NEWPORT—Members of the Newport City Board of Education, meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Newport Grammar School, approved unanimously a request by sponsors of the NGS Beta Club to take their members to Disney World next spring for their annual trip.

Club co-sponsors Lenora Douglas and Bonnie Ball said the trip is planned for “Mother’s Day week.”

Douglas and Ball had requested the board’s approval at their August meeting but were not present for the meeting. After some board members questioned the destination, the board tabled any action until more information was received. At the August meeting, some board members suggested other destinations, such as Williamsburg, Charleston, and Savannah, might be “more educational.”

But at Tuesday’s meeting, Ball told the board the travelers will be involved in the Disney “Wildlife Conservation” program while there and described the educational components of the trip.

In other action, the board approved incentive awards for some NGS teachers. According to Director of Schools Sandra Burchette, some teachers received a “5”, the highest possible score, on their portfolios, and others earned a “4”.

The board approved awarding teachers with a “5” two additional personal days, and those earning a “4” one additional personal day.

Acting on a request from board chair Jan Brooks, the board also approved having the NGS school pressure washed at a cost of $4,000. Scott’s X-Treme Softwash will do the job.

Parent Jennifer Lynch appeared before the board as a “huge proponent” of school uniforms.

Lynch said she had moved to Newport from “South Florida” where her children were required to wear uniforms. “Having uniforms is easy,” Lynch said. “With dress codes getting more and more stringent, uniforms are an answer.”

Regarding the cost of uniforms, Lynch said “That should not be an issue, not a roadblock” and went on to say that the Florida school kept a closet of uniforms for children who could not afford them. “Some of these parents had donated after their children had outgrown them,” she explained.

Lynch described the uniforms as khaki or denim shorts with solid polo shirts.

In response to Lynch’s comments, board member David Perryman said, “This is interesting. I think it’s a good idea.”

During his report, NGS Principal Michael Short said, “Our kids with portfolios are in the top three of all Upper East Tennessee districts.”

Last week’s NGS Open House, Short continued, was “well attended” and teacher evaluations are set to begin soon.

Dr. Justin Norton, Systems and Assessments Supervisor, said this year’s TN Ready testing will be “all on paper.”

Norton also reported that Benchmark testing for grades 1-8 has been completed and the same testing for the kindergarten children is currently underway.

Attendance for the first school month stood at 97.12 percent, a slight increase over this time last year. He also reported that September is Attendance Awareness Month and that he has requested samples of textbooks for consideration by the Language Arts department starting early next year.

Another day of training for substitute teachers will be held Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. in the NGS primary building. Norton stressed the school’s need for qualified substitute teachers.

During her report, Burchette introduced several new members of the NGS staff, including Hannah Brooks (sixth-grade ELA), Katie Robertson (1st grade), Ashley Shults (2nd grade), Donna McConnell (5th grade social studies), and Barb Suggs, (administrative assistant).

Board members also approved numerous travel, fund raiser, and field trip requests, plus the reading of four policies.

They added their approval to a request to renew a contract with Follett School Solutions (Aspen) for reporting student data to the state and set the date of the NGS Fall Carnival for Friday, Oct. 25, with a rain date of Friday, Nov. 2.

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