Asheboro City Schools News Article

Asheboro City Board of Education December Meeting Highlights

Superintendent's Holiday Card Contest winner

The Asheboro City Board of Education met for their regularly-scheduled meeting on Thursday, December 9 at 7 p.m. in the media center at South Asheboro Middle School. Following the opening of the meeting, which included a welcome from Chairman Michael B. Smith, a moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance led by students from Lindley Park Elementary School, and approval of the meeting agenda, newly-elected board member Hailey Lee was sworn in, followed by re-elected board members Baxter Hammer and Dr. Beth Knott. Due to an emergency, Adam Hurley was unable to make the meeting, therefore his swearing in will take place at a later date.

After approving the agenda as presented, the meeting then moved into the Special Recognition and Presentations portion of the meeting.

Special Recognition and Presentations:
To kick off Special Recognitions, Ms. Nikki Domally, principal of Lindley Park Elementary School, presented the School Spotlight by sharing a presentation titled, “Maintaining Family Connections During a Pandemic.” During her presentation, Principal Domally shared a number of ways in which families, students, and staff have remained connected even when COVID-19 separated many. Examples of family engagement activities included Thankful Pumpkins, livestream read alouds, Family Holiday Shows, virtual talent shows, and a recent Family Engagement Night held in downtown Asheboro.  

Next, the district announced the winner of the Superintendent’s Holiday Card Contest. This year’s winner is third-grade student, Miss MaeLee Voncannon, from Donna Lee Loflin Elementary School. Under the direction of her art teacher, Ms. Robin Baker, Miss Voncannon created her holiday card featuring a friendly snowman draped in a red scarf, hat, and gloves.  Her artwork was chosen this year for her out-of-the-box thinking as demonstrated by her use of a variety of mediums. It was evident Miss Voncannon was methodical in her planning and execution.

The Community Partner Spotlight for December recognized East Coast Lumber and president, Ryan Hilsinger. As a Blue Comet himself, Mr. Hilsinger has a long-standing history with Asheboro City Schools. For purposes of the Community Partner Spotlight, East Coast Lumber was highlighted specifically for providing funds for the purchase of materials to make each student at Lindley Park a "whisper phone."  After materials were purchased, students in Asheboro High School's Occupational Course of Study (OCS) program assembled the phones as a part of their work experience. Because of this generous donation, the school now has a fun, COVID-friendly way, to allow students to hear themselves read aloud during various parts of their day.

The Points of Pride report featured a variety of student, staff, and district highlights.

The district shared how student groups from Asheboro High School honored service members by participating in the annual City of Asheboro Veterans Day parade. The Asheboro High School Marching Band performed and the Asheboro Zoo FFA Leadership team lit luminaries for the parade as well. The district’s youngest learners at Balfour Elementary School learned about Veteran’s Day by engaging in lessons about the various branches of the United States military. Finally, fourth-grade students from Balfour had an opportunity to hear from Asheboro High School Air Force JROTC instructor, Maj. Howie, who shared with them his personal experiences serving in the US military.

The district also congratulated students who were selected by competitive audition to participate in this year’s North Carolina Elementary Honors Chorus. Four students from Charles W. McCrary Elementary School worked with the school’s Music Teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Gee, after school to prepare for the audition. While the in-person event will not be held this year, a virtual performance is being made available and will be shared on the district’s social media once it’s received.

The next Point of Pride shared was about a Bright Idea Grant from Randolph Electric Membership Corporation awarded to Mr. Ryan Gibbs from North Asheboro Middle School (NAMS). With the $1,000, Mr. Gibbs plans to build a recording studio at NAMS for students to begin exploring sound and possibly even making podcasts.

The district also highlighted ways in which students were giving back and encouraging others this holiday season:

- Students at Charles W. McCrary Elementary School sent hundreds of cards of appreciation to healthcare workers at Randolph Health for their service in November. In a social media post from Randolph Health, the author writes, “The best part of my day was rounding throughout the hospital passing out these cards and seeing staff reactions. Needless to say, the staff were so happy and appreciative!”

- Officers with Asheboro High Schools Mu Alpha Theta National Math Honor Society and the club’s advisor, Ms. Kathy Kelley, volunteered their time to clean and organize freezers at Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen of Asheboro.

- Mu Alpha Theta students and those in the Asheboro High School Health Sciences Academy packed 26 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

- And local faith-based partners, Journey Church and Central United Methodist Church, provided over 150 meals to our students and their families during the Thanksgiving break.

At the conclusion of the Points of Pride report, Director of Exceptional Children Services, Tracie Ross, shared a video showcasing students who were using their unique skills to create, make, sell, and distribute handmade creations this holiday season. To date, she shared that the students have made over $1,100 that will be invested for new items to be made and sold for the program.

Superintendent’s Report:
Following Special Recognitions and Presentations, Dr. Aaron Woody, Superintendent shared feedback collected during the 30-day public review period for the draft four-year strategic plan. For now, the draft will remain in draft form until the Board has an opportunity to discuss it in further detail at their winter retreat in late January.

Consent Agenda:
Since there were no requests to address the Board during Public Comment, the Board moved to unanimously approve the Consent Agenda which included minutes from the November meeting of the Asheboro City Board of Education, personnel transactions, policies that have been up for 30-day review since the November meeting, and lease agreement with Randolph Community Services, Inc. for the Randolph County Head Start program.

Information, Reports, and Recommendations:
Dr. Drew Maerz, Director of Support Services, presented 11 policies that are up for public review for the next 30 days. These policies are located on the Board Policies up Public Review page on the Asheboro City Schools website and will likely be approved at the January 2022 meeting.

The next item on the agenda was Naming Facilities Request, presented by Leigh Anna Marbert, Public Information Officer. She shared a presentation about the recent request from Asheboro High School teacher, Kristen Faircloth, to name the AHS softball field scoreboard after retired educator and coach, Ms. Lisa Robertson. Per Board Policy 9300, Naming Facilities, this request will be available for public comment for at least 20 days. The district anticipates the Board voting on this request in January.

Board members also heard from Smith Sinnett Architecture on Phase III of the AHS renovation, noting the demolition of the original AHS building has been completed and the building is prepared for the installation of new infrastructure, equipment, and furnishings.

Following this,  reports were provided by partners HES Facilities Management and ESS Southeast on contracted custodial services and substitute and contracted instructional staff. HES Facilities Management shared that when they began working with Asheboro City Schools, the district was down 17 percent in custodial staff. By September, the company was able to recruit and hire enough individuals to bring the 17 down to 8 percent. Then by October, the custodial team in Asheboro City Schools, thanks in large part to HES, was fully staffed and has been for two months. HES credits their focus on team, retention programs for staff, and recruitment bonuses.

Representatives from ESS updated the board on their partnership with Asheboro City Schools to provide substitutes Since ESS took over this area in August, the ESS team has increased the number of substitutes serving the district from 22 to 82, with a year-to-date fill rate of 74%. ESS continues to focus on recruitment and provides weekly training to prospective candidates.

Closed Session:
The Asheboro City Board of Education then went into a Closed Session to discuss School Risk Management Plans for each school location in the district. These documents are confidential and will not be released publicly due to the nature of the information included.

Action Items:
After coming out of their Closed Session, the Asheboro City Board of Education then voted to approve the School Risk Management Plans as presented.

Next up, the Board heard from Sarah Beth Robbins, Director of Career and Technical Education. She requested the approval of two additional courses that will begin in the 2022-2023 school year. These courses included: Animal Science II: Companion Animal (Standard and Honors); and Adobe Visual Design II (Standard and Honors). Both courses were approved as presented.

The final action item of the evening was a vote on local face covering policies, per Session Law 2021-130 (Senate Bill 654). Dr. Woody’s recommendation to the Board was to continue the mask mandate as the data show numbers are on the rise thanks to holiday gatherings, colder temps bringing more people indoors, and the proliferation of the recent Omicron variant. The Board voted 7-2 to continue the mask mandate for all students and staff across the district. The Board said they would revisit the possibility of removing the mask mandate at the January meeting.

Board Operations:
In Board Operations, the Board voted Michael B. Smith to serve as Chairperson and Baxter Hammer to serve as Vice Chair for the next full calendar year. Chairman Smith also appointed board members to serve on the Calendar Committee which included: Hailey Lee and Michael B. Smith. Finally, Chairman Smith concluded his report by sharing a number of upcoming district events.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:57 p.m.

The Asheboro City Board of Education will meet for their January 2022 meeting on Thursday, January 13, 2022. An agenda for the meeting will be posted by Monday, January 10, 2022. Should you have any questions, please contact Clerk to the Board, Angel Etheridge at 336-625-5104.

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