BV board approves additional C4 position

Friday, May 24, 2019

By Billy Stidham

The Berryville School Board voted Monday to approve the creation of a new position for the Connect 4 program.

Connect 4 Director James Knight said the program is growing rapidly, accepting 47 students from Eureka Springs, Berryville and Green Forest for next school year. He recommended hiring a new instructor for the program.

“Two reasons are flexibility on scheduling, and safety,” Knight said.

Knight said hiring a new instructor would allow him to offer a more flexible schedule for students in their second year of the program. A second instructor would also allow him to split students into equally supervised groups while working with different equipment, he said.

There was some disagreement as to what salary should be offered. Knight advocated for a base teacher’s salary, but some members of the board were concerned about attracting high-quality candidates to the position with a better offer. In the end a motion to create the position and discuss the salary at a later time was approved unanimously.

The Green Forest and Eureka Springs school boards will have to approve the position as well.

The board also voted to create an elementary school paraprofessional position.

Special education (SPED) coordinator Apryl Harmon said there will be 91 total children with special needs next school year.

“Of those, [at least] two have some severe needs that will require use of a paraprofessional,” Harmon said.

Though the position is for a preschool instructor initially, Harmon said the position is being requested as K-12 so that the paraprofessional will be able to follow the children as their education progresses.

The board later voted to change the time of the first bell for the elementary and intermediate schools from 8:10 a.m. to 8:05 am.

Because of a new state law, elementary principal Kelly Swofford said schools are now required to offer 40 minutes of daily recess for elementary students. The state still requires 360 minutes of instructional time throughout the school week, he said, so, in order to avoid making the days longer, he and intermediate principal Lisa Geren proposed adding five minutes of free reading time to the beginning of the school day.

“The bottom line is we want to see test scores improve,” Swofford said. “I don’t want to add minutes to the day. Twenty-five minutes a week is huge for reading comprehension.”

Geren added that “[The students] are sitting in the hall, waiting for the bell to ring. … We want them in the classroom.”

The board voted to approve the Open Up math curriculum.

School improvement specialist Christy Graham introduced eighth-grade math teacher Kim Ferguson to discuss the Open Up program.

“As the year went on I [saw] kids struggling with equations,” Ferguson said. “I switched over to the new curriculum. They did outstanding. … I’m looking forward to being able to start that curriculum the first of the year and go all the way with it.”

Ferguson also said the new curriculum doesn’t suggest students be sent home with homework. Instead it suggests students work more problems in the classroom with guidance.

“If you don’t know how to do it, how will you do it when you get home?” Ferguson said.

The board also approved changing the reading curriculum to the Strategic Instructional Model (SIMS).

The board voted to renew the Facilities Consultant Contract with Dr. Charles Stine for another three years.

There were also unanimous decisions from the board to approve a painting maintenance service agreement with the Stucki Company and to approve the colors for the new high school and middle school presented by Nabholz Construction & Lewis Architect.

The board also voted to renew the Student/Athletic Accidental Insurance, a $17,725.44 Microsoft Annual Agreement and the WillSub contract.

The board approved the Title VI-B Budget for special education.

The board voted to accept the following resignations: special education paraprofessional Britney Bradley, cafeteria worker Pat O’Brien, summer school bus driver Jesse Parker, K-2 SPED CBI instructor Lucy Thurman, 3-5 teacher Jennifer Hoskins, 3-5 teacher Kelsey Johnson, 3-5 ALE instructor Mike Spears, middle school teacher Russell Borland, high school math teacher Tammy Brown and high school counselor Tiffaney Atkinson.

The board also voted to accept the following hires and transfers for classified personnel: custodian Joni Kelch, substitute school nurse Jessica Jackson, part-time summer custodian Gared Jennings, summer school bus driver Jerry Magee, Jannae Howze-Chaney for the behavior intervention/ CARE room and special education professional Pat O’Brien.

The board voted to approve the following hires and transfers for certified personnel: Rachel Harlan to replace Robin Hicks, Kimber Davidson to replace Kelsey Johnson, Melissa Woods to replace Carmel Melton, Kayla Smith to replace Paige Record, Whitney McCrary to replace Mike Spears, Taylor Price to replace Jennifer Hoskins, Alex Dye as high school agri teacher, Janeyce Sprouse as business teacher, Hunter Rivett as ALE/BASE teacher, Rebecca Scroggins as K-2 resource instructor, Amy Romero as kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Kates as second grade teacher, Darline Morrow as 3-5 ALE, Katie Crow as third grade SPED instructor, Paige Record as sixth grade science teacher and Jesse Parker as sixth grade social studies teacher.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 17, in the Intermediate Cafetorium.

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