Plenty to cheer about at OC board meeting

Plenty to cheer about at OC board meeting
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
There was plenty to cheer about at Monday night’s Obion County School Board meeting.
Good news was in abun-dance — from cheerleading success and the benefits of being healthy to the school system report card and new classroom technology.
The board met in regular session in the library at Ridgemont Elementary School.
To kick off the meeting, the board honored the Obion County Central High School cheer squad with a resolution recog-nizing its outstanding ac-complishments.
Members of the squad and coaches David Byars and Ashleigh Wilds were on hand for the recognition.
The 38-member squad’s crowning achievement dur-ing its spectacular 2011-12 season was performing in the TSSAA State Cheer and Dance Championship in Murfreesboro and — for the first time in school history — being crowned state champions in the Super Varsity Division to earn a bid to national competition in Orlando, Fla.
The squad also earned a third-place finish in the Universal Cheerleaders Association competition in DeSoto, Miss., according to the resolution.
“The success of this year’s team reflects their drive for success, motivation and resilience of these young student-athletes and the training they received from their staff and coaches,” the resolution stated.
Later in the meeting, the board approved action to amend the process for the election of cheerleaders in order to allow high school cheer coaches to elect their own cheerleaders.
A previous policy re-quired the use of judges from outside the county. Obion County Director of Schools David Huss said while it has not been a problem at the middle school level, the cheer coaches at the high school level require a minimum degree of athleticism for participants to make the cheer squads. He said it requires a great deal of skill and is now sanctioned by the TSSAA.
Huss noted cheer coaches have asked why other people, who do not know the participants, should choose who will be on the cheer squad when the football, basketball, baseball, softball and other coaches get to choose who will comprise their teams.
Ms. Wilds said Byars has considerable knowledge about cheerleading and Byars said 21⁄2 minutes with an outside judge is not an accurate assessment of a prospective squad member, adding that areas such as academics and social skills should also be considered.
OCCHS principal Linda Crigger said the previous policy originated because of a belief from the community that it was the most fair way of choosing a cheerleading squad at that time. It was prior to the TSSAA recognizing cheerleading as a sport.
In other action during Monday night’s 50-minute long meeting, which was opened with prayer led by board member Fritz Fussell, the school board:
• Heard an update on the Coordinated School Health program from director Chastity Homra, who said she has issued a challenge to all schools as part of the Tennessee Healthier Schools Challenge. She said there are goals to meet and all schools are already at the bronze level in order to receive $1,000 each. Platinum level is $5,000 each.
She said she wants to plan a community event to honor all of the elementary schools and is open to suggestions.
• Received an analysis of the Obion County School System’s 2011 Report Card from Nancy Hamilton, assistant director of schools and supervisor of instruction for grades 9-12.
It showed good standing with No Child Left Behind, all safe schools status and 100 percent SACS accreditation. Attendance for K-8 was at 95.7 percent and attendance for grades 9-12 was at 95.4 percent, both above the state goal of 93 percent. The K-8 promotion rate of 98.5 percent was also above the state goal of 97 percent.
Mrs. Hamilton reported achievement scores were good and said programs have already been implemented to address some deficiencies in certain subgroups of testing.
Huss said students in Obion County’s schools perform at a favorable level due to the high quality of teachers and their concern for their students. It was also noted that Obion County’s per pupil expenditure of $8,327 is below the state average of $9,084.
• Viewed an impressive demonstration of new interactive computer technology which is being used in the classroom at Ridgemont, as well as at Lake Road and Black Oak schools. Huss said it is another way of utilizing technology in the classrooms to benefit students.
• Received a proposed school calendar for the 2012-13 school year for review. The calendar is set for a vote at next month’s board meeting.
Huss said a committee voted unanimously to recommend the proposed calendar for board approval. Every school administrator and teacher had an opportunity to vote on the proposed calendar and overwhelmingly approved it on the first vote with 235 out of a possible 291 votes, or 80.76 percent.
The proposed calendar has 175 school days.
• Recognized the Obion County Anglers — a fishing club — as a school support organization.
• Approved a consent agenda that included a monthly personnel report, substitute teachers report, monthly financial reports and approval of technology equipment declared surplus for disposal.
The personnel report listed leaves of absence for OCCHS guidance employee Lou Ann Peery, Hillcrest Elementary teacher Donna Marshall, Lake Road Elementary teacher Rebecca Parks, Lake Road bus driver Norman Boucher, Black Oak Elementary bus driver Betty McClain and Ridgemont Elementary food service employee Stephanie Flowers; and the retirements of Hillcrest bus driver Billie Teeters and Black Oak bus driver Jim McClain.
The only substitute teacher approved and added for the month was Peggy Short.
• Approved the second and final readings of amendments to board policies regarding student discrimination/harassment and bullying/intimidation; promotion and retention; evaluation; and home schools.
• Heard concerns from South Fulton Elementary School parent Tamara Gray in regard to a disciplinary action involving her child. She did not believe it was appropriate punishment for the infraction.
Board chairman Brian Rainey said her concerns were taken under advisement and he suggested Ms. Gray meet with Huss in the future to resolve any problem before it is brought before the board. Several teachers from SFES were also on hand.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.10.12

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