The meeting began with Dan Liner from the Hamilton County Educators Association responding to the Times Free Press article released on Sunday about the number of effective teachers in the county. He urged the community to celebrate that the majority of Hamilton County teachers (71.71%) are effective in the classroom rather than focusing solely on the teachers who did not receive an effective score (29%).
Jim Watson approached the board about a program called “Paws to Read” which will allow elementary aged children to read to the animals at McKamey Animal Center to improve literacy outcomes. He plans to send a detailed report to the board outlining the cost and intended effectiveness of the program.
Linda Sullivan, a past educator at The Howard School, approached the board about issues concerning English Language Learners at Howard as well as the fact that the racial representation of teachers at Howard does not reflect their student body. She called for the school board to increase the number of black teachers so students have teachers they can relate to in the classroom.
All of the items from the consent agenda were approved by the board. The board discussed in detail why they were hiring a new Communications Coordinator who will coordinate meetings with the media and hopefully improve communication between the school system and the community. Thurman, Martin, and Highlander all voted against budgeting for the position. Ultimately, the board voted to approve the new position.
The board also voted to approve a new policy regarding the selection of a chairman/vice chairman. The new policy will allow for longest serving member of the board to be the acting chairman in the absence of the chairman and vice chairman. Rhonda Thurman will be the temporary chairman until the board officially votes on the new chair and vice chair of the board during the specially called session on September 13th. The board will also interview the three superintendent search firms during this meeting.
To conclude the meeting, George Ricks proposed a resolution to request funding from the County Commission and partners to build a new stadium and track for The Howard School. The board voted to approve the resolution with only Thurman voting against.