A new solar power system will be installed at Liberty Elementary School. The school board approved the measure at its Oct. 12, regular meeting.
LCSS Chief Operation Officer Arnold Jackson said the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) has awarded LCSS a $127,500 grant to install a 30 kilowatt solar power system with a battery backup. The system will reduce energy consumption by $5,000 annually and provide opportunities for students to learn about renewable energy and how energy works. The bid was awarded to Coastal Solar of Hinesville. The total cost is $150,981 with GEFA covering $127,500 and the remainder being funded by the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST).
A similar project was completed at Lyman Hall Elementary in August of 2020.
In other items: LCSS Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry said COVID numbers are going down and they are still monitoring the numbers to keep students and educators safe.
The board approved to increase the hourly rate of pay to the bus drivers for transporting students on field trips. Their current hourly rate was less than half of the rate for new drivers. The measure will increase field trip pay from $8 per hour to $18 per hour. The funds will come from the district’s operation budget.
Jackson said the LCSS has purchased over 44 new buses in the last four years. Currently, they have 141 school buses and 43 percent are not air conditioned. Jackson said LCSS plans to retro-fit and install 61 air conditioning systems on existing buses and spare buses as well.
Installation of the air conditioning units is projected to start in January and is expected to be completed in April 2022. The $750,000 will be paid for with Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, (CARES ACT) funds.
LCSS Chief Academic Officer Susan Avant said students and educators were surveyed on how the school year was going. She reported students in grades four through 7 mentioned these positives aspects of learning:
• Teachers are supportive and make learning fun
• Students are happy to be in-person
• Students enjoy PBIS rewards and competition
• Students like the iPads and digital content And they offered these ideas to make things better:
• Established library times
• Uniform flexibility or more dress down days • Some students need to improve behavior
• Longer recess time Students in grades 8-12 offered their appreciation for the following:
• Students appreciate how district has handled the COVID-19 crisis
• Teachers are supportive an go out of their way to help students
• Students are happy to be in-person
• Students feel supported both academically and emotionally
• Students enjoy the iPads, digital content, sports, and clubs They offered the following ideas for improvement:
• More college information and application support
• Professional learning for teachers on Gen Z and diversity
• More time for homeroom to discuss current issues, SEL, scholarships, and college preparedness (HS) Teachers were also surveyed and said this is what they liked:
• Teachers appreciate the way COVID-19 has been handled in the district
• Students and teachers are happy to be in-person
• Thankful for mask mandate
• Social emotional learning
• Parent appreciation for educators
• Teacher resources
• Virtual learning program Their ideas to make things better included:
• Technology team at each school
• More Parent Academy opportunities and resources
• Continue to monitor students in virtual learning Executive Director for Student Services, Dr. Kathy Moody announced the new recipients for the REACH Scholarships (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen). Scholars are selected in eighth grade and sign a contract to maintain a 2.5 grade point average, remain crime, drug, and behavior issue free. The recipients receive a scholarship up to $10,000 ($2,500 a year for up to four years) upon successful completion of program requirements.
REACH Georgia funds a portion of each eighth grade Scholar’s scholarship and the school system funds the remainder from local community donations. The New LCSS REACH Scholars will be celebrated on Oct. 25, during the REACH Signing Ceremony at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
The 2022 REACH Seniors are Domonique King and Patrick Underwood III.