Graduation, Calendars & Superintendent among topics at Board meeting
Three topics garnered the most attention at Tuesday night’s in-person meeting of the Butler County Board of Education - a graduation plan, possible school calendars for 2020-21, and the search for a new superintendent. With social distancing measures in place, Board members met at the Weymouth Martin Auditorium at Butler County High School. All members were present - Dr. Amy Hood, Richie Ellis, Debbie Hammers, Delbert Johnson, and Ryan Daugherty.
Likely the issue of most concern to many in the community was the finalized graduation plan for Butler County High School Seniors. Superintendent Scott Howard said a graduation committee had been looking at different options and had decided to have a drive-thru “personalized” graduation event at the front of the high school.
“We want to honor our seniors and be as safe as we can,” said Howard. “We need to get closure.”
The graduation event is set for May 30.
According to Supt. Howard, there will be morning, afternoon, and evening sessions with groups of graduating seniors and family members coming through at designated times. A stage will be set up at the front of the high school and the student will be able to get out of the vehicle (no more than two vehicles per family) and get their diploma. Photography and video will be in place. Social distancing and personal protection equipment guidelines will be in use for all school personnel. Law enforcement will be assisting with traffic flow. Only the student will be able to exit the vehicle. Supt. Howard said he will check with the local health department regarding whether or not students will be asked to wear a mask.
“Our primary goal is to protect students and do the right thing,” said Board member Ryan Daugherty.
Supt. Howard said the school district would also assist with transportation if that was an issue for anyone.
“We want to give everyone the opportunity to be there,” said Howard.
The Board approved the plan.
In other school business, Assistant Superintendent Robert Tuck presented three calendar options to the Board. According to Tuck, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is recommending that local school districts approve different calendar alternatives and then finalize one as the school year approaches as the COVID-19 pandemic adds significant planning challenges.
“Everything is fluid and we’re just trying to do the best we can under the circumstances,” said Tuck, who indicated that instructional, calendar, and financial concerns all must be considered when looking at different options.
Tuck presented calendars with three different start dates - one in August, one in late July, and one in early September. Although the Board ultimately approved all three options as recommended by KDE, the August calendar option is considered the primary option. That calendar has teachers reporting August 12 with the first day for students set for August 26. The days in between, according to Tuck, would be for teachers/schools to plan for addressing possible “gaps” in learning stemming from how the 2019-20 school year ended with over 30 days of NTI.
Finally, Board chairperson Dr. Amy Hood provided an update on the search for a new superintendent. Supt. Howard is retiring effective June 30.
Dr. Hood read from the following prepared statement:
“We realize that there have been many questions raised over the past few months so on behalf of the board we wanted to give you a brief update on the Superintendent search. First, we want to thank all of the BC Schools’ staff and parents that have been a part of the search and extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to our KSBA Consultant Quin Sutton for his help and guidance through the process. While we are not at liberty to say too much, we can tell you that the board members and screening committee have been hard at work since March 5. There were a total of 20 applicants for the position, which included several applicants from other states. We have just finished the interview process. We fully expect a decision will be made by the end of this week. Again, thank you to all who have been a part of the process and for the support of the community.”
Of the twenty applicants, Dr. Hood said four applicants were interviewed by the Board, which will meet tonight (Wednesday, May 13) to deliberate on the candidates for the position. The Board will meet again on Thursday, May 14, and a decision is expected at that time.
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