Last updated: June 01. 2013 7:58AM - 527 Views
Dylan Lightfoot
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The Ashe County Board of Education approved an agreement with the N.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) enabling probation officers to visit the high school, and discussed implementation of accountability standards at their regular March meeting Monday night.

Under N.C. law, local boards of education must develop policies for coordinating student visits with probation officers. An agreement between Ashe County Schools and the DPS Section of Community Corrections was considered by the board.

According to the agreement, private visits are to be scheduled “utilizing existing administrative capacity,” with probation officers barred from initiating “contact with students in class or between classes.”

Ashe Schools’ Interim Superintendent Donnie Johnson suggested this could be accomplished by having the principal call students to the office for scheduled visits.

Board Member Dr. Lee Beckworth said that a provision of the agreement requiring schools to monitor gang activity on and around school property was an “undue burden.”

“School officials can’t be monitoring gang activity at Walmart,” he said.

The agreement, with suggested amendments, was unanimously approved by the board.

Director of Testing and Accountability Phil Howell updated the board on the implementation phase of the state’s Accountability and Curriculum Reform Effort (ACRE), an initiative to redefine the K-12 Standard Course of Study, student assessment and school accountability.

The ACRE initiative was slated for 2009-13, but State Department accountability policies had recently been updated, Howell said, which would delay implementation.

Board Chair Charlie King asked if the Intensive Summer Reading Camp, part of a state’s strategy to boost proficiency, had been funded by the General Assembly.

Howell said it had not. “Most mandates from Raleigh right now will not be funded,” he said.

Further discussion of accountability and curriculum reform was tabled until next month’s meeting.

A backlog of awards and recognitions were given at this month’s meeting, as February’s awards had been rescheduled to March.

February’s Employee of the Month was David Higgins, a custodian and bus driver at Westwood Elementary. Employee of the Month for March was Phyllis Ashley, a CTE teacher at Ashe County High School.

Anna Blackburn, a sixth-grader at Mountain View Elementary, was recognized as the 2013 Ashe County Spelling Bee Champion.

Teacher of Year nominees Tonya Blevins and Lori Hensley were recognized, with 2012-13 Teacher of the Year going to Michelle Lemly of Westwood Elementary.

Teacher Assistant of the Year nominees Mary Graybeal and Joyce McNeil were recognized, with 2012-13 Teacher Assistant of the Year going to Pam Cole of Westwood Elementary.

Principal of the Year for 2012-13 went to David Blackburn of Mountain View Elementary.

Jennifer Johnson, a kindergarten teacher at Mountain View Elementary, was recognized for achieving certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Christina Pennington of ACHS was recognized as the 2011-12 Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher by the N.C. Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Ashe County School’s Beth Hodges received the 2013 Blue Ribbon Award from the N.C. School Public Relations Association in the newsletter category for her publication of “Net News.”

Ashe County Middle School was again designated a School To Watch, one of only two schools in the nation to receive the designation for a third time.

A request from the ACHS Future Farmers of America for an overnight trip March 23-24 to attend the N.C. FFA MEGA Leadership Conference in Greensboro was unanimously approved.

A request from the Ashe County Middle School eighth grade for an April 14-17 overnight trip to the Outer Banks was also approved, with 148 students making the trip.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 8, at the Ashe Arts Council.

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