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.