The November Webster Parish School Board meeting was held at the school board office at 6 p.m. on Monday.
After the meeting began and the minutes from the previous meeting were approved, Angel Lee, a chemistry teacher at Minden High, was recognized as the Employee of the Month. Scott Walker of Taylor and Sons presented the award.
The board then approved some travel requests. The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students of North Webster Jr. High were retroactively approved for a field trip to Historic Washington State Park in Washington, Arkansas, on November 4. This opportunity came up between school board meetings but, rather than letting these students miss this opportunity due to poor timing, Principal Bradford, Superintendent Rowland, and Vice President Strong came together to approve the trip so students could still get this experience. The board approved this measure and also approved a professional development trip for CTE Supervisor and Coordinator Linda Hudson and Tia Damond to the ACTE conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Crevonne Odom, business director, then presented the benefits of approving the CAMS Consortium recommendation of Tyler Technologies Munis Software Accounting System. This new system would help the accounting department run more efficiently and would offer user portals which would allow employees to access information like previous pay stubs and W2s. The measure was approved.
The board also approved a change order to extend a main water line at the Minden High softball field. An additional 600 feet was needed per the water department.
The board approved the adoption of a proposed policy for the use of audio and video recording in special education self-contained classrooms. Once the policies are in place they will develop procedures for parents to be able to access recordings from within the classrooms.
Next, Superintendent Rowland read a proposal from the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS) in support of that group’s Accountability Proposal and urging LA Department of Education State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley and the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education (BESE) to adopt their proposal instead of the current proposal presented by the BESE Accountability Working Group in August 2022.
The authority to enter into a contract was approved for two purposes: renovating the Harper Pathways to Excellence Center and renovating the baseball and softball fields at Lakeside Jr/Sr High.
For the purpose of maintaining and improving our campuses, fourteen improvements for various schools were approved by the board. The specifics will appear in a future article.
Robin Tucker, the director of personnel, gave the board members some information to consider before the next school board meeting concerning job descriptions. Due to the ongoing difficulty in hiring full time speech therapists, the proposal is to open positions to speech therapy assistants who could provide direct services to students while working under the direct guidance of a speech therapist.
Ursula Hullaby, Safe Schools Coordinator and Community Liaison, began by speaking about how well Red Ribbon Week went. However, vaping is a real issue with students, and Hullaby is striving to educate students and parents about the hazards of vaping. She also spoke about the positive effect having SROs in the schools is having on the students. She’s noticed that students and SROs are building relationships and students are learning not to fear police.
The meeting closed with some announcements from Rowland: Schools will be closed November 8 for elections. Lakeside High (and Central Elementary due to bus routes) will dismiss at 1:30 on Friday to allow travel time to their first game in the playoffs against Avoyelles. Content coaches from our district’s leadership team were selected to present at LDOE Institute last week. Pay raises, and how freezing and unfreezing the salary schedule affects them, will be discussed in the near future. And, finally, the next school board meeting will be held at North Webster Jr High on December 5.