By Michael Broihier
Lincoln County School Board member Eddie Whittemore resigned from his post by letter in the first week of January citing personal reasons. Board Chairman Jim Kelley read the brief letter at last week’s school board meeting and Whittemore’s seat was declared vacant. Whittemore was elected for the first time in 2004 and successfully ran against two other candidates in 2008 in the only contested school board race. Whittemore represented Stanford districts 2 and 3 and McKinney districts 1 and 2.
Anyone living in Whittemore’s district who has a GED diploma or higher, is at least 24 years old and has no conflicts of interest with the school district may nominate themselves or be nominated by another.
Whittemore was up for reelection in November, so whomever is selected to fill the seat will do so only until the end of the December unless they run for the seat and win the November election.
In other business, the board also selected board leadership and staff positions. Kelley was once again selected to be Board Chairman and Tom Blankenship was returned as Vice-Chairman. Jonathan Baker will remain the Board Attorney and Gail Isaacs will continue to serve as the Board Secretary. The board also elected Marsha Abel to serve as Board Treasurer. Abel was recently hired by the board to replace former District Finance Officer Gwen Rubado.
T.J. Poliskie, energy manager for area schools, was on hand to present Energy Star Awards to three of the district’s schools. Poliskie told the board that 12 percent of the country’s total energy consumption is wasted in commercial buildings and that the 6th Grade Center, Hustonville Elementary and Waynesburg Elementary had all scored in the top quartile for energy efficiency.
All schools in the district have energy teams that have made a significant impact on how much power is used at a considerable savings to the taxpayers.
LCHS Principal Tim Godbey briefed the board on the preparations his school has made in anticipation of an audit by the KDE. The audit, which will be conducted Feb. 12-16, is mandated because the school has been ranked as Persistently Low Achieving (PLA).
Godbey said that the school started its preparations back in December. “We are very optimistic and prepared for them,” he said.
Godbey told the board that the school has implemented practices to improve ACT scores by aligning the curriculum with the test’s content.
Godbey has been assisted by former Danville High Principal Win Smith. “We were in the same shape you are in several years ago and we made great strides,” Smith said. “Lincoln County High School has a firm foundation and just needs a push in the right direction.”
Smith said he was optimistic based on what he’d seen at LCHS. He told the board that he’d worked in several PLA schools since retiring and there was always a lot of tension in them that he does not see in Lincoln.
Godbey introduced Math Department Chair Kevin Bandura who briefed the board on specific steps he’d taken to improve math scores.
Bandura said that the school has begun requiring year-round algebra and geometry classes and hopes that a full year of Algebra II will be required. He also convinced the board to invest in a computer program to assist in math education, Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS), that he saw being used in other schools. “The kids look just like ours, but they are succeeding,” he said.
Bandura also said that his department is returning to an old teaching technique, commonly known as rote memorization, but that now has a more acceptable name, Automaticity.
Godbey concluded his brief by asking the board to consider going to a 175-day school year and adding an additional 15 minutes to each school day.
School Board declares seat open