By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Board of Education spoke about safety measures that are at all the schools during their Monday, June 27 meeting, and heard a proposal from Chris Greene Director of Information Technology & Network Services, and Bob Brislin, Systems Engineer for Intech, to add access control at the high school.
“We are blessed in Dade County Schools to have four resource officers at each one of our schools. They do a great job of keeping our students safe. Also, we have several different layers of security in our school system,” Superintendent Josh Ingle said.
At Davis and Dade Elementary and at Dade Middle School there is some form of access control, meaning that after school has begun, someone cannot enter through the front door without buzzing in. Ingle noted that the high school currently has no access control.
All employees have a Centegix badge, which can be used to call for help in the event of an incident. A button is pressed on the badge, which sets off an alarm.
In addition, there are several ways that a lock down can be put into effect. The only people that can call for a lock down at the schools are the principals.
Ingle noted that today, Wednesday, July 6 several individuals from the sheriff’s department and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency will have a meeting with school staff to talk about school safety.
“Our goal will be to focus on keeping our students and our staff safe. And let it be known, in the event that anyone comes on any of our campuses intending to hurt our kids or our employees, there will be consequences. There is always room to improve in the areas of school safety,” Ingle said.
Greene and Brislin presented a proposal to the board members to add access control to the high school, using InTech Systems.
“If you think about the high school, you have a vast number of doors in that building. In a reasonable fashion, this is the simplest thing we can do to make our students and staff safe,” Greene said.
“The idea of the access control system would be to designate entry doors versus exit only doors. Then we can get control over who is coming in and when they are coming in,” Brislin said.
Installing the system would include a magnetic lock that sits above the door. The lock can be opened if someone swipes their badge and turns a key.
“There is a double layer of security right there off the bat,” Brislin said.
Another proponent is an alarm that sounds when a door is propped open, to discourage people from propping doors.
“It integrates perfectly with the systems that we already have,” Ingle said.
The board voted to approve the safety upgrade proposal.
Also, during the meeting Counselor Tinena Bice and Social Worker Kristin Barrett spoke about implementing the Navigate360 education program in the schools next year.
“For years we have worked hard to provide a caring, positive, and nurturing school environment and we have done that through our character project. It is mandated by the state of Georgia that we teach character education. We used the Medal of Honor program this year,” Bice said.
Bice noted that they wanted to find out what the teachers thought about the program, so they conducted a survey. Results showed that changes needed to be made to meet more of the student’s needs.
“The teachers said that we needed something that goes on a deeper level than just the service level. We need a social and emotional learning program,” Barrett said.
Barrett also said that some of the teachers felt that the Medal of Honor program wasn’t appropriate for the younger students.
Character education, Multi-Tiered System of Support, Positive Behavior Intervention System, and Social Emotional Learning are all mandated in Georgia.
“This program that we have identified will allow us to streamline all of this,” Barrett said.
The board approved the use of the new program. Ingle also noted that a character word of the week would still be used in all schools.
The Board of Education also approved the fiscal year 2023 budget, which includes $19,767,251 in estimated revenue and $6,045,652 in estimated special revenue funds.
Ingle also reminded community members that free lunches would no longer be available to all students because the USDA is not extending the grant funding. The school will return to an application-based system, based on income. The application will be sent home with all students during the start of the school year, and the application can be filled out online.
Paula Stallings presented the financial report. The total revenue collected up until the month of May was $19,523,475.25. The total expenditures through the end of May were $17,618,284.39.
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel. After the executive session, the board approved the retirement of Greta Haney, and the promotion of April Logan as School Nutrition Manager. The board approved the resignations of Johnny Burch, Sonya Cloud, Brooke Gilbert, Karen Kirk, Tony Richardson, and Ansley Tucker.
The board approved the hiring of Dr. LeighAnn Beesley as the DES Aftercare Director for fiscal year 2023 and approved the voluntary transfer of Andy Williams from the high school to Dade Elementary. Sheena Huckabee and Natasha Shrader were hired as school nutrition substitutes, Mike Hollingsworth was hired as the middle school’s girls’ basketball community coach, and Greg James was hired as a high school football community coach.
The board approved the following certified staff hires for the fiscal year 2023 school year: Tristica Adams, Blye Case, Billy Duncan, Renee Frank, Jonathan Gann, Jacey Hill, Amanda Hisle, John Millican, Melissa Valtierra, and Dustin White.
The following non-certified staff was hired for the fiscal year 2023 school year: Titus Cartwright, Kayleigh Goff, Tiffany Long, Rebecca Velez, and Jessica Guthrie.
The next Board of Education meeting will be July 25.