The Liberty County Board of Education heard an update on the school system’s 2014-15 communication plan at a scheduled work session Tuesday morning.
LCSS Chief Information Officer Dr. Patti Crane presented the plan, which addresses the school system’s two audiences — internal, which includes students, faculty, staff and board members; and external, which includes parents, businesses and other members of the Liberty County community.
The communication plan’s stated mission is to assist LCSS in “achieving public support for its mission and objectives” through “mutually beneficial relationships with our staff and the community we serve.”
According to the plan, the district intends to achieve its mission by being active and visible in the community, pro-actively reaching out to local media and writing its own news.
Crane stressed that the plan will be revisited and updated yearly.
The board also heard an update on the school system’s new behavior-intervention framework, called Children Having Options to Inspire Continuous Elevated Success, or CHOICES.
Executive Director for Student Services Dr. Kathy Moody presented an overview of CHOICES to the board. She also introduced the district’s
two behavior-modification specialists, Charmaine Simmons and Wes Register, to the board.
According to the executive summary, the CHOICES framework “helps to ensure that progressive discipline occurs in a fair and consistent manner.”
Essentially, the framework is a four-tiered pyramid of interventions that increases intensity at each level. For instance, Level 1 consists of classroom-level preventions, including student conferences with parent notification and loss of privilege.
Level 2 includes grade-level interventions and may result in classroom observation by a behavior-modification specialist who then can refer a student to Level 3 if needed. Level 3 increases interventions to the school level and includes student-specific strategies.
At Level 4, “students are assigned intensive individualized researched-based interventions,” according to the pyramid. If negative behaviors continue once Level 4 interventions have been implemented, the student may be formally evaluated.
Moody stressed that the framework is designed to give students more choices before reaching the in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension or tribunal level.
The board also heard an update on Project ESCOLAR, which stands for E-text Support for Collaborative Online Learning and Academic Reading.
The research program, which is being conducted in partnership with Georgia Southern University, looks to study the improvement of science learning in middle school through the use of online curriculum.
The study will be conducted for three years, following current sixth-grade students through their eighth-grade year. Project ESCOLAR is slated to begin in October.
In other business, the board:
• unanimously approved the inception of a school nutrition field manager position, which is a downgrade from the school nutrition coordinator position. The downgrade is expected to save the district approximately $8,000-$10,000 annually.
• heard an enrollment update. According to Crane, the district’s enrollment was 10,076 students as of Aug. 20, an increase of 81 students from the end of last year.
• heard a monthly Ombudsman report for the month of August. Currently, 12 of 50 middle-school Ombudsman seats are filled, while 39 of 50 high-school seats are filled.
• unanimously approved amended minutes from the July 22 board work session. The minutes now include the vote to revise the superintendent’s contract, which “included an increase in salary and a discontinuance of payment for certain employee benefits,” according to the minutes. The July 22 vote to approve the new contract passed six to one, with board member Becky Carter opposed.