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Employees keep busy over summer

Friday, August 8, 2014

Have you ever wondered what working school division employees do during the summer?

Superintendent Jared Cotton told the Henry County School Board at its meeting Thursday that employees have been busy over the summer. His report follows.

The facilities maintenance department has moved smart boards, run additional electrical lines, conducted preventive maintenance on refrigeration equipment, spread playground mulch, moved furniture and built cabinets to be used in schools.

One painter has touched up areas in 11 schools.

The division continues its efforts to upgrade Bassett High School with new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment, lighting and ceilings. Areas renovated this summer include classrooms in the science area, some math classrooms, and family and consumer sciences.

The second and final phase of construction at Warrior Tech Academy at Magna Vista High School took place. This included adding two more large classroom spaces and breakout rooms. Quite a bit of demolition was involved.

Service Solutions cleaned and prepared floors in schools. (“‘Prepared floors’ means they stripped, buffed and waxed all floors, including replacing any missing or broken tiles,” Monica Adams Hatchett, HCPS’ coordinator for family and community engagement, wrote in an email.)

The transportation office staff is continuing to work on bus routes. Garage staff members have inspected, made needed repairs and washed buses.

All bus drivers participated in a two-day training session to prepare for the safe transportation of students.

In addition to paying regular bills, the payroll and finance department has been processing paperwork for new hires and auditing the books as the school division closed the 2014 financial year and opened 2015.

In addition to network maintenance and updates, technology staff has worked to prepare iPads for the 1:1 iPad initiative (one iPad for every student) in grades 3-8 and MacBook Air laptops for 100 new ninth-grade students who will participate in the 1:1 laptop initiative at Warrior Tech Academy.

The technology department unveiled its new website for staff members. Hatchett stated the new website, Tech This Out, “is a resource for teachers who may need assistance with technology they use in the classroom.”

Elementary principals have been participating in weekly collaborative meetings to prepare for the return of staff and students. Meeting topics have included the new curriculum, Daily5 implementation and MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) testing. (MAP is a diagnostic tool that measures academic progress over time.)

(Newly revised curricula in English, math, and health and physical education K-12 will be implemented in 2014-15, Hatchett stated. As for Daily5, that’s “a group management tool teachers use in which the children participate in stations within the classroom so that they work independently, with groups, in collaboration with the teacher, and in some creative ways as they learn new skills and concepts.”)

District administrators met for a two-day retreat to review expectations for the upcoming school year and to work collaboratively to devise strategies for the successful implementation of curriculum in all schools as the school division works to ensure that all students are equipped with skills they need to be college, career and citizenship ready.

Reading texts were purchased and delivered to teachers at Mt. Olivet, Axton and John Redd Smith elementary schools and Collinsville Primary to ensure that students across the district receive a consistent reading foundation based on the four Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity).

Elementary and middle schools have received LEGOs for the 2014-15 school year. Middle schools have received Mindstorms EV3s to compete in robotics competition in the FIRST LEGO League. Elementary schools have received Simple Machines for all fifth grades. Students will use these simple machines to foster the four Cs.

Hatchett has been developing the division’s social media presence and collaborating with local media to share information about schools. She is finalizing details for several Family Connection events throughout the school year, including an Aug. 23 event at Jack Dalton Park.

The human resources team has been working with teachers to apply for or renew teaching licenses; holding benefits enrollment meetings and substitute orientation programs; updating policies and handbooks for the new school year; and working with volunteers who need background checks.

In preparation for next year’s recruiting efforts, the HR team also has developed an advertisement for insertion in the North Carolina A&T Career Guide. HR is looking for high quality professionals all throughout the year.

HR has worked closely with school principals to hire about 30 new teachers. New teacher orientation was July 28. Classes start Monday.

 

 
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