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October School Board Meeting

File Photo | Webster Parish School Board Office

The monthly Webster Parish School Board meeting took place Monday evening, and given the challenges that the school system has faced with opening back up during a pandemic, the School Board shared some details that show the people of Webster Parish, from students to staff, are stepping up to the occasion.

Early in the meeting, Rodney Taylor of Taylor & Sons awarded a plaque to the Employee of the Month, Sarah Bailey, for her work with helping parents troubleshoot issues that came up during registration that was largely taken online for this year.

“With our new online registration, Sarah has spent countless hours on the phone assisting parents with registration. Sarah has always kept her composure, even in dealing with difficult parents. Her soft spoken voice and helpfulness kept most parents satisfied. She displays a common demeanor, and is an asset to the School Board,” said Taylor.

Adding to Bailey’s praise, Superintendent Johnny Rowland stated, “For the first time ever really we did parish wide online registration this year, which was a huge endeavor for our system. I’ve walked by there enough to know about the conversations she had, it seemed like all day, for a long time with people, so we do appreciate that work you’ve done.”

Robin Tucker had some good news to share during her personnel report, stating that all students who did their teaching residency in Webster Parish last year chose to stay in the parish to continue their education careers.

“We had several student interns that did their residencency with us last school year, and all of those students chose Webster Parish as their first place of employment for this year,” said Tucker.

“We’re really proud of that. All of them had a really good experience in Webster parish and chose us.”

She also detailed how Webster Parish schools had made use of “static subs” this year, which she stated had been a tremendous help in curving some of the difficulties that can arise when teachers have to quarantine due to a potential COVID cases. “That has been something that we implemented this year to help us navigate through some very challenging times,” said Tucker.

“We looked at the budget, and we looked at what our needs were going to be this year with the challenges of COVID-19, and depending on the schools numerical make-up, they were assigned one to three subs that would be on their campus every single day, Monday through Thursdays” said Tucker.

“It’s very difficult to pick up the phone at 10 o’clock in the morning and find a quality sub. So by having that static sub on campus, they’re able to right in. Because they’ve been there at the school, they have a less likely chance of exposure because they’re not hopping between different schools day to day. They are a stable person in that school.”

“Our principals have all shared that it has been nothing but a god-send having those people on campus.”

Ursula Hullaby, Community Liaison noted that even with the pandemic, the importance of spreading the message about drug prevention is still a top priority. While it will be different this year, she confirmed that schools in the Parish will be recognizing Red Ribbon Week.

“We are still responsible for getting the message out about drug prevention, we just have to do it in an abbreviated way this year because of COVID. So Oct. 26-30 would be the week we are observing it, said Hullaby.

“We’ll make sure that initiative is still being pushed out to our students, because COVID doesn’t stop us from needing to put the message out about prevention.”

At the end of the meeting, Rowland took the time during his Superintendent report to share his appreciation for all the hard work principles, teachers, staff, parents, students, and countless others had put in to adapt to this year’s challenges.

“I’d like to give thanks to so many people, specifically, our principals, their administrative teams, the AP’s, and the Deans of Students. Our Covid-19 teams that are in place in each school. Our teachers, the parents,and all the support personnel for what they’re being asked to do daily now out in the schools. It’s truly incredible what they’re being asked to do and the amount of time they’re spending on COVID related issues,” said Rowland.

“We’re just so thankful for the quality of people that we have and it speaks to their true character in what they’re doing, and we are truly, from the bottom of our heart, so thankful for our people and what they’re doing.”