Switch To Be Made
To A Traditional
BY LAUREN HENRY
Highland Elementary School will join the rest of the Greeneville schools on the traditional calendar following a unanimous vote at Thursday night's Greeneville Board of Education meeting.
Greeneville Director of Schools Dr. Linda Stroud presented the calendar change from a year-round schedule to a traditional calendar.
The board was already well aware of the impending vote after a presentation during the annual fall retreat earlier this week.
The only remaining questions the board had were in regard to the parental meeting the school held Tuesday evening to discuss the calendar change with the parents.
Stroud said the discussed changes were "very well received by the parents."
The change will go into affect after Christmas, but will not affect the school calendar until spring break.
Highland's original spring break would have started March 20 and continued until April 5.
Now the students will join the rest of the Greeneville schools on their spring break from March 25 to April 1.
Stroud said that Highland will end the school year before the rest of the schools because of shortened spring break. This will bring Highland in line with the state and local requirement for 180 school days.
In the year-round schedule at Highland, the academic year consisted of four nine-week terms with three-week breaks in between. The school went to a year-round calendar in 1996.
After-school and intersession programs were established to reinforce classroom instruction.
Stroud said that intercession classes for Highland now will be held the week after school is dismissed rather than during spring break like in years past.
The agenda item presented to the board reads, "The 2013-2014 Highland calendar will be the same as the regular system calendar for 2013-2014.
Brenda Ottinger, Highland principal, and Pat Barnett, Highland Instructional Specialist, presented the proposed change to the board Monday at a school board retreat.
"We've got to look at what's best for the kids," they said.
The biggest reason for the change, they said, is state testing.
Barnett and Ottinger cited an incident where students would be back only three days from a long break before taking the TCAP test.
The calendar change will help with new testing requirements that often are built around the traditional calendar. It will also help families with children at multiple city schools, they said.
Barnett and Ottinger said that child care has proved a challenge in the past for parents with children attending Highland. Also summer camps interfere with the longer school calendar.
"The reason we went to year-round in the first place was that we felt our students didn't need a long summer break," said Barnett.
Moving the intercession to the summertime will help students that otherwise have nothing to do during the summer months, they said.
Ottinger said that once the decision to look into returning to the traditional calendar was made she began looking at other schools across the state that were previously year-round.
"There really aren't that many left," she said.
"Just because we have the program for 16 years does not mean that particular program is effective for today," School Board Chairman Craig Ogle said on Monday.
NPAC, GHS REPAIRS
The school board also voted to approve repairs in front of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center and Greeneville High School.
Beverly Miller, Assistant Director of Schools for Administration, said that the grout between bricks laid on the ground in front of the buildings is deteriorating.
The agenda item presented last night reads, "The degradation of the walkways, retaining walls, sidewalks, and entrance areas, including steps leading up to the main entrance at GHS, have become serious safety hazards."
Miller recommended that the school enter a contract with Idell Construction Company, Inc. for the repairs. The total cost of the project is estimated at $83,866.
"It is important that the work be completed as soon as possible in order to prevent an additional damage that could be caused by inclement weather in the coming months," Miller said.
Miller said the repairs are expected to be complete within about a month.
The board voted to approve the recommendation.
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS
The board also approved minor changes in wording to board policy.
Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) Policies 5.200 -- separation practices for tenured teachers, 5.201 -- separation practices for non-tenured teachers, and 4.2013 -- Family Life education have all been revised.
The agenda item before the board reads, "A recent change in the law allows for a more streamlined teacher suspension procedure, as long as the suspension is for three days or less."
The Policies 5.200 and 5.201 were originally modified in June; however, the revisions before the board last night were merely changes in language. The Policy 4.2013 has been rewritten.
The board voted to approve the revisions.
The board approved September's financial statements which showed revenue trending positively.
Stroud announced that Miller will present at the 2012 TSBA Annual Convention in Nashville in November.
Her presentation is titled "Encouraging and Supporting Innovative Technology Programs During Tough Budget Times."
Stroud said it is an honor to be chosen to present at the state convention and the board is proud of Miller.
Her presentation is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.