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Huss lauds schools for increasing graduation rates

Huss lauds schools for increasing graduation rates
By CHRIS MENEES
Messenger Staff Reporter
Obion County Director of Schools David Huss said all of the county’s schools — from elementary to high school — should be commended for an increase in the district’s overall graduation rate.
Huss shared just-released graduation rate data with members of the Obion County School Board during their monthly session Monday night in the library at Lake Road Elementary School.
According to the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) graduation and dropout data from the Tennessee Department of Education, Obion County Central High School’s graduation rate has increased to 84.1 percent and South Fulton Middle/High School’s to 95.9 percent — with the district’s total graduation rate rising to 86.2 percent.
Huss said it is an achievement that marks “a step in the right direction” for the Obion County School System. He said it signifies a lot of hard work and said all of the schools are to be commended. He noted that graduation rate is not just a high school problem but rather an ongoing effort that begins all the way at the elementary level.
Huss said the Obion County School System will continue to make strides in regard to improved graduation rate.
Obion County School Board chairman Roger Williams asked Huss if the graduation rate is on target for No Child Left Behind, which Huss indicated is 90 percent. Huss said the main focus is “getting students graduated and on the road to success.”
In other action during Monday night’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by board member Glynn Giffin, the school board:
• Approved a consent agenda that included a personnel report for September, monthly financial reports and business activity, and the 2006-07 annual financial report. The personnel report listed leaves of absence for Lake Road educational assistant Daphne Roberson and South Fulton Elementary teachers Stacy Gore, Alisha Hedge and Linda Faulkner.
• Granted approval to the second and final readings of amendments to board policies pertaining to security, scheduling and routing, bus conduct, interrogations and searches, suspension/expulsion/remand and student disciplinary hearing authority.
• Approved an annual board agenda for the 2007-08 fiscal year. Huss explained it is a checklist for board meetings and lists annual recurring items.
• Granted approval to a certification of compliance, as required by state law, that all children attending Obion County schools have been furnished with all required textbooks.
• Approved athletic practice being held during the school day.
• Granted approval to a list of teachers recommended to serve on the Social Studies Textbook Adoption Committee. They include: Grades 2-6 committee — Hope Durall, Dana Craddock, Joyce Perry, Deanna Wilson, Peggy Nichols and Debbie Batchelor; grades 7-8 committee — Candy Moore, Paula Webb, Bill Gray, Mike Beadles and Jennifer Kerr; and grades 9-12 committee — Brent Wilson, Danny Ams, John Buchanan, Cheryl Ogg and Tom Rice.
• Approved a request from Black Oak Elementary’s Par-ent-Teacher Organization to construct a shade pavilion for the K-4 playground at the school in Hornbeak. Huss said there will be no cost to the school system.
• Granted approval to a request from the OCCHS boys’ basketball team for locker room modifications, presented by head coach Bill Kail and assistant coach Donnie Walton in an effort to boost morale, boost team and school pride and create a team room symbolic of the school’s heritage. The modifications consist of painting the walls and ceiling red, white and blue, which reflects the school’s heritage, and installing laminate flooring in the team room, with the flooring to be a traditional wood color with a Rebel man logo placed in the center. Huss said the funds for the changes are available in the school’s activities fund.
• Voted to approve two overnight student field trips, including South Fulton High School Beta Club’s trip to a state convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville and OCCHS Health Occupations Students of America’s officers’ trip to an event at Camp Clements in Doyle.
• Learned from Huss that eight requests have been received from architects in response to the school system’s solicitation of architectural services for classroom additions. Huss said they need to talk with all of the architectural firms that responded to a recent advertisement and to look at their rates and their past work, including visiting some sites.
• Was informed a cost estimate of $135,000 has been received from Gibson Electric Membership Corp. for the installation of lights at the OCCHS softball/baseball fields. Huss said the funds were budgeted and he hopes the work will progress soon.
• Heard very positive reports from many school administrators and teachers, as well as central office staff members, who were in attendance at the board meeting. The board had heard similarly positive reports from many administrators during last month’s session and Huss said the board enjoyed hearing from them last time.
Many of them shared about recent accomplishments at their respective schools and specifically pointed to a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that exists among faculty members and central office staff.
Assistant director of schools James Faulkner noted that principals are all working diligently and are sharing ideas. He said test data indicates everyone is working hard and scores are gradually on the increase each year. He said the schools are data-driven but are also “kid-driven.”
The board also learned from new systemwide supervisor of attendance Dale Hollowell that only three students are currently in alternative school, which Huss said is down considerably from this time a year ago when alternative school was at its capacity of 12 and had a waiting list.
Prior to Monday night’s meeting, a new teacher reception was held in honor of new faculty members and guests heard special musical entertainment provided by a group comprised mostly of students in Polly Cole’s and Sandy Simpson’s third-grade classes.
Board members Allen Edmaiston and Rodney Taylor were absent from the session.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.02.07

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