The first-floor meeting room in the Henry Count Administration building was packed Thursday morning, in large part because the county school board was about to recognize numerous students for various achievements.
In fact, school board member Teddy Martin told his fellow board members after he entered the meeting room, “I was one minute late.”
He said he had to ride through each aisle in the parking lot trying to find a place to park. He said the board should perhaps consider a larger meeting place for such events in the future.
The board honored dozens of students for a variety of accomplishments, and then members settled down to business.
Corey Fobare, the school division’s director of student support services, said school athletic directors have recommended including sixth-graders in athletics, excluding football.
That means “sixth-graders would participate in middle school sports only,” Monica Hatchett, a spokeswoman for the school division, said in an email.
The school division’s two middle schools, Fieldale-Collinsville and Laurel Park, have grades six through eight. Current middle school sports offerings include football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, soccer, track and softball.
"Students in grade seven currently participate in middle school sports and students in grade eight participate in middle and can participate in high school [JV only] sports," Hatchett said.
"Allowing sixth-grade students to participate in middle school sports would ensure that when an eighth-grader is invited to play JV at the high school level, there would still be enough students to comprise the middle school team.
“Additionally, this proposal would allow sixth-grade students an additional year to develop their athletic abilities and be involved in extra-curricular activities with other students.”
Fobare worked closely with the athletic directors of each middle and high school to develop the recommendation that was presented Thursday.
Approval will require a vote of the school board at a future meeting.
Thomas Auker, vice chair of the board, said he thinks the proposed change would help middle school sports teams be more competitive.
The board took no formal action.
New assistant principal appointed
The board did approve Superintendent Sandy Strayer’s recommendation to appoint Hope Perry as assistant principal at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School.
Perry currently serves as curriculum coordinator for secondary mathematics and science, a position she has held for three years. She also was a high school math instructor.
“I am grateful to be going into a school with such a rich history of exemplary character, high expectations, and hard-working faculty and staff. I’m excited to offer encouragement and enthusiastic support to the whole Cavalier family so that they will be ready for anything that they encounter,” Perry said in a release.
Said Strayer in the release: "Perry’s continued support of excellent teaching and learning practices will propel FCMS students to continued success as they strive to exceed their learning goals.”
Perry will replace Joshua Eanes, whom the board appointed at its May meeting as an assistant principal at Axton and Drewry Mason elementary schools
In other business, the school board:
- Approved applying for an estimated $1,377,111 in state funding, which would be matched by an estimated $400,495 in local funding, for the Virginia Preschool Initiative program. Henry County operates 16 VPI classrooms.
- Approved applying for an estimated $332,751.52 in federal funding for four elementary teaching positions; professional development for teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals; and other items.
- Approved spending $117,460 for tuition for 35 student slots for Piedmont Governor’s School for Math, Science and Technology.
- Approved spending a total of $20,000 for college guides for Bassett and Magna Vista high schools through a partnership with the University of Virginia.
- Approved purchasing $50,186.24 of instructional supplies from seven vendors.
- Approved spending an additional $32,706.40 to buy instructional materials for teaching English language arts from Zaner Bloser.
- Approved applying for $57,117.10 in federal funds for language instruction for English learners and immigrant students.
- Approved applying for $181,994.30 in federal funds for student support and academic enrichment. Three of the largest items are stage-sound lighting improvements and training, $61,200; Advanced Placement testing for AP students, $58,250; and handheld-radio upgrades, $36,400.
- Approved applying for $141,350.97 in federal funding for such items as elementary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coordinator; clerical staff for federal grants; professional development, including instructional supplies, consulting and travel expenses; and materials and supplies to support STEM programming and instruction.
- Approved spending the contract for services provided by Piedmont Community Services for students with severe emotional disabilities. The change is needed because of an increase in the number of students needing support. The estimated yearly cost is $55,000.
- Approved DaCapo Music Program as sole source provider for services for students with more significant cognitive disabilities through interactive learning through song and movement. “The increase in allocated funding will allow for the expansion of the program to include students and emotional disabilities,” a board document states. The cost is $50,000.
- Approved a contract in the amount of $124,361 for the Anchor Commission to provide a program for special education students who, according to a school board document, “exhibit behaviors which significantly interfere with the instructional school day. Due to the severity of these students’ behaviors and the potential risk to the safety of others, the program is not housed at a school site.”
- Awarded a contract in the amount of $90,000 to Trane to upgrade “variable air volume” (VAV) boxes in some of the classrooms at Axton Elementary School. VAV boxes control temperature in individual classrooms.
- Approved applying for $2,515,710 in federal funding for such items as reading specialists, instructional paraprofessionals, instructional coaches, professional development, STEM activities and materials, instructional materials and supplies, parental involvement and technology.
- Awarded a bid for installation of an accessibility ramp at Fieldale Collinsville Middle School to Gary W. Smith Contractor Inc. in Martinsville in the amount of $45,500.
- Awarded a contract to upgrade the auditorium sound system at Bassett High School to Stage Sound of Roanoke at a cost not to exceed $30,000.
- Approved annual membership in Virginia High School League for Bassett and Magna Vista high schools at a total estimated cost of $8,824.
- Voted to retain Creedle, Jones & Alga, P.C. to conduct an audit of Henry County schools activity funds and support groups. The cost is $22,425 annually based on 15 schools and approximately 21 support groups. Support groups may be required to pay part of the fee.
- Approved spending $90,249.60 to buy copier/duplicator paper.