BONIFAY — Holmes County School Board Chairman Jason Motley strongly suggested at the regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 18 that in light of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the schools district’s principals should be reviewed on emergency procedures.
“We should readdress emergency procedures,” said Motley. “I understand that there’s evil in this world and if people want to do evil things they will, but we should at least try to make efforts to slow them down.”
Superintendent Eddie Dixon reminded the board that they recently held a practice drill not too long ago with all of the school staff and surrounding emergency and law enforcement agencies.
“It was held at Holmes County High School and we found there are a total of 72 sets of doors that lead to the outside,” said Dixon. “When the school was built, it just wasn’t built with that sort of thing in mind.”
Dixon said they were thinking about doing something similar again, only on a smaller scale and at a different school.
“We can’t put a price on our students’ safety,” said board member Rusty Williams. “Our thoughts are that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and we pray and hope that it’ll be the last time, but at this time we’re hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.”
Christopher Lauen, with the Holmes County Health Department’s Tobacco Prevention, was present to present the school board with more Tobacco Free zone signs for the schools.
Lauen said there was two per school provided, however more can be provided to those schools that request them.
The board also approved of the 2012-13 Performance-Based Exit Option Model.
“This will ensure that students who enroll in the Performance-Based Exit Option Model are those who will not graduate with their class because of credit deficiency or low GPA and are otherwise capable of completing graduation requirements,” said Dixon. “This gives the students the ability to make up credits based on performance. This should help the graduation rate go up.”
School board member Shirley Owens said she had enjoyed all the holiday festivities provided throughout the school district.
“I’ve been around enjoying many programs and dramas by various schools,” said Owens. “They’ve all done such a wonderful job.”
The school board approved of personnel recommendations with a vote of 4 to 1, with Debbie Kolmetz voting “no.”
“I agree with all the recommendations but one,” said Kolmetz. “We had a far more capable application for the District Technology Support Specialist we could’ve chosen.”
They approved to hire Mickey Hudson as principal for Holmes County High School, Julie McVay as 10-month custodian at Bethlehem High School, Steven Thomas II as District Technology Support Specialist and Casey Harrington as cashier/aide III for Bonifay Elementary School; amend Allison Justice from Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant to District Speech and Language Pathologist effective Jan. 2, 2013; hire Zack Neitsch as tutor in the WINGS Program for 2012-2013 year; Family Medical Leave of Absence for Jody Gillis, lunchroom worker at Ponce de Leon High School beginning Dec. 3, 2012 and ending Jan. 2, 2013 and Donna Gavin, Bonifay Bus Driver, beginning Jan. 3, 2013 and ending June 5, 2013; open a Duty Superintendent Position at the District Office and open a Temporary District Administrative Position for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.
The board also approved of overnight/out of state trip for Poplar Springs’ Senior Beta Club to attend the State Convention in Orlando on Jan. 27 through Jan. 29.
The board approved of the 2012-13 School Improvement Plans during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
These improvement plans includes documentation from each school in Holmes County on a scale of 40 to 60 pages each, assessing the strengths and weaknesses for each grade down to the instructor and student evaluations and includes proposed courses of action to improve the quality of education for both teachers and students.
The board approved of overnight/out-of-state trips for Ponce de Leon Elementary School’s Kindergarten Class to attend the “Christmas Past” Program on Dec. 10 at Landmark Park in Dothan, Ala., to “learn about how Christmas was celebrated long ago and how children lived long ago;” Holmes County High School’s eleventh and twelfth grade classes to view Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on Dec. 18 in Montgomery, Ala.; and Ponce de Leon High School’s Sr. Beta Club to attend the Academic Competitions on Jan. 26 through Jan. 29 in Orlando.
Kolmetz asked what the policy on field trips was and Superintendent Eddie Dixon replied that field trips are “based on academic purposes only.”
The school board also approved of Medical Leave of Absence for Kim Kirkland, Custodian at Bonifay Middle School, beginning Nov. 16, and ending Feb. 28; Maternity Leave of Absence for Jamie Hewett, Aide at PDLE, beginning Dec. 3 and ending Jan. 15; and to amend the ending date of the Medical Leave of Absence on Kathy Cullifer, Lunchroom Worker at PDLE, to begin Oct. 1 and ending Jan. 31.
The next regularly scheduled school district meeting will be held 9 a.m. on Jan. 1 at the Holmes County District School Board.