DATE:November 20, 2006PRESENT:Michael Dixon, Chair

DATE:November 20, 2006PRESENT:Michael Dixon, Chair

DATE:November 20, 2006PRESENT:Michael Dixon, Chair

Mary Grace Bright

Jill Camnitz

Betsy Leech

Ralph Love, Sr.

Barbara Owens

TIME:7:30 P.M.Billy Peaden

Roy Peaden

Marcy Romary

Sidney Scott

Dick Tolmie

PLACE:J. H. Rose High SchoolDelano Wilson


Chairman Michael Dixon called to order the Board of Education in regular session. Mr. Sidney Scott led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Recognitions for the evening were offered by Ms. Heather Mayo and Chairman Dixon. Ms. Mayo announced that Mr. Travis Lewis, Student Services Director, had been named as the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Lewis was congratulated and presented with a Certificate of Recognition for Creating Excellence in the East.

Ms. Mayo announced also that Ms. LaVette Ford, Assistant Principal at South Greenville Elementary School, had been selected as the 2006 North Carolina School Library/Media Administrator of the Year. Ms. Ford was congratulated and presented with a Certificate of Recognition for Creating Excellence in the East.

Chairman Dixon acknowledged the reception that had been held immediately prior to the Board meeting for Pitt County Schools’ Nurses and First Responders and he expressed appreciation to those two groups of individuals for their services to the students and staff within the school system. He stated that it takes a certain kind of person to make the personal sacrifice to respond to others when they are in need and he advised that the Board of Education wished to recognize these individuals within the school district and pay tribute to them by declaring December as School Nurses and First Responders Month. He then read the Proclamation making this declaration.

Chairman Dixon indicated that it would be his last Board meeting as Chairman and as such he said he wanted to thank God, his family and his fellow Board members for the support that had been afforded him during his term. Additionally, he stated that he wanted to acknowledge all the people who had worked with him over the last two years and expressed appreciation for everyone’s assistance. He then presented plaques to each Board member individually and to the Superintendent, as well as to staff members Michael Cowin, (Aaron Beaulieu – absent), Travis Lewis, Rob Sonnenberg, Mary Williamson, Phil Dixon, Brenda Strickland, Beverly Roberson, Jesse Hinton, Melissa Grimes, Delilah Jackson, Heather Mayo and representatives Beth Edwards of the Pitt County Association of Educators and Glenn Joyner, President of the Principals and Assistant Principals Association.

The Chair offered an opportunity for adjustments to the agenda. Upon motion by Mr. Roy Peaden and second by Mr. Dick Tolmie, the Board voted unanimously to approve the agenda.

An opportunity for Public Expression was provided. No requests to address the Board were received.

The Chair offered the Consent Agenda for consideration, which included minutes of the meeting held on October 2, 2006 and the Personnel Report for the month of November. Upon motion by Mr. Dick Tolmie and second by Ms. Betsy Leech, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Consent Agenda as provided.

Representing Ayden-Grifton High School, Mr. Jay Jester (Assistant Principal) and Ms. Rebecca Tarplee (Guidance Counselor) shared with the Board the activities underway this school year to recognize, model, and promote RESPECT with the students and staff. Mr. Jester explained that the first step was to conduct skits (unknown to other students) to illustrate disrespectful behavior, giving the students and teachers an opportunity to discuss what the appropriate behavior or response would/should have been in those situations.

Ms. Tarplee explained that it was important to talk about what RESPECT is and how to recognize it in other students and in the modeling of RESPECT by teachers. The second activity, reported Ms. Tarplee, was one identified by the Planning and Leadership Team to reward students for positive behavior wherein students from each class were identified by their classmates to have exhibited four characteristics: (1) Encourages others, (2) Shows respect by listening to teachers and peers, (3) Is cooperative, and (4) Exhibits a positive attitude at all times. Identified students were treated to an ice-cream social. Mr. Jester and Ms. Tarplee indicated they were surprised at the enthusiasm and high level of participation in addition to the seriousness with which the students chose those to be recognized.

Mr. Jester shared with the Board copies of the “You Have Been Caught (Being Respectful)” cards that are being passed out to students over a three-day period, which will entitle them to participation in the second ice cream social. He explained that the plan of the Leadership Team was to do something along these same lines each six-weeks to promote positive behaviors and raise the awareness levels of students and faculty to respectful attitudes.

Dr. Reep expressed appreciation to Ayden-Grifton for volunteering to make the first presentation to the Board, and she explained that it was her desire to have a volunteer school at Board meetings this school year to share their RESPECT activities. It was suggested by one of the Board members that it would be great to have those activities that have proven to be highly successful shared in some way with all the other schools.

Chair of the Finance Committee, Mr. Sidney Scott, introduced the Finance Committee Report from the meeting held on October 17, 2006. He advised that Mr. Michael Cowin had presented the Budget Resolution and the Budget Calendar at that time and he asked that Mr. Cowin come forward to share highlights of that meeting with the Board.

Mr. Cowin reviewed highlights of the Budget Resolution with the Board explaining the revisions that had been made to the budget since the time the Budget Proposal was approved. He shared that the total budget represented $189.8 million with 61.8% being state funded and 21.9% being locally funded. He also noted that 68.8% of the total dollars were funded in support of the instructional program. Other adjustments that were reflected in the Budget Resolution, he said, included such revisions as removal of the state discretionary reduction, adding back the local portion of the sales tax refund, and adjusting for the employee compensation increases. The increases in state revenue over the anticipated amount, he explained, covered the shortfall between the amount requested and funded locally by the County Commissioners. Mr. Cowin additionally reviewed the Budget Goals/Calendar for 2007-08, as discussed and approved by the Finance Committee. Upon motion by Mr. Sidney Scott and second by Mr. Delano Wilson, the Board unanimously approved the Budget Resolution and the Budget Calendar as presented.

As Chair of the Policy Review Committee, Ms. Betsy Leech provided the report from that committee’s meeting of October 23, 2006. She presented three policies for First Reading. Those included Policy 5.006 (Integrated Pest Management), Policy 6.307 (Activity Buses) and Policy 10.902 (Pledge of Allegiance to Flag).

Ms. Barbara Owens, Chair of the Educational Programs and Services (EPS) Committee, offered the report from that committee’s meeting of October 24, 2006. It was reported that the State Board of Education had mandated that every school district have a Chemical Hygiene/Science Safety Plan in place and that the plan was due to be submitted to the State Board by January 30, 2007. Ms. Owens called upon Dr. Mary Williamson to provide additional information in that regard.

Dr. Williamson indicated that the Board had received a copy of the Safety Plan for review and that it had been developed by Mr. Mike Whitford - Safety Coordinator, Mr. Rick Wilkerson - Science Coordinator, and middle school teacher – Shirley Grimsley. Dr. Williamson stated that the Pitt County Schools’ plan addressed everything required in the State Board’s mandate from the OSHA requirements to the methods for chemical disposal. Some of the procedures specifically discussed included those for storage of chemicals, student exposure, lab safety training and records processing. It was indicated that there would be a need for a review of the plan annually as well as an annual submission of the updated plan to the State Board of Education. Upon motion by Ms. Barbara Owens and second by Ms. Jill Camnitz, the Board unanimously approved the Chemical Hygiene and Science Safety Plan for Pitt County Schools.

Ms. Owens advised that the EPS Committee additionally received an update from the Learn and Earn College Planning Committee. She explained that this committee had been working for over a year to plan a program that would be housed on the campus of East Carolina University and would involve both Pitt County Schools and Pitt Community College teachers. She stated that students desiring to become teachers would apply for admission and would participate in courses for credit towards an Associate’s degree or Batchelor’s degree while still in high school. She stated it was anticipated that beginning with 9th graders, the “school” would grow to approximately 400 students. Ms. Owens advised that the EPS Committee supported the concept.

An additional item on the agenda for the EPS committee was that of recently approved Exit Standards for high school students requiring that for graduation credit, a student must score at Level III on 5 End-of-Course tests: Biology, U. S. History, Civics and Economics, Algebra I, and English I. Conflicts in this requirement with Pitt County Board of Education policy were discussed along with needed revisions. Also, she reported, beginning with this year’s Freshmen, high school students will be required by the state to complete a graduation project (Senior Project).

The remaining items reviewed by the committee, Ms. Owens reported, included a discussion of the instructional minutes at each school and the process for implementing the sanctions and supplemental services for the Title I School Improvement Schools.

Under Superintendent Comments, Dr. Reep noted that she wished to correct a statement that she had made in August regarding the Supplemental Educational Services Program. She said that she had used the word “embargoed” when explaining to the Board that the district had been selected to participate in this pilot program and that there had been some confusion as to exactly what was embargoed. Dr. Reep clarified that the district’s application for participation in the pilot program was not embargoed, but rather when the district was selected, the State Department had embargoed that information for a period of time. She stated further that while not embargoed, the district had not talked broadly about the application because there are lots of times when applications are submitted for participation in pilots such as this one when the district is not chosen.

Dr. Reep advised that she had placed on the table for Board members a copy of a letter from the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) to the Chair of the State Board of Education, Howard Lee, regarding the changes in graduation requirements and specifically those impacting the Vocational Education Program. She said NCASA was working on its lobbying efforts and was asking the State Board to put off for one year implementation of the changes to the graduation requirements.

Dr. Reep announced that the Safety Forums for each high school attendance area would be scheduled for January and that these forums would provide parents and other members of the community an opportunity to come out and share their thoughts and ideas on various safety issues including dress code and uniforms. She stated that the month of December would be used to publicize these meetings.

Dr. Reep commented that included on the Personnel Report this evening was the resignation of Ms. Vivian Roach. She added that she wished to publicly express how much she had appreciated the work of Ms. Roach. She added that Ms. Roach was the most calm and poised Director of Exceptional Children that she had ever worked with and that she was always focused on what was right for the children.

As a good news item, Dr. Reep reported that the district had officially received notification of certification from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She shared that there were only a few districts in the country undergoing the self-assessment process and that having completed that process, Pitt County Schools had received full accreditation. She stated that the recommendations made by the committee had been shared with the Board and were in validation of the work ahead as already identified by district personnel.

Concluding her comments, Dr. Reep expressed appreciation to Board Chairman Michael Dixon. She said from the very beginning as a new superintendent coming into the district, he had made her feel very comfortable and had checked on her regularly. She said that much had been written about service-oriented leadership and that she felt Mr. Dixon modeled this characteristic. She said that he had been very consistent in his efforts not only to lead the school district forward, but also to serve the students and employees as well. She thanked him personally and stated that she appreciated his fine leadership.

Under comments by the Chair, Mr. Dixon pledged his support to the new chair and stated that he knew with the leadership at hand, the district was primed to move forward to the next level. He also stated that he had been on a local radio show earlier in the week and had been asked about the coat policy being implemented at some of our schools, as well as the visitation policy. He advised that he was asking the staff for additional information to learn if the coat and visitation policies being put into operation at some schools was being handled consistently throughout the district.

The Chair advised that he had attended the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) Annual Conference and at that conference Pitt County Board of Education members were recognized for having achieved various levels of recognition in Boardsmanship training. Those recognized were: Mary Grace Bright and Betsy Leech for Certificate of Merit, Delano Wilson for Certificate of Achievement, Barbara Owens for Certificate of Advanced Achievement (and Michael Dixon for Silver Award). He also passed out laminated copies of Robert’s Rules of Order for board member use at future meetings.

Dr. Ralph Love stated that he also attended the NCSBA Annual Conference and found the workshops very interesting. One session in particular that he felt was noteworthy was presented by Guilford County and discussed the work the school system was doing in partnership with the County Commissioners. He added that his discussions with others at the conference evidenced that Pitt County Schools was already doing things that others were there doing presentations on and talking about in sessions.

Mr. Roy Peaden asked that everyone keep in their prayers the families of those students killed this day in a bus accident in Huntsville, Alabama.

Ms. Mary Grace Bright commented on the questions that had been submitted collectively by Board members who had attended the summer conference and she expressed appreciation to the staff for the work that was done to provide answers to the questions. She also commended the First Responders for the outstanding and sometimes life-saving work they do for the school system on a daily basis.

Upon motion by Ms. Mary Grace Bright and second by Ms. Barbara Owens, the Board unanimously voted to officially approve the Proclamation presented earlier in the evening.

Upon motion by Ms. Betsy Leech and second by Mr. Delano Wilson, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,


A. Michael Dixon, Chair


Beverly B. Reep, Superintendent