Berryville board OKs purchase of laptops

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Hundreds of students in the Berryville School District will be issued new Chromebooks when the new school year begins in the fall.

During their regular meeting on May 17, district board members voted to approve the purchase of 750 new laptops for students at a cost of approximately $231,532.

Superintendent Owen Powell said the purchase was necessary both because of the district’s policy of providing computers for all students and because of the constant progress in technology.

Owen Powell

“Technology changes so much in a short amount of time,” Powell said. “These Chromebooks last for about five to seven years before they’re outdated.”

The Berryville district, Powell said, also has a policy of issuing a brand-new Chromebook to high school freshmen — which they are allowed to keep after graduation — with the hope that it will carry them through the remainder of high school and a bit beyond.

In other business, the board voted to create a new head of security position and hire school resource officer Kevin Disheroon of the Berryville Police Department to fill it.

Disheroon has served as a Berryville police officer since 2002 and as an SRO at the Berryville district since 2018.

The board also voted to approve a student request to allow a prayer and devotion group to begin in the middle school, in addition to approving a pair of fundraisers — T-shirt sales to benefit Bright Futures and the sale of Discount/Coupon Cards to benefit a youth football camp.

Two out-of-state travel requests — one from the girls basketball team and the other from the FFA program — were also approved. The girls basketball team was requesting permission to visit Branson in June, while the FFA program is planning a trip to the Victory Lamb & Goat Camp in Idabel, Okla.

In old business, the board voted to accept proposed changes in the district’s Virtual Academy proposal presented by Christy Graham.

After meeting in an executive session, the board also voted to approve a number of personnel changes, including the resignation of Jamie Casey as a migrant paraprofessional and the hiring of a number of summer school custodians.

Among the district’s certified staff, the board accepted the resignations of elementary teacher Stephanie McKinney; intermediate teacher Katie Crow; middle school teacher, head junior high football and head wrestling coach Payton Covington; high school teacher, football assistant and head boys soccer coach Bryce Moorman, and high school oral communications and theater teacher Michelle Morton.

The board also voted to hire Jessica Sconzert and Courtney Yarbrough as elementary teachers, Laura Hudgens as a middle school literacy teacher, Melissa Rains as a middle school special education teacher and junior high cheerleading coach, Andy Sinay as a high school special education teacher, Halstead Dixon as a high school Spanish teacher, Elizabeth Hawkins as a high school science teacher, Grant Hutson as an applied learning teacher, head seventh grade football and head boys soccer coach, and Tammi Davis as director of federal programs, facilities and transportation.

Approved transfers were Whitley Backs from elementary to middle school ESL Teacher, Kayla Smith from Intermediate to middle school science, Hannah Stone from middle school to elementary teacher, Amy Romero from middle school special education to high school special education, Cassie Staats Swofford from junior high cheer to high school cheer and Ryan Whetham from softball and football defensive coordinator to head wrestling and head junior high football coach.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 21, at the district administration building.

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