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Board of Education sets meeting to talk process

The process of narrowing the field of candidates for the director of schools position in Unicoi County will be underway next week.
The Unicoi County Board of Education met in a work session on Monday, April 6, to discuss the next steps in the process.
“We need to set a meeting to discuss anything we want to do with the candidates,” said school board member Garland “Bubba” Evely. “On how we want to narrow down the field, all the applicants … I’m sure that’s something we want to do before we start the interview process.”
The work session for Monday, April 13, will be set for 6 p.m.
Nine applicants are currently up for the position, ranging from the regional area to out of the state.
Of the nine, two – John English and Mike Lamie – are currently employed in the school system. Another two – William Nuss and Jeff Moorhouse – are previous employees.
Other candidates include Thomas Graves, Myles Hebrard, Dennis Porter, Richard Rundhaug and Randy Shannon.
Plans are for a thorough search moving forward, with member Tyler Engle stating that he and Cathy Thomas learned that with the school board being a corporate board, they will have the opportunity to speak with references individually.
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Also during Monday’s work session, the board heard presentations of resolutions that will be on the agenda for its regularly scheduled meeting set for Thursday, April 9, at 6 p.m.
On tap for Thursday’s meeting, members will vote on three different measures, including new materials for the middle school level involving digital learning and better measures to help raise the math scores.
“It is a decision we can support,” member Lisa White said. “It will help our teachers and students with supplies; it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Kindergarten through third grade students will receive a consumable workbook while fourth through eighth grades will be working with iPads to help receive a better grasp on mathematic skills in order to elevate TCAP scoring.
The electronic method that could potentially be used by students is called the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS), through McGraw-Hill.
“ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course,” according to the program’s website
The package that will be presented is the highest of three that were presented, but the ALEKS method is expected to fall within the allotted $175,000 budget for next year.
Another item on the agenda will be the potential of starting a pilot program at Unicoi Elementary with food services to provide free lunch to all students. While discussing the issue, school board members learned that when Tennessee is under a state of emergency, food can be served to the public from the school. Regional schools, except those in Sullivan County, were previously unaware of this program.
Also on the agenda will be an item for substitute teachers and workers to stay within 30 hours average throughout a 10-month span.