Bailey appointed to Berryville school board

Monday, April 3, 2006

BERRYVILLE -- Vonda Bailey was appointed to the Berryville Board of Education, replacing Julie McCall who moved out of the district.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent Mike Cox read McCall's letter of resignation, effective March 1, which stated she was resigning with regret and thanked the community for electing her to the position.

Board members accepted her resignation "with regret" and later appointed Bailey to the position.

According to Cox, Bailey will serve until the next school election in September. She can run as a candidate for the seat, or relinquish it to whoever is elected.

Seven new staffing positions for the school year ahead were approved by the board. They included: a Spanish teacher for high school; a social studies teacher for middle school; a K-5 literacy specialist; a K-5 math specialist; and three new K-5 teachers.

The Spanish position, Cox explained, was needed because the district has 147 high school students wanting to take Spanish next year. Paula Moore, the only Spanish teacher, is a part-time counselor and can only teach four sections of Spanish. He suggested moving Moore to a full-time counselor position and hiring a Spanish teacher.

The middle school social studies position was suggested to accommodate a staffing plan aimed at meeting new state standards. Cox said the district will be required to provide 30 minutes of physical education per day for each student and noted that nine coaches teach 27 classes.

As an example, he said Coach Matt Carter is teaching three sections of middle school history but is not certified to teach middle school physical education.

"We plan to move Carter to the high school to teach high school social studies, which would allow Coach Mark Brigance, who is P.E. certified, to teach more P.E. classes in the middle school.

"Eileen Raines, who teaches two sections of social studies, will be moved back to eighth grade reading, which will allow us to teach reading on a daily basis to all our eighth grade students."

Cox said the plan also allows Cheryl Howard to work full-time with career orientation and family work connections. " This leaves a full-time seventh grade social studies position to be filled," he said.

The new K-5 math specialist, to help teachers adjust to the new standards-based math program, would be funded with Title I money."This would be a more proactive approach," Cox explained.

The K-5 literacy specialist will come from a sixth-grade classroom.

According to Cox, the new eight-period day at the middle school will allow them to operate with one less sixth-grade teacher. As such, he proposed transferring a sixth grade teacher to the new position of K-5 literacy specialist using NSLA or Title I funds.

Three new teachers for K-5 are required because of student growth in the lower grades, he said.

"For K-5 next year, our numbers are still increasing," noted Cox. "If we started school with our present student count today, we would be out of compliance in grades two, three and five."

When asked where these new classrooms will be located, Cox said there will be some shuffling, with the auditorium and hallways put to use.

In other business, the board: elected Jerl Swofford as board secretary, a position Julie McCall held prior to her resignation; approved the sale of T-shirts by the landscaping committee as a fundraiser; and approved the school calendar for the 2006-07 school year -- with the stipulation that it was subject to change.

Cox said the calendar designates the third week in March for spring break but the state has said districts shouldn't schedule breaks immediately following testing because it interferes with make-up tests. "We can approve it but we might have to change spring break to the last week in March," he explained.

Cox commended students who had excelled, noted that the agri program had grown from 90 to 170 students, said the district might host an open house at the new greenhouse, and reported that the district's administrative costs are below what Gov. Mike Huckabee has proposed as a cap.

Following discussion in executive session, the board returned to open session and approved a list of certified personnel for rehire (all except three).

The board also hired: Sam Davis, who is returning to the district as secondary science teacher; Apryl Harmon, a co-op employee who will be working full-time at the school as special education supervisor next year, and Schel Seel as speech therapist. Seel is currently interning at the school.

Substitutes hired included Rachel Lynch for high school art and Warren Rainwater for bus driving.

Resignations were accepted from high school math teacher Mary Chew and art teacher Diane Henderson. The board also accepted the retirement of Wanda Warren, a Title I aide.

The next school board meeting is set for April 17.

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