The DeKalb County Board of Education will conduct an annual performance evaluation of the Director of Schools and a School Board self evaluation on Thursday night, January 6th at the Board of Education Building.
Director Mark Willoughby's current contract with the board is scheduled to expire June 30th, 2011. His
original contract with the board took effect July 1st, 2006. The board must notify Willoughby by March 31st if it intends to extend or renew his employment contract.
The same basic instruments for making the evaluations will be used as in the past. A workshop evaluating the director will begin at 6:00 p.m. followed at 7:00 p.m. by a special called session to conduct the school board self-evaluation.
At the workshop, the school board members will evaluate Director Willoughby on his relationship with the board, community relationships, staff and personnel relationships, educational leadership, business and finance, and strategic planning skills. Board members are to make a check mark on the four page evaluation form in each of 52 areas, if they believe expectations have been met. Spaces are also provided on the form for board members to write comments.
Willoughby's contract states that the evaluation of the Director shall occur no later than January 31 each calendar year during the term of the contract. The board will review the Director's performance, progress toward established goals, and the working relationship between the two parties.
In the self evaluation, each board member must rate the board's performance on a scale from one to six in team building, decision making, governance, school improvement, community, planning, communications, motivation, influence, and policy. A score of "one" is the lowest and a score of "6" is the highest. They must rate themselves on how much is being done now in each of 46 areas and how important those issues are to them.
Board Chairman Charles Robinson has also called for a board workshop on Saturday, February 12th at 8:00 a.m. to set future goals. "In taking into consideration how we evaluate ourselves and our director and what we want to achieve for the next school year in trying to remain a board of distinction, we will have workshop to address our strengths and weaknesses and how we can improve."
With schools set to re-open on Tuesday, January 4th in DeKalb County, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) reminds motorists of the importance of school bus safety awareness and education.
"Riding the school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation; it's when children get on or off the bus that causes concern," said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "That is why it is critical for parents, teachers, and school administrators to stress the importance of crossing in view of the school bus driver, and to instruct children on other safety tips that will keep them out of harm's way."
Each day, some 480,000 school buses transport more than 26 million children to and from school and school related activities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. An average of 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year – five occupants of school buses and 14 pedestrians. Most of those killed are children five to seven years old.
The "danger zone" for a school bus is the area 10 feet around the vehicle; the two most dangerous places are the front and the right rear tire area of the bus. Children must take care when boarding or leaving the school bus by following these simple rules:
·Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver;
·Be alert to traffic. Check both ways before stepping off the bus;
·Make eye contact with the bus driver, and wait for the bus driver's signal before crossing the street;
·Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street;
·Never go under the bus to retrieve something you've dropped;
·Get to the bus stop in plenty of time.
"Educating children on school bus safety is a top priority, but we also want to remind drivers to slow down in school zones and obey the stop arm," said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. "Our troopers work diligently to enforce traffic laws in the school zone, and will penalize those who blatantly disregard laws designed to protect children."
In Tennessee and in every state, drivers must stop when the stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing.
Between August 1, 2010, and September 30, 2010, State Troopers wrote 343 citations to drivers as part of THP's Back to School Enforcement Campaign. A total of 126 of those drivers were ticketed for speeding in a school zone. In 2009, Troopers issued 5,445 citations in school zones across the state. Of those citations, 973 were speeding violations, while one citation was handed out for passing a stopped school bus.
All school bus drivers in Tennessee must attend an annual training course in order to receive and maintain the school bus endorsement on their Driver License. During the 2009-10 academic year, more than 12,000 school bus drivers received training from the THP Pupil Transportation Unit. Additionally, THP also inspected 10,595 buses to ensure they were in compliance with the established safety requirements.