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BoE cuts community-service graduation requirement
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Rodger Osborne, director of facilities and maintenance, center, receives the Extra Mile Award as School Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee, left, and board Chairwoman Lily Baker look on. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge

In a fast-paced regular meeting of the Liberty County Board of Education on Tuesday, the board approved a second reading of two policies effectively eliminating the community-service requirement for graduation.
The first reading was held during the school board’s Nov. 19, 2013, meeting.
Last November, Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, informed board members that high schools in surrounding school systems were surveyed, and the result was none of the 20 schools polled have a community-service requirement. The survey included schools in Bryan, Effingham, Glynn, Claxton, McIntosh, Tattnall, Bullock, Long, Screven, Appling, Pierce, Camden, Bacon, Ware and Wayne counties.
The community-service requirement initially was approved by the board Dec. 14, 1999, and revised Sept. 27, 2011. The rationale for the requirement was to promote “character development” by requiring students to complete a minimum of 20 community-service hours within four years. Community service could be completed through local churches, service organizations, school clubs or other agencies.
The school board also approved out-of-state travel for members of the technology department, Dr. Patti Crane and Paula Crowley, to attend Power School University on March 9-13 in Orlando, Fla., at a cost of $5,000. In addition, board members approved a request from dual-enrollment cosmetology students at the Liberty College & Career Academy to visit the Paul Mitchell School on Feb. 14 in Jacksonville at a cost of $135.
BoE members were briefed on the formation of an inter-agency team.  
In an email last month, School Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee explained the new inter-agency task force is “the district’s effort to work collaboratively with community agencies to meet the needs of students who pose special challenges that impede their ability to learn.”
“A core task force will meet on the first Friday of each month to review individual student cases,” said Mary Alexander, assistant superintendent for student services. “The inter-agency committee, as a whole, will meet three times a year to review and discuss preventative measures concerning community youth. Each participating agency will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement along with a commitment letter supporting and relinquishing services to assist the program.”
Alexander said a student can be referred for review from any school or inter-agency representative.
Participating organizations includes churches, representatives from the cities of Hinesville, Riceboro and Walthourville, the Fraser Counseling Center, the Liberty County Board of Health, DFCS, Midway and Hinesville’s police departments, Liberty County Armed Services YMCA, Liberty Family Connection, Liberty County Juvenile Court, United Way of Coastal Georgia, school counselors, Ombudsman Educational Services and the S.T.A.R. program.
The school board also approved a number of personnel actions in executive session.
Bradwell Institute football coach and physical-education teacher Joshua Adam Carter resigned to take a position as the defensive coordinator at Reinhardt College near Atlanta.
School Nutrition Director Dr. Christine Reddick’s resignation also was approved so she can retire, Lee confirmed. Lee said Reddick will not leave the school district and will stay until the end of the current school year.
“She has done an outstanding job for the district, and she has agreed to assist us in finding her replacement,” Lee said. “We are grateful that Dr. Reddick chose to announce her retirement at this time, which will allow us enough time to find a suitable replacement. We are also appreciative of her offer to assist us during the time of transition.”
Along with Carter’s resignation and Reddick’s retirement, two paraprofessionals, a school nutrition manager, a social-studies teacher and a bus driver resigned.
The board also approved a number of hires, including Beverly Faircloth as an assistant principal, a special-education teacher, two kindergarten teachers, a social-studies teacher, a special-education paraprofessional and a paraprofessional.
In addition, Kent Wilkinson was named ninth-grade boys’ basketball coach at Bradwell Institute.
The board will next meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, for a work session.

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