at the processes, and giving them feedback on what that is.”
Knighton mentioned the five points to the GSAP assessment.
“Effective instructional leadership, coherent instruction, supportive learning environment, professional capacity, and family and community engagement.”
When asked later, Knighton described the data as a “snapshot,” since it only reflected observations carried out over the course of a single day and did not necessarily reflect the entirety of the lesson.
Kimothy Hadley presented the percentages that were in the lowest ranked areas, one and two, for the Primary School.
CI2: 80% of classes were in the lowest two of four rankings for the category of students monitoring their own progress.
CI2: 76% of classes were in the lowest two rankings for the category of clear student success criteria establish and communicated.
CI3: 66.67% of classes were in the lowest two of four categories for formative assessment and or reading being used to monitor the learning and to inform instruction.
CI2: 66.66% of classes were in the lowest two of four categories for having a rigorous lesson that requires the use of higher order thinking.
CI2: 61.9% of classes were in the lowest two of four categories for students who demonstrated and articulated proficient or distinguished work.
Finance director Natacha Merrit addressed the Board, informing them that all invoices in the office had been paid as of November 30th. Merrit gave a day to day available fund balance of $10,168,009.84, a total for Special and Capital Project Funds of $5,319,948.37. She also reported Splost income for November for Sumter County Schools was $464,909.32, reporting that this brought the average to $449,600.57.
The Lexile results from the Georgia Department of Education for Sumter County Elementary School are as follows.
For the category of reading, out of 254 tested, 56.7% were below grade level, and 43.3% were at grade level or above.
For English Language Arts, out of 254 tested, 61.8% were at beginning learner level, 21.7% were at developing learner level, 13.4% were at proficient learner level, 3.1% were at distinguished learner level.
For Mathematics, out of 254 tested, 45.7% were at beginning learner level, 38.6% were at developing learner level, 13.4% were at proficient learner level, and 2.4% were at distinguished learner level.