Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe announced at the Elkin School Board of Education meeting on Monday in opening minutes a reminder penned by John Calhoun.
“Success takes a vision, a plan and a lot of elbow grease,” said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe recognized Bianka Soos from Elkin Middle School in the arts recognition segment because of her award-winning Christmas Card.
“We are proud to have students who do magnificent art and love the arts,” said Bledsoe.
Other Christmas cards winners were Sophie Reinhardt, fifth grade, Elkin Elementary; Brandy Fuentes, eighth grade, Elkin Middle School; Georgia Longworth, 10th grade, Elkin High School.
Eighth-grade science teacher Susan Bennett in the board spotlight segment was recognized for her “outstanding performance” as a teacher, Bennett’s science students are in the top 20 grades reported throughout North Carolina.
Bledsoe said Elkin City Schools is stressing a team concept as it moves into a steam initiative program.
He added that good things are going on at the schools through the creative ways programs are being implemented under Elkin Middle School Principal Pam Colbert.
“We are teaching up a storm which means our kids are learning,” he said.
January is the National Board of Education month. Board of Education members, J. Foley Norman, Board Chairman, Stewart Roten, Dr. Richard Brinegar, Vice Chairman, Haley M Sullivan and James E. Freeman, were recognized and thanked by the school superintendent for going above and beyond. A fruit basket, in addition to notes and posters made by students, were among presents given to board members for the occasion.
In other business, a motion was granted for a summer enrichment program and to seek funds in the form of a $1.2 million grant from the Education and Workforce Innovation Initiative.
Cynthia Altemueller spoke to the board about the possibility of receiving $470,000 in grant money to participate in the North Carolina Digital Learning consortium. If the school system receives the grant, Elkin teachers will have the opportunity to attend regional conferences to work on and learn digital content relative to content they teach.
In addition to conferences, there will be made available from the money, workshops for teachers, assessment and instructional tools. These tools will allow them to collect data relative to grade and content for the monitoring of learning progress. Altemueller said they will find out in February whether they have received funding.
There also was approval to partner with North Carolina New Schools program and into phase two of adding the high school to a “STEAM initiative” in which Bledsoe said the schools “look for people to move us into new concepts” and “help students reach future goals in various ways.”
Part of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education program is rooted in a group discovery format with initiatives based on a Gates Foundation model. The school will be responsible for reimbursing the contract with them over two years.
“I believe it is the best way for us to move forward with our transformation,” said Bledsoe.
Other business included reading revised policies. Bledsoe noted a new policy that provides defibrillators at schools already had been put to the test and worked in an emergency situation.
It was noted exact school safety planning measures would not be made available to the public as to minimize danger in any potential threatening situations.
In an earlier consent meeting, Maintenance Director of the Elkin City Schools John Altemueller said several fire alarms had failed when tested over the holidays after comprehensive fire alarm testing was carried out at the schools. He said a challenge exists in fire alarm maintenance issues due to five different brands used that require specific knowledge of how to fix and maintain each brand. “I just want peace of mind, about these issues,” said Altemueller.
Altemueller said by Jan. 15, all schools must have hard-wired panic buttons, two, that are approved by Elkin Police Department.
Elkin High School Principal Joel Hoyle spoke about new standards in EOC criteria and ways the school will meet the challenges and still “make sure kids graduate.” Hoyle said it will take time to figure out where the cracks are and where any standards are coming up short.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.