Safety updates made at city schools
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Mar 04, 2014 | 1189 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
School Board
CECILY WILLIAMS, system-level teacher of the year for fifth through sixth grade, shakes hands with Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of city schools, at Monday night’s board meeting. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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Scotty Hernandez, safety and security director of the Cleveland and Bradley County schools systems, presented an update to the Cleveland Board of Education Monday night.

He reported the recently constructed secure entrances at Blythe-Bower and E.L. Ross elementary schools have been very effective. Visiting law enforcement agencies remarked positively of Blythe-Bower’s entrance, especially.

City schools purchased and installed a repeater on the hill near the Mountain View Inn. The device increased the range of transmitted signals between the city system’s radios.

Hernandez reported Cleveland Middle School is no longer experiencing difficulty in communications with other schools. Administrators utilized the VHF radios during the recent snowfall.

The next step in security is to centralize the video cameras throughout the schools.

Hernandez said the system currently allows viewing of recordings, as a DVR would. The next level would allow the 911 emergency center and officers on call to tap into the live-streaming recordings.

Board member Steve Morgan expressed concern over the possible misuse of the system. He asked how often the password would change to protect against those who leave the force.

Morgan assured his concerns were not based on ill thoughts of those who might have the information. Instead, he focused on the safety of the children and any possible threat to them.

Hernandez said there would be a memorandum of understanding between all parties involved.

According to the safety and security director, the school system improved safety to a score of 3 this year. Last year, the school system received a safety level of 4. Hernandez attributed a modicum of the score change to director of maintenance and transportation Hal Taylor and his staff.

Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff announced the ACTs for juniors were moved to Thursday due to the forecast possibility of sleet or snow. The state scheduled the original testing time for Tuesday.

Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan said Tuesday would instead be used as a time for transcript evaluation for the juniors.

O’Bryan explained the testing packets would have to be repackaged for new proctors on Thursday.

The state ACT makeup day will take place during spring break.

Teachers of the year at the building and system level were recognized by the school board. A certificate was presented to each one along with hearty handshakes from each member of the board.

Those recognized included: Matt Ingram, Arnold Elementary; Stephen Duncan, Blythe-Bower Elementary; Michael Rogers, Mayfield Elementary; Dianne Hundley, Stuart Elementary; Susan Shaver, Yates Elementary; Cecily Williams and Tim Sams, Cleveland Middle; Erin Hattabaugh, Lea Broussard and Carole Dale, Cleveland High; and Valerie Dennis, Teen Learning Center.

The system-level teachers were Patterson, Williams and Hattabaugh.

Supervisor of instruction K-12 Jeff Elliott announced the city school system would continue the traditional approach to math by following the Algebra I to geometry to Algebra II model.

Ringstaff said all of the school systems in Southeast Tennessee chose to stay with the traditional system, with the exception of the Bradley County schools.

Elliott reported the Cleveland teachers studied both approaches before choosing the traditional route.

Eighth-graders will continue to have the option of taking Algebra I.

Additional news discussed at the meeting included: 

- The board agreed to allow Cleveland Middle to build a 20-by-21-foot storage building for equipment by the baseball field.

The concrete and labor will be donated by a parent. The building itself will be covered by Cleveland Middle.

- Principal Mike Chai of Arnold reported the Rotary Foundation awarded the school a grant of $4,679. The money will be used to build an outdoor basketball court.

He presented two location options to the board. Both are near the city playground built inside of the gate and next to the field at Arnold. He received approval to continue looking into the best placement for the court.

- Yates Primary Principal Carolyn Ingram introduced the school’s employees of the month, Dee Morris and Karen Jones, to the board. She described both as a joy to have at the school. Both were praised for their work with the children.

The next school board gathering is set for Monday, April 14.