The Liberty County Board of Education agreed during last week’s work session to contract a coordinator to oversee the Liberty County Schools Performing Arts Center.
The board approved a $21,000 pro-rated contract with retired Taylors Creek Elementary School teacher Dr. Kathryn Blackmon. The contract would end on June 30, the end of the fiscal year, school officials said. The contract cost would be offset by the facility’s rental revenue.
Blackmon will provide all services as it relates to the center’s building rental, marketing of the center, arranging for more fine-arts activities to benefit Liberty County School System students, coordinating custodial and technical personnel and room set-up for events, and marketing the center to other groups, said Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Rogers said Blackmon is a veteran educator and has experience in a fine-arts environment. She will be expected to collaborate with area universities and the local arts council in an effort to enhance fine-arts programs at the center, he said. Rogers told the board it is more cost-effective to keep students in-county for cultural experiences rather than transport them out-of-county for these types of presentations.
The school board bought the building that now houses the performing arts center in December 2010. Brewton-Parker College previously was located on the property.
In other BoE business:
• Dr. Debbie Rodriguez, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, updated board members on the district’s two focus schools, Lewis Frasier and Snelson-Golden middle schools. Focus schools are those schools identified as having an academic breach between groups of students; in this case, the students with disabilities subgroup.
Each school received a Title 1 grant of $53,000 to help decrease the achievement gap during the next two years, according to school officials. The concentration has been on improving math scores, Rodriguez said. Last year’s CRCT testing showed that Lewis Frasier had a three-point gain in math performance, and Snelson-Golden had a 15-point gain, Rodriguez said. The middle schools must provide additional math support to struggling students, which includes Saturday tutoring. Teachers at these schools also receive professional learning, collaboration meetings, observations and monitoring, Rodriguez said.
• Rodriguez also briefed board members on the district’s professional-development plan. Plan components include organizing learning communities at the school and district level, offering instructional leadership and resources, using data from multiple sources to prioritize needs and monitor progress, evaluating training, requiring teachers to use proven learning strategies, aligning achievement outcomes with educator performance and curriculum standards and involving families in the education of their children.
• The school board approved out-of-state travel for Dr. Patti Crane, executive director of technology and media, and instructional technology specialists to attend FETC, the future of educational technology conference, from Jan. 28-31 in Orlando, Fla. The cost to the district is about $5,700. The BoE also approved out-of-state travel for the Bradwell Institute girls’ basketball team to attend P.K. Yonge Basketball Classic on Jan. 11 in Gainesville, Fla.
• The board took a number of personnel actions. A position of executive director for student services will be announced, and Ron Farnsworth will fill a transportation lead position. One bus driver and one custodian were hired. Three teachers and a head custodian resigned.