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Board kicking up support for soccer at county schools

Board kicking up support for soccer at county schools

By: Chris Menees Messenger Staff Reporter

By CHRIS MENEES
Messenger Staff Reporter
The Obion County School Board got the ball rolling for a soccer program Monday night.
The board gave its support and granted Obion County School System director of athletics and student activities Robert Powell’s request to proceed with implementing a soccer program for the county’s schools.
The action came during the school board’s regular monthly meeting, held at the Career Technology Center in Union City.
At a board meeting two months ago, the board heard a report about Powell’s recent survey regarding the establishment of additional sports for Obion County schools. At that time, he indicated he felt soccer was something feasible to pursue and something “fairly reasonable” to establish.
Powell had surveyed the student bodies at Obion County Central and South Fulton high schools and the county’s middle schools, where students were asked to choose sports in which they were interested.
Powell returned to the board Monday night to seek permission and support in moving ahead with a soccer program at either Obion County Central or South Fulton high schools or the two combined. He said the figures associated with the startup of soccer are “very manageable,” with one of the biggest endeavors to be finding coaches. He added he has already identified “a handful of individuals” who could be good coaches.
He told the board he anticipates girls’ soccer beginning in the fall and boys’ soccer in the spring, with the possibility of junior high soccer the next year. He said he feels there is a need to get the coaching candidates in line in order to begin the process of scheduling games, selecting teams, etc.
When asked if there are other local schools with soccer teams, Powell indicated Weakley County has several, as well as Dyer County and Jackson, and said he believes Union City has even expressed an interest in exploring soccer at the high school level.
“I think you’ll find that if we can get it going, we will have a pretty entertaining group of kids out there,” Powell told the board.
In other action during Monday night’s meeting, which was opened with prayer led by board member Allen Edmaiston, the school board:
• Approved the school calendar for the 2008-09 school year, which was designed with input from a committee that included representatives from schools across the county. Obion County Director of Schools David Huss said he believes it is a “solid” calendar, which he noted has school starting as late as it possibly can in 2008 in order for it to dismiss before June 1, 2009.
The first day of classes will be Aug. 14, according to the calendar. Fall break is scheduled for Oct. 11-19; the Thanksgiving holiday break for Nov. 26-30; the Christmas holiday break for Dec. 20-31, with classes to resume Jan. 5, 2009, after New Year’s; and spring break for April 4-12, 2009. The last day of school for students will be a half-day on May 29, 2009. (Editor’s note: The full school calendar will be published on The Messenger’s Education Page in an upcoming edition.)
• Approved a consent agenda that included a monthly personnel report and substitute teacher report.
The personnel report lists the resignations of systemwide special education pre-K educational assistance/bus driver Teresa Huey and Obion County Central High School teacher/head football coach Jason Driggers; the transfers of Lesa Scillion to the central office to serve as federal projects/grades 5-8 supervisor and Lisa Bloodworth to a systemwide special education pre-K educational assistance/bus driver position (to replace Teresa Huey); the hirings of Lake Road/Hillcrest library educational assistant Julie Huggins (to replace Amy Windsor), special education pre-K educational assistant Hope Zeller (to replace Lisa Bloodworth), Ridgemont Elementary interim assistant principal Don Capps (to replace Lesa Scillion) and OCCHS teacher Kimberly N. Moore (to replace Jason Driggers); and leaves of absence for South Fulton Elementary K-3 educational assistant Sherry Atkins and Lake Road Elementary teacher Catherine Nailling.
The substitute teachers who gained approval for the month include Heather Lane, David Houston, Ashleigh Short and Mary Edwards.
• Designated management personnel for collaboration. They include systemwide supervisors James Faulkner, Nancy Hamilton, Lesa Scillion and Dale Hollowell. Huss said he and budget director Lonnie Grady would also likely be attending all collaboration meetings.
• Approved amendments to board policies regarding student alcohol and drug testing, interscholastic athletics and field trips and excursions.
On the amendment regarding field trips and excursions, Huss asked the board to reconsider his recommendation from a year ago to eliminate fuel reimbursement for sports/field trips. He said just over a year ago he had brought it to the board’s attention and asked for an amendment, with the action occurring at a time when fuel costs were extremely high. Now, in hindsight, he said he feels he made a wrong recommendation to the board and feels such activity is “an integral part of school” and also plays a role in keeping students in school.
Huss said he will increase the transportation fuel line item and still keep a check on field trips, adding that there has been some effort to limit them.
He said buses requested for trips will still be secured through transportation supervisor Larry Parks, Powell and school principals, with every effort made to ensure only what is needed is utilized.
School board vice chairman Jimmy Smith said he appreciates Huss’s seeing something that isn’t working and bringing the issue back before the board for a change.
• Scheduled a special called meeting for Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the board office to discuss building program needs and financing. Huss said he would like the board to see the funding proposals prior to the March 3 meeting of the Obion County Budget Committee.
• Approved six overnight student trips, including those for South Fulton High School’s music program; OCCHS’ FCCLA; SFHS’ FFA; SFHS’ FBLA; OCCHS’ Art Club; and the Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) conference for students from both SFHS and OCCHS.
• Approved giving support to a pair of resolutions — one to support House Bill 9, which would create a K-12 lottery capital outlay special account; and one to support House Resolution 648, which addresses No Child Left Behind legislation.
• Heard a positive report from educator Emily Haynes regarding the GED option class, which she said is “a fantastic program.”
• Received a letter from the Obion County Solid Waste Department recognizing Career Technology Center instructors Coby Watts and Jeremy Roney for the professional job they and their students did on recovering a panel truck floor bed.
• Received information regarding career-technical education. Huss said Career Technology Center assistant principal Russ Davis and his staff are doing a good job with vocational education and have “some very, very strong programs.” He said he feels more students would utilize the career-technical education opportunities if they didn’t have to travel to the CTC for a half-day.
Prior to the school board meeting, board members and central office staff members were treated to manicures and paraffin dips for their hands courtesy of CTC cosmetology students and could have their body mass index calculated with the help of CTC health occupations students. They also enjoyed refreshments prepared by culinary arts students.
School board member Rodney Taylor was absent from the meeting.
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Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.5.08

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