BR addresses failing students’ grad needs

BY STACI WILSON

Blue Ridge is looking at a way to improve its graduation rate and reduce the need for summer school.

The district plans to utilize a $50,000 federal Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant to establish a web-based program that will enable students who need to make up courses meet graduation requirements.

The school board discussed the program at the Sept. 26 meeting and work session.

Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said the credit recovery program can pinpoint areas in a course where students need help to pass the class.

He said he hopes to launch the first session in October and offer another session in the winter months.

Seniors needing to re-take classes in order to graduate are the school’s first priority for inclusion in the self-paced learning.

Nebzydoski said at least five of this year’s 12th graders would need to take summer school in order to graduate without this option. And there is no room in their schedules to re-take the required classes during the school day.

The principal said the needed work could be accomplished after school and students could ride the late bus home.

Superintendent Robert McTiernan said the program addresses the unique needs of the area. Summer school has not been an option for some students because of the cost and transportation requirements.

The board discussed the potential hiring of a person to supervise the students who would be staying afterschool and plan to address the matter at the October board meeting.

Board president Alan Hall briefly discussed transportation work session.

He said that with the reduction of students in the district there will likely be changes and reductions in transportation next year.

During a brief business meeting, the board approved the purchase of equipment to be used for mowing, salt spreading and sidewalk clearing. The two pieces of equipment will replace outdated items that require extensive repair.

The district will be accepting bids on the replaced equipment.

The board also approved the purchase of external, replacement doors for the cafeteria and middle school entrance. Cost of the nine doors is $44,665 which includes installation.

The board approved leave requests for Katie Brown, April Rhone and Diane Wilmarth. A sabbatical leave request was granted for Peg Glezen.

The staff and student Internet use agreements were also approved.

Nurse assistant substitute rates were set at $14 per hour for an RN-nurse substitute; and $12 per hour for a LPN-nurse substitute.

The board also approved the contract with Music Theater International for the middle school musical, “Guys & Dolls Jr.”