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2020-21 Board Meeting Minutes » September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020
The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Stone Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 5:30 PM at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28659. COVID-19 guidelines were enforced.
Present for meeting were Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook, Vice-Chairman Mrs. Sharron Huffman, Board Members Mr. Kirk Walker, Mrs. Joan Caudill, and Mr. Hardin Kennedy III. Also present were Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd (virtually), Assistant Superintendent Dr. Westley Wood, Chief Technology Officer Ms. Julie Triplett, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Seth Prevette, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Donna Cotton, Director of Pre-K and Elementary Education Ms. Callie Grubb, Director of Exceptional Children Ms. Jennifer Blankenship, Director of Student Services Ms. April Marr, Director of Child Nutrition Mr. Marty Johnson, Director of CTE/Career and College Promise Mr. Wayne Shepherd, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Director of Middle School, Federal Programs, Interim County Athletic Director, & Cultural Arts Dr. Joe Bullis, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Ms. Carolyn Triplett. Special Guest, Mr. Clint Cheek.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook recognized Board Member Mrs. Joan Caudill to lead the Invocation.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook called the meeting to order.
On a motion by Mrs. Huffman, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the agenda was approved as presented.
Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook recognized Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd for the Superintendent’s Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Byrd thanked the Board for understanding why he was not able to attend in person. Mr. Byrd stated, “The first thing I would like to say is thank you to our students and our staff for an outstanding first week back with students.” Six months ago today is when Governor Cooper closed schools for the first time due to COVID-19. Secondly, it just feels right to have students back in our building. I would like to thank Dr. Cotton, Dr. Wood, Principals, Mulberry Elementary, and North Wilkes Middle Schools for hosting several of our legislators today. They demonstrated what is right with Wilkes County Schools! Last Friday in our EDC meeting, I heard someone reference that 9/11 and COVID-19 were the two historical events of their lifetime. None of our current students were born when 9/11 occurred. Friday night, I watched a replay of the events from 19 years ago and remembered how we were all feeling at that time. This was probably the last time people were told to stay at home by the government until COVID-19! In a conversation over the weekend with friends, they reminded me of how our country reacted to 9/11. If you remember, there was a rise in support of our country. People seemed more polite, respectful, and appreciative of one another! We didn’t take anything for granted. Since our current students were not born when 9/11 occurred, we as adults need to use what we learned from 9/11 and show them how we should react to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much like 9/11, it should remind us all to not take one another for granted, to treat each other with respect, and to appreciate the great country that we live in. I think as educators we owe that to our students! Thank you!

Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Donna Cotton. On September 8, 2020, our schools transitioned from Plan C with fully remote instruction to Plan B with blended and remote instruction. Per the governor’s orders, students are coming into the school buildings in reduced numbers. To facilitate this, students in Wilkes County Schools were assigned by their school as an “A” day student or a “B day student. In effort to maximize instructional time, the school days alternate on a A/B schedule. Some families requested that their students stay fully remote. Dr. Cotton gave a description of each instruction. Blended students receive face-to-face instruction alternating with isolated remote instruction on the alternate day. Remote instruction happens away from school via the learning management system and online instruction.
Dr. Cotton also went over teacher expectations. Teachers are to facilitate instruction for blended instruction “A” day students and “B” day students as well as the instruction for remote only students. They are to take attendance every day and provide descriptive feedback to students. Teachers will grade student work and report those grades in PowerSchool (progress reports and report cards). Teachers are expected to have daily contact with students. Teachers are also required to maintain office hours in which they will be available for parents. Teachers will continue to attend professional development at the school level.
Students also have expectations. They are to be in attendance (on-site or remotely) every day, and be prepared and participate actively (at schools, online, or by completing assignments offline). They must complete all work, meet deadlines, and communicate with their teachers when they have questions or concerns. Students are required to follow the WCS Acceptable Use Guidelines and follow online etiquette when using technology. The Wilkes County Schools Technology helpdesk is available when needed. Attendance protocols will be communicated with students and parents. These will be posted on school websites and social media along with the district website. Protocols for determining attendance will be:
  • Student engagement (completion of assignments).
  • On pace (participation in virtual classroom online or by phone).
  • Offering academic and emotional support (communication with student and family).
  • All attendance will be taken in PowerSchool.
  • K-8 attendance will be taken daily by the students’ homeroom teacher.
  • 9-12 attendance will be taken daily by the course teacher as scheduled.
  • Attendance will be taken by the end of the day each day.
  • For a student to be counted absent the student would not be present for class, engaged in the content, or be able to be contacted.
  • School staff will contact students/families directly in the event that there is no student contact or work completion after 3 days.
Wilkes County Schools will meet the academic and social emotional needs of all students as well as support the extra needs of our special population students by following the education plan to specific to their needs.
  • Individual Education Plan
  • 504 Plan
  • LEP Plan
  • AIG Plan
  • McKinney-Vento identified students
Instructional Support Personnel such as school counselors, instructional coaches, school social workers, related service providers, program specialists, etc. will sustain the school’s instructional program and support of the social-emotional needs of students and families as articulated by school administrators. The Instructional Support team will report to their work site each day to assist in the school’s instructional program and support of our students. School administrators will monitor the quality of instructional materials by observing the live, synchronous instruction presented by teachers. School administrators will provide feedback to teachers concerning learning targets, lesson design, and the quality of materials used and the effectiveness of instructional materials. Dr. Cotton went over the parent/guardian/family expectations as well.
For blended instruction students:
  • Understand that attendance is required.
  • Monitor student health and complete the attestation form every school day.
For blended and remote instruction students:
  • Designate a quiet place for your student to complete assignments.
  • Reduce distractions while completing assignments.
  • Help your student manage his/her online learning by establishing a daily routine and encouraging him/her to participate and complete all assignments.
  • Partner with your student’s teacher and reach out should any challenges arise.
  • Encourage your student to incorporate physical activity and healthy breaks.

Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had submitted public comments. The following individual came before the Board Members to speak on Remote Learning:
Mr. Clint Cheek shared with the audience that he was concerned for his children and the mental state children are experiencing due to COVID-19 and learning under Plan B. He fears that the social skills of children will be an issue in the future. Mr. Cheek wanted Board members to realize the struggles that parents/families are having and facing with learning under Plan B. The Board thanked Mr. Cheek for attending.

On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Huffman and duly carried, the minutes for August 10, 2020 were approved as presented.
On a motion by Mrs. Huffman, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.

Resignation(s) and/or Retirement(s)

Ronald Foster – Teacher – East Wilkes Middle School

Retirement effective – November 1, 2020 with twenty-seven years and five months of service

Regina McNeil – Teacher – Exceptional Children Department

Retirement effective – December 1, 2020 with twenty years of service


Amber Bryant – From Teacher – Ronda Clingman Elementary Schools

To Instructional Specialist – East Wilkes High School

On a motion by Mrs. Huffman, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Budget Resolution for all fund sources as prescribed by the Local Government Commission was approved as presented. This resolution summarizes the appropriated budget expenditures and revenues available to the Wilkes County Schools for the 2020-2021 fiscal year from all fund sources.

Dr. Donna Cotton presented to the Board a Memorandum of Agreement with Wilkes Community College/CCP. Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College have a strong partnership in the Career and College Promise program offered at our four traditional high schools. The purpose of this program is to offer structured opportunities for qualified high school students to dually enroll in community college courses that provide pathways that lead to a certificate, diploma, degree, or state/industry-recognized credentials as well as provide entry-level job skills. Students may take college courses at the high school campus, online, and at the college campus.

Chairman Mr. Holbrook had the following announcements: 
  • September 21, 2020 – Remote Student Learning/Required Teacher Workday
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next meeting to be October 5, 2020. The meeting will be held in the Stone Center for the Performing Arts located at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina beginning at 5:30 PM.

On a motion by Mrs. Huffman, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, there being no further business, the Board adjourned at 6:30 PM.
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