NEWPORT—Jan Brooks and Mickey Powers, longtime members of the Newport City Board of Education, will lead the group for 2020.

Meeting Tuesday night at East Tennessee Coffee Company, the board voted unanimously to elect Brooks to the chairmanship. Powers was named vice-chairman in another unanimous vote.

Following the election, Brooks, who was the current chair and who has served on the board over 16 years, said, “It is indeed an honor to be named to this position and an honor to work with all of you.”

The board held a lengthy discussion regarding the purchase and installation of 27 bollards at the school.

Plans call for the vertical posts to be installed at the main entrance to the primary wing and in the lower parking lot near the gymnasium. Twenty-six of the bollards will be permanent with a moveable post near the gym to provide access for delivery and/or emergency vehicles.

Newport Grammar School Assistant Principal Dustin Morrow said School Safety money will be used to fund the project.

Morrow requested and received board approval to order the bollards from The Park at a cost of $6,400. The figure was the lowest of three submitted to the board.

Three bids for the installation of the bollards were opened during the meeting and, after a long discussion, the board tabled awarding the installation contract because of the wide discrepancy in the bids.

The three bids were Brockwell Construction ($16,120), Burchette Earthworks ($9,100), and Shoemaker’s ($4,500). Although all three companies received the same specs, the submissions varied greatly. On a motion by Powers, seconded by Linda Powell, a decision was tabled until the next meeting.

During their reports, NGS Principal Michael Short announced the school’s basketball teams will be playing in the District Championship and that Roland King, an eighth-grader, had won the school-wide spelling bee earlier in the day.

Morrow also said a recent Snow Ball, a dance given for students exhibiting positive behavior, had been successful, and a Snow Cone Social is planned for March.

Amy Burchette, Federal Programs Supervisor, said NGS had received a state commendation for meeting all requirements on its recent special education assessment survey, and that the Whole Child program has been reactivated with 10 sixth graders enrolled for this semester. Burchette said plans call for 20 students to participate next year, ten each semester.

Dr. Justin Norton, Systems and Assessments Supervisor, announced the ESL assessment testing is underway, and will be followed shortly by Special Education assessment, and the regular TCAP tests.

Norton also said he and NGS guidance counselor Ashley Ball met recently with 10 students having truancy problems. He explained that parents were present at the meetings. If a parent did not attend, a second notice will be sent. After that the matter will be turned over to the truancy court.

Norton said the school’s Tech Homework line is “up and going,” and that training for substitute teachers will be offered on Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. in the NGS primary building.

System Director of Schools Sandra Burchette told the group the state has adopted a more “hands-on” approach to the teaching of reading to students in grades K-2. “We will be receiving more directives from the state,” she said

Brooks announced the board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the NGS primary building. The date was changed from the regular Monday meeting because of the Presidents Day holiday.

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