School board applauds top TCAP scores
By Karen Hall
The board room at Central Office was packed to overflowing Monday night as students attended the monthly school board meeting to receive certificates for scoring 100 on their Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests.
A total of 40 students had their names read out by Director of Schools Jackie Abernathy and most of them came forward to receive a certificate and a word of congratulations from Deputy Director Jacob Sorrells. Three scored 100 in two TCAP tests -- Ben Piper in 5th grade Math and Social Studies, Joseph Gold in 5th grade Math and Science, and Caleb Estes in 8th grade Math and Social Studies. High school sophomores Bradley Porter, Jordan Crowell, Tanner Clark, Seroberto Moreno, and Zachary Smith all scored 100 on the Algebra II End of Course test.
Certified employees of the month were also recognized by Abernathy, who read their nominating statements. They were
* Pam Finley, Marshall Elementary School. Principal Bonnie Reese wrote, She "is our Jack of All Trades and she is truly master of them, as well ... (she) needs to be in the Marshall County School System's Hall of Fame for her love of children and her job."
* Jennifer Foster, Oak Grove Elementary School. "She is a very conscientious employee who does her work, plus some, and always, always has a smile on her face. Oak Grove is blessed to have her!" wrote Principal Dr. Tracy Kilpatrick.
* Betsy Gentry, Marshall County High School. Prinicipal John Bush called Gentry "the glue that holds our guidance department together," and noted, "She doesn't work by the clock. She works until the task is finished. Not only is she a great employee, she is a good friend."
* Beth Stockwell, Central Office, was nominated by Human Resources Coordinator Julie Thomas. Stockwell has played a big part in managing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for school employees. "Ms. Stockwell and I have made it through some of the roughest times in our local, state, and county's history for human resources and insurance departments. We continue to strive for excellence and without Ms. Stockwell this would not be an easy task. Thank you ... for your diligence, dedication and hard work," wrote Thomas.
School board members heard more good news from Rick Daughrity, chairman and president of Orion Building Corp., when he reported on the school building program.
The extension to Oak Grove is finished, and furniture has been moved into the new classrooms. This is about a month ahead of schedule, Daughrity said, attributing this to the fact it was a simpler site.
The new classrooms at Marshall Elementary School will be ready to move into next week, and the playroom there should be ready on Dec. 29.
The addition to Westhills Elementary School should also be ready by the last week of the year.
The new Chapel Hill Intermediate School is progressing nicely Daughrity said, and should be ready to move into the week after Fourth of July.
The roof is going on now, and the building should all be "dried in" by Christmas or shortly thereafter.
To make all this progress, about 46 percent of the $19,500,000 which the county borrowed for the school building program has been spent, Daughrity said.
Later in the meeting, board members agreed to hold ribbon cuttings for all three additions to Lewisburg elementary schools before their January board meeting.
Moving on through other business on the board's agenda, Abernathy announced the high school graduation dates. They are May 21, 22 and 23, with Cornersville and Marshall County High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday respectively, and Forrest at 9 a.m. Saturday.
She also presented the 2014-2015 calendar.
"It's pretty much the same as it was this year," Abernathy said. She told board members the calendar had been reviewed by all principals and supervisors, and also by all the teachers. She said she wished there could be separate calendars for elementary and secondary students, but the state doesn't allow this, so a certain number of compromises have to be made.
"What did they think of the lengthy Thanksgiving break?" asked board member Sherry McClintock.
"They loved it!" Abernathy said. "Every school said, 'Please keep it!'"
"I say this every year," said board member Kristin Gold. "I'm concerned and perplexed by the frequency and length of breaks in the school year. I would prefer a longer summer (break) and fewer, shorter breaks during the year."
The calendar as presented by Abernathy passed by six votes to two, with Gold and Ken Lilly casting the only "no" votes. (Board member Susan Hunter was absent.)
The meeting ended with Abernathy wishing everyone a merry Christmas.