The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, January 9, 2023, 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, Executive Director of Federal Programs and Career & Technical Education Dr. Joe Bullis, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Director of Secondary Education, Athletics, and School Safety Mr. David Johnson, Director of Testing and Accountability, Cultural Arts, 504, and Title I Dr. Dion Stocks, AIG Coordinator Mrs. Angie Lamb, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Also in attendance were Law Enforcement Officers and County Commissioners Mr. Stoney Green, Mr. Casey Johnson, and Mr. Bill Sexton.
Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook called the meeting to order.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, 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, "Let me first say 'Happy New Year' to everyone in the room, and even though it's a few days late, I hope 2023 is a peaceful and productive year for every person in this room tonight. Even if 2022 was the best year of your life, I hope that 2023 is even better. I was laughing the other day thinking about how we often spend the month of January talking about what a great year it is going to be, then by February, we have forgotten that enthusiasm. Let's try to keep the excitement for a new year lasting longer than in previous years. Our students and staff deserve that from us!"
"Monday, January 9th is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and I think we need to take a minute to say thank you to all of our local law enforcement officers and agencies for their support of our school system. The relationship between our school system and local law enforcement is second to none in our area, and to every person who wears a badge in our county, I want to personally say 'thank you' for your support. We are fortunate to have the people that we have serving as School Resource Officers and each of us should take a minute to let them know that they have our support."
"The month of January is School Board Appreciation Month, and I think the least we can do is to take a minute to say 'thank you' to our board members for their service. I think it is important to remember that this board has served during what I think has been one of the most challenging periods to be a school board member in the past century, and I think they deserve a word of thanks. While the job of educational leaders has changed tremendously over the past three years, the role of a board member has as well. Ironically, seven years ago this month was my first board meeting as Interim Superintendent, and there has not been one single time during that seven years that I didn't feel that I had the support of our board. That support has made a difficult job much easier. I'm a bit old school in my thinking, but even if someone doesn't agree with every decision that elected officials make, we should still respect them for their service and the role that they serve. Please join me tonight in giving our board a round of applause as our way of saying thank you for their service to the students and staff of Wilkes County Schools."
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the Poetry Out Loud winners. The Poetry Out Loud competition was held on December 15, 2022. Seventeen students from two middle schools and four high schools participated in the competition. Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.
Congratulations to runner-up, Kaleb Thornton, from Wilkes Early College High School and winner, Anna Tilley, from East Wilkes High School! Anna and Kaleb will represent Wilkes County in the State Poetry Out Loud competition.
Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Mrs. April Marr, Director of Student Services. Mrs. Marr highlighted Wilkes County School's support services provided to students and staff. NC Law (§ 115C-376.5) and State Board Policy (SHLT-003) require schools to have a plan for promoting student mental health and well-being and for assessing and improving upon the effectiveness of supports for the mental and social-emotional health and substance use needs of its students and staff. Plans must include a continuum of mental health and social-emotional supports that include; universal promotion of mental health and social-emotional wellness and prevention through core instruction; curriculum; environment; early intervention support, referral, treatment, re-entry protocols, and suicide risk referral protocols. This same law requires all school employees to complete required mental health and child abuse prevention training every year.
School counselors deliver services that are comprehensive in scope, preventive in design, and developmental in nature to improve a range of student learning and behavioral outcomes. School counselors help all students apply academic achievement strategies, manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills, strengthen mental wellness and develop resiliency, and explore and plan for post-secondary options such as higher education, military, and entering the work force.
School nurses promote physical and mental well-being and help remove health-related barriers to learning. School nurses deliver comprehensive health services in a systematic, planned approach that includes promoting healthy school environments; and health education training to students, parents, and staff. Wilkes County Schools develops and implements school health policies; addressing individual student health needs; and managing student chronic health conditions.
School Social Workers provide comprehensive support and services to address barriers impacting the social, emotional, academic, and physical needs of all students. School social workers are the link between the school and the community and provide a variety of direct and indirect services.
School-based therapy services are also offered by local mental health providers at schools to help students and parents access services without a huge disruption to school attendance. Our BEST (Behavioral, Emotional, Social, & Therapeutic) Academy offers a short-term small classroom setting for our students with more significant needs. Daily social, emotional, and behavioral coaching is provided by teachers, teaching assistants, and mental health therapists in these classrooms to help students develop coping skills and strategies to be successful in the regular classroom setting. Mental health therapists provide more intensive individual and group counseling services in these classrooms. Wilkes County Schools has several essential community partnerships that also help with the needs of students and families.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. There were fourteen people signed up. They are as follows: Mr. Francisco Hernandez, Mrs. Sharilyn Owens, Mr. Donnie Shumate, Dr. David White, Mrs. Barbara Van Meter, Mr. Jeff Collins, Mr. Peter Baergan, Mr. Walter Vaughn, Mr. Harold Dean Miller, Mr. Tim Tully, Mr. Keith Lyon, Mrs. Teresa Ray, Mr. Fred Costello, and Mr. Richard Caudill. They all shared their concerns regarding a book called Looking for Alaska.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the minutes for December 5, 2022 were approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.
On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the following field trips were approved as presented. Planned dates are listed below.
|North Wilkes High School
|West Wilkes High School
|"Securing the Future" Student Group
Washington, DC, Berlin, Poznan, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and England
|West Wilkes High School
Mars Hill Choral Festival Attendees
Pigeon Forge, TN
|West Wilkes High School
Mars Hill, NC
On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the Wilkes County Schools' Summer Success Plan for 2022-2023 was approved as presented. The Department of Public Instruction has approved that all districts may administer the End-of-Grade (EOG) and End-of-Course (EOC) tests during summer school. The scores from the tests will be included in the proficiency calculations for school accountability within the current accountability year which ends July 6, 2023. Wilkes County Schools has elected to provide a summer school program, called "WCS Success Academy," immediately following the last day of school. It will extend the school year for qualifying students by up to four days.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Edmentum Contract Renewal was approved as presented. Edmentum is a digital curriculum platform used in Wilkes County middle and high schools. This platform provides credit recovery opportunities and serves as the primary curricular resource for our Alternate Learning Program.
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 $172,108.00
Current Expense Special Use Fund – Increase of $572,726.00
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Surplus Items were approved as presented. General Statute 160A-266, Article 12 sets forth procedures and requirements for selling and disposing of public property; these include private negotiation and sale, sale by sealed bids, auction, upset bids, and exchanges. Private negotiation and sale may be used only with respect to personal property valued at less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for any one item or group of similar items. (See Attachment One)
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the ESSER HVAC Owner/Architect Contracts were approved as submitted. ESSER funds have provided a great opportunity for our district to upgrade the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in our older buildings and schools. Contracts for Pinnacle Architecture for design and engineering work on our ESSER HVAC upgrade projects for the following schools are: Moravian Falls, North Wilkesboro, West Wilkes High School, North Wilkes High School, and East Wilkes High School.
Discussion and Report Item was presented by Mr. Seth Prevette, Chief Finance Officer. Mr. Prevette introduced Mr. Travis Hardee with Strickland Hardee PLLC to report the 2021-222 fiscal year audit.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcements:
- January 16, 2023 – Martin Luther King Holiday
- January 20, 2023 – Second Grading Period Ends
- January 23, 2023 – Required Workday
- January 24, 2023 – Third Grading Period Begins
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next board meeting to be February 6, 2023. 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 Superintendent Mr. Byrd, the Wilkes County Board of Education voted unanimously to meet in closed session at 7:23 PM pursuant to consider the qualification, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee, or prospective public officer or employee, pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) No further business was presented in open session, upon motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn to closed session.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Board voted unanimously to return to open session at 9:11 PM. In open session, there being no further business presented, a motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Kennedy and duly carried, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn from open session at 9:12 PM.