There never seems to be an end for the work and responsibilities asked of the School Board team.
On November 5, the Board members met for over an hour in closed session before their monthly meeting – which took an additional two hours – began.
All active members were present: Pat Myers, Chairman and Craig City Representative; Susan Crenshaw, Vice-Chair and Representative for Craig City; Gina Smith, Simmonsville; Faye Powers, Potts Mountain; George Foster, New Castle; Superintendent Jeanette Warwick, Diana Bayne, Deputy Clerk of the School Board; and School Board Clerk Sonja Switzer.
Warwick noted that Craig is a rural county, with approximately 5,000 citizens and the school system being the largest employer. “We have approximately 600 students where 55 percent receive free and reduced lunches with McCleary having 70 percent. Also, 25 percent of students have disabilities,” she said.
The previously adopted slogan, “Every child a Graduate, Every Child Prepared for Life,” was added to the mission statement of, Craig County Public Schools instills a love of learning and prepares our students to become responsible, contributing members of society.
“That is the big picture for our kids as they enter school,” Warwick added.
They also introduced the new logo that Warwick said depicted that goal of making sure that every student receives their high school diploma on time.
The five C’s were approved as an addition to the vision statement: “Craig County Public Schools are committed to providing a challenging and rigorous educational program. We provide instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment which promotes the five C’s – Critical thinking, Creative thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Citizenship.”
Warwick continued, “The Virginia Department of Education has now adopted a profile of a Virginia graduate centered around these five C’s and we felt we needed to add that since it is expected of the Department of Education.”
The core values now state that, “Craig County Public Schools fosters academic excellence in our students through creative and critical thinking.”
It was reported that a security grant was given to McCleary because it is the oldest of the three local schools. Foster noted that he submitted a request for all the schools for a total of $140,000 in security funds, where they would have to have a matching local match. “We received $63,000 minus the match which ended up being $47,250 so we can upgrade cameras, communication system and radios,” said Foster, the Director of Instruction and Technology, who requested that the Board approve $81,000 from the capitol which would allow them to complete the entire project for all three schools.
The school had also applied for a vapor grant, a device which can be installed in areas where cameras are not allowed, such as in the restrooms. It can detect vaping and sends a notification to the administrators. They received $2,388 in grant money and a request was made for six purchases.
As of October 26, all the 2016 capital improvements of the plan had been completed with the exception of the floors in the locker rooms and remodeling the auditorium. Warwick received a current estimate from an architect for the entire auditorium remodel of $800,000, a much larger amount than estimated three years ago.
George Foster asked for an estimated cost for just the chairs and floor replacement.
Some of the safety capital projects approved were zone safety signs which are awaiting VDOT to approve placement, fencing, window film in the cafeteria, painting for all schools in the spring, parking lot sealant again in summer of 2020 and security updates.
“We are also waiting on a report from the state police to present us with some additional recommendations to approve security,” Warwick said.
Other requests include: new locker room floors and an entirely new auditorium, the purchase of a used minivan, a service truck and a dump truck, paving of the back-parking lot, track and walkway for those with handicap accessibility issues. Warwick noted quotes are being obtained.
Additional requests were made for McCleary bathroom floors in the classrooms to be replaced. Craig’s elementary school opened in 1967 and after many years there is still an odor. McCleary also desires new playground equipment (their PTO is actively fund-raising for that), there is a need for more ventilation for the 3-D printing lab, the teacher’s lounge needs air condition and the PE teachers and coaches have requested AC units in their offices. There is also a concern about humidity in the auxiliary gym and a discussion of possibly replacing some rooftop units.
Warwick asked the Board to view all the requests and to list them in priority need.
The next School Board meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, December 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Media Center.