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2023-24 Board Meeting Minutes » September 11, 2023

September 11, 2023

Summary of Board Meeting Minutes for September 11, 2023
The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, September 11, 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 Exceptional Children Mrs. Jennifer Blankenship, 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 Testing and Accountability, Cultural Arts, 504, and Title I Dr. Dion Stocks, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Also, in attendance were Wilkes County Commissioner Vice-Chairman Mr. Stoney Greene 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 move an item from Action to Discussion. Under Roman Number IX, Item C the Wilkes County Schools & Wilkes Community College Local Articulation Agreement for 2023-2024 was moved to Roman Number X, Item B. On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the agenda was amended to move this item from action to discussion.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mr. Kennedy 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, "First and foremost, I hope we never forget the significance of today's date and how our world was changed twenty-two years ago today. Ironically, none of our current students were alive on that day, and we actually could have first-year teachers who were not born yet either. One thing that I would share with them about 9/11 was how just after that, for a short period of time, our country united and it seemed like everyone had each other's back. It is a shame that it took such a tragic event to get us to that point, and we should all strive to help our country back to the point that we were following the tragic events of 9/11."
"I need to take a minute to say 'thank you' to the students, staff, and Wilkes County Schools community for an outstanding start to the school year. Today is our 10th day of school, and as a whole, I don’t know how it could have gone any better. One thing we should have all learned from the events of 9/11 was to not take anything for granted, so let's strive every day to make the next school day better for our students than the day before! If we take this approach, our people will have a phenomenal school year."
"And the word phenomenal reminds me of a couple of other things that I need to share tonight. Based on data that we have recently received, Wilkes County Schools ranked 21st out of 115 school districts across our state for End-of-Grade Test Scores for 2022-2023. Our graduation rate was the highest it has been in a decade! I don’t know about you, but those are points that I think we should all be proud of! Students and teachers in Wilkes County Schools are accomplishing great things, and they deserve to be recognized for it!  I hope you are as proud as I was when I heard these results, and I am also excited about what they will accomplish in 2023-2024!

Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Wilkes Education Foundation Mini-Grant winners. The Wilkes Education Foundation awarded thirty-two mini-grant projects for the 2023-2024 school year. The total funds awarded are $36,906.67. The grants are up to $1,500 each and are designed to provide funds to implement creative and innovative instructional programs in classrooms for which federal, state, or local funds are not available. Since the 1985-1986 school year, the Wilkes Education Foundation has funded 938 mini-grant projects for a total of $578,962.17.
We congratulate these teachers and look forward to seeing these funds used in the classrooms. The winners are listed as follows.
Grant Name Teacher School Cost
Dive into the Science of Reading! Jamie K. Williams
C.B. Eller Elementary
STEAM into Learning! Katy Willis C.B. Eller Elementary
Genrefying the Elementary Library to Meet the Needs of Readers Jaimie Cooper C.C. Wright Elementary $1269.54
Positive Action Behavior Support Intervention for Tier Two/Tier Three Students Jennifer Floyd Central Wilkes Middle $1310.00
Manipulating ELA! Angel Lyles East Wilkes Middle $672.98
Teach Like an Egyptian Rita Ray East Wilkes Middle $1451.22
Chromebooks for English Language Development Paula Bryant Millers Creek Elementary $1197.00
Engaging Readers with Reading Stations Kristie Brown Millers Creek Elementary $1171.00
Engaging Readers One Book at a Time Anna Arroyo Moravian Falls Elementary $1470.00
STEM Bins for the Win! Monica Smith Moravian Falls Elementary $1440.00
Teaching Independence and Team Work through Hands-On Learning Stephanie Barber Moravian Falls Elementary $897.92
Digging into Decodables Leslie Pruitt Mountain View Elementary $1398.00
Face-to-Face: Engaging Struggling and Reluctant Readers Becky Vanderheide Mountain View Elementary $1492.93
"Radi"cal Waves Katie Hodge Mountain View Elementary $449.00
Animated Science Activities Belinda Marino Mulberry Elementary $880.00
2023-2024 Drama Club Musical Kinsey Crabb North Wilkes Middle $1500.00
Hands-On Learning is the Best Way to Learn to Read Jeannie Shore Ronda-Clingman Elementary $1366.92
"Are We Playing a Game Today?" The Power of Social-Emotional Learning Games Bethaney Hamby West Wilkes High $539.61
Collaborate, Create, and Construct Susan Coleman West Wilkes High $1240.20
Teacher Cadets Learn about Teaching Dr. Jim Brooks West Wilkes High $476.85
"If These Walls Could Talk..." Chris Roten West Wilkes High $1405.56
Traveling Around the World Through Literature Rhiannon Adams West Wilkes High $1400.00
Attention Students! Morgan McGlamery West Wilkes Middle $850.00
Journey Through the Jungle Joanne Schwab West Wilkes Middle $1500.00
Slice'em and Dice'em Kenneth Bryan, III West Wilkes Middle $1499.34
Luke, I Am Your Father Jamie Miles Wilkes Central High $835.62
Choose a Seat, Any Seat! Elizabeth Dancy Wilkesboro Elementary $869.90
Hands-On Science Fun! Jennifer Bauguss Wilkesboro Elementary $806.10
Movin' our Education Up! Kaylee Simmons Wilkesboro Elementary $1083.00
Reading at Home Can Be Fun! Keven Langston Wilkesboro Elementary $1470.00
Building ELA & Civic Skills and Bringing Together Campus & Community Voices Kaylene Burcham Wilkes Early College High School $720.00
Getting High Schoolers to Love Reading: A Novel Idea Olivia Walsh Wilkes Early College High School $1499.58
32 Grants     $36,906.67

Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the NCCAT CTE Teacher of The Year Regional Finalist. The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) selected twenty-four teachers from across North Carolina as finalists for the NCCAT Career & Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year Award in honor of their dedication, innovation, and ability to inspire students to achieve. Wilkes County Schools is pleased to announce that our Wilkes County Schools CTE Teacher of the Year 2023, Ms. Thelma Kastl, was selected to be a regional finalist and enter into the NCCAT CTE Teacher of the Year competition for North Carolina.
In October, Ms. Kastl and the other finalists will attend a week-long professional development session at the NCCAT center in Cullowhee, North Carolina. While she is there, she will be interviewed as part of the consideration for the Teacher of the Year award to represent North Carolina. We are extremely proud of Ms. Kastl as she continually looks for ways to better engage her students in new and innovative ways. She is very deserving of this recognition and award. Congratulations, Ms. Kastl! We know you will make us proud as you represent our school system in the fall.

Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to acknowledge the CTE Curriculum and Instructional Management Coordinator (CIMC) of the Year for the Northwest Region. Wilkes County Schools CTE Department is pleased to announce that Ms. Sherry Baird has won the Northwest Region Curriculum & Instructional Management Coordinator of the Year Award for 2023. Ms. Baird was nominated and voted on by her peers for this prestigious honor. She was recognized for her dedication and exceptional service in her role as Wilkes County Schools CIMC during the CTE Conference held July 18th in Winston Salem, NC. She will represent the Northwest Region for the 2023-2024 school year and move into the CIMC of the Year competition for North Carolina.
Ms. Baird serves all middle school and high school CTE teachers in Wilkes County. She provides support and guidance while implementing the CTE curriculum. In addition, Ms. Baird provides high-quality career development and internship support and assists our teachers in planning Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) events. This is Ms. Baird's 26th year in education and 6th year as a CIMC. Congratulations, Ms. Baird!

Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the Wilkes County Schools CTE Summer Internship Program Participants. The 2023 CTE summer intern group is the first time Wilkes County Schools (WCS) has employed summer student interns. Under the Career Accelerator federal grant, ten students were hired to work at various WCS facilities. Students learned many technical and durable skills during this summer-long program. Some of those were fire extinguisher inspections, pulling wire, landscaping, vehicle cleaning and maintenance, pressure washing, building farm items, pouring concrete, clerical skills, computer skills, customer relations, and professional development planning. In addition to receiving a salary, students had the opportunity to earn a bonus for completing an online workplace readiness credential and a high school credit.
The students who participated as CTE Summer Interns and the location they worked at are listed as follows:
Jace Samples – East Wilkes High School
Weston Cook – East Wilkes High School
Caleb Roten – North Wilkes High School
Brandon Winkler – North Wilkes High School
Ethan Wyatt – North Wilkes High School
Emma Hall – WCS Central Services
Bret Arnold – WCS Maintenance Department
Elijah Williams – WCS Maintenance Department
Amarie McRae – Mulberry Elementary School
Kody Staley – Mulberry Elementary School

Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Governor's School students for the 2023 school year. The Governor's School of North Carolina is a multi-week summer residential program for intellectually gifted high school students where they are able to integrate academic disciplines, the arts, and unique courses. The curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline and does not involve credit, tests, or grades. Wilkes County Schools had two students selected by the state Governor's School committee to attend during the 2023 summer session.
Roslin Sloop is a current 12th grader at Wilkes Early College High School. She attended Governor's School on the campus of Winston Salem State University. Roslin's focus of study was Natural Sciences.
Aurora Higginbotham is a current 12th grader at Wilkes Central High School. She attended Governor's School on the campus of Meredith College. Aurora's focus of study was Natural Sciences.
Congratulations to these students on being selected for such a wonderful honor!

Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Mr. Jeffery Johnson, Director of Secondary Education and Pre-K. Mr. Johnson provided a review of Wilkes County Schools summer programs and highlighted some initiatives for the 2023-2024 school year.
Summer Camp was successful this year. We had two hundred and seven students attend. We served 2nd and 3rd grade students at twelve sites.
In the area of reading, there were many positives to share. Our district has been recognized as a leader in the state for work our teachers have done with LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading, and Spelling). We have two hundred thirty-one teachers who have completed this professional development, thirty-two teachers are in the process who have completed the first half, and twenty-seven teachers who will begin in the next few weeks. Wit and Wisdom is our newly adopted Reading Adoption. Teachers and Administrators are working to implement this program and will continue to have professional development over the course of the school year. Individual Reading Plans from 2022-2023 show that our teachers are intervening when students may be struggling in specific areas of learning to read.
Math pacing guides have been developed and adjusted based on feedback from teachers. Our math pacing guides focus on the instruction, curriculum, and environment (including time allotments) expected for instruction. The state has not set Math Instruction standards as they have in Literacy, but we are beginning to develop our own with Math in-practice guides that have recently been purchased for each of our schools.
In the area of science, we will continue to define our core by having teacher expert groups come together throughout the year to develop a pacing guides based on our new standards that go into effect during the 2024-2025 school year.
Our Instructional Specialist model has changed this year. We have moved to a needs-based model where Instructional Specialists specialize in one of three areas; Reading, Math, or Teacher Support. Schedules have been adjusted for our Specialists based on the needs at our schools.
Pre-K is working to become aligned vertically. Pre-K classes continue to focus on awareness of the programs listed so students enter Kindergarten familiar with programs and processes used in K-2. We have twenty-five NC Pre-K classrooms across our county. Currently, we serve three hundred eighty-four students in Pre-K.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. No one had signed up.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the minutes for August 7, 2023, and the Board Retreat minutes for August 25, 2023, were approved as presented.

On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.

Resignation(s) and/or Retirement(s)

Suzanne Bare – Teacher – East Wilkes High School

Retirement effective – September 1, 2023, with thirty years and nine months of service


Thomas Abbott – From Teacher Assistant – Mulberry Elementary School

To Teacher – Mulberry Elementary School

Brittany Roberts – From Teacher – North Wilkesboro Elementary School

To Instructional Specialist – Central Services

Zachary Smith – From Teacher – North Wilkes Middle School

To Instructional Specialist – North Wilkes Middle School

On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the following Out-of-County/Overnight Field Trips were approved as presented. Planned dates are listed below.
School Group Destination Dates
West Wilkes High School and Wilkes Central High School Chorus Port Canaveral, FL, Nassau, Bahamas, Coco Cay, Bahamas 04/04/2024-04/08/2024
Wilkes Central High School FAA Indianapolis, IN 10/31/2023-11/03/2023

On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Domestic Violence is Not Acceptable (D.A.N.A.) MOU was approved as presented. Due to Wilkes County no longer having a domestic abuse shelter, D.A.N.A, a program of the Alleghany Partnership for Children, is providing these services to residents of our county. This MOU would help provide support for students or staff who are victims of physical or sexual assault or whose families are experiencing domestic abuse. Additionally, D.A.N.A staff would be able to provide educational awareness training to students or school staff as needed on healthy relationships and personal safety.

On a motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the revision and adoption of the following Board policies were approved as presented. The following policy revisions, adoption, and updates were recommended in order to be in compliance with Session Law 2023-106/Senate Bill 49 known as the Parents Bill of Rights. These policy updates provide necessary edits to add/remove appropriate content to be applicable with this law, along with any other state and/or federal requirement.

Policy 4335  Criminal Behavior
Policy 3540  Comprehensive Health Education Program
Policy 4720  Surveys of Students
Policy 6120  Student Health Services
Policy 7300  Staff Responsibilities

The following Memorandum of Agreement with Wilkes Community College and Wilkes County Schools was presented for discussion and will be brought back at the October Board Meeting for approval. Wilkes Community College and Wilkes County Schools 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. This sets the parameters of the operations for the Career and College Promise program and Wilkes Early College High School.

The following Wilkes County Schools and Wilkes Community College Local Articulation Agreement for the 2023-2024 school year was submitted for discussion. 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. This item will be submitted for approval at the October Board Meeting.

Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcements:               
  • September 25, 2023 – Required Workday
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next board meeting to be October 2, 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 and seconded by Mrs. Caudill, with no further business, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn to closed session at 6:29 PM to consult with its attorney in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege, pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(3).
No further business was presented, and upon motion by Mr. Kennedy, seconded by Mrs. Jolly, the Board of Education voted unanimously to end closed session and return to open session at 6:57 PM.

On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mr. Kennedy, with no further business, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn to 6.59 PM.
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