• HCS BOE Meeting Journal

SY 2021-2022

  • 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


     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

    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.

    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


     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


    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


    Coordinator – Student Services

    Don Seigler


    Executive Director - Operations

    Caitlin Sims


    Senior Director – Student Services

    Valerie Suessmith


    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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