The May 26 Bartlett school board meeting was a time for honoring student achievements, exemplary teachers seeking to improve their leadership skills, outstanding charitable work and an employee’s creativity that saved the district more than $100,000.
Altruria Elementary School was singled out for special recognition for its charitable work, raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. On average, most participating schools raise about $2,400. This year, Altruria Elementary raised more than $18,000. Over multiple years, the school has raised more than $300,000 for St. Jude.
School superintendent Dr. David Stephens recognized the district’s technology coordinator, Joey Mitchell, for saving the district more than $100,000 in storage costs for laptops loaned to students in the district’s 1:1 Initiative for grades 6-9. The district’s 3,000 laptops must be stored for the summer, but they cannot be stacked more than five laptops high to avoid LCD screen damage.
Buying the necessary 84 commercially made carts would have cost an estimated $110,460. Instead, Mitchell headed up the efforts to build 33 larger wooden carts for just $6,500.
Mitchell also oversaw the successful collection of the laptops from the past year’s students. At the time of the school board meeting, only one laptop had been lost (a theft from a car), and only 6.6 percent were damaged – a better rate than the teachers’ laptops, he said. Students who had laptops this school year will receive the same laptops again this fall.
Because the laptop program is being expanded next year, Mitchell also will manage the building of 17 more storage carts over the summer and preparing another 2,000 laptops for rollout to students this fall.
The board also honored high-achieving students and teachers with special recognitions. The honorees included Bartlett High School’s valedictorian, three students who achieved Gold scores on the National Spanish Exam, student musicians who made it to the All-State Band, two teachers nominated for State Teacher of the Year (with one of them being the Science Teacher Association’s Teacher of the Year for grades 5-8), and winners of the elementary and middle-school science fair/maker’s fair.
Additionally, the board heard a presentation and recognized participants in the school district’s new Cultivating Leaders Program, which is open to selected teachers willing to put in extra hours monthly to hone their craft.
School superintendent Dr. David Stephens also has been named Superintendent of the Year for the Southwest Region, which puts him among an elite group of eight now vying for the state-level honor.
At the May 26 meeting, the school board also approved the consent agenda (including multiple applications, memorandums of understanding, affiliation agreements, budget amendments, the 2016-17 Education Capital Projects Fund Budget, and the 2016 contract for network services).
New board business included approval of a revised grading system policy, the five-year capital improvement plan presented at the board’s previous work session, the annual evaluation form to be used to evaluate the superintendent’s job performance, the Shelby County Education Foundation Voluntary Pre-K Application, and a resolution to exempt TNReady scores from the spring semester grades.