The Cumberland County Board of Education met last night electronically in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. Here are highlights from the meeting:
NEW DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS SEARCH TO PROCEED
The Cumberland County Board of Education discussed the search for a new director of schools in their meeting last night. School board member Robbie Safdie started off with a motion to give current Director of School Janet Graham a 1 year contract to get school system through and out of the COVID-19 outbreak the school system is facing. The motion received a second by Tom Netherton.
“We need to move forward now! If we tell the candidates we are not doing this now and delay this, it is a slap in their faces,” said school board member Jim Inman.
After discussing the motion, the board voted no to a one year contract for Graham. Member Stace Karge then made a new motion to proceed with interviews with candidates, with the four local ones first, for director of schools starting the first Monday or Tuesday in May. Karge’s motion passes. The school board will hold a work session April 30, 2020 that will be streamed live on the school systems Facebook site to work out the procedures for interviewing the candidates.
TENTATIVE DATES SET FOR CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATION IN CUMBERLAND COUNTY
Tentative graduation dates for the Class of 2020 in Cumberland County will be Friday, June 26 for Phoenix School, Monday, June 29 for Stone Memorial and Tuesday, June 30 for CCHS. Plans to be announced soon of how the ceremonies will be held.
SCHOOL BOARD PASSES COVID-19 RESOLUTION FOR EMERGENCY SUSPENSION OF BOARD POLICIES
The school board passed the following policies:
1) Policy 4.600 – Grading System
- a) Students in grades K-8 and students taking courses for high school credit shall receive no grade lower than the grade they earned in the course as of March 20, Dual enrollment students are enrolled in a college course and are still expected to complete their assignments. Their grade may be lower for the Dual Enrollment grade in the class if they do not complete their work.
- b) Additionally, students taking post-secondary courses (statewide dual credit, AP, and industry certification courses) are not required to participate in the associated exam in order to receive GPA weighting for Spring 2020. However, dual enrollment students are enrolled in a college course and are still expected to complete their assignments and exams.
2) Policy 4.601 – Reporting Student Progress
- a) Waives the statement, “parents shall be notified by the teacher by the end of the third grading period if the retention of a student is being considered,” as this was not possible given the COVID19 closure.
3) Policy 4.602 – Class Ranking
- a) Students taking post-secondary courses (statewide dual credit, AP, and industry certification courses) are not required to participate in the associated exam in order to receive GPA weighting for Spring 2020. Dual enrollment students are enrolled in a college course and are still expected to complete their assignments and exams.
4) Policy 4.603 – Elementary Promotion and Retention
- a) Due to the COVID19 closure, the statement, “For the purpose of determining the effectiveness of retention toward improving student achievement, the progress of retained students shall be closely monitored and reported to parent(s)/guardian(s) at least three (3) times during the school year in which the student is retained,” should be modified to “at least two (2) times during the school year in which the student is retained.
5) Policy 4.605 – Graduation Requirements
- a) For the class of 2020, graduation requirements are modified as follows:
- i) Only 20 credits are required to graduate per State Board Education Rule
0520-01-03-.11 Given that the State Board of Education reduced the minimum number of credits to graduate by 2 credits (Rule
0520-01-03-.11), the Cumberland County Schools will also reduce the number of credits to graduate by 2 credits for the 2019-2020 school year. Therefore, Cumberland County High School 2019-2020 graduates and Stone Memorial High School 2019-2020 graduates will need 25 credits to graduate. Phoenix High School and all high school special education students will need the state required 20 credits to graduate in 2019-2020.
- ii) All 2019-2020 graduates must have at least the following:
(1) Four (4) credits of mathematics as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103;2.
(2) Four (4) credits of English language arts as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103;3.
(3) Three (3) credits of science as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103; and 4.
(4) Two (2) credits of social studies as described in the State Board’s High School Policy 2.103.
iii) The requirements for the following are waived:
(2) Civics exam
(3) EOC exams
- iv) Students scheduled to receive an occupational diploma in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year shall only be required to demonstrate one year of work experience.
6) Policy 4.700 – Testing Programs
- a) Students shall not be required to take TCAP exams for the spring 2020 semester. Students who took a 2019 Fall EOC will have that EOC score removed from their final average calculation if that EOC score lowers their final grade average. If the score improves the final grade average, that EOC score will remain in the calculation.
7) Policy 5.109 – Evaluation
- a) Level of overall effectiveness scores shall not be generated for educators in the 2019-2020 school year.
- b) Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers shall not be evaluated using the growth portfolio model for the 2019-2020 school year.
- c) Any observations required by State Board of Education Policy 5.201 that were not completed during the 2019-2020 school year as a result of COVID-19 are not required.
- d) No student data from this year shall be allowed to negatively impact a teacher.
- e) Non-certified staff will not be evaluated for the 2019-2020 school year.
8) Policy 5.117 – Procedure for Granting Tenure
- a) Tenure decisions will be made assuming the teacher would have been able to complete their 5th year if they were in current service as of March 16, 2020, and will use the last two years of evaluation data (2017-2018 and 2018-2019) to demonstrate an overall performance effectiveness level of “above expectations” or “significantly above expectations.”
- b) Documentation of strongly favorable student response may be waived if that task was not completed prior to March 16, 2020.
9) Policy 5.802 – Qualifications and Duties of the Director of Schools
- a) The Director of Schools may request an extension from the State Board of Education to report information that would impact educator licensure (e.g. alleged employee misconduct, discipline of employees for actions that violate the teacher code of ethics, etc.).
10) Policy 6.200 – Attendance
- a) Students will not be required to take End of Course exams in the Spring of 2020.
- b) Students may not be penalized for non-attendance of online courses.
- c) Non-attendance of online courses shall not count as unexcused absences and shall not be recorded. Further, students shall not be counted truant for failure to attend online courses
SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAM AND STAPLES RECOGNIZED
The school board recognized the Cumberland County School Nutrition Program for their hard work in providing breakfast and lunches for students in the system during the COVID-19 outbreak. The board also thanked the staff of Staples for printing over 1,500 packets (many packets had 50 pages each) at no charge for students. Round two of the packets are going out today (Friday, April 24, 2020) The nutrition program and Staples will be honored at a future board of education meeting.
BAKER CROSSROADS PROPERTY OFFER DECLINED
The Cumberland County School System has the Baker Crossroads property they own for sale. Only one offer came in and it was for nearly $68,000. The property has been appraised at nearly $170,000. The board voted unanimously to decline the offer and retain the property for now.
MARTIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL REVOVATIONS APPROVED
The Cumberland County Board of Education approved just over three-quarter of a million dollar renovations to Martin Elementary School last night. This now will go to the county finance department for their approval. The renovations include replacing all hollow metal doors that lead from classrooms directly outside. It also involves replacing windows and frames with new ones. The school system has $800,000 assigned for the project which should come in just under the budgeted cost. Work could begin as early as next week and is expected to last into early September. Officials say if the work is still ongoing once school begins, then one or two classrooms will be involved at a time until the project is completed.
NEW DIGITAL SIGN COMING TO HOMESTEAD ELEMENTARY
Homestead Elementary School will have a new digital sign soon. The sign will be over the existing marble and stone sign reading “Cumberland Homestead School” The cost of the sign will be covered by fundraisers, donations and the PTO.
PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT COMING TO CRAB ORCHARD ELEMENTARY
The Cumberland County Board of Education approved the purchase of new playground equipment at a cost of $14,690. The cost will be covered by the Fairfield Glade Rotary ($10,000) and the Crab Orchard PTO ($4,690).