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Thumbs up for C-GAP program

A proposal made by Dr. Early Perkins, with Adult Education, was given the thumbs up by the Claiborne School Board last week, during its February meeting.

The alternative program will now do its part in keeping at-risk students in school and moving toward a graduation date, via the C-GAP (Claiborne-Grad Achievement Program).

Perkins outlined his proposal during the latest school board committee meeting. He said he had been in contact with adjoining school districts to see just how their versions of the program worked.

“We took the positive ideas from each program. We can decrease the dropout rate. We can increase the graduation rate. And, by doing this, we can keep the funding coming in. It’s a win-win situation, all the way around,” said Perkins, during the committee meeting.

The program will allow at-risk students to earn the state minimum of 22 credits, at their own individual pace. Learning will be done online or through traditional textbook curriculum.

C-GAP will allow students to gain credit recovery or full credit attainment, Perkins said.

The program is expected to be up and running in time for fall, 2018.

The Claiborne school system graduation rate is currently 93-94 percent.

Board member Justin Cosby presented an idea he says would further open communication lines between principals, teachers and administration. Cosby proposed that each of the school campuses elect one person to attend the monthly committee and full board meetings. Those individuals would take notes and email the information to the faculty and staff of each campus.

He suggested that any questions could be directed anonymously to that communications person, who would then present them to the director of schools. The director could then present the questions during the meetings.

The answers would then be emailed to those who proposed the questions, within a reasonable time period.

That way, each school would be equally represented, he said.

Chairman Micheal Jo Gray said he thought the idea was a good one. However, he questioned the extra workload placed upon whoever might be chosen from each campus.

Teachers are already working under a heavy load, he said.

Gray suggested either choosing one person to cover the meetings or, rotating people each month.

Vice-chair Shannon England agreed, saying she felt it would be a better alternative to have one person, perhaps from the Central Office, ‘streamlining’ the coverage.

County attorney James Estep III asked to voice his thoughts on the matter.

“Your minutes are your official documents that speak the official version that you all adopt. You start getting nine different schools here, taking reports, you’re going to have nine plus one different interpretations of what was said,” said Estep.

Gray agreed. He suggested that the official minutes could be emailed out to the schools.

After a bit more discussion, Cosby asked to table the issue until the next committee meeting, where the board could have more time to discuss the matter.

This issue is expected to be brought back in March, during the regular board meeting.

In another matter, the board approved Cosby’s proposal to have all future school board meetings held inside the large courtroom of the Claiborne County Courthouse. Apparently, this is to make the meeting location more uniform.

It appears all future handouts from the elective course in Women’s Studies will need to be approved by the principal or other administration prior to distribution. Dr. Joseph Miller, director of schools, said after adjournment of the board meeting last week that he had been in contact with the Claiborne High principal to address the issue brought before the school board committee during its latest meeting.

The parent of a CHS junior voiced his concerns about a handout his daughter had brought home from the class. The course reportedly teaches “feminist” ideals that include the “understanding of intersectionality, privilege and oppression” of girls and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ‘queer’) students.

The parent said he was especially concerned about the foul language used in the handout.

“They,” he said, are pushing for the class to become a required course of study.

Apparently, the elective course will continue to be taught to Claiborne High School students.

Clairfield Elementary topped the monthly attendance record, with a 93.9 percent average.

Claiborne High holds the lowest attendance for the month of January, with an 89.2 percent ranking — not bad, considering the amount of absences plaguing the school system due to illness according to officials.

The next committee meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22, inside the Central Office board room. The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 8, at the Claiborne County Courthouse.

The public is encouraged to attend these monthly meetings.