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Bladen County Board of Ed meets in regular session

Bethany Stephens

The Board of Education met this past Monday night for their monthly session where the first recognized Megan Bennett, Madison McLamb, and Codi Pait from West Bladen High School for attending and competing in the Sports and Nutrition Event Category at the National FFLA competition in Texas recently.  The team received a bronze medal in the national competition and a silver medal at the state conference.

Micah Brown from West Bladen High School was also recognized for being accepted into and attending Governor's School at Meredith College this past summer where he studied Social Science.  Emily Scott, Quinton Edwards, and Faith Crumel all gave a presentation outlining online classes that they are taking through ECU and UNCG.  Jeremy Davis, a high school senior, also gave the board a presentation; he has volunteered to take the time to set up the county's new YouTube channel.  While Davis still has content and other tweaks that he'd like to add to the channel, the site is up and running, and he gave the board an overview of how it works and its content.  

In honor of National Principals Appreciation Month, all of the county's schools' principals were recognized and thanked for their work in the schools.  Student Attendance Awards were also presented for August and September where East Arcadia School won in the Elementary School Division; Clarkton School of Discovery won in the Middle School Division, and East Bladen High School won in the High School Division.  

Following all of the above recognitions, Amanda Bell, a parent of a student at West Bladen, addressed the boar, but she was asked to wait and address the board in closed session instead since her concerns were related to specific personnel.  After this, the board proceeded to go into closed session to discuss personnel and legal matters.

Upon reconvening, Sharon Penny, Finance Director, presented a financial summary for information purposes, and the board approved two personnel related action items as recommended by Patricia Faulk, Personnel Administrator, and a 2014-15 budget resolution as recommended by Penny.  Two fundraiser requests (at Tar Heel and East Bladen), three overnight field trip requests, and East Bladen's trip to Europe in 2016 were also approved as recommended by Robert Heavenridge, School Support Services Coordinator.  Antonia Beatty, Director or Federal Programs/Title I/BLT/Pre-K, presented a School Focus Plan to address achievement gaps at Elizabethtown Middle which was also approved.  Permission to request an alternate assessment from the state for the Read to Achieve Program was approved as recommended by Tanya Head, Assistant Superintendent, and voting for NC School Board policy updates was postponed until next month's meeting.

Robert Taylor, Superintendent, addressed the board next regarding various concerns around the county.  First, Taylor told the board about a Bladen County School Directory that has been made and asked the board to please attend two events where the State School Board and June Atkinson, State Superintendent will be in the county.  Taylor, Tanya Head, and others will be go to Texas soon to visit a school that has a high graduation rate, a large percentage of college accepted graduates, and has a large percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch to see if they can implement any of their strategies in Bladen County.  Taylor spoke briefly regarding the recent Ag'Em Up Day, and he and the board were pleased with its success.  Flu prevention and plans to educate students about ways to avoid spreading it and catching it were discussed.  Ophelia Munn-Goins requested that no-touch sanitation stations with hand sanitizer be installed in the schools cafeterias, and the county's maintenance staff said that they would look into it.  Taylor, also celebrated that there was a 22% increase in students participating in breakfast and lunch.  Lastly, three board members were chosen to serve as NC School Board Association Delegates.  Roger Carroll, Vinston Rozier, and Wilbur Smith will serve in this capacity, and Ophelia Munn-Goins will act as an alternate delegate.  Roger Carroll, Board Member, was absent from the meeting due to a death in his family, and Kipp Lancaster, Board Member, was also unable to attend this month's meeting.


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