School Board Adopts Resolution Honoring Director Mark Willoughby

November 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Director of Schools Mark Willoughby..

For the last few months, the board has been recognizing various groups of school system employees as part of the Utrust Make A Difference Program.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson read the resolution which states as follows:

"Whereas, Mr. Mark Willoughby has served with distinction as superintendent of schools for three years; and

Whereas, He has consistently given highest priority to the needs of the students when he has made recommendations and proposed improvements to this board; and

"Whereas, he was worked tirelessly to build support for public education by attending school functions whenever they occur and consistently speaking out for the needs of our school system and the children it serves, and,

"Whereas, he has worked cooperatively with this board of education to initiate the Utrust Employee Appreciation Program which has resulted in improved morale and a better understanding and appreciation of the work of others by our students, staff, and community; and,

Therefore, Be it Resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education officially recognizes the continued and excellent services of Mr. Mark Willoughby to the youth of DeKalb County and extends its utmost appreciation for the work that he has done to make education an exciting and joyous experience for the students of our district;

Be it further resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares November 19th, 2009 as Superintendent Appreciation Day in DeKalb County;

Be it further resolved, that each school principal is hereby encouraged to plan and implement a program of appreciation for our superintendent of schools.

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 and Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade addressed the board of education with results of the latest report card on the DeKalb County School System just released by the Tennessee Department of Education. (WJLE recently published a news story on the report card results. Click here to read it or click the link below to listen to the comments of Fontanez and Burklow at the school board meeting) Click here to see the actual report card on DeKalb County Schools

In other business, Director Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Jean Hayes has been transferred to the position of cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School.

Cori Sexton has resigned as an educational assistant at DCHS

Barbara Ervin has resigned as cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School

Jenny Elrod, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby says response to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program has been great but the large number of participants in the after school programs is affecting the amount of time some students are on the bus in the evenings.

Willoughby says letters are being sent home asking any parents who are willing to voluntarily transport their children home from after school. "We have a lot of students who are staying after school for our 21st Century Programs and other things related to extra help but because we have so many staying after school mainly on Monday and Tuesday, we have students getting home later than we would like. So we sent a note home to these students' parents which states as follows: Thank you so much for allowing your child to participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program. Principals and teachers indicate that students are learning and the program is helping with class work and providing other opportunities for extra activities for your child."

"Currently, bus transportation is provided for all students at the end of the after school activity. The number of children in the program has increased and children are arriving home later than anticipated on Monday and Tuesday. There is every intent to continue providing transportation, however we are looking at all of our options. If you are able to pick your child up at school after the session ends on Monday and or Tuesday night that would be a tremendous help."

"Again, thank you for allowing the DeKalb County School System to provide this opportunity for your child."

Patty Hale of the DeKalb County Education Association addressed the school board concerning American Education Week November 15th-21st. "Americans nationwide will join the National Education Association in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality public education. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools. It also reflects NEA's vision in calling on America to provide public school students with quality schools so they can grow and achieve in the 21st century."

DCEA President Mandy Dakas, in a letter to principals, wrote of events scheduled for each day during the week.

"Monday, November 16th- School Board Member Day. Each school should be prepared for school board members to tour their school. Classes may write "Thank You" cards to school board members. Public service announcements will be announced this week and next week. Local businesses have been invited to participate by offering discounts to individuals who work in the public school system or by displaying signs throughout our community."

"Tuesday, November, 17th- Parent/Grandparent Day. Encourage your school or individual teachers to send a note home this week inviting parents to come in to the school on this day. They may set up a time to read a book, eat lunch with their child, share their history/talent, or assist a teacher. Give those who do attend a "certificate" which will be provided by the A.R.'s."

"Wednesday, November, 18th- Education Support Professionals Day. Each school needs to decide what they want to do for their ESP's (cafeteria workers, custodians, para-professionals, bus drivers, etc) and then provide it for those individuals. Examples: either the school can provide something or the teachers might decide to bring in something (breakfast, lunch, coffee, doughnuts)"

"Thursday, November 19th- Community Leaders as Educators. Each school needs to take down the names of teachers who would be willing to have a community leader to come into their classroom and teach. Ask community leaders to come to your school to teach a lesson, read a book, assist with a small group, etc."

"Friday, November 20th- Substitute Educators Day. We will be calling all substitute teachers and inviting them to come to Northside Elementary at 3:30 p.m. for cake and punch. We will also give them a certificate of appreciation. (Encourage as many teachers as possible to come to Northside's multi-purpose room to mingle with our fabulous substitute teachers)"

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