|SUMMARY OF BOARD MEETING MINUTES
|February 1, 2021
The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Stone Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, February 1, 2021 at 5:30 PM at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28659. COVID-19 guidelines were enforced.
Present for the meeting were Chairman Mr. Randall “Rudy” Holbrook, Board Members Mr. Kirk Walker, Mrs. Joan Caudill, and Mr. Hardin Kennedy, III. Vice-Chairman Mrs. Sharron Huffman was absent. Also present were Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd, Chief Technology Officer Mrs. Julie Triplett, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Seth Prevette, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Donna Cotton, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Westley Wood, Director of Child Nutrition Mr. Marty Johnson, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Director of Exceptional Children Mrs. Jennifer Blankenship, Director of Transportation Mr. Eric Barker, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Special Guest: President of the Retired Teacher Association of Wilkes County Schools Mrs. Lisa Pruitt.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook recognized Board Member Mr. Kirk Walker to lead the Invocation.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook called the meeting to order.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, 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 stated, “February is a very short and often very cold month; it is also a time for many celebrations throughout our school system and our country. In Wilkes County Schools, tomorrow will mark the 100th day of school, which is always a very exciting time for our elementary schools and should be an exciting time for all of us during this pandemic.” Mr. Byrd is extremely proud of what our school system has been able to accomplish in 100 days.
February gives us the opportunity to celebrate with many groups who have positively influenced the lives of others on a daily basis. We start with Black History Month which gives us the opportunity to celebrate everyday leaders whose work made lives better for many around them, which is something we should all strive to do. This week we celebrate National School Counselor’s Week, and we all know that the need for school counselors was growing at a tremendous pace long before we had ever heard of COVID, and it is even greater today. We celebrate Bus Driver Appreciation Month, which gives us an opportunity to thank many who have a direct impact and keep our students safe on a daily basis, and whose job has been more challenging this year than ever before. We also have the opportunity to celebrate National Career and Technical Education Awareness Month, and we know our CTE teachers and leaders have opened the door for many student’s future success well beyond high school.
So during this cold month, if you need something to warm your heart and make you feel better about our challenging world, research and read more about the contributions of those we celebrate this month, and I assure you it will help you to see what is right in our world. February seems to be a month to appreciate others, and that is something we should each be doing on a daily basis, no matter what month of the year!
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference Coach and Player of the Year for the fall athletic season. The Mountain Valley 1A/2A Athletic Conference coaches vote on awards at the conclusion of each sports season. The awards that are given include Coach of the Year, All-Conference, and Honorable Mention teams. We are proud to recognize two athletes and one coach from Wilkes County Schools that were chosen as Players of the Year and Coach of the Year for the fall athletic season.
We would like to congratulate Jadon Gage from Wilkes Central High School. Jadon was recognized by the Mountain Valley Conference as Male Runner of the Year in cross-country.
We would like to congratulate Cheyenne Clonch from West Wilkes High School. Cheyenne was recognized by the Mountain Valley Conference as Player of the Year in volleyball.
We would like to congratulate Coach Steve Bryan from West Wilkes High School. Coach Bryan was recognized by the Mountain Valley Conference as Coach of the Year in volleyball.
Congratulations to these individuals on their achievements!
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Statewide “Do Math! Pay it Forward!” Contest. Imagine Learning is an adaptive literacy program for Pre-K through sixth grade students. Through playing games and completing short lessons, students improve foundational skills, and teachers and administrators receive reports on student progress. Schools or districts can purchase a per-student or per-site license for the tool.
C.C. Wright Elementary teacher Ms. Katie Wright utilizes Imagine Math as a supplemental math program for enriching students’ math learning in her fourth grade class. Her class completed an average of 5 or more passed lessons on Imagine Math every week per student. Because of this success, they were put into a statewide contest called Do Math! Pay it Forward! Imagine Learning did a drawing of the top Imagine Math classes, and Ms. Wright’s class won! They were among three other elementary schools and five middle schools across the state. Ms. Wright’s classroom prize was a choice of a $50 Amazon gift card, a $50 Pizza Hut gift card, a $50 Papa John's gift card, or a $50 Domino's gift card. Her class chose the Domino's gift card! Ms. Wright said, “I am very proud of their hard work and determination to be successful in fourth grade.” Congratulations, Ms. Wright, on your achievements!
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Wilkes Community Foundation and McNeill Chevrolet, Buick, Nissan of Wilkesboro Gift to Wilkes County Schools. The North Carolina Community Foundation and their local affiliate, the Wilkes Community Foundation, are recognized leaders in local philanthropy across the state. Working together, they are able to expand charitable giving and enhance the vitality of communities across the state. The Wilkes Community Foundation (WCF) is a growing family of philanthropic funds, a source of grants for local causes, and a partner for donors. WCF was founded in 1993 and is led by a local volunteer advisory board that helps build community assets through the creation of permanent endowments, make grants, and leverage leadership that benefits all of Wilkes County. In December 2020, Wilkes County Schools received a grant for $1,500 from the Wilkes Community Foundation and McNeill Chevrolet, Buick, Nissan of Wilkesboro. The purpose of this grant was to recognize Wilkes County Schools custodial staff for their COVID-19 support efforts. Custodial staff members have been essential in the reopening of schools by implementing state guidelines and procedures to keep our students and staff safe. Grant funds were used to purchase every custodian a t-shirt of appreciation. We would like to thank representatives from these organizations: David McNeill, Owner of McNeill Chevrolet, Buick, Nissan of Wilkesboro, Craig Langston, President of Wilkes Community Foundation, and Colby Martin, Community Leadership Officer for the North Carolina Community Foundation.
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the North Carolina Association of School Business Officials Emerging Leader. The North Carolina Association of School Business Officials (NCASBO) is a corporation that aims to promote the highest standards of school business practices for its membership. They assist schools and school systems in operating more effectively and efficiently by facilitating the exchange of sound school business practices as well as promote and provide leadership for the improvement and advancement of members.
NCASBO recently announced Seth Prevette as their new Emerging Leader. Seth is the Chief Finance Officer for Wilkes County Schools. Seth is currently the NCASBO Website Committee chair. He also serves on the Chart of Accounts Committee, the Education Business System Advisory Committee, and has been a Regional Representative for Region 7. Seth is a graduate of the NCASBO School Business Management Academy as a Certified School Business Director. He also represents NCASBO on the NCACPA Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committee. As NCASBO’s Emerging Leader, Mr. Prevette will represent North Carolina in the Southeastern Association of School Business Officials Emerging Leadership program. This opportunity will allow him to participate among twelve southern states in developing innovative ideas for professional development and strategic planning. Congratulations, Seth!
Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Donna Cotton. myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on educational attainment with a mission to prepare North Carolina for the future. The goal is to empower individuals, strengthen communities, and ensure our economic viability in a global community. Dr. Cotton highlighted the goals of myFutureNC and explained how the data from this organization will focus the academic goals of Wilkes County Schools' Strategic Plan.
Building the Foundations Pre-K to Grade 8
- Wilkes County Schools met the goal for eligible 4-year olds enrolled in the NC Pre-K program (Goal: 75% vs. 106%).
- Wilkes County Schools needs 1,174 more 3-8 graders earning college-and-career-ready scores (Level 4 or 5) in reading to meet the state goal of 73%.
- Wilkes County Schools needs 1,902 more 3-8 graders earning college-and-career-ready scores (level 4 or 5) in math to meet the state goal of 86%.
Ready and College & Career
- We need 53 more ninth-graders to graduate within four years to meet the state goal of 95%.
- We need 143 more seniors to complete the FAFSA (goal 80%).
- We need 53 more students to attend school regularly to meet the goal of 1% chronic absenteeism.
Postsecondary Access and Success
Among Wilkes County high school graduates:
- 61% of graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution within 12 months versus 57% of peer
- 69% of students who enroll persist to their second year versus 73% of peer counties.
- 53% of students who enroll earn a degree or credential within 6 years versus 49% of peer
Compared to rural non-metro counties and the state, the following three areas represent the biggest opportunities for Wilkes County to improve future attainment outcomes.
First-Year Persistence – 69% of Wilkes County high school graduates who enroll in postsecondary persist to their second year, below the rural non-metro county average of 73%.
AP Participation – 9% of Wilkes County high school students took at least one Advanced Placement exam, below the state average of 17%.
FAFSA Completion – 57% of Wilkes County high school seniors complete the FAFSA, below the state average of 64%.
Focus Areas for Strategic Planning are:
Career and College Ready Scores
More participation in Career and College Promise programs
Failures and Retentions
- Many failures in fall semester high school courses may require re-taking the course for credit or credit recovery.
- Elementary and middle schools send home “at-risk” letters for parents to be aware that students are not making adequate progress and are at risk of retention.
- Students in elementary and middle school who do not show progress (evidenced in completion of assignments and formative/summative assessments) will need to be retained.
WCS Virtual Academy Exploration
- Committee of 43 students, parents, teachers, administrators
- Surveyed the committee for their thoughts and input
- Shared the survey results with the exploration committee and Mr. Byrd
- Will be distributing a survey to all WCS parents to determine interest in a WCS Virtual Academy
- No final decision has been made yet on a virtual academy for WCS
Superintendent Byrd will present a Resolution to support the myFutureNC Attainment Goal per Dr. Cotton in the business session.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. No one had signed up.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the minutes for January 11, 2021 were approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Budget Amendments were approved as presented.
State Public School Fund: Increase $203,515.00
Capital Outlay Fund: Increase $49,572.00
Current Expense Special Use Fund: Increase $411,602.00
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the Audit Services Contract to audit fiscal year 2021 was approved as presented. Strickland Hardee PLLC has submitted their audit contract proposal for the fiscal 2021 year. The price increased to $31,500 which is a $1,300, or 4.3%, increase from 2020.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the 2021-2022 Calendar Draft was approved as presented. This will be a 164-day academic calendar that meets statutory requirements. North Carolina general statute allows the start of school to be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26, 2021.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the North Carolina State Board of Education approved revisions to the Beginning Teacher Support Program Policy TCED-016. The policy update included the requirement that Educator Preparation Program (EPP) surveys be completed by first-year beginning teachers and their principals at the end of the first year of teaching. Prior to this policy revision, the surveys had been optional. This amendment will align the district plan to North Carolina State Board policy requirements.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Resolution to support the myFutureNC Attainment Goal was approved as presented. The North Carolina School Superintendent’s Association has challenged all 115 districts in North Carolina to endorse the myFutureNC educational attainment goal of having two million North Carolinians earn a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. myFutureNC is a statewide non-profit organization focused on educational attainment and is the result of cross-sector collaboration between NC leaders in education, business, and government. Dr. Cotton shared an overview of the myFutureNC attainment goals during the Focus on Curriculum.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook had the following announcements:
- February 4, 2021 – Early Dismissal
- February 17, 2021 – Remote Student Learning / Required Teacher Workday
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next meeting to be March 1, 2021. 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 Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, there being no further business, the Board adjourned at 6:23 PM.