Randolph County Board of Education members set goals for the upcoming school year during a special meeting Friday.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares led the board through discussion of the goals, which included action steps to lead to success and instituted planning for the future.
The first goal is to "enhance student performance and wellness." This goal's action steps include: continuing growth of student performance on state standardized testing; improving student attendance in the area of unexcused absences; improving student wellness by full participation in the newest nutritional standards set forth by state and federal guidelines; and improving student physical activity by developing a district-wide movement campaign.
Phares said the school system will count on physical education teachers to help develop the plan. When asked for feedback, the board members remained mostly silent.
"It is good," Board President Lisa Wamsley said of the first goal and action steps. "You hit all the areas."
The second goal is "to enhance community connections." These action steps will include: providing information to voters concerning the community schools project and bond call; participating in the community eligibility project to provide free breakfast and lunches to all elementary schools in Randolph County; actively participating in partnership with the city of Elkins, the Mountain State Forest Festival, the Randolph County Commission and the Randolph County Development Authority in securing the National Guard Armory for the purpose of establishing a civic center facility for multipurpose use; partnering with the city of Elkins in the procurement of a passive drug search dog to help minimize the negative effects of drugs in the schools; and continuing to work with the county juvenile justice system to reduce the negative effects of criminal activity in the schools.
Phares said the board will consider an agenda item during Monday's regular meeting to help with the purchase of the passive drug dog for the city police department. Phares said an agreement will be worked out, allowing police to use the dog for drug sweeps at county high and middle schools. He said the dog also will be used at elementary schools to help with drug education.
"All of these things are working," Board member Harvey Taylor said. "We will pass the drug dog issue on Monday."
Wamsley wanted to add the free meals to the high schools. Phares responded that the county administration will monitor the school's data to see if its will qualify for the program.
The third goal was "to enhance system efficiency." One action step involved helping the county develop a transition plan for replacing the schools superintendent by July 1, 2014.
Phares said that date is the end of his contract, and he doesn't plan to retire before that date.
"We all know as superintendents we are 'hired to fired or retired,'" he said. "I don't want you to get to where you have to make a quick decision. I plan on being here through that date anyhow."
The action step caused the board to enter an executive session to discuss the matter. After about a half hour in closed session, the board returned and said no action was taken.
The other action steps to achieve the goal include: continuing to support the facilities preventive maintenance programs; monitoring and actively reorganizing personnel adjustments based on the needs of the school system and the availability of resources; continuing to maintain and utilize a technology program that enhances teaching and learning; and continuing to promote financial activity that promotes decisions based upon a return on investment.
Phares said the board will have to vote and accept the goals set forth at a future board meeting. He said it will most likely be on the agenda for the Aug. 20 meeting.