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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - April 18, 2022

    Posted by Sybil Barkley on 4/22/2022 5:00:00 PM

    Highlights – 4-18-22

    •  Celebrating in the Month of April

    It was another month of celebrations in the district as various groups and causes were featured.  Special recognition went out for:

    • Assistant Principals Appreciation Week
    • Autism Awareness Month
    • Child Abuse Prevention Month
    • National Occupational Therapy Month
    • National School Library Month

     

    • Strategic Plan – Quarter 3 Report

    Chief Learning & Performance Officer Melissa Morse provided the 3rd quarter report to the board of education on the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.  The scheduled presentation gave Mrs. Morse the opportunity to report on key work that has been undertaken and accomplished around the Student Priority Outcomes and Strategic Actions found within the community-inspired plan.

    As a part of each strategic action, key highlights found in the various phases of implementation were noted.  While not an exhaustive list of the work underway, focus was given to items with large impacts and substantial progress made as a part of the focus during these first couple of years of the five-year plan.

    Some of the highlights of the work include:

    • Work began on studying advanced math criteria to create an accelerated mathematics guideline for the 2022-2023 school year.
    • Visits planned to other school districts for planning and development of new STEM high school building. STEM high school site selection celebrated with the community partners and future students.
    • Literacy activities to support this enrichment rotation happen daily in all 28 ASEP programs.
    • The first HCS Kaleidoscope of the Arts District Art Exhibit was held at The Gallery at Hood Street. The exhibit was installed by HCS art teachers and open to the public, with a reception to conclude the event. The HCS Kaleidoscope of the Arts District Art Exhibit is now an annual event.
    • Each school now has a school profile where community stakeholders may find information about student opportunities, school outcomes, and demographic information. There are also brief highlights allowing schools to share their unique stories. All profiles can be accessed through the HCS website.
    • Studies underway to examine various school districts and any models of a Support Sta‑ Academy for replication in HCS.
    • Be Ready Day One working team established along with a timeline for implementation and communication.
    • Implementation of single-point entry buzzer system project is currently under construction.
    • Installation of HVAC in every elementary school gym is underway after a successful bid process and board approval.
    • 10+ ERP Business workshops were held to identify the critical business areas/practices to be covered in a migration to a new ERP system.
    • Benchmarking practices for growth and replacement of equipment based on study and research of other high-performing districts. An Elementary facilities manual is near completion and a pilot Growth and Replacement Plan will be scheduled soon after.

    To review the highlights of the 3rd quarter, visit www.InPursuitOfExceptional.com and look for the Quarterly Reports navigation link on the left side of the page.

    At the conclusion of the report, Board Member Dr. Pam Nutt (Dist. 1) added, “It’s nice to kind of have a wrap-up, to see what we’ve done, what’s ahead, and where we’re going.  I appreciate everyone’s hard work.”

    Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 1) shared, “I am so excited that we are seeing things move along the continuum.  What this all means for students is beyond what anyone in this community has ever witnessed.”

    • Strategic Plan – Ensuring College and Career Readiness – A Graduate Update – Class of 2022

    Chief Family & Student Support Services Officer Dr. April Madden was able to report before the board on the latest efforts around the strategic plan to ensure college and career readiness for students, more specifically students in the Class of 2022, and how the work of the district aligns with the board’s mission and vision.

    She began by featuring the targeted supports for programs through Policy IHE: Promotion & Retention.  Through this board-adopted policy, specific focus was placed on supporting students with credit recovery and grade repair, both facilitated by graduation coaches.  This adoption has allowed HCS to create consistent monitoring of and systematic processes for students to increase student success and passing rates over time.  Specifically, graduation coaches are charged with identifying and coordinating targeted services and interventions to ensure that at-risk students receive the resources needed to achieve academic success and graduate from high school on time.

    Other targeted supports shared before the board included the focus on resources for Title I-funded schools by way of external partnerships in underserved high schools to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students who attend and complete a higher education degree.  A great example of this partnership exists with the REACH GA Scholarship Program, which provides $10,000 for 8th-grade students to use for financial support when they attend college.

    Henry Futures was also a featured portion of Dr. Madden’s report, in which she shared the many ways families are being engaged to provide impactful updates on college applications, scholarship opportunities, and financial aid.  So many opportunities to expand college opportunities exist because of the district’s recent acquisition of a management system equipped with ample resources and a data tracking function.  Additionally, there have also been various workshops geared toward helping families and students finish strong in the second semester.

    Here’s a snapshot of post-secondary readiness for the class of 2022:

    “Glad to see the uptick in dual enrollment,” stated Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards.  “These numbers are phenomenal.  The future for Henry County students looks great.”

    Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 2) also took time to thank Dr. Madden and other professionals in the district by sharing, “At the end of the day, our job is to make sure our scholars are ready for the world that awaits them, and where we are heading now is a good place for them.”


    • Ensuring Operational Effectiveness – FY23 Tentative Budget

    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay shared the final report regarding the FY23 budget before a recommendation was made during the business session to approve a tentative version of the budget.

    Mrs. Clay once again took the opportunity to update the board on the key funding mechanisms, including all the areas from which revenues are generated – the state government and the local tax digest being the two largest areas.

    The proposed annual balanced budget includes an overall increase of seven percent in both revenue projects and spending, resulting in a $32.5 million increase, from $409.4 million in the FY22 budget to $441.9 million in FY23.  Also, of note is the sizeable increase in per-pupil expenditures.  In the past two years combined, spending on students has increased by nearly $1,000.  The proposed per-pupil expenditures for FY23 total $10,297, a figure that represents one of the highest amounts in HCS history.

    Of note in Mrs. Clay’s report to the board, Henry County Schools is prepared to pass along the one-time $2,000 pay supplement proposed by Governor Kemp and approved by the state legislators during this year’s legislative session to all employees during the month of April, while also implementing the same increase for job families that are funded through the state’s QBE funding formula in the FY23 budget cycle.

    The board’s investment in competitive compensation currently proposes an increase to current salary scales by one percent for all employees and honors salary steps of eligible employees for years of service, which can yield an additional one to three-percent increase.  Additionally, the recommendation includes investments above the one percent in targeted job families, including additional investments beyond the one percent and step for teachers and paraprofessionals, resulting in an eight percent increase overall.  Salary schedules have also been extended for these job families and re-designed to support monetary increases each year a salary step is earned.

    Thanks to our community’s strong economy and positive tax digest outlook, the board will be able to also target increases to salaries of administrative support personnel members in schools and district positions, which moves some starting pay rates forward by $2 per hour, representing a minimum percentage increase of seven percent.  Additionally, every elementary school will be staffed with a STEM specials teacher to increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics opportunities for our youngest learners, and every middle and high school will be staffed with an additional teacher for the purpose of advancing fine arts opportunities for Henry County students.

    In total, 83 percent of the general fund budget is earmarked for teaching and learning, with the remaining funds dispersed across support for maintenance and operations, student transportation, and other support services.  Board members offered the following comments on the budget:

    Board Chair Holly Cobb (Dist. 3) - “The approval of a budget remains one of the main responsibilities of this board, and my colleagues and I are proud to be able to present a balanced budget that meets the needs of our students, staff, and supports the shared vision of the community as articulated in the five-year strategic plan. We hold the fiscal responsibility placed in us by the voters in the highest regard.  To provide opportunities and access to an exceptional education, we have to have the best employees and the best resources in every school, office, and support service area possible.”

    Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5) - “Our employees have gone above and beyond the past several years in the face of one of the most challenging times in our profession.  Being able to pass along a salary increase and address other compensation and benefits areas is the right thing to do and sends a positive message that we support their work.”

    Board Member Dr. Pam Nutt (Dist. 1) – “Thank you for your hard work and going over everything with a fine-toothed comb.  You have all come up with some great solutions to some difficult problems we have faced.”

    Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 2) – “I am grateful that we are taking care of 89 percent of our school workforce and adding some positions at the local level when it comes down to our schools.”

    Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4) - “We are thankful for the community’s support and hope they understand how much time and effort goes into constructing a budget that meets every need possible with the funding we receive.  This budget will definitely help meet the many expectations that are rightfully placed on our district by the community, families, and students who we serve.”

    For more information on the budget, you can click here to read the press release or here to visit the presentation on our website.

     

    • Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    • FY22 Budget Adjustment: One-time Pay Supplement to Employees – The board unanimously approved the recommended one-time pay supplement of $2,000 for all employees. A mid-year budget adjustment by the state legislature allowed for and covered the majority of this financial investment for HCS employees will receive the supplement in their April paychecks.
    • FY23 Tentative Budget – The board unanimously approved the FY23 tentative budget based on the report and recommendation by Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay and Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. The tentative general fund budget is balanced at $441.9 million.
    • Renewal of Effective School Leadership Training and Professional Development Partnership – The board approved the latest contract agreement for leadership development with the University of Virginia. Total cost - $540,000.
    • 2022-2023 Code of Conduct Adoption – The board unanimously approved the Code of Conduct for the upcoming school year after it has been out for public review and comment.
    • Renewal of Productivity Suite Agreement – The board unanimously approved the Google Workspace for Education Plus Agreement, which serves as the primary teacher and student online engagement platform including both Google Classroom and Google Meeting. Total cost - $180,000.
    • Renewal of Classroom Management and Device Filtering Platform – The board unanimously approved renewal of GoGuardian for classroom management and device filtering. GoGuardian provides suite monitoring and management tools for our digital learning environments. Total costs - $184,500.
    • Digital Content for Impact and Summer Learning Programs Agreement – The board unanimously approved renewal of Imagine Learning (formerly Edgenuity) as an instructional resource for the district’s virtual academy and summer learning programs. Total costs - $149,380.
    • Elementary Gym Projectors – The board unanimously approved the purchase of projectors and cost coverage for installation, materials, and equipment for all elementary school gyms. Total costs - $157,077.02.
    • City of Stockbridge Right of Way Deed (Harrell Drive) - The board unanimously approved the request for a right of way deed involving the installation of a traffic signal at Harrell Drive and N. Henry Boulevard. Total costs – None; the district will receive $10 for the temporary construction easement.
    • City of Stockbridge Temporary Construction Easement (South Lee Street) - The board unanimously approved the request for a temporary construction easement involving intersection improvements at S. Lee Street and N. Henry Boulevard. Total costs – None; the district will receive $10 for the temporary construction easement.
    • Bus Purchase - The board unanimously approved purchase of two buses to support transportation of youth experiencing homelessness. Total cost – $149,900.

     

    • Leadership on the Move

    Name

    New Position/Location

    Former Position/Location

    Lydia Powell

    Assistant Principal - Luella High School

     

    Charles Hight

    Assistant Principal - Union Grove High School

     

    Kirk Shrum

    Superintendent - Visalia (CA) Unified School Dist.

    Chief Officer - School Leadership - HCS

     

    • Awards and Recognition
    1. Griffin RESA Regional Math Contest – Middle & High School

     

    1. Georgia Scholar Program

    1. Georgia Science & Engineering Fair

    1. SIMFA Foundation’s National Investwrite Competition

    1. American School Counselor Association RAMP Certification

    1. Music Education Award

    1. ESPY Winners

     

    • Henry County High Points

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1

    • Dr. Nutt started by recognizing special months of honor for various groups/causes – National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Autism Awareness Month, and Assistant Principal Appreciation Week.  She thanked the Locust Grove Chick-Fil-A for partnering with the Locust Grove HS Work-Base Learning program to help students with their interview skills. Madison Mangham from Locust Grove High School was celebrated for receiving the 2022 Women’s Empowerment Summit Scholarship from the Henry County Chamber of Commerce.  Several athletic team accomplishments were featured, including the boys tennis team from McDonough High School, the Luella High School girls and boys soccer teams, the Hampton High School girls soccer team, and the Locust Grove High School gymnastics teams all moving to the state playoffs.  McDonough High School’s JROTC team finished in 2nd place out of 600 JROTC units in the national competition.  Tarina Day was featured for her senior project at Locust Grove High School.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2

    • Mr. McDaniel started his comments by recognizing the assistant principals throughout the district as a part of Assistant Principal Appreciation Week.  Congratulations were given to Elijah Hill from Pates Creek Elementary, as he is the State of Georgia InvestWrite winner. Additional celebrations were in order for Dej-Ann Angus from Hampton High School, as she is the first female wrestler to receive a scholarship to Brewton Parker College. Praise was given to the boys and girls tennis teams from Hampton High School and the girls tennis team from Luella High School for advancing to the state playoffs.  Coach Roberts from the Luella High School soccer team was noted for his 100th win.  Dutchtown High School’s tennis team was celebrated for back-to-back state playoff appearances.  Corey Leverette, Jaylen Lester, and Jonathan Guest were congratulated for signing athletic scholarships for college.  Ashley Lott was noted for recent certification by the national athletic directors association.  Henry County Sheriff Scandrett and SROs were thanked for their work and presence in our schools and community.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3

    • Mrs. Cobb started by honoring the assistant principals as a part of Assistant Principal Appreciation Week.  She also noted the opportunity to attend the STEM High School future home location celebration. She gave thanks to the Chris Tucker Foundation for its contribution to the Ola High School Chorus. This donation will complete the fundraising event that will allow the choral group to perform at Carnegie Hall in June. She also recognized the Ola High School gymnastics team, the Ola High School girls and boys tennis teams, Union Grove High School boys and girls soccer teams, the Ola High School boys and girls soccer teams, and the Union Grove High School boys and girls tennis teams will move on to the state playoffs.  The Union Grove High School girls track team was featured for winning the county championship, and the Union Grove Middle School Black History Bowl Team won the McDonough Middle School competition.

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4

    • Pope started by congratulating the Eagle’s Landing High School boys track team for their county championship and the school’s girls tennis team for moving on in the state playoffs. The Eagle’s Landing Cluster was noted for the GA Milestones Festival.  Woodland Elementary was featured for holding its inaugural WES Black History and Women's History Program at the Fairview Performing Arts Center in March. They celebrated Women’s History by honoring a local supporter from Stockbridge Community Church, Mrs. Chesnee Dorsey, with their Woman of the Year Award based on outstanding contributions to the Woodland cluster.  She thanked the assistant principals as a part of Assistant Principal Appreciation Week.  She also noted the celebration of the future STEM High School location.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5

    • Edwards began by recognizing the assistant principals in the district for Assistant Principal Appreciation Week. She noted the excitement around attending the Future Home Celebration for the HCS STEM High School. Congratulations were shared with Woodland Middle School for their FCCLA Entrepreneurship Team’s gold medal win at the state conference. Red Oak Elementary was featured for having a Georgia Milestones Assessment Festival on Friday, April 22.  She gave congratulations to the Woodland High School boys soccer team for advancing to round 2 of the state playoffs. The Dutchtown boys tennis and girls soccer teams were also featured for moving on to the state playoffs.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent

    • Supt. Davis recognized Jennifer Coleman and one student, both from Luella High School, for their project to create paper cranes (1,000 total) which are now on display at the Pearl Harbor museum in Hawaii.  She also noted that one student from Stockbridge High School had the highest grade in the cloud computing course he is taking through the Ivy League dual enrollment program.  She also welcomed new team members to leadership and thanked Chief Officer Kirk Shrum as he completes his last board meeting before moving on to be a superintendent in California.

     

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - March 18, 2022

    Posted by Sybil Barkley on 3/21/2022 9:00:00 AM

    Highlights – 3-14-22

    •  Two Weeks to Two Years

    Two years ago, Henry County Schools, like most school districts in the state and around the country, was grappling with the thoughts and requirements of having to close down for what was thought to only be a couple of weeks due to this virus called COVID-19. What started as two weeks has lasted for two years as communities and schools all around the world have managed to work through the challenges associated with the global pandemic, and, in the case of Henry County Schools, come out stronger on the other side.

    This month’s study session meeting was opened with this reflection and thanks given to so many individuals who played large parts in the schools’ and community’s success during this time. To see a reflection of the impact from the last two years, click here for a short video.

    • Strategic Plan – Student & Employee Wellness Update

    Chief Family & Student Support Services Officer Dr. April Madden was back again in March to provide updates regarding the strategic plan, this time regarding Student & Employee Wellness. Her report centered around the progress toward creating a wellness structure to address the personal health and overall well-being of students and employees.

    As Dr. Madden shared, research shows a clear focus and intentional action in the areas of student wellness and readiness with focus on developing key skills will lead to improved student outcomes.

    Two items highlighted before the board were Henry Cares and Henry Learns. Henry Cares, according to Dr. Madden, is a demonstration of actions that exemplify our commitment to systematic structure for student and employee wellness. Over the past few years, the district has focused intently on relationships, connectivity, and the belief in the capability of all students. We have also navigated our system through 2 years of a pandemic that has further illuminated our responsibility to create the structure needed to intentionally create the conditions that who we are today requires.

    During this critical time, the important role of a Mental Health & Wellness Facilitator for each school was introduced and supported by the board members, and these key personnel members’ impact has been immediate and highly beneficial. The employees serve as a part of a department that has designed a system to measure wellness and implement a systematic and comprehensive wellness framework.

    Here are some impressive numbers of the impact of the board and district’s focus on health and wellness for students and staff:

    • 19,956 Students have received targeted support provided by a school-based Mental Health and Wellness Facilitator
    • 19,956 Students have received targeted support provided by a school-based Mental Health and Wellness Facilitator
    • 7,768 Parent contact made by HCS Mental Health and Wellness Facilitator
    • 6,018 Teacher/Staff received specific support from Henry County a school-based Mental Health and Wellness Facilitator
    • 26,629 Individual Students by School Counselors for Individual Student needs
    • 117,445 Student participation in Counselor Core Curriculum Lessons
    • 3,016 Graduation Coach Individual Sessions to help middle and high students stay on course with academics
    • 1,202 Students enrolled in credit recovery at high school through academic programming such as Georgia Virtual or school-based courses
    • 7,330 School Psychologist consultation services to teachers and administrators on strategies for student support
    • 3,328 School Psychologist consultations with School Student Support Teams through the SST process
    • 2,028 School Psychologist-parent consultations
    • Approximately 850 students evaluated by school psychologists for evaluation
    • 105,626 student visits to school clinics
    • Almost 4,000,000 student meals served through the HCS nutrition department (in school and curbside)
    • 24,176 food resources from Operation Lunchbox for identified students beyond the school day
    • 14,257 Social Work Family Contacts
    • 2,724 Social Work Individual Counseling Sessions
    • 1,059 suicide prevention assessments by SSWs and Counselors
    • 600 Social Work home visits

    The board members were thankful to hear of the impact and support provided through everyone’s focused efforts, including the additional support from the Mental Health & Wellness Department and its facilitators in schools.

    “I know that there is a commitment amongst my colleagues here (to supporting our mental health and wellness facilitators), but I don’t want us to forget the importance and stress the importance of our mental health and wellness facilitators and what they are doing for our scholars and those teachers who may just need someone to talk to,” stated Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 2). “We all need someone to lean on and we must remember the importance of what they are doing.”

    “The mental health and wellness facilitators are doing an excellent job,” added Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5). “I would like to continue to see their work in this system even when the ESSER funds run out. Somehow or another, we need to make sure we continue to find funding for the mental health and wellness facilitators because they are very important.”

    • Core Business of Student Learning – Annual School Preparations

    Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum provided a report to the board centered on wrapping up the current school year, summer planning and learning, and the 2022-2023 School Year Be Ready Day 1 campaign.

    As the final quarter of the school year begins, district and school leaders have been continuously analyzing student progress/achievement data to prepare for any necessary summer learning and credit recovery efforts to support students in need. Some of the identified learning loss can be attributed to the past couple of years of COVID-19 and its impact in our schools.

    Mr. Shrum was able to feature three academic areas, in particular, that the district is closely monitoring, including reading, math, and graduation rates. As seen in the chart, progress in these areas is back to or close to the pre-pandemic levels the district achieved. Additionally, it was pointed out that proactive work is being done to ensure that those students who have been identified to be somewhat off track to graduate have the opportunity for intervention now, as well as access to regulation-informed grade repair, and credit or course recovery. These efforts will also inform and advance advisement and grad-coaching for the support teams at our high schools.

    To continue to shrink any learning gaps developed in relation to pandemic instruction and support students who need enhanced intervention, district leaders have worked diligently to develop a robust summer learning program. There will be summer bridge programs at all elementary schools, support for rising 9th-graders as they prepare for high school math courses, STEM camp, and opportunities for high school students as it pertains to grade repair, credit recovery. Additionally, qualifying ESE students will have the chance for extended school year to help minimize skill regression.

     

    And back again will be the district’s Never Stop Learning online resource for students looking to continue to learn independently throughout the summer.

    In addition to the work being done to support students, there is ample professional development being provided to support teachers and leaders in our schools. As seen in the accompanying chart, there are several opportunities to prepare to be the best educator for our students in the school year ahead.

    Mr. Shrum was also able to segue into how families would soon be able to prepare for the first day of school next year, including registration for new students, updating/completing the information update for returning students, and signing up for important district offerings like transportation, school nutrition, and the afterschool enrichment program. One important note that was highlighted for the coming school year is the discontinuation by the federal government of the no-cost school meals for all families. The federal government provided free meals to every student who wanted one due to the impacts of the pandemic, but they will now re-implement the Free & Reduced Meal Program for students and families who qualify.

     

    And with regards to transportation, Here Comes the Bus will once again be spotlighted for families utilizing district transportation. This key tool is an easy-to-use app that will keep families informed about where their child’s bus is in the mornings and afternoons.

    Mr. Shrum also reported on the staffing preparation success for the coming school year, including an important statistic that 96 percent of all contracts issued in February have been signed to ensure a strong workforce to start the year. Recruitment and staffing efforts will continue to find the best teachers and employees to ensure an exceptional learning experience for all students and families in the district.

    And finally, it was shared that the district will be updating all 1-to-1 learning devices for students in the first month back for the new school year. This device refresh was supported thanks to the E-SPLOST 6 that was passed in the spring of 2021.

    • Core Business of Student Learning – Code of Conduct Annual Review Process

    Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum also had the opportunity to update the board on the Code of Conduct review process. He started by highlighting the efforts taken and achieved over the past few years to bring clarity, consistency, and improved effectiveness to the code of conduct, language to ensure vaping was addressed in our schools, minimum and maximum consequence alignment based on the infraction and divided by level for age-appropriate consequences, and minimal revisions to the code of conduct that included language to curb disruption of a virtual classroom.

     

    His report also featured the review process phases that are undertaken to include the community voices from stakeholders both inside and outside of our school buildings.

    There are minimal adjustments proposed for the coming school year. These proposed adjustments and the entire Code of Conduct will be out for public review and comment. The proposed adjustments are inclusive of:

    • Adding expectations and consequences related to the filming and posting of images without the permission of the depicted
    • Adding expectations and consequences related to the behaviors preceding fights
    • Additions as cited in the shared complete Code of Conduct draft

    To see these and the area to provide comments, click here.

    • Ensuring Operational Effectiveness – FY23 Budget Outlook

    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay provided a report on the FY23 budget overview just one month ahead of the anticipated tentative budget presentation in April.

     

    The process of approving the Henry County Schools budget – one of the key functions of the board of education – started back in December, according to Mrs. Clay, and has since included the sharing of board member funding priorities. As a part of these priorities was the common sentiment amongst the governance team to support competitive investments in employee compensation and Strategic Plan-aligned action items.

    Key to the report was the opportunity to update the board on the key funding mechanisms, including all the areas from which revenues are generated – the state government and the local tax digest being the two largest areas.

    Both state and local funding are showing favorable projects for our school district, which is important to ensure that the district can present a balanced budget inclusive of all priorities and aligned to the community-inspired strategic plan. Mrs. Clay highlighted some of Superintendent Davis’ upcoming recommendations for compensation enhancements across the district:

    • Incorporation of the governor and state legislature’s $2,000 teacher salary scale increase.
    • Updates to the teacher salary schedule – increase pay (8 percent), extend the schedule to 23 max years, and support annual monetary increases when steps are earned.
    • Updates to the paraprofessional salary schedule – increase pay (8 percent), extend the schedule to 23 max years, and support annual monetary increases when steps are earned.
    • Updates to all salary schedules, including a one percent scale increase for classified and administrative scales not specifically targeted through the preliminary insights of the compensation study.

    In total, the current overview of budgetary considerations points to a general fund budget nearing $435 million. Overall, 97 percent of the funds allocated would support teaching, learning environment maintenance, and direct student services.

    Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4) shared her appreciation for the work that goes into this process and the district’s focus on alignment with the community-inspired strategic plan.

    “The strategic plan is the voice of our community, and they asked us to prioritize the items in the budget,” said Pope. “I’m really grateful these items are being spelled out and that there are dollars being recommended to address these things because this is how we ensure that the educational experience for our students continues to improve.”

    The board will consider all information as it works to inform the FY23 budget prior to adopting a tentative and final budget in April and May, respectively.

    • Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    • GSBA Delegate Assembly Representative – The board unanimously approved Dist. 2 Board Member Makenzie McDaniel to be the Henry County Board of Education representative to the GSBA Delegate Assembly this summer.
    • Ricoh Copier Lease Renewal – The board unanimously approved the apparent low bidder of Ray & Son Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. for the HVAC Modifications (Bi-Pola Ionization). The funding will come from ESSER II funding. Total costs - $1,117,995.84.
    • Data Center Virtual Environment Refresh – The board unanimously approved the refresh of the data center supporting our district's computer network. It is made up of both physical hardware and a virtualized server environment. Total costs - $3,278,732.77.
    • HVAC Installation for Henry County Schools Elementary School Gym Buildings Bid Tabulation – The board unanimously approved the apparent low bidder of MEJA Construction for the HVAC installation in elementary school gyms. Total costs - $4,582,000.

     

    • Leadership on the Move

    Name

    New Position/Location

    Former Position/Location

    Yuanita Gilbert

    Onboarding Facilitator – HR

     

    Shannon Hammonds

    ESE Coordinator – Family & Student Support Services

     

    Kirk Shrum

    Superintendent – Visalia (CA) Unified School District

    Chief School Leadership Officer/strong>

     

    • Awards and Recognition
    1. Bus Safety Poster Contest
    2. STAR Students & Teachers
    3. Young Georgia Authors Competition
    4. All-State Art
    5. All-State Band, Orchestra, and Chorus
    6. School Board Appreciation Week

     

    • Henry County High Points

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1

    • Dr. Nutt started by recognizing the Luella High School girls basketball team for their state runner-up finish and the McDonough High School boys basketball team for their Final Four appearance. She also congratulated the Unity Grove Elementary reading bowl team on their performance in the Helen Ruffing Reading Bowl. Rock Spring Elementary was featured for their VEX IQ team’s 2nd place finish in the state competition. And she rounded out her highlights by celebrating the McDonough High School orienteering team and their many accomplishments.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2

    • Mr. McDaniel started his comments by congratulating the Luella High School girls basketball team for their state runner-up finish. Paige Lyons from Dutchtown High School was honored for being named the AAAAA – Region 5 girls basketball player of the year and nominated to be a McDonald’s All-American. Chris Matthews from Luella Middle School for receiving the 2022 Prudential Visionary Award. Dutchtown High School’s reading bowl team was congratulated for their recent competition performance. Several students were congratulated on their recent acceptance of scholarship offers to play sports at the next level. Hampton Middle School students Aiden Lewis and Juan Hawthorne for state wrestling performances. Ashley Lott (athletic director) and Reuben Johnson (student-athlete) from Hampton High School were celebrated for recent regional recognitions. Dwight Johnson, Jr. was recognized for being named a finalist for Georgia High School Man of the Year. He thanked Henry County Sheriff Scandrett for visiting Pate’s Creek Elementary and visiting with students. He noted the importance of this month being Women’s History Month and celebrating the many accomplishments of women locally, nationally, and globally.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3

    • Mrs. Cobb started by congratulating Wonuola Abiodun (senior from Union Grove HS) and her teacher Amanda McClure for being named the county STAR Student and Teacher. The Ola HS wrestling team was featured for their 3rd place finish at the AAAAA State Duals Meet. Ola HS students Jackson Cannon and Chase Fowler were also featured for their nomination to the AAAAA All-State Football team. Ola Middle School’s Vex IQ team was celebrated for their Excellence Award at the recent state championships, and they will now get the opportunity to compete in the world championships in May.

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4

    • Mrs. Pope started by congratulating the state wrestling champs from Ola High School – Reese Jones and Gavin Hayes, while also recognizing Carson Schmitt from Ola High School for being the Georgia TSA Vice President. East Lake Elementary’s reading bowl team was celebrated for their 1st place finish in the HCS Helen Ruffing Reading Bowl. Thinudi Wickramage and Attlie Davis were featured for earning 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the Young Georgia Authors Competition for their grade levels. She thanked Kirk Shrum for his work in our district.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5

    • Mrs. Edwards began by recognizing the Woodland High School boys basketball team for making it to the state basketball tournament’s Elite Eight, as well as the many student-athletes from the school who earned/signed scholarships to play at the next level. She also thanked the schools she was able to read at as a part of Read Across Henry/America Day – Red Oak and Cotton Indian Elementary. She rounded out her comments by congratulating all the ESPY winners in the district.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent

    • Supt. Davis recognized the Luella High School girls (AAAA) and Eagle’s Landing High School (AAAAA) boys basketball teams for their state runner-up finishes. She then welcomed all the new team members to the district. She congratulated Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum on his recent appointment as a superintendent in California and thanked him for his work in Henry County Schools. She celebrated the opportunity to participate in Read Across Henry/America Day and STEM Across Henry Day. She concluded her remarks by sharing her appreciation for and honoring the board as a part of School Board Appreciation Week.

     

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - February 14, 2022

    Posted by JD Hardin on 2/22/2022

    Highlights – 2-14-22

    • Celebrating Black History Month


    Henry County Schools is celebrating Black History Month in 2022 by joining the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s national theme of Black Health & Wellness in recognizing the many contributions by African Americans here locally in our community!  Throughout the month, the district website and social media accounts are providing introductions to remarkable individuals who have or plan to make health and wellness their career focus.  Celebrating the past, present, and future means spotlighting an exceptional group of dedicated themselves to helping others.  Find out more about these impactful individuals by clicking here.

    • Strategic Plan – Counseling, Advisement, and College & Career Readiness Update

    Chief Family & Student Support Services Officer Dr. April Madden provided a report on updates regarding the Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, known as Henry Futures.  The presentation also coincided with the recently celebrated National School Counselors Week and the focus given to school counselors and their impact in Henry County Schools.


    As a part of Strategic Action 4 which focuses on advancing student and employee health, wellness, and support structures, there is an initiative focused on establishing a comprehensive school-wide counseling, academic and career coaching and advisement program. 

    Dr. Madden began by reviewing previous counseling structures that existed in various levels across the district, and how the services provided were not done so with a systemic model.  National standards were present, but practices varied across the district due to district resources not being fully developed.

    As it pertained to college and career readiness activities, the available resources used to prepare students and gauge readiness were time-consuming and not accessible enough for district/school personnel or families to dive deeper into the results to better prepare students.  The district moved to eliminate these hurdles and make connections with students and families more efficient and effective in order to help provide a clearer picture of their paths toward college and/or a career.

    In order to accomplish this, the district has now developed a school counseling framework that reflects a comprehensive approach to program foundation, delivery, development, management, and accountability.  And according to Dr. Madden, “The model is a blueprint that will help school counselors continue to build on their work prior to and during the pandemic of shifting from service-centered for some students to program-centered for every student.  The model answers not only the question ‘What do school counselors do?’ but more importantly, ‘How are students different as a result of what counselors do?’ This model will ensure that advocacy, leadership, and systemic change are evident throughout the program.”

    Dr. Madden also pointed to the recent investment in the platform called Naviance which will allow the district to connect students to a one-stop shop for college and career readiness tools and align their interests with future plans starting in elementary school through post-secondary. Parents and school counselors will have access to view information and analyze data more intentionally.

    The report was rounded out by featuring the next phase of development for Henry Futures, which will allow the district to continue to track alumni through their post-secondary plans, ensure all 11th and 12th-grade students have a plan for graduation, all 6th-12th grade students are not only meeting Bridge Bill Requirements but are engaged in planning their futures with family partnerships, that are aligned to their interests, we will be able to utilize the curriculum provided in the system as well as house scholarships and college acceptances.

    Board members were glad to be able to hear of the progress while sharing their thanks and appreciation for the work performed by counselors across the district.

    Board Member Dr. Pam Nutt (Dist. 1) started by acknowledging the huge impact counselors play in the success of our students.  “Counselors are stretched so thin, and anything we can do to lighten the load for them and improve services for children, I’m all for it.”

    Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5) stated, “I want to say thank you, and I am so grateful that we as a board decided to invest in the Henry Futures platform.  The investment should definitely lighten the load of our counselors.”

    Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 2) added, “I know the value of a counselor, the value of a mentor, the value of someone who believes in you when you may not even believe in yourself.  This program is something that is needed, and I am glad the investment is made now.”

    “I cannot wait to see this Henry Futures get started and this comprehensive approach to our counseling program,” shared Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4).  “Our counselors are phenomenal, and this platform will give them more time to do what they love and feel they are called to do with our students.”

    Board Chair Holly Cobb (Dist. 3) echoed her colleagues by stating, “I want to share my heartfelt appreciation for our counselors and the job that they do.”

    • Ensuring Operational Effectiveness – FY23 Budget Outlook

    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay provided a report on the FY23 budget outlook which also included FY22 Mid-Term and FY23 assessments.

    Mrs. Clay started by addressing current legislative activities in Atlanta and their impact on the current fiscal year – FY22 - budget.

    Governor Brian Kemp delivered some big news for education in his State of the State address on January 13.  In his speech, the governor detailed significant recommendations for mid-year adjustments to the FY22 budget which include eliminating the austerity cuts that have been in place and providing a one-time pay supplement for various job families in the education industry.  These recommendations, coupled with a stronger performing local economy and lower spending than projected will result in net gains for the district to in turn support a stronger fund balance or reserve funds.  We will have to await the state legislature taking action on these recommendations before being able to make a recommendation to our board of education to move forward, but if realized, our fiscal outlook could shift in a positive way from having to use federal funds to balance our budget to using the state adjustments to fully provide the one-time pay supplement at the top level for all full-time employees in the district.


    Moving forward to address the FY23 budget outlook, Mrs. Clay started by noting several trends related to state funding and requirements of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).  There are modest increases to the proposed budget when compared year-to-year, state austerity cuts are proposed to be eliminated, and the local economy is performing at a strong clip.  However, increases to a school district’s TRS contribution, compensation increases on the state salary scale, a decrease in funds received from the equalization grant, and an increase to the contribution required for the local five mill share will impact the revenue streams and expenditures for the district in the coming school and fiscal year.

    Mrs. Clay also used her report to provide an update on the district’s budget alignment to the five-year strategic plan, and more specifically, she referenced the board-requested compensation and classification study for every single job family, plus athletic, extracurricular, and program-specific supplemental positions to support competitive salary investments in our employees.  The Henry County Board of Education has previously unanimously agreed that advancing compensation and advancing the community-inspired strategic plan this coming year, and in the years to come, is the top investment priority for our district.

    According to Mrs. Clay, the study is ongoing, and preliminary insights guide consideration of urgent investment opportunities in teacher salaries and paraprofessional salaries. Regarding teachers specifically, preliminary market and financial analysis from the study position the Superintendent to bring a recommendation to the board that, if approved by the board in May, would result in an 8% salary increase to the teacher salary schedule for the start of the 2022-2023 school year. 

    The compensation and class study will be conducted in four phases and will set target compensation goals for all job families. With these goals established, a multi-year plan can be designed to ensure progress is achieved towards targets in this budget cycle and those to come. The most significant part of a school systems’ budget is the investments made in personnel and we know that our system’s ability to attract and retain the best talent in the profession is key to advancing opportunities, access, and outcomes for students.

    The board will consider all information as it works to inform the FY23 budget prior to adopting a tentative and final budget in April and May, respectively.

     

    • Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    • Fairview Elementary – Exterior Modifications Bid Tabulation – The board unanimously approved the apparent low bidder of Sunbelt Builders for the E-SPLOST VI exterior modifications to Fairview Elementary. The work consists of demolition activities to remove the existing front canopies, walkways, landscaping, and utilities across the front of the existing building, then building a new front canopy and walkway plaza along with a new gas line and storm drain system. Total costs - $2,593,000.
    • HVAC Modifications (Bi-Polar Ionization) Bid Tabulation – The board unanimously approved the apparent low bidder of Ray & Son Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. for the HVAC Modifications (Bi-Pola Ionization). The funding will come from ESSER II funding.  Total costs - $577,237. 
    • Renewal of Enterprise License Agreement for Network Security Tools and Services – The board unanimously approved Cisco’s security enterprise License agreement renewal, which provides for the district’s suite of security management tools for network monitoring, protection, and endpoint security. Costs are covered under E-SPLOST V & VI funding. Total costs - $3,616,289.58.
    • Renewal of Student Information System Software – The board unanimously approved the Information Services Division’s request for the annual renewal of the HCS Student Information and parent portal system. Infinite Campus is the current provider of our Student Information and parent portal software system.  This platform is the district’s primary system for the management of student data including grading, transcripts, scheduling, behavior, and attendance.  Funding for the system software is covered under the General Fund expenditures.  Total costs - $150,736.75.
    • 2023-24 and 2024-25 School Year Calendars Approved – The board unanimously approved the proposed calendars for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school year calendars with amendments made to remove the parent-teacher conference days in October on both calendars. The calendars can be found by clicking here.

     

     

    • Leadership on the Move

    Name

    New Position/Location

    Dr. Duke Bradley III

    Chief of Staff – District Office

    Nicholas Schmenk

    Director of Facilities

    Clinton Ward

    Principal – Hampton High School

     

    • Awards and Recognition
    1. Athletics

     

    • Volleyball Players of the Year:

    Region 5-4A-Marianna Morris – Hampton High School

    Region 4-5A-Gabrielle Jones – Eagle’s Landing High School

    • Volleyball Region Coach of the Year:

    Region 5-4A-Amy Washington – Hampton High School

    Region 4-5A-Joel Kellogg – Eagle’s Landing High School

    • Softball Players of the Year:

    Region 5-4A-Tyler Ellison – Hampton High School

    Region 4-5A-Jasmin Stewart – Ola High School

    Region 4-5A-Skylar Elkins – Locust Grove High School

    • Cross Country Runners of the Year:

    Region 5-4A-Ethan Sanders – Luella High School

    Region 4-5A-Daniel Townsend – Locust Grove High School

    Region 4-5A-Gabby Parsons – Union Grove High School

    • Region 4-5A Cross Country Coaches of the Year:

    Girls Cross Country-Eric Daugherty – Union Grove High School

    Boys Cross Country-Dale Smith – Locust Grove High School

    • Football Players/Coach of the Year:

    Region 5-4A defensive player of the year: Isaiah Mitchell – Luella High School

    Region 5-4A special teams player of the year: Garrison Rippa – Luella High School

    Region 4-5A Defensive player of the year: Dwight Johnson Jr – Dutchtown HS

    Region 4-5A C0-Special Teams Player of the Year Chase Folser – Ola High School

    • Area Girls Flag Football Player of the Year:

    Lily Goldsmith – Luella High School

    • Girls Flag Football Co-Coaches of the Year:

    Lorenzo Bryson – McDonough High School

    Jaime Henck – Luella High School

    • Cheerleading Coach of the Year

    Region 4-5A-Shaunte Strong – ELH

     

    1. VEX State Championships

     

    VEX IQ Team members are:

    Nate Anderson

    Madison Bartlett

    Katelyn Dobbs

    Gracie Jenkins

    Delaney Jones

    Lucas Lanham

    Penny Peterson

    Nathan Schmitt

    Jackson Williamson

    Coach Christie Schmitt

     

    1. Regional Science & Engineering Fair

     

    Eres (Air – res) David – Eagle’s Landing High

    Garrett Moore, Union Grove High

    Noah Seelhammer – Union Grove High

    Logan Siegel, Ayzsa Wooten, and Nicole Ellis, Locust Grove High

    Kushagr Bhambani and Aryan Patel, Union Grove High

    Cason Allen – Luella High – Cason will also represent Henry County Schools during the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May.

    Shreya Patel – Union Grove High

    Dylan Mingledorff, Union Grove High

     

    1. HCS District Literacy Days Winners
    • Poetry

    Kindergarten: Lincoln Gonzalez, Woodland Elementary

    1st Grade: Jordyn Woodyard, Pate’s Creek Elementary

    2nd Grade: Aeioua Ret, Ola Elementary

    3rd Grade: Manav Rao, Flippen Elementary

    4th Grade: Hanna Daniels, Fairview Elementary

    5th Grade: Mackenzie Mobley, Rocky Creek Elementary

    6th Grade: Brian Leon, Dutchtown Middle

    7th Grade: Chiemezie Ndeke, Dutchtown Middle

    8th Grade: Abigail Barnes, Impact Academy Middle

    • Writing:

    Kindergarten: Penelope Miles, Woodland Elementary

    1st Grade: Logan Hollingsworth, Fairview Elementary

    2nd Grade: Kane Surface, Unity Grove Elementary

    3rd Grade: Lily Reynolds, New Hope Elementary

    4th Grade: Reagan Valentine, Cotton Indian Elementary

    5th Grade: Serenity Willard, Woodland Elementary

    6th Grade: Addison Scarlett, Union Grove Middle

    7th Grade: Bhavi Patel, Impact Academy Middle

    8th Grade: Kennadie Mosley, Eagle’s Landing Middle

    • Drama:

    K-2: Woodland Elementary: Kai Dozier, Ella Cook, Ava James, Carolyn Neal, Wesson Palan, Amelia Patrick, Ryder Polite, Landyn Watt, Lincoln Gonzalez, Penelope Miles

    3-5: Rock Spring Elementary: Ethan Hall, Richard Merion, Gracelynn Holland, Baileigh Bowers, Chana Olden, Addison Phillips, Alex Porter, Charlotte Thomason, Nyla Knight, Destinee Mathis

    6-8: Luella Middle School: Raelon Ray, Kwateas Russell, Kamarih Keel, David Miller, Aryan Shah

     

    1. HCS District Spelling Bee Finalists

     

    3rd place: Gopal Patel, Union Grove Middle

    2nd place: Christian Orelus, Luella Middle

    1st place: Ananya Augustine, Eagle’s Landing Middle

     

    • Henry County High Points

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1

    • Dr. Nutt started by thanking school counselors as a part of national school counselors week, and she noted the importance and celebration of Black History Month. She congratulated winners from her district who won at the Griffin RESA Literacy Days – Lily Reynolds from New Hope Elementary and Ms. Miller’s team from Rock Spring Elementary. She also congratulated Mason Moody and the Locust Grove High School wrestling team for their performance in the Duals Championship.  The McDonough High School art club was noted for its fundraising efforts to support the Haven House in Henry County.  The McDonough High School orienteering team also gained recognition for their #1 ranking.  Luella High School earned congratulations from Dr. Nutt for: John Travis – Economics Teacher of the Year for GA Council of Economic Teachers; boys basketball – 3rd place in AAAA-Region 5; LaToya Brown - girls basketball Region Coach of the Year; Evangelina Davlakou – Region Player of the Year.  She also welcomed Dr. Duke Bradley to the district as the new Chief of Staff.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2

    • McDaniel celebrated counselors for their hard work as a part of national school counselors week, and he also noted the chance to participate in Black History Month activities at Rocky Creek Elementary. He noted the accomplishment of Ashley Lott who was named the AAAA-Region 5 Athletic Director of the Year.  He also featured the accomplishments of the Dutchtown MS 7th-grade girls and 8th-grade boys basketball county championships. The Luella HS boys and girls basketball teams were congratulated for moving on to the state tournament.  Garrison Madden (senior at Dutchtown HS) was featured for being named an All-State linebacker for AAAA-Region 5.  Dutchtown HS’s Braxton Cooley, Adrian Avery, Davarri Barthell, Jeremiah Edwards, Jade Anderson, Taylor Ward, and Morgan Oglesby were all featured for regional athletic honors they received. He closed his remarks by celebrating and honoring Mrs. Edwards for her service to the board, also as a part of Black History Month.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3

    • Cobb started by congratulating Wonuola Abiodun (senior from Union Grove HS) and her teacher Amanda McClure for being named the county STAR Student and Teacher. The Ola HS wrestling team was featured for their 3rd place finish at the AAAAA State Duals Meet.  Ola HS students Jackson Cannon and Chase Fowler were also featured for their nomination to the AAAAA All-State Football team.  Ola Middle School’s Vex IQ team was celebrated for their Excellence Award at the recent state championships, and they will now get the opportunity to compete in the world championships in May. 

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4

    • Pope started by congratulating Coach Shaunte Strong from Eagle’s Landing HS for being named AAAAA-Region 4 Coach of the Year and the Eagle’s Landing MS 8th -grade girls basketball team for winning the county championship. She also noted the achievements of several students and schools from her district as a part of the Griffin RESA Literacy Days.  A special feature was given to Wonuola Abiodun (senior from Union Grove HS) and her teacher Amanda McClure for being named the county STAR Student and Teacher.  She praised all school counselors and thanked them as a part of national school counselor week.  She noted the performance of Cotton Indian Elementary’s students in Aladdin.  She closed her remarks by celebrating and recognizing Black History Month, especially the feature here in Henry County Schools.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5

    • Edwards started by celebrating school counselors for national school counselors week and calling special attention to Black History Month. She congratulated Dwight Johnson (junior at Dutchtown HS) for his nomination to the AAAAA Georgia High School All-State Football team.  She also congratulated Woodland MS’s 7th-grade boys basketball team for winning the county championship.  Dutchtown MS was celebrated for winning the Henry County Water Authority’s Water Tower competition.  Hanna Daniels (4th-grader at Fairview Elementary) was congratulated for her outstanding performance at the Griffin RESA Literacy Days competition.  She closed her remarks by featuring the recent “How To Do Business” seminar hosted by the district’s Finance Division.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent

    • Supt. Davis recognized the new members of the district leadership team and other new hires in the district. She also noted that in preparation for next school year, Henry County Schools is beginning to issue certified contracts for next school year in an effort to retain the best professionals in the industry.

     

     

     

     

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - January 10, 2022

    Posted by Sybil Barkley on 1/18/2022 6:00:00 PM

    Highlights – 1-10-22
    - Board Selects Leaders for 2022

    Every new calendar year, the Henry County Board of Education starts their first official meeting by taking formal action to elect their leadership for the coming year. Board members unanimously voted to re-elect both Board Chair Holly Cobb (Dist. 3) and Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5) to their current leadership posts. Congratulations to both board members for their continued leadership roles in the new year!

    - Strategic Plan - Quarter 2 Report
     

    Chief Learning & Performance Officer Melissa Morse provided the 2nd quarter report to the board of education on the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. The scheduled presentation gave Mrs. Morse the opportunity to report on key work that has been undertaken and accomplished around the Student Priority Outcomes and Strategic Actions found within the community-inspired plan.

    As a part of each strategic action, key highlights found in the various phases of implementation were noted. While not an exhaustive list of the work underway, focus was given to items with large impacts and substantial progress made as a part of the focus during these first couple of years of the five-year plan. Part of the sharing of the strategic plan report updated the board on the district’s efforts to keep the community aware and involved through a series of meetings and presentations throughout Henry County.

    To review the highlights of the 2nd quarter, visit www.InPursuitOfExceptional.com and look for the Quarterly Reports navigation link on the left side of the page.

    At the conclusion of the report, Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4) added, “In all of my conversations with schools councils and community groups that I have had the privilege of speaking with about our strategic plan, this has come up that people are grateful that we listened to their voice to create the plan and that we are bringing it back to them regularly. It says a lot about our commitment to being sure that each one of our students has the opportunities, access, and outcomes we’ve committed to here.”

    Board Chair Holly Cobb (Dist. 3) shared, “It really has been exciting to be a part of the conversations as we relaunch our strategic plan out in the community, and I agree that there has been a lot of excitement and lots of people coming up to us after we have presented, asking great questions, so excited about the opportunities that our students and staff are going to have because of this plan.”

    - Be Ready Day 1 - 2022 Work is Underway
    Work is underway for the preparation of the 2022-23 school year as reported to the board by Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum.  Be Ready Day 1 is the district’s collective effort to ensure that all operations are ready to ensure the best start to the school year for families, students, and staff.

    Mr. Shrum’s report touched on the comprehensive work undertaken all across the district, starting with ensuring that the district has appropriately allocated staff members to support the enrollment projections while also recruiting new employees to identified staffing needs both in classrooms and critical operational support areas.

    Operational areas receiving more detailed explanations of current preparations included transportation, afterschool care, technology, and facilities and maintenance.  From preparing transportation routes to ensuring high-quality afterschool enrichment and learning opportunities to preparing for our essential technology and safety needs, teams are engaged in early discussions to allow for a smooth start back to school in August of 2022.

    School leaders also have the important planning and preparation for scheduling in their buildings and the further implementation of the district’s new five-year strategic plan.  Supporting schools and the staff members on all campuses requires a strong commitment to professional development, too.  Summer learning and professional development days are also a part of the preparation.

    Additionally, Mr. Shrum was able to hone in on the district’s coordinated efforts to streamline the return to school process, including registration for school, transportation, school nutrition, and other needs.  The move to a centralized, online, paperless process has maximized efficiency to ensure a quicker turnaround time for families to accomplish all the necessary/required documentation.

    Lastly, the announcement of early offering of contracts to employees to secure our highly qualified workforce for the coming year was highlighted.  Henry County Schools boasts a retention rate of employees of well over 90 percent, and the early offering of contracts helps to show our employees their value in our district.


    Operational Effectiveness
    FY23 Budget Priorities 

    on the budget priorities as the beginning of the FY23 budget development season begins.

    Mrs. Clay shared with the board in the previous month’s presentation key information and drivers of the budget cycle, including the funding sources upon which our district depends.  Her report to the board in January laid out a list of priorities that will be closely aligned to the district’s new five-year strategic plan as the FY23 budget is crafted.

    The board has routinely approved a balanced budget each year which prioritizes student learning and places strong value on the district’s employees responsible for ensuring a high-quality education. 

    To support the board’s core belief and commitment number four which focuses on effective teachers, leaders, and staff producing excellent results, there has been a strong desire by board members to continue to invest in salaries and benefits for employees.  The district has launched a compensation and classification study as called for in the strategic plan, and the results of this study will be critical to help the board continue to adjust its efforts to attract and retain the most qualified staff for the success of our students and the district overall.

    The second area of budget priorities presented by Mrs. Clay focused on the strategic investments detailed in year two of the five-year strategic plan.  Each strategic action contains items that will require significant investments to continue the work of our district’s pursuit of exceptional as heard from and shared by our community.  Key investments for this second year of the strategic plan are estimated at $15.2 million and include items such as:

    • supporting the addition of school-based staff to advance learning and experiences in targeted areas such as computer science and chorus,
    • strengthening our district’s translation capability for our diverse and growing community,
    • installing single-point access systems at all schools,
    • modernizing our business management and energy management systems, and
    • investing in performance and accountability reporting systems.

     

    The board was presented with an FY23 budget timeline that includes the FY23 Budget Outlook in February, followed by an overview in March, tentative budget adoption in April, and final budget adoption in May.

    Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 5) stated, “I’m looking forward to the compensation study as well. We want to see what it looks like in making sure that every job family is included in that compensation study.  I’m excited.”


    Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    • Acquisition of Devices for Students and Staff Including Related Warranties and Services – The board unanimously approved the request for purchase to facilitate the replacement of student and teacher devices that will be out of service warranty at the end of the fiscal year. Their action also secured technical support and services for this process.  The total cost of the investment is $39 million and is covered through E-SPLOST 6 funding approved by the voters of Henry County.
    • Grade 3-5 Robotics Equipment – The board approved the district to acquire robotics equipment for each elementary school for grades 3-5. The funding will come from community-approved E-SPLOST 6 funds.  The total investment is not to exceed $123,000. 
    • Reading and Writing Resource Acquisition – The board unanimously approved the purchase of K-5 core reading and writing resource, a 6-12 supplemental writing program, as well as a supplemental tool for assessing and supporting student reading in grades K-2 from Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt (HMH). The funding of these resources comes from ESSER 3 funding and totals $3.7 million.
    • HCBOE Policy JAA: Equal Educational Opportunities – The board unanimously approved the conforming change to the policy as presented during the December Study Session.
    • Security Access Control Bid – The board unanimously approved the bid of Place Services Inc./AdaptToSolve, Inc. to provide security access control at all of the schools in the district. The total cost, paid for through the community-approved E-SPLOST 6 referendum, is $5.6 million.
    • Walk-In Freezer for Distribution Center Bid – The board unanimously approved the bid of Mobile Fixture to provide a walk-in freezer at the new distribution center. The total cost, paid for through general funds designated for school nutrition, is $123,959.94.
    • STEM School Site Selection – The board unanimously approved the selection of the current Patrick Henry High School facility as the new home site for the districtwide STEM high school approved for construction through the community-approved E-SPLOST 6 referendum.

     

     Leaders on the Move

     Name

     New Position/Location

     Former Position/Location

     Melissa Morse

     Retirement (June 2022)

     Chief Learning & Performance Officer

     Emory Arnold

     Assistant Principal – Eagle’s Landing HS 

       

    Kwanza Lippitt

    Coordinator of Interventions

     

    Michael Wright

    Assistant Principal – Oakland Elementary

     

    Amy Zahn

    Coordinator of Elementary Programs

     


    Awards and Recognition

    1. N/a

       

     


    Henry County High Point

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1

    • Nutt shared thanks to the following coaches from McDonough High School who volunteered their time to coach selected seniors in the 2021 Senior Bowl presented by the Minority Coaches of Georgia. Coach Rodney Cofield (Head Coach), Coach Maddox, Coach Andrews, Coach Turner, Coach Tralik Cofield, and Coach Cottman.  The Luella High School Girls Basketball team was featured for being currently ranked #1 in AAAA Region.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2

    • McDaniel noted that the Luella High School Girls Basketball team is currently ranked #1 in AAAA Region 4. Thanks were shared to Coach Coleman and Coach Lakes from Luella High, for volunteering their time to coach players in the 2021 Senior Bowl presented by the Minority Coaches of Georgia. The Robotics Team from Bethlehem Elementary was congratulated for earning the Core Values Award and Robot Design Award. They will compete in Super Regionals later this month.  The Hampton High School wrestling team was highlighted for winning the AAAA Region 5 Duals wrestling champion. Thanks were given to the Free Wishes Foundation for support of HCS families during the holiday season.  Isaiah Mitchell, a football player from Luella High School, was featured for being the region defensive player of the year and being recognized by the AJC.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3

    • Cobb started by recognizing Shaquille O-Neal who brought his Shaq-A-Claus to approximately 500 students from Wesley Lakes Elementary. Shaq and multiple community partners gave students toys, clothing, gift cards, and provided lunch. Representatives from the Henry County Sheriff’s Department helped Shaq distribute gifts. The Rock Spring Elementary BETA Club was featured for competing in the State Beta Club Convention in Savannah, Georgia. Students brought home multiple awards in various categories including 1st place in Creative Writing, and 2nd place in Performing Arts Solo. In addition, the Rock Spring Elementary Vex Team 5713R competed in a VEX IQ Robotics Competition. They finished the competition in third place overall. A thank you was given to Coach Leland from Ola High for volunteering his time to coach in the 2021 Senior Bowl presented by the Minority Coaches of Georgia.

     

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4

    • Pope started her remarks by wishing everyone a happy new year. The Eagle’s Landing High School Boys Basketball team is currently ranked #1 in AAAAA Region 5. Thanks were given to Coaches Brown, Williams, and Frazier from Eagle’s Landing High for volunteering their time to coach at the 2021 Senior Bowl presented by the Minority Coaches of Georgia. Congratulations were given to Woodland High School Band Director,  Jon Carmack, he was one of four Georgia band directors selected to march in the Rose Bowl Parade in a Salute to America’s Band Directors.  She also noted the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

     

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5

    • Edwards shared thanks to Stockbridge City Councilman Thomas along with community partners for distributing smoke detectors to the families at Smith-Barnes Elementary. A special thank you was given to Representative Sandra Scott for coordinating the donation of hygiene supplies for our schools. Woodland High School Band Director, Jon Carmack, was congratulated for being one of four Georgia band directors selected to march in the Rose Bowl Parade in a Salute to America’s Band Directors.

     

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent

    • Davis wished everyone a happy new year celebrated Will Anderson Jr., a Dutchtown High School alum and current Alabama Crimson Tide football player for his performance in the NCAA Football National Championship. She welcomed new leaders to the organization, recognized the announced retirement of Chief Learning & Performance Officer Melissa Morse, and thanked Assistant Superintendent Dr. Greg Benton for supporting the work of the board to highlight its place among the best boards in the state.  Supt. Davis also recognized the many contributions of outgoing Chief Human Resources Officer Valerie Suessmith and thanked her for her years of service to the district.

     

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - December 13, 2021

    Posted by Sybil Barkley on 12/17/2021 2:00:00 PM

    Highlights – 12-13-21
    Exemplar Board – State Conference Wrap-Up

    Each December, the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) and Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) hold their fall conference in Atlanta. It is during this professional learning and development conference that board members from all of the state get the opportunity to engage with industry leaders and peers around important topics in education. State and national speakers attend the conference to inspire and inform, and even some school boards get the chance to present to their peers. The 2021 fall conference marked the second conference in three years that the Henry County Board of Education was chosen as a presenter for conference attendees. 

    With all that has been experienced and learned through the ongoing pandemic, one important topic for school districts is addressing literacy and learning loss. Board Chair Holly Cobb and Vice-Chair Annette Edwards presented in front of a group of over 60 individuals interested in Henry County Schools’ approach and success to this important topic. The hour-long presentation detailed the collaboration, planning, and coordination to support student success and detail the growth achieved relative to student peers from across the nation. Both board members, Superintendent Davis, and Dist. 4 Board Member Sophe Pope were available to answer the various questions from audience members.

    In addition to being able to present at the conference, the Henry County Board of Education was recognized on multiple days of the event for several honors and awards. The board was named a Large System Governance Team of the Year Finalist for the second year in a row, designated as an Exemplary Board of Education for the second year in a row, and earned their second Leading Edge Award which recognized the district’s efforts around Teaching and Learning for work on HenryConnects.
    Board Awards

    2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan
    School Safety & Student Well-Being Update
    Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum and Chief Family & Student Support Services Officer Dr. April Madden reported to the board important updates on school safety and the well-being of students in the district. Providing a reminder of the board’s ongoing work to provide a safe learning environment, Mr. Shrum reflected on the work that has been accomplished over the past several years through community partnerships and collaborations to help bolster safety and security measures in district school buildings. Dating back to the Parkland High School shooting in the winter of 2017, the community has been engaged in multiple conversations to partner to provide awareness and support to important efforts to ensure our students and staff have the most safe and secure learning environments possible. Those conversations included no-cost commitments, no-cost enhancements, and investments that needed to be made to enhance district safety measures, and since those initial discussions, much has been put into action.

    And most recently, district officials once again engaged community members to allow opportunities to hear their voices as well as provide unique perspectives and insight from school and district leaders, as well as law enforcement officials. Important issues covered during these community conversations included COVID-19, social media dangers, and other safety and security topics. You can view a quick video recap of the events held in McDonough and Fairview by clicking here.

    Feedback garnered from community participants was once again broken down into solutions requiring monetary investments and no-cost investments.

    Dr. Madden continued the report to note the board’s work to support student well-being through connectivity and positive relationships. The CARE Teams in each school were held up as an effort in our district that has garnered positive attention from around the nation. CARE stands for Caring Adult Responding Every day, and it includes the guidance and participation by staff members who are led by the newly installed mental health and wellness facilitators at each school.

    The new position of the mental health and wellness facilitator that was approved by the board for each school has had a huge impact on this school year so far. Nearly 12,000 students and 4,000 employees have received important support from these key supports.
    The consistent outreach by the CARE Team has resulted in greater connectivity and a desire by students to want to be in school. The attendance rate, even during the stressors of the pandemic, has been over 90 percent. This important investment by the board is paying off in the positive support and impact on students and staff.

    Board members shared their thoughts on the information provided and some of their recent investments to impact on the district.

    “The information shared today speaks to why we invested in the mental health and wellness facilitators,” stated Board Member Makenzie McDaniel (Dist. 2). “They are helping to save lives and reduce stress for students and staff.”

    “I’m super grateful that this board of education approved the Henry Cares check-ins platform, as well as those mental health and wellness facilitators,” stated Board Member Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “Also, I was a part of the community conversations that took place right after the Parkland shooting, and the checkmarks that you see on this list of investments give me great confidence that the community concerns that were brought forth this last time, will be addressed in the same way.” 
    Community Safety

    2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan
    Policy JAA – Equal Educational Opportunities - Update
    Executive Director of Legal Compliance Erica Harrison Arnold provided an update to an existing board policy through her report to the board. The update was given to show the new alignments to federal statutes.

    The update to this policy reflects where in U.S. law students and families may find the various sources of authority on which the policy is based. Textual citations were added to the United States Code sections where the underlying laws are found, as required by the new Presidential Administration. While the update is a conforming change, Mrs. Harrison Arnold noted the board’s desire for continuous improvement in Henry’s Plan of Action as reasoning for featuring the update.

    According to Mrs. Harrison Arnold’s report, policy JAA – specifically – is the vehicle for the district to hear about any area where parents may have concerns about their student’s ability to access their learning based on who the child is. She also articulated that if any barriers exist to learning, district officials want to be made aware and have the opportunity to address them.

    The policy updates will be out for public review and comment before the board is to take action to approve them during the January 2022 board meeting.

    Operational Effectiveness
    FY23 Budget Development Cycle and Calendar 
    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay provided a report to the board on the development of the FY23 budget development cycle and accompanying calendar. Her report focused on reminders of the important processes in place to cover budget setting for the general fund, special revenue fund, capital projects fund, and debt services fund.

    Development of the annual budget is dependent on various sources which contribute to the revenue streams the district must rely on to present a balanced budget.

    The board was briefed on the timeline that many of these revenue sources are presented or updated in addition to key updates usually experienced around any impacts legislative activities at the state, local and federal level may have on the funds received.

    Equipped with clearer pictures of revenue support, the district is then able to review all expenditure and budgetary priorities which help to shape the final budget recommendations. The focus of one of the board’s three main priorities as a governing body is the balancing of a budget centered on student growth and achievement and support for the personnel responsible for providing an exceptional education to our students and families.

    The budget development has many key inputs for expenditure considerations that must align with the district’s new five-year, community-inspired strategic plan. This plan is the driver of all work in the district, and financial support and prioritization of key initiatives (including the general operation requirements and growth) remain crucial to all budget proposals.

    As presented, Mrs. Clay will provide a budget outlook in February, an overview in March, hold the first budget hearing and presentation of a tentative budget in April, and a final budget for consideration and approval in May.

    The board’s commitment to this important budget-setting process from the boardroom to the classroom helps to maintain the district vision of every student receiving a high-quality, world-class education. Regarding proposed budget workshops, Board Member Dr. Pam Nutt (Dist. 1) shared her appreciation.

    “Thank you for taking the time to do this for us, because I believe a better-informed board can make better decisions together,” stated Nutt.
    2022 Budget Calendar

    Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    2023-24 and 2024-25 Proposed School Calendars – The board received proposals for both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school year calendars. The two calendars are now out for public review and comment before they take action on them during the January 2022 board meeting. The proposed calendars can be found by clicking here.

    HVAC Modifications Bid Tabulation – Bid tabulations were revealed for two HVAC modifications at Austin Road Middle School and Union Grove High School. The modifications require the replacement of cooling towers at each school. The contracts for the work totaling $449,000 was awarded to Presley, Inc. Funds will be paid for through ESSER II allocations.

    Panola Mountain Greenway Trail Right of Way Acquisition – Phase 1B – On October 9, 2017, Henry County Schools BOE approved Phase 1 Right of Way Acquisition for the Panola Mountain Greenway Trail. On February 8, 2021, Henry County Schools BOE approved a Statement of Support concerning the proposed path of Phase 1B of the project. This final Right of Way Acquisition will be for the previously approved route of trail and termination at the northern parking lot of Austin Road MS. The board unanimously approved the Henry County Department of Transportation’s acquisition request seeking right-of-way for 2.093 acres total concerning the eastern portion of the ARMS/ARES property. The acquisition will earn the district $27,300 for the acreage.

    Resolution to authorize Henry County Schools to develop and implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Henry County Community Partners – The board unanimously approved a resolution for the development and implementation of an MOU with Henry County community partners for establishing the Handle With Care program to support students who have been exposed to trauma.

    Sick Leave Bank Committee 2022 – The board unanimously approved the proposed list of employees for the 2022 Sick Leave Bank Committee.

     Leaders on the Move

     Name

     New Position/Location

     Former Position/Location

     Jamilla Martin

     Assistant Principal – Dutchtown High School

      --

     Barry Mile

     Executive Director – Facilities & Maintenance

      Director – Maintenance


    Awards and Recognition

    1. Athletics – Academic Cup
    UGHS

    2. Model Water Town Competition
    WT 1st place  WT 2nd Place  Judges ChoiceWT 3rd place    WT Most Artistic

    3. Board of Education – Governance Team of the Year Finalist, Exemplary Board, Leading Edge Award Winner
    BOE Awards


    Henry County High Point

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1
    Dr. Nutt shared congratulations with the McDonough High School’s girls flag football team for making it to the Elite 8 of the state playoffs. Luella High School’s football team was congratulated for making it to the 2nd round of the state playoffs. Luella High School and Ola High School’s competition cheer teams were celebrated for earning spots in the state competition. Gidget Gue, Ola High School’s AD was featured for being named the AAAAA-Region 4 AD of the Year. Ola Elementary’s Junior Beta Club earned top spots in competition at the state competition. Luella Middle School’s school council, parent volunteers, and a local non-profit were featured for coming together to celebrate the school staff. Many schools were also noted for their upcoming band and chorus concerts this month.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2
    Mr. McDaniel congratulated the Luella High School football team for making it to the 2nd round of the state playoffs. Luella High School’s competition cheer team was also celebrated for earning a spot in the state competition. Hampton High School AD Ashley Lott was congratulated for being named the AAAA-Region 5 AD of the Year. Mt. Carmel Elementary’s Junior Beta Club was noted for hosting a schoolwide canned food drive, which collected over 2,500 canned goods to support the Liberty Hill Community Food Pantry. Fabion Vicks, a counselor at Dutchtown Middle School was highlighted for being chosen to present at a national conference in Austin, Texas, in 2022. The Luella High School basketball team was featured for being ranked #1 in AAAA. Many schools were also noted for their upcoming band and chorus concerts this month. He thanked all the teachers and staff for their efforts and wished everyone a happy holiday season.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3
    Mrs. Cobb congratulated the Union Grove High School competition cheer team for making it to the state competition. She also shared congratulations with the IMPACT Academy Beta Club for their showing in the competitions at the state convention. Walnut Creek Elementary students were featured for their canned food drive in support of the Georgia Food and Resource Center. East Lake Elementary and Union Grove High School were noted for their establishment of a Big Brother Big Sister club. Jayda Hendrickson from McDonough High School was noted for earning a $500 scholarship for her participation in the Teen Think Tank Project. Many schools were also noted for their upcoming band and chorus concerts this month. She wished everyone a happy holiday season and Merry Christmas.

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4
    Mrs. Pope started her remarks by congratulating the Eagle’s Landing High School and Woodland High School girls flag football teams for making it to the Sweet 16 of the state playoffs. She also noted that the Woodland Middle School Gentlemen of Quality Club held a Dads and Donuts Drive-Thru event which was well attended. The Woodland Middle School Junior Beta club was also noted for their canned good collection which resulted in over 750 items collected for a local food bank. Kindness of staff members was recognized with the example of the Flippen Elementary AP and coach supporting a peer by changing a flat tire. Many schools were also noted for their upcoming band and chorus concerts this month. She wished everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5
    Mrs. Edwards celebrated the Woodland High School girls flag football team for making it to the Sweet 16 of the state playoffs. She also congratulated former Dutchtown High School and current Alabama football player, Will Anderson Jr. for earning the Nagurski trophy for the best defensive player in college football. The Woodland Elementary Young Men of Distinction was featured for their support of Operation Christmas Tree and Generationz Church to support over 20 families with a Thanksgiving basket. The school’s counseling department also partnered with United Food Force in McDonough to host a canned goods and toy drive in support of 200 families. Many schools were also noted for their upcoming band and chorus concerts this month. She wished everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent
    Supt. Davis celebrated Will Anderson Jr., a Dutchtown High School alum and current Alabama Crimson Tide football player for his performance and accomplishments in the SEC championship game. She noted her appreciation for the board and the extension of their trust in her leadership of the district. She also shared her appreciation for the employees in the district and the work they do to support the best public education right here in Henry County Schools. She closed her remarks by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - November 8, 2021

    Posted by David Burch on 11/30/2021

    November Celebrations
    Celebrating our Veterans and Kindness in November - The month of November gives us the opportunity to reflect on all that we are thankful for around the Thanksgiving holiday. But even before then, there are several celebrations in the month that Henry County Schools gets the opportunity to bring greater appreciation and awareness to. One big week is Kindness Week, the celebration that has been ongoing in the district since 2004. This special week calls for everyone to don the color blue and always look for great ways to show kindness to one another. We also get the chance to recognize our veterans in the county who have served our country. One member of our board of education was recognized during the November board meeting for their service. Dist. 2 Member Mr. Makenzie McDaniel received an ovation for his service as a member of the armed forces. More celebrations this month include American Education Week, School Psychology Week, and Substitute Teacher Day. We appreciate the many people who make Henry County Schools the best district to work and learn!
    November Celebration

    2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan
    Strategic Planning Re-Launch - Community Presentations
    After months of community conversations, idea generation, listening to hopes and dreams, and formulating it all into a community-inspired plan, district leaders have set out to re-engage the community by sharing the five-year strategic plan at schools, community organizations, and government entities.

    Chief of Staff Dr. Carl Knowlton reported before the board on the status of the re-launch of the strategic plan to give the broad overview to school councils and community, government, and business leaders through a series of meetings across the county to end the calendar year. The presentation that is shared with these groups includes a reminder of the journey that has been traveled with their support, the development of the plan, the pause that was experienced to assess the foundation of the district in order to move forward, and the overarching ideas/plans developed through strategic actions, initiatives, and tactics. After the visits accomplished to share overview, additional visits will be scheduled to share with schools about more details for each school as found in the plan.

    To see a small video about the development of the strategic plan, click here.

    Dist. 4 Board Member Sophe Pope added, “It feels full circle to be able to go back to the same people we met with two years ago to show them what their voice has produced. The excitement has been wonderful. I am super grateful for our community in this process.”

    Board Vice-Chair Annette Edwards noted, “There is so much excitement to see that the work is still moving forward with this board for the betterment of the system and the betterment of the students.”
    Strat Plan

    Core Business of Student Learning
    New Regulations Accompany Reform Policies
    Chief Learning & Performance Officer Melissa Morse reported on two new regulations during the Core Business of Student Learning portion of the Study Session’s Informational Items. The two regulations accompany reform policies IFB – Henry’s Plan for Digital Literacy and IFAA – Instructional Materials Selection and Acquisition. The first regulation is IFB-R – Ensuring Effective Use of Instructional Resources, and the second regulations is IFAA-R(2) – Local School Acquisition Process.

    IFAA-R(2) – Local School Acquisition Process
    It was just over two years ago that HCBOE Policy IFAA was adopted with a key focus of answering how to equitably provide resources aligned with standards and stop the use of supplemental resources from being the predominant tool for instruction. As a result of the policy, print and digital resources are outlined for use across all core content areas.

    The new regulation accompanying this policy provides schools with guidance on how to acquire resources, both print and digital, at the local school level and classroom level above and beyond the Board purchased resources. There is now a structured process to acquire digital resources locally in partnership with the district. Costs, compliance with already in-use district systems, and student data privacy are key to this important regulation addition.

    IFB-R – Ensuring Effective Use of Instructional Resources
    This regulation moves away from the spending and acquisition of resources to the proper balance and usage of the resources to ensure student mastery of standards and skills needed for success.

    It starts with direct access to the resources that have been acquired as provided through the robust toolkit known as Henry Connects. This investment in a one-stop-shop and easy-to-find resource repository has put thousands of resources at the fingertips of educators. But also key to this regulation is the attention on balance of digital and print resources. While digital resources proved pivotal during the onset of the pandemic and remote learning, we are now providing on-campus learning to over 90 percent of our student population, and the time is right to re-center our resource utilization with proper balance. The target date for implementation of both regulations is June of 2022.

    Operational Effectiveness
    How To Do Business with Henry County Schools – Vendor Practices
    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay provided a report the board on vendor informational practices related to HCBOE Policy DJE – Purchasing. In May of this year, the board updated the policy and requested Superintendent Davis to implement practices that would ensure local, minority-owned, women-owned, and small business enterprises have clarity on how to pursue business opportunities with Henry County Schools. In response, Mrs. Clay and her team have launched an initiative to design and implement enhanced practices that provide greater clarity to businesses wishing to become vendors with the district.

    Through extended study of comparable school districts and government agencies, two key opportunities were identified as avenues by which greater clarity could be provided to businesses on how to become vendors with our district – informational forums and enhanced website offerings for easy understanding and access.

    Development of both the forums and website enhancements are currently underway with targeted offerings in January 2022.

    “I want to thank Mrs. Edwards for her support of this policy and bringing this to our attention,” added Dist. 1 Board Member Dr. Pam Nutt. “It’s been a long time coming.”
    How to do Business

    ESSER & ARPA Sub-Grant Updates
    Chief Financial Officer Shanika Clay, along with Chief Family & Student Support Services Officer Dr. April Madden were able to report on key updates pertaining to ESSER and ARPA federal funding in the fourth presentation under the Ensuring Operational Effectiveness portion of the Study Session.

    The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds granted by Congress to state education entities have currently resulted in Henry County Schools receiving 11 incremental grants totaling $5.5 million. The largest portion of that funding total thus far – $4.9 million – has been for the purpose of $1,000 one-time retention supplements for educators. The board of education used this total and a combination of local resources to extend the supplement to all employees in the district.

    Mrs. Clay noted that all federal funding received in support of learning through the challenges of a pandemic is transparently shared on the district’s website through a dedicated informational page. This report, as well as all previous updates, are available on the district’s website.

    Dr. April Madden provided important updates to funding that has been received to support the Exceptional Student Education Department and students with disabilities. Just over $2 million was granted to Henry County Schools as a part of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). A small portion of that total – $128,148 – was specifically earmarked for preschool-aged students while $1.9 million was to cover other identified resources and investments subject to requirements and provisions of IDEA.

    Before funds were designated for use, there was a two-phase process for getting necessary feedback from stakeholders for the purpose of identifying needs and alignment with areas of investment. A total of five district steering teams comprised of teachers, families, students, school leaders, community partners, and district leaders took part in a needs assessment which is used to develop departmental improvement goals and use of funds. Additionally, a Special Education Advisory Council hosted a parent meeting to garner input from families on what additional supports or resources they would find helpful in supporting their child’s education.

    During this parent meeting, had the opportunity to engage and rate other parents' perspectives, using a 5-star scale to indicate their alignment to a shared perspective. During this time, our parents provided over 800 ratings to over 80 different perspectives.

    In total, there were 10 investments identified which fall into four main categories:

    1. Learning Environment

    2. Student Wellness, Mental Health, and Medical Devices

    3. Return-to-Campus Transition and Learning Environment

    4. Interrupted Learning and Learning Acceleration

    “I love how transparent we are being because I know our community is interested in knowing what funds we’re getting, how much we are getting, what we are doing with it. I appreciate how you can find things on our website. We always want to have that transparency with our community,” noted Board Chair Holly Cobb.
    ESSER

    Other Agenda Items

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    2022 Legislative Priorities
    The board unanimously approved their 2022 Legislative Priorities to be shared with local delegates to the General Assembly in Atlanta. That information can be found by clicking here.

    2021-2022 NWEA-MAP Assessment Continuation
    The board approved the 2021-2022 NWEA-MAP Assessment Continuation at a cost of $347,686.20. The MAP Assessment is given three times a year as an interim assessment to monitor progress of learning in grades 1-9 in the areas of Reading and Mathematics. This continuation serves as a recommendation to complete the sales order for the 2021-2022 school year.

    ESPLOST VI – Bus Purchase
    The board unanimously approved the purchase of 25 news buses through E-SPLOST VI funds. The community-approved E-SPLOST funding will support the $2,367,250 purchase through the Yancey Bus Sales state contract.
    HCS Buses

     Leaders on the Move

     Name

     New Position/Location

     Former Position/Location

     Dr. Carl Knowlton

     Chief Human Resource  Officer

     Chief of Staff

     Awards and Recognition

    1. School Bus Safety Poster Contest Winners

    2. Georgia School Counselor Association Award Winners

    3. National BETA Club Math Award

    4. Henry County Water Authority Art Contest

    5. Teacher of the Year Winner and Finalists

    From the Board

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1
    Dr. Nutt started by recognizing Oakland Elementary for being the recipient of a $26,000 grant from Office Depot. She also congratulated New Hope Elementary’s Allie Kate Williams for her 1st place honor in the Henry County Water Authority’s Art Contest. Special recognitions was given to Locust Grove Middle School’s Junior BETA Club for their partnership with Ameris Bank to collect over 3,600 non-perishable items for Operation Lunchbox. Locust Grove High School was congratulated for their boys’ cross country team winning region 4-AAAAA. Luella and Ola High School were both recognized for their football teams making it to the state playoffs.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2
    Mr. McDaniel congratulated the Hampton High School volleyball team for the Region 5-AAAA title, and the Hampton High School softball team for winning the Region 5-AAAA title. The school’s football team was also recognized for making it to the state playoffs. Hampton Middle School teacher Jennifer Brown was celebrated for being named the HCS Teacher of the Year during the district ceremony. And Luella High School’s boys’ cross country team was congratulated for winning the 5-AAAA region title.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3
    Mrs. Cobb congratulated the Ola Middle School 7th grade football team for winning the county championship. She also congratulated the school’s competition cheerleading squad for winning the county championship, too. Tussahaw Elementary was featured for their B.R.I.G.H.T. Girls Club raising over $2,000 for Piedmont Henry’s Breast Cancer Wellness Center. Union Grove High School’s football team was recognized for making it to the first round of the state football playoffs. She also noted how grateful she was to have been able to participate in the Read for the Record event by reading at Walnut Creek Elementary.

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4
    Mrs. Pope started her remarks by noting the significance of Kindness Week and that she and Mrs. Edwards were able to help with lunchroom distribution at two schools the previous week. Congratulations was given to Eagle’s Landing High School and their volleyball team for winning the Region 4-AAAAA championship. James Woods, a 7th-grade Peer Ambassador at Union Grove Middle School, was featured for his act of kindness to use his birthday money and community donations to support the local A Friend’s House donation drive. Union Grove Middle School’s softball team was noted for their county championship. And Union Grove High School’s girls’ cross country team was noted for their Region 4-AAAAA title, their 10th straight.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5
    Mrs. Edwards celebrated Woodland Middle School’s Gentlemen of Quality for their recent support of ‘Socktober’ which resulted in collecting and donating nearly 1,200 pair of socks to the Miracle Mission Hope House. Michelle Wilkerson, Principal of Woodland Middle, and Erin Bundrige, School Counselor at Woodland Middle School, were congratulated for their awards from the Georgia School Counselor Association. Dutchtown Middle School’s 8th-grade football team was celebrated for winning the county championship. Dutchtown High School’s football team was featured for making the first round of the state football playoffs.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent
    Supt. Davis congratulated all the Special Olympic athletes for their participation, including the 23 medals that were earned.

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  • HCS Board of Education Meeting - October 11, 2021

    Posted by HCS Communications | STORYLab on 10/15/2021

    October Celebrations

    October is a busy month in the world of education as it relates to celebrations, and several groups were recognized for their day, week, or month-long celebration.  Principals, bus drivers, school nutrition workers, and custodians all were celebrated in the month of October.  This month also saw Hispanic Heritage Month, School Bus Safety Week, and Red Ribbon Week all recognized.  Both employees and students alike took time this month to share in these celebrations and let our employees know how much they are appreciated while also honoring the special occasions around culture and safety.
    Principals Month


    Superintendent’s Welcome

    COVID-19 Impact in HCS
    Henry County Schools started the school year with doors open and masks strongly encouraged to ensure that students could get back to a familiar on-campus learning experience and they could do so in a safe way.  But prior to the school year even starting, district officials updated the COVID-19 Playbook and added a Continuum of Multi-Layered Mitigation Strategies which outlined various steps of protection for students and staff on campus relative to the impact of COVID-19 in our community and on our campuses.  Level 1 on this Continuum was the lightest of the levels and represented minimal impact in the schools, while Level 5 represented the most serious of impacts in our district. 

    Superintendent Davis reported to the board during October that the impact of COVID-19 around the start of school was so impactful that it required quick movement to Level 4 and a return to a mask requirement.  During that time, the impact on students, staff, and families was difficult, but the continuum developed to support on-campus learning worked as designed and kept the district from having to shut down every school.  Instead, targeted responses minimized the interruptions to classes, halls, grades, and only a few schools in a few instances.  Overall, learning was minimally disrupted for on-campus learners, and the district was able to avoid a blanket response to one of the worst surges experienced during the pandemic.

    Superintendent Davis’ report showed both the community and school district declining metrics in the number of COVID-19 cases which provided hope that our district could start to move lower on the levels of the continuum and ease some of the mitigation efforts.  It was one week later that the district moved from Level 4 down to Level 3 and once again made masks strongly encouraged as opposed to required in addition to other mitigation efforts being eased.  The district will continue to monitor COVID-19 conditions and adjust the levels on the continuum as allowable. To view her report, click here.
    COVID Level Plan


    2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan

    Strategic Planning Re-Launch and Refresher
    Superintendent Davis shared a report before the board and meeting attendees that brought the Henry County Schools Five-Year Strategic Plan back at the forefront of the community’s mind.  The journey to develop the strategic plan really started back in mid-2019 as board members began to have deep discussions about how they would best develop the strategic plan to guide the district’s work over a five-year period.  From thousands of voices came a community-inspired plan that is full of the hopes, dreams, and aspirations stakeholders shared around what they saw as being an exceptional educational experience for current and future students in the years to come.

    Members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet team, along with board members are spreading out in the district once again to share the current work and future plans for the community-inspired plan that was formed after months of presentations and discussions in all corners and sectors of the county.  From school council and faculty meetings to community organizations and government agencies, the voices that had a part in shaping the plan are now seeing the overall focus of the plan and how it will keep Henry County Schools as a great example for other districts to follow.

    The plan and reports provided to the board will always be available on the district’s website at www.InPursuitofExceptional.com.  To see Superintendent Davis’ report, click here.
    Strat Plan 1  Strat Plan 2


    Core Business of Student Learning

    Ensuring the Quality and Effectiveness of our Core Business
    Chief Learning & Performance Officer Melissa Morse and Chief School Leadership Officer Kirk Shrum teamed up to provide a report to the board on the outstanding outcomes that are being realized thanks to the board’s foundational reform policies and accompanying regulations built around the board’s core business of student learning.  Policy BAB – Henry’s Plan of Action is the reform policy from which all other reform policies emanate, and there are six more policies to ensure the highest levels of students success ranging from how we acquire and use resources in Henry to advancing opportunity, access, and outcomes for all students with the accountability of it all expected.

    During this report, Morse and Shrum shared two great examples of the board’s policies having direct and positive impacts on student learning as witnessed through early literacy and high school algebra.

    Early Literacy Model

    This program is in its fourth year of implementation.  Through the board-approved acquisition of phonics resources K-2 and a model, or system, to address explicit phonics instruction, the model was designed and implemented, and now we are seeing over 80 percent of our 3rd graders reading at or above grade level.  This is a strong indicator of future success for these students in school.
    Early Literacy


    High School Algebra

    Algebra I is the first math course most students take in the 9th grade and it is the gateway to graduation and all of the opportunities we want our students to have. In Henry County, it is an area where our students struggle to be successful with under 30% of students in the last three years performing at the proficient or above level on the end-of-course test.  The district is taking the model of success from the Early Literacy Model and applying it to Algebra I to see similar achievement levels.  While the approach for this high school course is still relatively new, there is progress still being made with an eye on some early data for growth being available at the end of the semester.

    Mr. Shrum then took to the podium to detail and summarize the existing and extensive partnership components between district and school leaders to ensure the greatest levels of student growth:

    • Built with the understanding that the principal is the key lever for school improvement.
    • The District builds systems and creates the conditions for schools to be successful, the principal implements systems for the teacher to be successful and the teacher implements classroom systems for student success.
    • Established a culture of collaboration, transparency, and trust.
    • Reciprocal feedback strengthens the instructional model and principal practice.
    • Serves to inform the coaching and development cycle between the school leader and their supervisor.

     9th Grade Math

    Operational Effectiveness

    The following agenda items were either heard during the informational items portion of the study session or approved as a part of the business items for the evening meeting’s formal actions:

    • Board Meeting Time & Place for 2022 – The board unanimously approved the list of dates/times and locations for all regular meetings in 2022.  That information can be found by clicking here
    • Board of Education Governance Training Plan – The board unanimously the 2021-22 Board Governance Training Plan.  You can find the plan by clicking here
    • ESPLOST VI – DHS Expansion Project – The board unanimously approved the apparent low bidder of Swofford Construction to construct the first project of many from ESPLOST VI, the Dutchtown High School expansion project.  The agreed-to bid was just over $6.5 million.
    • 2022 Graduation Ceremony Contracts – The board unanimously approved the contract for graduation ceremony components which will be held in May at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  The agreement with Southeast Staging Inc. will provide staging, audio, lighting, and video services.
    • Leadership on the Move

    Name

    New Position/Location

    Former Position/Location

    Martha Lynn James

    Supervisor – Assessment

     

    Sparkle Smith

    Coordinator – Assessment – Learning & Performance

    School Improvement Facilitator – Leadership Services

    Robyn White

    Assistant Principal – Woodland Middle School

     

    Leslie Cheatwood

    Retired

    Coordinator – Student Services

    Don Seigler

    Retired

    Executive Director - Operations

    Caitlin Sims

    Retired

    Senior Director – Student Services

    Valerie Suessmith

    Retired

    Chief Officer – Human Resource Services

     

    Awards and Recognition

    1. Superintendent’s Art Gallery Middle & High School Artists
    2. Georgia Retired Educators Day

     

    From the Board

    Dr. Pam Nutt – Dist. 1
    Dr. Nutt started by recognizing Locust Grove High School and Unity Grove Elementary for partnering together to have the high school students interact with the elementary kids as mentors.  The Locust Grove High School BETA Club and student government representatives joined together to provide backpacks full of goods/supplies for families in need in the community.  The LGHs Boys Cross Country team was celebrated for being named county champions.  Unity Grove Elementary was recognized for being the recipient of a grant from the Tanger Outlets.  Unity Grove Elementary was also recognized for its staff’s support of one of its custodians.  Quin Kearse from Luella High School was recognized for being named a semifinalist for Teacher of the Year.  The McDonough High School received the sportsmanship award for their athletics department.

    Mr. Makenzie McDaniel – Dist. 2
    Mr. McDaniel thanked Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church for their partnership with Mt. Carmel Elementary for supporting the staff.  Hampton High School’s volleyball team was congratulated for being the Region 5-AAAA champions for the first time.  Hampton High School’s softball team was also congratulated for their region championship.  Alexis Stovall from Hampton Elementary and Jennifer Brown from Hampton Middle School were congratulated for being TOTY semifinalists.  Luella High School basketball players Liv Fuller and Evangelina Davlakou were recognized for their recent collegiate commitments to play basketball.  He also brought attention to the PROBE College Fair at Dutchtown High School.

    Mrs. Holly Cobb – Dist. 3
    Mrs. Cobb congratulated McDonough High School’s JROTC drill team for hosting a regional competition.  The Union Grove High School girls' cross country team was recognized for being county champions for the 10th time.  Union Grove High School’s TOTY Eileen Boggs was celebrated for being named an HCS TOTY semifinalist.  She congratulated the entire school community for the completion of the first 9 weeks.

    Mrs. Sophe Pope – Dist. 4
    Mrs. Pope congratulated Walnut Creek Elementary for being chosen as one of eight schools to be part of a national program.  She acknowledged the accomplishment of Pleasant Grove Elementary for their STEM re-certification by the state.  Union Grove Middle School’s boys track team was featured for being county champions.  She also congratulated Vicki Gonzalez from Woodland Elementary for being a TOTY semifinalist.  She acknowledged the employees across the district for their efforts during the first 9 weeks.  She also thanked families for their partnerships.

    Mrs. Annette Edwards – Dist. 5
    Mrs. Edwards recognized the choirs of Cotton Indian Elementary and Stockbridge Middle School for performing the national anthem at a Braves game this year.  Pleasant Grove Elementary was recognized for its STEM re-certification.  The Dutchtown and Stockbridge High School football game was featured for being the 11Alive sports game of the week.  Dutchtown Middle School’s TOTY Kesha Fuller was recognized for being an HCS TOTY semifinalist.  Mrs. Edwards also acknowledged the completion of the first 9 weeks of school.

    Mary Elizabeth Davis – Superintendent
    Supt. Davis first featured Union Grove Middle Schools student Kara Benson was recognized for making jewelry to give to healthcare workers. She also welcomed all new leaders to the district.

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