BES finds new way to track students

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Brookhaven School District school board meeting kicked off Tuesday with a spooky treat as Brookhaven Elementary School students performed some of their scariest songs.

After singing about creaky stairs and shaky skeletons, BES principal Shelley Riley demonstrated the new system her school is using to track Star Assessment. Star Assessment is one of the tools the district has to prepare third-graders for the third-grade reading gate. At the beginning of the year, they hung five sheets of paper for the five categories, above benchmark, benchmark, on watch, intervention and urgent intervention. They wrote each child’s name on a sticky note that was the corresponding number.

At the end of the first nine weeks, they moved the sticky notes to match the new tests. It allowed teachers to see which students improved and which students slipped back.

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“What I like about it is that it’s a child; it’s not a test score,” Superintendent Ben Cox said.

Deputy Superintendent Rod Henderson presented a community request for a policy change. Currently the school district has a policy that states that buildings can only be named after a person who has died. Henderson said he has been approached with a request to name a building after someone who is still living.

Bob Allen, board attorney, said part of the reason the policy was put into place in 2009 was to prevent people from sullying their reputation once a building was named after them. Stan Patrick, board member, said he also remembers there being many requests made at that time.

The board said they would consider if they want to explore a policy change. None of the board members were sure which option they preferred.

Susan Cochran, director of finance, presented an amended budget for the 2015-2016 school year. Cox explained that one of the biggest additions was purchasing a CB radio for each bus.

“This leaves no reason for a bus driver to use a cell phone,” he said.

Cox also said that it would help when a child gets on the wrong bus by mistake. The transportation director can quickly and easily check with each driver.

Cochran also turned in her letter of resignation during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“I want to tell you how much I’ve appreciated each of you,” she told the board. “You consider all the students. You consider all the employees, and you consider the community.”

The board similarly thanked Cochran for her work.

“I appreciate your dedication and service,” Vice Chairperson Erin Smith said.

In other board business:

• The school board approved for the varsity cheerleaders to sell old cheerleading uniforms.

• The board approved for the basketball team to sell chicken dinner plates, T-shirts, sweat suits, coupon books and concessions.

• The board approved for the student council to sell elastic arm bands and candy bags.

• The board approved for the tennis team to sell jambalaya dinner plates.

• The board approved for the Hardwood Club to sell patron cards, sponsor signs, reserve parking, T-shirts, calendars and host an alumni basketball game.

• The board approved to accept a monetary donation from Walmart Transportation to BES in the amount of $3,142.65 from Walmart’s Miles for Education program.

• The board approved establishment of a fishing club at Brookhaven High School.

• The board approved to have a survey completed on 16th Section land and to advertise for bids for timber sale.

• The board approved to advertise for bids for six agricultural leases that are set to expire in December.