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Policy change, technology update dominate UC School Board agenda

Policy change, technology update dominate UC School Board agenda

Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008 8:18 pm

Shea Riley was elected the new vice chairman of the Union City School Board Thursday night. The board met on an altered schedule — regular board meetings are held the second Monday of each month — because the system will be enjoying a fall break Monday through Friday.
Recently “retired” board chairman Janice Faulk offered a prayer for the board before the newly-elected chairman, Glenda Caudle, called the session to order and asked student board member and Union City High School senior Doreal Strayhorn to lead the board in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The board unanimously approved a consent agenda that included approval of minutes from the September meeting, approval of the agenda, approval of the School System Compliance Report and of Section III of board policies, plus approval of computer and monitor purchases and approval of bills.
The technology purchases amounted to 26 Lenovo Thinkcentres with 19-inch monitors and 26 L197 monitors, for a total of $20,306.
The board also approved revisions to its policy related to Use of the Internet. Legislation approved by the 2008 General Assembly of the State of Tennessee necessitated this move in school systems across the state. Changes included the notice that network administrators have authority to review files and communications to maintain system integrity and ensure that users are using the system reliably, so users should not expect that files stored on workstations or district servers will be private. The new policy also spells out the fact that violations of the Acceptable Use Policy may result in loss of access as well as other disciplinary actions and that violations could involve law enforcement agencies. School System Technology Coordinator Susan Parr explained the changes and added that the system has been in compliance with the appropriate policy but has not spelled out some of these items, such as Internet Safety Measures. 
A copy of the newly-approved policy will be posted and available online at the school system’s Web site.
Mrs. Parr also gave the board a highly informative report on technology in the system, noting that there are about 1,000 computers in the system and explaining what tasks are accomplished with the technology. She also thanked the board and Director of Schools Gary Houston for a continued commitment to that technology. She noted this was of benefit to both students and staff and said the effort to keep the system up and running was a team project.
Board members praised Mrs. Parr and other technology professionals in the system for their efforts.
In a personnel update provided by Houston, board members learned that Union City Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Laurie Eaves has resigned her position and has been replaced by Stephanie (Sedberry) Elam. Joanna Herman has resigned from food service at Union City Middle School and Christina Brown and Melissa Smith have been hired in those positions at that school. Michele Huffstutter has requested maternity leave and will be replaced by retired UCES teacher Ann Cheatham and Mindy McClanahan has requested maternity leave and has been replaced by retired UCES teacher Martha Jo Stewart. Richard Gambling will be substituting for Union City High School math teacher and football assistant coach Wes Kennedy, who suffered serious burns in a recent accident.
In the director’s report, Houston called attention to parent-teacher conferences in process Thursday and noted that teachers would be working in a professional development day today with Compass Training at UCES, would be dealing with aligning new standards and TCAP review sessions at UCMS and would be engaged in aligning new standards and updating pacing guides at UCHS.
He mentioned fall break Monday through Oct. 17 and congratulated the UCMS football team on a 7-2 season, noting their post-season victory over McKenzie Tuesday. He also wished the UCHS football team good luck in its contest with South Fulton High School this evening and noted the school system will continue to remember Coach Kennedy as he recuperates.
In the UCES progress report, it was noted that 90 percent of students in third through fifth grades who need tutoring are taking advantage of it.
At UCMS, a recent PTO spaghetti supper earned $1,800 to benefit students there. A recent “Gum Day” at the school raised more than $500 which was given to a UCMS student who was injured and hospitalized. It was noted that the UCMS girls softball team completed a winning season.
The Tornado Pride program has been reinstituted at UCHS and at-risk students are also being credited for their improvement and good effort. Incoming freshmen were provided information from several speakers in their Wellness classes to help aid their transition to high school. Approximately a third of the UCHS student body is enrolled in Honors classes and graduates who have taken part in the classes are reporting on their value to the administration. Teachers are also noticing increases in higher level thinking skills and enhanced capacity for writing and for organizing and presenting research materials for students who are participating in Magnet School classes.
Board members closed out the session with words of praise for Miss Strayhorn, who was recently elected a senior class officer and a member of the UCHS homecoming court. Mrs. Parr was praised by Mrs. Faulk and by board member Cathy Waggoner, who also called attention to the UCHS art and science classes for their recycling efforts.
Published in The Messenger 10.10.08

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