Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Board of Education met Monday, September 13, and conducted the
following business. The meeting agenda can be found here.
● Accountability results: Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amanda Moran briefed board members on the accountability results, providing an overview of the measures used. She and Kelli Hulsey shared insights about how Chatham compared to the state percentages in different categories, highlighting areas where the district excelled and explaining what the data means. She discussed areas where there is continued work today where the district fell below the state average or saw a big drop in scores. Dr. Moran outlined strategies for improvement.
● COVID-19: Mr. Blice updated board members on positivity rates and how they have grown rapidly. Mr. Mike Zelek from the Health Department also shared information about how Chatham County is faring compared to the rest of the state. He noted they are seeing far more cases among those under 18. He also shared there are differences in infection rates between school districts that require masks and those that don’t. About 39% of 12- to 17-year-olds in Chatham are at least partially vaccinated. The school district has updated its COVID dashboard to make it easier to navigate. Ms. Frazier said employees would be able to start voluntarily reporting vaccination status starting Sept. 14. Vaccinated employees are not required to quarantine after a close contact. Both Virtual Academy programs — one at Chatham Central and one at Bennett — are up and running. There are a total of 193 Virtual Academy students in grades K-12. The board approved continuing with the universal mask mandate.
● Consolidated federal grants: Ms. Little described the process the district undertook to do a comprehensive needs assessment. Grant funds are used for a range of services, including tutors, medical services, and to help keep high-quality teachers in the classroom. Funds also go toward supporting immigrant students. Grants have also helped support the pre-K program. The board approved the grant application Ms. Little presented that would enable continued support of these programs.
● Revised the technology policy: The revision addresses two items that were deemed unwieldy by requiring permission for every third-party platform students use and parental permission before students accessed the internet. This policy is recommended by the State School Board Association to be revised. The board approved the revised policy.
● Approved a memorial donation to Siler City Elementary School: The sister of Mrs. Janet Bridges, a teacher at Siler City Elementary who passed last year, requested approval to donate a bench and musical playground equipment in her honor. The board approved the donation.
● Retention and Recruitment Initiative: Like other school districts across the state, Chatham County Schools is facing challenges in retaining and recruiting staff across multiple areas, including bus drivers and teaching assistants. To aid retention and recruitment efforts, the school board approved a one-time bonus for all current employees a $1,250 bonus and $650 for part-time employees to recognize them for their commitment to students and remaining with the school system during a very challenging time. In addition, new personnel hired between Oct. 11 and Dec. 13 will receive $1,500 for classified positions and $3,500 for certified positions. To receive the signing bonus, the employee must commit to staying with Chatham County School for two years.
Under the consent agenda, board members approved:
● Warranty for Chromebooks, specifically cases and accidental damage protection;
● i-Ready software renewal for a K-5 math diagnostic tool;
● 2021-22 Habitat for Humanity memorandum of understanding for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs;
● Operations Division contracts that include energy efficient lighting at select schools; track resurfacing for Chatham Central and Jordan-Matthews high schools; and janitorial services for Pittsboro Elementary School;
● Agreement with University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to provide athletic trainers at Chatham Central and Jordan-Matthews high schools; and
● Amy honored: Jason Amy was honored at the Board of Education meeting for being named state Athletic Director of the Year for the 2020-21 school year when he served as Northwood’s athletic director. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) issues the state awards to recognize those who have done the most for high school athletics in the state rather than a single accomplishment or having an outstanding record. Amy is now athletic director at Seaforth High School.
● Wykle named: Nancy Wykle joined the district at the end of August as the Public Information Officer. Superintendent Jackson shared his excitement for what is to come as she ramps up our communication to stakeholders and gave kudos to her for jumping right in and having a seamless transition.