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Crenshaw BOE approves budget, talks work-based learning

Following approval of minutes and the financial report at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, board members heard reports concerning work-readiness and career and college preparation for Crenshaw County students.

Leading off was a presentation given by Kim Sims, representing the Work-Based Learning Program.

According to Sims, the program focuses on “real-work preparation” and mostly consists of paid apprenticeships within local businesses.

In 2017, the first year of the program being implemented, 14 students worked at 11 different businesses in the area.

Students have the opportunity to earn 2 work-based learning credits over 140 hours of work, which translate into high school credits.

In 2018 the program grew substantially after expanding to include both juniors and seniors, with 52 students working at 30 businesses ranging all the way from Montgomery to Andalusia.

“Some of the benefits of the program include the fact that students earn credits and they learn employability skills, good work habits, problem-solving and social skills,” Sims explained.

Sims also pointed out that the program has room to expand even further.

Next, career counselor Haley Kilcrease reported on her work with local students.

Her work involves working with high school students to plan for college or work, developing work skills and learning about the minutia of college prep such as costs of education, housing and other somewhat rarely discussed details.

The scheduled 2nd budget hearing for the fiscal year was brought up but, with no changes following the previous meeting’s hearing, board members decided to move forward.

Entering into new business, board members discussed the recent retirement of Highland Home’s resource officer, prompting Highland Home principal Cliff Maddox to remark that the slated replacement was Ed Paulk, who was scheduled to begin last Wednesday.

For the Superintendent’s Remarks, superintendent Dodd Hawthorne moved through several items that required approval.

Hawthorne first requested approval for the capital plan for the 2019 fiscal year which, having been previously reviewed by board members, was approved.

Next, Hawthorne requested approval regarding a contract with CMP for grease trap cleaning at the local schools, which was approved.

Finally, Hawthorne sought approval for a contract with Scott Donaldson regarding the JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) program.

Board members had several questions before approving the contract.

JAG is a federally funded program to assist at-risk students in development work skills.

Criteria include the requirement of a student who is on track to become a first-generation high school graduate.

Tracking for the success of the program includes the requirement that students continue to be tracked after graduation.

This contract was approved following the discussion.

Two final items were approved before the conclusion of the meeting.

First, the 2018-2019 fiscal year’s budget was approved.

Next on the agenda, a contract with ATI Physical Therapy to provide trainers at home games was approved.

Copies of the budget can be acquired by contacting the Board.

The next Board of Education meeting will be on Monday, October 15 at 5:30 p.m.