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Board revisits district visitor policy

Visitor policy updates, contracts, personnel appointments, and vendor recommendations for the Broughal MS were discussed during the Aug. 12 board meeting.

Chief Human Resources Officer Russell Giordano and Chief Pupil Services Officer Claire Hogan introduced updates to the district’s visitor and identification badge policies for first readings. Hogan said the policy updates were driven by the need to formalize requirements for school visitors working for agencies that provide services to students. Giordano said the updates should provide clarity to principals, simplifying building management.

Key components of the visitor policy include authorizing the district superintendent and the school principal to prohibit any individual from entering school properties, designating only one entrance at each school to remain unlocked for visitor entry, and delineating the procedures for classroom observation requests. All school employees must wear identification badges at all times, with independent contractors and other temporary staff receiving photo identification badges as well. Visitors are required to show photo identification, such as a driver’s license, at the main office of a school building in order to receive a temporary identification badge.

Personnel changes approved at the meeting included four retirements, several temporary hires and promotions, and three new full-time hires: Lauren Bencker, who will teach first grade at Fountain Hill ES; Carla Pacitti, who will teach English at Liberty HS; and Kathleen Troxell, an ESOL teacher for Broughal MS. The board also voted 5-0 to approve contracts for paper and other supplies.

District resident Stephen Antalics, during public comment, requested that the board provide sports-related concussion and head injury statistics for the past five years. He cited the case of Jonathan Boland, a former student at Parkrose School District in Oregon, who is suing his district, alleging that he was inappropriately cleared to return to play, and that he suffered neurological damage as a result. Antalics indicated that he would provide the board with a detailed list of statistics that he believes should be made available to the public.

Citing a challenging hiring environment for school bus drivers, Chief Facilities and Operations Officer Mark Stein introduced a referral bonus of $500 for district employees who refer an individual who is hired by the district, and a signing bonus of $1,000 for class A and class B commercially licensed drivers. The Curriculum Committee presented contracts for Head Start, Pre-K Counts, and Title I and Title II services to be provided by Intermediate Unit 20 to non-public schools, as well as presenting the Targeted Support and Improvement plans for Freedom and Liberty High Schools that will be submitted to the Pa. Department of Education. These improvement plans are targeted to improve educational outcomes for ESL students at Freedom and Liberty.

The Curriculum Committee recommended the selection of Step by Step Learning to provide literacy and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) services as part of the Broughal CSI plan that will begin this year, as well as Jason Adair Consulting to provide math services as part of the same plan. MTSS services form a comprehensive framework to support all learners, from struggling students through advanced students, without necessarily involving special education. Coaches hired through the program, funded by a Title I federal grant, will help the Broughal faculty to create MTSS services that will be used on an ongoing basis in order to scaffold instruction for students with literacy skill gaps.

TransPar General Manager Jenny Casebolt, who started consulting to the district Aug. 8, provided an update on the district’s busing preparedness for the upcoming school year. Bus passes have been issued, but the district has not yet hit the date on which it will finalize the routes, because new enrollments are still occurring. The bus fleet, including 29 new vehicles, has passed state inspection and is ready for service. Stein noted that the district is deploying some 81-passenger buses in addition to the standard 72-passenger buses, in order to combat overcrowding issues. TransPar has also set up a call center to answer parents’ questions from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the week of Sept. 2.

press photos by theresa o'brienSuperintendent Dr. Joseph Roy confers with solicitor Donald F. Spry II. BASD called the special Aug. 12 board meeting to finalize new hires before the academic year begins.