At the May 12 Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Terrence Beam gave a report on the completion of the 2019-2020 school year, as well as updates on preparing for summer and the next school year.
“Online instruction will end on Thursday, May 21,” Beam said. “That’s the last official day of school. Teachers may continue to reach out to their students on a voluntary basis if they choose. I’m sure some of them will do that.”
As for graduation, plans are in motion to have an in-person ceremony June 20, but for now, Beam said there will be a graduation “tour” Wednesday, May 20. Pocahontas County High School principal Joe Riley and Beam will hop on a school bus and travel to the home of each senior to present their diploma and Super Scholars awards and give them a graduation sign for their yard.
“When we have graduation, we’re going to ask them to bring [their diplomas] back for the ceremony,” Beam explained. “The reason we’re passing those out is that a lot of seniors are needing their diplomas right now for various reasons.”
Beam added that employees with a 261-day contract will return to work – working Monday, Wednesday, Friday of the first week and then Tuesday, Thursday the following week. He added that if any of those employees feel uncomfortable or unsafe in returning to work, they have the option to stay home, but will be required to use personal leave.
Addressing concerns about missed field trips from this school year, Beam explained that he worked with principals Phillip Anderson, Julie Shiflet and Nebraska Scotchie to device a compromise for the trips their students were to take during the spring and summer.
Beam said the trips may be rescheduled for next spring and the students and chaperones who intended to go will be able to go next year.
Finally, Beam reported that he learned, from the State Department of Education Director of Federal Programs Melanie Purkey, that he can use Title I funding to contract with the Pocahontas County Free Libraries for the service it provides to the school system.
In the past, the board used funds out of the general account to contract with PCFL, but Beam explained that as long as he has enough carry-over in the Title I account, he can use it for library services.
In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:
• The three-year agreement with Harris School Solutions and the Pocahontas County Board of Education to provide eWalk classroom observation software for principals, licensure and training to enable more effective classroom walkthroughs, organize data and track evidence, to be paid with Title II funds. 2020-2021 – $3,800; 2021-2022 – $2,884; 2022-2023 – $2,968.
• To purchase annual license to access virtual job shadowing, career exploration and course planning for Graduation Coach and counselors through STRIV-VEN MEDIA, LLC. (up to 300 students per site) to be paid with Graduation 20/20 funds. GBMS – $2,000; MMS – $2,000; PCHS – $2,000.
The personnel agenda will appear in next week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, May 26, at 6 p.m. at the board of education conference room.