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Union City school board honors former chairman for exemplary service

Union City school board honors former chairman for exemplary service

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 9:28 pm
By: Terri Jenkins-Brady Special to the Messenger

 By TERRI JENKINS-BRADY

Special to The Messenger

Special recognition of former school board chairman Janice Faulk’s years of exemplary service and the director’s report by Gary Houston, Union City Director of Schools, comprised the focus of the Union City Board of Education’s November meeting Monday night. 

All seven elected board members were present, as were Houston; Vicki Wilkinson, classroom and curriculum coordinator; and Camille Mobbs, school board secretary. 

Also present at the meeting was Karl Ullrich, who was recently elected to succeed the retiring Mrs. Faulk as representative of Ward 2. He was to be sworn in at noon today, as were Dr. Wright Jernigan (at-large representative) and Cathy Waggoner (Ward 4), both of whom won re-election Nov. 4.

After calling the meeting to order, chairman Glenda Caudle reminded everyone present of the board’s mission statement: “… to prepare students to live, work and excel in a global society.”

Mrs. Caudle asked student board representative and Union City High School senior Doreal Strayhorn to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Mrs. Caudle then addressed the meeting and recognized Mrs. Faulk’s “10 years of devoted service to the Union City School Board and her Ward 2. We appreciate your service and your level head … your commitment has been outstanding. I don’t think you have ever missed a meeting in those 10 years.”

“No, I didn’t,”  Mrs. Faulk said. “I have enjoyed my time on the board, but I’m looking forward to a vacation. You are going to be in very capable hands,” she said with a nod to Mrs. Caudle. 

Mrs. Faulk was then presented with a gift in recognition of her service. The board had chosen a beautiful Swarovski Crystal snowflake 2008 Christmas ornament as a special recognition of her devotion. Mrs. Caudle also told Mrs. Faulk, “You are welcome to join us at any point.”

Vice chairman Shea Riley III then requested the floor, saluting Mrs. Faulk’s “knowledge and her professionalism,” adding, “We’ll miss that. It’s been a pleasure to work with you.”

Houston prefaced his monthly director’s report by saying, “All of our system’s report cards were released today.” He noted, “All three schools are in good standing; all have made adequate progress and met all benchmarks in reading, math and language arts. I asked Mrs. Wilkinson if she could give you just a little glimpse of the good news.”

Mrs. Wilkinson noted the entire 2008 report card would be available on the State of Tennessee Web site (as of Nov. 11). She said, “One hundred percent of the courses taught at all our schools are taught by highly-qualified teachers.” She also noted that all schools in the system are in good standing, according to the report card. All schools made Adequate Yearly Progress, as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind act, and students met the benchmarks  in reading, math and language arts at all schools. In addition, Union City High School met the 2007-08 graduation standard.

The very favorable report will be studied and analyzed thoroughly in the coming weeks. “We are proud and happy for our students and teachers,” Mrs. Wilkinson added. 

“I’d like to commend the administrators, staff and the school board for the support they’ve given us,” Houston said. He then listed some highlights from the monthly director’s report before turning to specifics from each school:

• The UCHS football team won its first playoff game against Halls; in the second round of playoffs, the school will be hosting McKenzie. Coach Darren Bowling and the team are to be congratulated, Houston said.

• The Union City marching band went to the Bands of America competition in Indianapolis recently and placed third in their division amid very stiff competition. “We’re very proud of our band, Mr. (John) Easley and Mr. (Jason) Deem,” Houston said.

• Another commendation was for Ben Woods, a UCHS 2008 graduate, who earned the AP Scholar Award, based on outstanding achievement in AP exams. Houston said only 18 percent of the 1.6 million students worldwide who took the exams earned an AP Scholar Award.

From the Union City Elementary School Report, Houston selected the following highlights:

• Tutoring continues for UCES students and enrichment classes for second-fifth grades in art, technology, vocabulary building and drama have begun.

• Union City schools will host a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools review team Tuesday and Wednesday (today). The team is expected to validate the UC School Improvement Plan and recommend continuation of accreditation. 

• Thanksgiving dinner will be served at the UCES cafeteria at noon Nov. 20. The school board annually invites members of the Union City Council and their spouses to enjoy this special meal with them.

Houston continued with highlights from the Union City Middle School progress report:

• The PTO will sponsor its vegetable soup/grilled cheese supper Monday in the UCMS cafeteria before the basketball game with Dyersburg. All UCMS students have tickets to sell for the fundraiser.

• PTO parents have cleaned, weeded and put in new fall plants for the flower beds at UCMS.

• Dan Boykin, UCMS principal and a basketball games official, was recognized for receiving the A.F. Bridges Official of the Year Award from the TSSAA for Region 8.

• UCMS has launched an ambitious recycling project.

Turning to the overview for the UCHS progress report, Houston pointed out the Lunch Suspension Program has enrolled about 200 at-risk students. The program requires students to work on assignments and homework as they eat lunch to bring their work to acceptable levels. Students who have been referred to the program have not completed their homework, have turned in work that is unacceptable, have not completed assignments or have not completed work due to an absence, after an acceptable period of time.

 “Failure is not an option,” has become a credo for the project, said Houston. 

Jernigan suggested, “It’s like a working lunch,” to which Houston agreed.

Mrs. Caudle asked Houston if the lunch suspension program could be extended to other grades. 

“It’s very likely we could,” Houston replied. “The elementary school does that in a similar way. But it’s something we could take a look at.” He noted that the lunch suspensions issued this year at the teachers’ discretion were not designed to be critical of the students but to assist them. 

In concluding his report, Houston added, “These young people are working hard. It gives them an opportunity to do their homework.”

Riley noted that the UCHS videography class recently assisted him in putting together a video on tying knots. The video will be made available to Boy Scout troops for use in their sessions. Riley said the effort not only was a valuable one for Scouts learning to tie a variety of knots, but it was an experience that members of the class can use to meet the requirements for the Tennessee Scholars program.

The next Union City School Board meeting will be held Dec. 8  at 6 p.m. All monthly school board business meetings and orientation sessions are open to the public.

Editor’s note: Terri Jenkins-Brady is co-owner of  Write Up The Road Publishing & Media of Kenton, along with her husband Timothy D. Brady.
Published in The Messenger 11.12.08

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