By Rhonda Smyth, News Editor
Flu has come a little early to a lot of places in Kentucky and there have been confirmed cases of the Type A flu virus in Estill County.
At a meeting of the Estill County Board of Education Monday at central office, the board discussed the Estill County Health Department’s plan to vaccinate students.
Superintendent Bert Hensley told the board that one school nurse is now in place and another one will begin soon.
The board has been working with the Estill County Health Department to have nurses come into the schools since before the start of the 2009 school year.
“After a lot of whining, a nurse started at West Irvine today,” Hensley said. “Mrs. Isaacs (West Irvine Principal) is a good whiner.”
“Now secretaries can go back to being secretaries.”
A letter from health department Preparedness Coordinator/Environmentalist Candie Rader which stated that the nurses will be vaccinating students as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available.
“They are working on a permission slip to send home for parents to sign,” Hensley said.
Hensley told the board that attendance hasn’t dropped below 90 percent with the first month seeing 94 percent of children going to school.
“We take the flu threat seriously and have bought lots of hand sanitizer and used bleach in cleaning the schools,” he said.
Another reason children miss school is due to it being closed for bad weather.
Hensley introduced a bus snow plan for the 2009-2010 school year.
“Sometimes on the third or fourth day we are out for the same snow, most children could get to school. We are missing for about five to eight percent who can’t get there,” Hensley said.
He said parents of students who live on the bus routes that won’t be run will be contacted to bring their children to the main roads. A complete bus route is on page A??
A moment of silence was held in memory of, Edith Watkins, a beloved Estill County Board of Education employee who died recently.
Edith was a cook at Estill Middle School and had served the school system for 36 years. Principal Tim Burkhart spoke about what a fine employee she was.
“She was a wonderful staff member to have,” he said. “She was one of those people who made a difference. She was always laughing and cutting up with the kids. She will be sorely missed.”
South Irvine Pre-K Principal Lisa Reese reported on the fall Measures of Academic Progress tests and presented her improvement plan.
The plan includes progress monitoring for all students in Kindergarten who need assistance in reading and math to make sure the student is benefiting from intervention programs.
The plan also calls for kindergarten teachers to work as a teams of two and meet once a week. Reese attends these meetings. She also meets once a month with the individual teachers to monitor student progress and teacher expectation.
“I see that children who are targeted as not being ready for kindergarten not only catch up but pass other students,” Board Member Verlon Prewitt said. “Somebody must be doing something right.”
The board approved a resolution to refinance an 1999 loan from the Kentucky Interlocal School Transportation Association. The original amount of the loan was $482,000 and is paid 100 percent from energy savings.
If the board refinances now, according to a letter from KISTA, they can save $3,078.85 since in interest. KISTA requested they adopt the resolution at the October meeting so that the refinancing can be done early in November.
In other business the board:
•Approved non-resident contracts with Lee, Madison, Clark, Wolfe, Jackson and Powell counties;
•Approved using up to three banked days of school;
•Approved a stipend for a high school teacher to teach a college remedial math class;
•Approved personnel actions which included hiring substitute bus assistants, Alisha Estes and Lori Issacs; Traci Baber as co-academic coach at West Irvine; Lois Webster as assistant academic coach at Estill Middle; Andrea Williams as team leader at Estill Middle.
The board accepted the resignation of Geri Harrison as co-academic coach at West Irvine and granted a leave without pay to bus driver Gerald Flynn.