The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, November 7, 2022, at 5:30 PM at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28659.
Present for the meeting were Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook, Vice-Chairman Mr. Hardin Kennedy III, Board Members Mr. Kirk Walker, Mrs. Joan Caudill, and Mrs. Jammie Jolly. Also attending were Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Westley Wood, Chief Academic Officer Mrs. Callie Grubb, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Seth Prevette, Chief Technology Officer Mrs. Julie Triplett, Director of Child Nutrition Mr. Marty Johnson, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Director of Pre-K and Elementary Education Mr. Jeffery Johnson, Director of Secondary Education/Athletics/School Safety Mr. David Johnson, Director of Exceptional Children Mrs. Jennifer Blankenship, Director of Testing and Accountability/Cultural Arts/504/Title I Dr. Dion Stocks, Director of Transportation Mr. Eric Barker, EL Coordinator Mrs. Lori Holguin, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Also, in attendance were Dr. Heather Freeman, Principal of Wilkes Central High School, Mr. Rodney Graham, Principal of Central Wilkes Middle School, Mrs. Delaina Jones, Principal of C.C. Wright Elementary School, Mr. Craig Tidline, Principal of Boomer Ferguson Elementary School, and Alisha Minton Assistant Principal of East Wilkes Middle School.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook called the meeting to order.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly 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, "First, my thoughts and prayers are with the Central Wilkes Middle School family after the tragic loss of a teacher last week. I would also like to ask that you keep the family of Mr. Joseph Edwards in your thoughts and prayers as well."
"As we transition into the month of November, our thoughts should always go to a season of thanks and a time of thanking our veterans for their service. To any veteran in the room, I would like to personally thank you for your service so that I can enjoy the freedoms that I do. I am excited to say that on Thursday morning I will be attending the Veteran's Day Assembly at Ronda-Clingman Elementary, which has been one of my favorite traditions to take part in during my time as Superintendent of Wilkes County Schools. I wish I could take every person in this room with me to that event as I think you all would leave just as proud as I do each time I attend. This is just another reminder of how fortunate we are to live where we do."
"In terms of a season of thanks, I cannot personally think of anyone who has more to be thankful for than I do and I hope I remember that more throughout the year than just during this month. Even though I love the Thanksgiving holiday, it shouldn't take a turkey leg or a piece of pumpkin pie to remind me to give thanks."
"Before we get into the business of tonight's meeting, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and that you take the time to look out for someone less fortunate than you, as there are many in our county that need it. Making someone else's holiday will make yours more meaningful as well. Something I am very thankful for professionally are the things that are actually taking place in our schools daily rather than what many are making things out to be. Just a few days back an article was printed stating that our school system had seen a 'huge increase' in the number of incidents involving 'marijuana-based gummies' in our schools, and I am thankful to report that we have only had 2 incidents to this point in the school year. While that is too many, I am thankful to know that more of our students are making good decisions than some like to portray."
"I am thankful that some understand that the policy change I proposed last month was to prevent committees at schools from having to do repetitive or duplicative work, and to protect the time of the staff to do what is needed for kids, not to increase my 'power' as was stated. Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear of something that a teacher or student does in our school that amazes me, and I hope our community realizes that what is taking place daily in our classrooms is not often what they hear about."
"I am both thankful and proud of what takes place in Wilkes County Schools on a daily basis, and I hope that you, too, are proud of what our people accomplish. And, if you need a reminder of something to be thankful for, just ask a student about what their school day is like. I think those conversations could remind all of us how thankful we should be for the people who make up Wilkes County Schools."
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the 2022 Leader in Me Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll School. West Wilkes Middle School earned special recognition from Franklin Covey, the creator of the Leader in Me initiative, by being named a 2022 Leader in Me Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll School. The Lighthouse Academic Honor Roll award recognizes Leader in Me Schools that have both met the rigorous requirements necessary to achieve and maintain Lighthouse School Certification and shown exemplary academic growth or proficiency as measured by state accountability standards. Congratulations to West Wilkes Middle School!
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Wilkes County Schools 2022-2023 Beginning Teacher of the Year. The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) recently announced the annual NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year Award. This process was developed to honor beginning teachers and retain potential excellent teachers in North Carolina Public Schools. Each school district chooses a nominee who will then advance to compete for regional winner. Nominees must have been employed by Wilkes County Schools in a full-time teaching position for the full 2021-22 school year as a first-year teacher and must be employed with Wilkes County Schools for the 2022-23 school year as their second year of teaching. Nominees must also demonstrate success in the classroom according to the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards. Candidates can be nominated by principals, assistant principals, central office directors, instructional specialists, or superintendents.
Wilkes County Schools is pleased to announce that our 2022-2023 Beginning Teacher of the Year is Ms. Savanna Herman. Ms. Herman is a sixth-grade teacher at West Wilkes Middle School.
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the students selected for Honors Chorus. Every year, the Middle School Honors Chorus is held in November, performing at the North Carolina Music Educator's In-Service Conference. This chorus provides an opportunity for the very best singers from across the state in grades 6, 7, and 8 to come together and work with a nationally acclaimed choral conductor. In order to audition for honors chorus, students must sing their voice part of the selected audition piece. Each student auditions in front of a single judge in a closed audition. They also sight-sing a short melodic exercise. Only about the top 10-15% of auditioned singers will be selected for this prestigious choir. This truly showcases talented students who will sing with students from all over the state of NC who have auditioned and were selected.
Congratulations to the following East Wilkes Middle School Students and their Director, Teresa Beshears:
Kayli Bates - Alto 2
Leighlah Holbrook - Alto 1
Joah Long - Tenor 2
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the students selected for the J. Elwood Roberts Choral Festival. The Mars Hill University/J. Elwood Roberts Choral Festival was established in 1949 as an effort to improve choral music in the high schools of western North Carolina. Since then, the annual event has grown into one of the premiere choral festivals in North Carolina and is known for being the longest, continuously-running festival of its type in the southeast. Each year, more than 800 students from approximately 100 high schools audition for the Festival Choir to participate in the 325-voiced choir. Guest conductors have included some of the most prominent choral musicians in the United States. Students are required to prepare a required selection and sight read for a judge as part of the audition process.
The following students auditioned and were selected for this year's chorus performance to be held in February at Mars Hill College.
Sherrlin Cardozo, Wilkes Central High School
Alex Wolfe, Wilkes Central High School
Josiah Cardenas, Wilkes Central High School
Halah Sprinkle, West Wilkes High School
Jessica Watson, West Wilkes High School
Kylie Brindle, West Wilkes High School
Kori Cornett, West Wilkes High School
Chloe Sheets, West Wilkes High School
Grayson Sparks, East Wilkes High School
Reid West, East Wilkes High School
James Cook, East Wilkes High School
Palmer Tharp, East Wilkes High School
Jade Gardner, East Wilkes High School
Ronda Stanley, East Wilkes High School
Isabella Semones, North Wilkes High School
Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Mrs. Callie Grubb, Chief Academic Officer, and Mr. Jeffery Johnson, Director of Pre-K and Elementary Education. As defined in G.S. 115C-105.37, schools that receive a school performance grade of D or F and school growth score of "met expected growth" or "not met expected growth" are identified as low-performing schools. These schools must 1) develop an improvement plan that specifically addresses how the school will improve both the school performance grade and the school growth score, 2) notify parents of the low-performing status, 3) complete super observations on all certified staff members, and 4) present their improvement plans to the local Board of Education for approval.
Currently, Boomer Ferguson, C.C. Wright, and Central Wilkes Middle are identified as low-performing schools. Principals from each of these schools were in attendance and shared plans for school improvement. These plans will be presented again at the December board meeting and then submitted to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. Mr. Francisco Hernandez, Mrs. Laura Love, and Mrs. Sharilyn Owens shared their concerns regarding Board Policy 3210.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the minutes for October 3, 2022, were approved as presented.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.
Resignation(s) and/or Retirement(s)
Harold Bumgarner – Transportation Mechanic – Transportation Department
Retirement effective – January 1, 2023, with twenty-five years and five months of service
Juana Liberatore – Teacher Assistant – Central Services
Retirement effective – January 1, 2023, with fifteen years and five months of service
Arvil Perry – Custodian – Central Wilkes Middle School
Retirement effective – February 1, 2023, with twenty-eight years and one month of service
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the following Out-of-County/Overnight Field Trips were approved as presented. Planned dates are listed below.
|North Wilkes Middle School
|8th Grade Students
Abingdon, Virginia and Boone, NC
|Wilkes Early College High School
|10th Grade Students
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Budget Amendment was approved as presented and is listed below:
State Public School Fund – Increase of $3,043,324.00
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, Surplus Items was approved as presented (see Attachment One).
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College Local Articulation Agreement for 2022-2023 was approved as presented. Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College have a strong partnership in providing high school students with many opportunities to gain college credits while completing their high school requirements. The local articulation agreement adds additional articulated courses at the local level that are not included in the statewide North Carolina High School to Community College Articulation Agreement. This local agreement further streamlines students' educational pathways by eliminating the need to take multiple courses with the same learning outcomes. The revisions to the 2022-2023 agreement include an update to current courses offered in Wilkes County Schools.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the School Improvement Plans were approved as presented. School improvement plans are written each year following a very thorough school-wide reflection process that involves the principal, school improvement team, staff, and parents. These stakeholders work diligently to make the school improvement plan a living document that directs their efforts to help students demonstrate growth and achieve at higher levels. Wilkes County Schools uses an online tool called NCStar as the template for our continuous school improvement process. A code to preview each school's plan is located on the school website.
As defined in G.S. 115C-105.37, schools identified as low-performing (receive a school performance grade of D or F and school growth score of "met expected growth" or "not met expected growth") must develop an improvement plan that specifically addresses how the school will improve both the school performance grade and the school growth score. Schools must also notify parents of the low-performing status. Currently, Boomer Ferguson, C.C. Wright, and Central Wilkes Middle are identified as low-performing schools. These plans with the exception of the low-performing schools are submitted for your approval. These plans will be presented for final approval at the December meeting.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Board Policy 3210 revisions were approved as presented. Wilkes County Schools Board Policy 3210 Parental Inspection and Objection to Instruction Materials outlines a clear process and procedure for the review and challenge of educational materials used in schools. In the event that a resource is determined inappropriate, the current policy would require this process to take place at each school in the system in order for removal from all schools. This revision would allow materials or a resource determined to be inappropriate to be removed at the district level, thus preventing duplicative work at schools across the system. Per this policy, no such action would take place without receipt of a completed and signed "Parent's Request for Reconsideration of Educational Materials." Any such decision would be subject to review by the Wilkes County Schools Board of Education.
Discussion and Report Item was presented by Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent. A draft of the 2023-2024 Academic Calendar was presented for discussion. The Calendar Committee met on Monday, October 24, 2022, and developed the proposed academic calendar for the 2023-24 school year. 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, 2023. This item will be presented at the December board meeting for final approval.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcements:
- November 8, 2022 – Optional Workdays
- November 11, 2022 – Veterans Day Holiday
- November 21-22, 2022 – Optional Workdays
- November 23, 2022 – Annual Leave
- November 24-25, 2022 – Thanksgiving Holiday
All board members encouraged everyone to go vote on election day and wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Veterans Day Holiday!
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next board meeting to be December 5, 2022. The meeting will be held in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom, located at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina beginning at 5:30 PM.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, there being no further business, the Board adjourned at 6:52 PM.