The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, October 2, 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, and Board Members Mrs. Joan Caudill, Mrs. Jammie Jolly, and Mr. Kirk Walker. 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 Secondary Education, Athletics, and School Safety Mr. David Johnson, Director of Student Services Mrs. April Marr, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, Director of Pre-K and Elementary Education Mr. Jeffery Johnson, AIG Coordinator Mrs. Angie Lamb, ESL Coordinator Mrs. Lori Holguin, Director of Transportation Mr. Eric Barker, Director of Testing and Accountability, Cultural Arts, 504, and Title I Dr. Dion Stocks, Director of Federal Programs and Career & Technical Education Dr. Joe Bullis, Curriculum & Instructional Management Coordinator Ms. Sherry Baird, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Also, in attendance were Mrs. Dee Surgeon, Principal of North Wilkes High School, and Wilkes County Law Enforcement.
Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook called the meeting to order.
Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd presented to the Board that the agenda needed to be amended to add an item for Action. Added Under Roman Number IX, Item I, Policy 8325 Daily Deposits was added. On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the agenda was amended to add this item.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the agenda was approved as presented.
Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook recognized Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd for the Superintendent's Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Byrd stated, “Let me first say 'thank you' to everyone in the room for their assistance and support with this morning's threat to WCS. I am sure that we didn't get everything perfect, but at the end of the day, our students and staff are safe. I will never understand why people choose to do some of the things that they do, but I sure am proud to be surrounded by the people that I am."
"I want to share with you tonight that October is National Principal's Month and brag on the 22 principals that we currently have. Today's event provides yet another example of the great work of our 22 school leaders, as many had never experienced an early dismissal for any reason. Yet they made it work. Last Friday, I met with all of our administrators and walked away amazed at their positivity and leadership. We have great people leading our schools and we need to take care of them and support them. In my opinion, Wilkes County Schools has the leaders in place to help our students and our schools be successful for years to come! Take a minute to say 'thank you' to a Principal this month if you get the chance. I assure you that they have earned it!"
"We’ve also had a few reminders over the past few weeks to not take our principal's health, our student's health, or our own health for granted. So, I want Dr. Heather Freeman and Jacey and Jett Stone to know that we are hoping for a quick recovery from you all and look forward to having all of you back with us shortly. Much like this morning's event, you are reminders to us to not lose focus on what really matters."
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Special Recognition from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). Ms. Cynthia Barber, Ms. Stephanie Dischaivi, Ms. Amy Rhyne, and Ms. Kelley Bendheim from NCDPI presented Wilkes County Schools with the first-ever Science of Reading Innovative Inspiration Award. This was awarded to exemplary leaders who have guided in unique or innovative ways to shift the system culture to support Science of Reading implementation and sustainability.
Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Dr. Dion Stocks, Director of Testing and Accountability, Cultural Arts, 504, and Title I. Dr. Dion Stocks highlighted Wilkes County Schools' accountability data for the 2022-2023 school year. The data review included EOG/EOC proficiency and growth results, state comparisons by grade levels, a broad overview of how the school report card grade is determined along with the metrics that are included in the calculation.
Wilkes County Schools ranked 21st for overall proficiency on EOG/EOC tests for the 2022-2023 school year out of 115 traditional school districts! North Wilkes High School was 54 out of 2,286 Public Schools! In comparison, Wilkes County ranks in the top 1/3 of Traditional Public Schools for student performance. While we are only in year two following a worldwide pandemic, Wilkes County Schools continues to make gains academically. Also, WCS continues to implement our district strategic plan to support all students and staff, and we strive to meet all academic goals.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. No one had signed up.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the minutes for September 11, 2023, were approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the following Out-of-County/Overnight field trips were approved as presented. Planned dates are listed below.
|East Wilkes High School
|FFA Land Judging Team
|East Wilkes Middle School
Fort Mill, SC
|North Wilkes High School
Fort Mill, SC
On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the 2023-2024 Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan Application for Federal Funds was approved as presented. This included the following:
- Title IA
- Title II-A
- Title III – Language Acquisition
- Title III – Significant Increase of Immigrant Children
- Title IV – Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE)
The Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) is a web-based planning and grants management tool that connects district goals for improvement with budgeted activities. CCIP is used by school districts to apply for federal funds.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill, the Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College Agreement for 2023-2034 was approved. The vote was four to one with Mr. Kennedy voting no. 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. Concerns addressed at the September 11, 2023 board meeting have been addressed. Board members did express concerns moving forward for next year to have a better understanding of opportunities for students.
- Process to Document and Award Credit – The Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College Articulation agreement aligns with the state-wide articulation agreement and the required criteria for articulated credit.
- Courses Included – The agreement has been revised to offer students articulated credit in Animal Science 110 and Construction 131 if they meet the required criteria.
- Exclusion of Ashe and Alleghany – The agreement has been revised to only include Wilkes County Schools.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill, the Memorandum of Agreement with Wilkes Community College was approved as presented. The vote was four to one with Mr. Kennedy voting no. Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College have a strong partnership in jointly supporting the Career and College Promise program offered at our four traditional high schools and the Wilkes Early College High School Program. Submitted for your review tonight is the Memorandum of Agreement that sets the parameters of the operations for the Career and College Promise program and Wilkes Early College High School. Revisions were made to the agreement to address concerns made at the September 11, 2023 board meeting. This includes separating sections for Career and College Promise and Wilkes Early College High School. Board members did express concerns moving forward for next year to have a clear understanding of classes being opportunities for students.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Bids for Classroom Interactive Displays were approved as presented. Wilkes County Schools released a competitive bid request for Sharp interactive displays in September. We received sealed bids for Sharp interactive displays from 3 vendors and 2 bids for alternative products from other manufacturers.
- Camcor, Incorporated – $2,781.79
- Sharp Business Systems – $2,889.00 (Sharp submitted a less expensive alternative bid for a discontinued model, but it did not meet the same specifications as the requested model)
- Virtucom, Incorporated – $2,969.25
- Encore Technology Group – $1,999.30 (Alternative Product - Newline Interactive Display)
- Realistic Computing, Incorporated – $1,952.75 (Alternative Product - One Screen Interactive Display)
Over 550 of our classrooms and our training rooms at Central Services have Sharp interactive displays. We have been purchasing Sharp interactive displays for over 10 years and have had excellent reliability, service, and support. We have teacher experts trained in all schools to support further implementation. Our technicians and digital learning facilitators are trained to support Sharp hardware and software. Continuing to purchase Sharp interactive displays provides consistency in software and hardware for our itinerant teachers who travel between schools or classrooms. The lowest bid or the requested model of Sharp interactive display from Camcor, Incorporated was approved.
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 along with Exhibit A.
On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Revision of Board Policy 3210, Parental Inspection and Objection to Instructional Materials was approved as presented. The revision of Board Policy 3210 was recommended in order to be in compliance with Session Law 2023-106/Senate Bill 49 known as the Parents' Bill of Rights. The policy update provides necessary edits to add appropriate content to be applicable with this law.
On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Revision of Board Policy 8325, Daily Deposits was approved as presented. General Statute 115C-445 was updated today (October 2, 2023) with the new State budget going into effect. This legislation was originally passed in the 1970s and the $250 threshold has not been adjusted since. Adjusted for inflation, $250 is nearly $1,500 today. Our schools will still have safeguards over funds but this will likely reduce the number of trips our schools are having to make to the bank. Some of our schools are making round trips in excess of 40 miles to go to the bank.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcements:
- October 25, 2023 – First Grading Period Ends
- October 25, 2023 – Early Dismissal (Elementary 12:30 PM; Middle/High 1:00 PM)
- October 26, 2023 – Required Workday
- October 27, 2023 – Optional Workday
- October 30, 2023 – Second Grading Period Begins
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next board meeting to be November 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 Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill, with no further business, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn at 6:25 PM.