School board to review transportation policy

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Southampton County School Board will study its policy of transporting non-resident students. This came after a point made by vice chairman Jim Pope during Monday’s meeting. He had asked for “clarification on the wording of our policy on transportation of our nonresident students to make sure we were all on the same page. I had received several phone calls from parents concerning this issue and I wanted to make sure I understood the policy before offering them a response.”

Fellow school board member Florence Reynolds expressed concern about any potential alterations.

“If we open this door to one student, we’re going to have to make exceptions for all,” she said. “I see us opening a quagmire.”

Chairwoman Dr. Deborah Goodwyn asked, “Do we need to change the policy?”

Following discussion, she proposed the board study the existing one. At the October meeting, the members will decide whether to affirm or change. If it’s the former, then they’ll move on. If the latter, then a subcommittee would be appointed to review the matter further and come back in November with rewording.

Also in October, Goodwyn asked William Worsham and Dr. Caroline Modlin to give a report then on how the board can go about to receive training. For example, they could attend an education seminar and return to instruct the others on what they learned.

The school principals each gave a synopsis of their Open House sessions and first week of classes.

“We’re on a roll,” said Capron Principal Dr. Alison Francis. She said the auditorium was packed and parking lot overlowed with 200-plus parents and students attending the Open House.

Principal Tasha Ricks of Meherrin Elementary talked about using the Pokemon craze for a student scavenger hunt. She estimated 189 parents and pupils attended that opening

Principal Will Melby of Riverdale Elementary said the school has over 500 students enrolled and growing. There were almost 400 families at the Open House, he said, adding that two new teachers have joined the faculty for Kindergarten and first grade.

Principal Susan Melby of Nottoway Elementary praised her faculty’s performance saying it was “An absolutely fantastic job on the part of the teachers.”

Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon, superintendent, praised the school leaders.

“They do such a great job,” she said. “They have so much passion. They’re the boots on the ground.”

In other board matters:

• Darius Bell, a student, Vincent Brooks and Maynard Stowe have been added to the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee.

• The policy manual update was adopted; the first reading took place in August.

• The band and seniors’ request for trips were granted: The Southampton High School Band wants to attend the Battle of Bands on Jan. 28-29 in Atlanta. This will be at no cost to the school division,, so fundraisers will be needed. The same goes for the senior trip to Orlando on March 15-18. Principal Arlene Atkinson said the trip has been happening since 1996.

• The Board approved the Ace Obesity in Schools program. Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon, superintendent, noted that the Western Tidewater Tennis Association is interested in working with Nottoway and Meherrin schools, specially the third graders. A grant from the Obici Foundation is funding the program, which could include free tennis equipment for those students.

• The board also OK’d the update to the Crisis Response Plan manual.