GLASGOW – The Barren County Schools Student Handbook and Discipline Code was discussed during a committee meeting via videoconference on Tuesday, as well as things the Barren County School System is doing to ensure safety within its schools.
The student handbook and discipline code is reviewed each year.
“This is a living and breathing document in our school district. This is an opportunity for the public and our schools and our stakeholders to take a look at our policies and procedures that impact day-to-day life in our public school district and get an overview of our past year,” Superintendent Bo Matthews said. “We also use it as an opportunity to think about some new things that we might want to address or add to.”
Anthony Frazier, committee chairman, recognized the school system’s school resource officers. They are: Sheriff Kent Keen, Cary Eaton, Bobby McCowan, Tommy Fields, Charlie Lowery and Jimmy Pedigo.
“We are very fortunate in Barren County schools to have five school resources officers on our campus on any given day in support of Sheriff Keen and the Barren County Board of Education,” Frazier said. “Definitely, want to thank those people for making that happen each and every day.”
Frazier also recognized Lori Downs, who is taking over school safety and has been working with the school system’s school marshal and compliance officer in getting safety assessments completed.
“That’s a pretty intense process and she’s done a wonderful job with that and we appreciate her working with that,” Frazier said. “We should pretty much have our first round wrapped up pretty soon if not already. I think we have one campus left and they are working through that one. But that’s been great. It’s good to know that the things we do in Barren County and the things we have been doing are on track with Senate Bill 1 and the school safety at all of our campuses.”
Frazier gave a report on what the school system is doing in regard to safety.
“We are continue to build staff capacity to effectively respond to student-driven, escalated situations with an emphasis on trauma-informed care. I knew there is some professional learning coming with that,” he said.
The school system is continuing to improve its universal expectations and procedures for transitions, he said.
“The high school is currently focused on driver expectations and procedures, which is new to us,” Frazier said.
All schools in the district are continuing with their safety and Senate Bill 1 guidelines.
“That’s definitely a priority for us and a focus on improving the continuing use of our counseling of services,” he said.
The school system will also be working to strengthen bus procedures, as well as beginning of the school year procedures for all areas of buildings, trainings for new staff and continued staff trainings in the sources of strength curriculum better support for social and emotional needs for student population. It will also be increasing the amount of time guidance counselors will be in classrooms as well as the amount of time spent in small group and individual sessions, Frazier said.
“There was just one suggestion for a handbook change this year and we are going to work through that to get some clarity on search and seizure procedures for vehicles on our property,” he said.
The committee meeting also served as a means for various district department heads to seek input on federal programs.
Kathy Burris, director of elementary instruction, explained the school system participates in several federal programs to supplement local and state education programs, such as Title I and Title V, among others.
“Annually, 1 percent of the Title I allocated funds are set aside for parent and family engagement and of that 1 percent at least 90 percent of those are distributed at the school level,” she said.
Burris explained there is a school board policy that is for Title I parent and family engagement. The policy and plan to be implemented have been developed jointly and will be distributed to parents and families participating in the Title I program.
CheyAnne Fant, director of nutrition services and 21st Century Learning, explained that she also uses the committee meeting as an opportunity to seek public comment.
“We have two federal programs we would like to use that for and that is Star 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which we have at Austin-Tracy Elementary, Temple Hill Elementary, Barren County High School and Barren County Middle School coming up for the next school year,” she said. “We are also actively seeking input for parent and family engagement, as well as the programs that we have. We know our programs were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are working diligently right now to start off our virtual summer camps with camps in a box and things like that for our high school and our two elementary schools that are still in 21st Century,” she said.
Fant also used the committee meeting to talk about federal programs with the National Lunch and School Breakfast Program, as well as our summer feeding program.
“One of the connections we like to make is we are working across the district to incorporate smarter lunchroom practices to help increase positive behaviors in the lunchroom,” she said.
Chip Jenkins, transportation director, also used the committee meeting as a way to seek public input.
“Again, I want to thank all of the schools, the parents and the administrators for allowing transportation to have the opportunity to safely transport our students this year,” he said.
The school system uses a program called Bus Conduct. This year the school system’s transportation department had 331 total disciplinary write-ups.
Of that amount, 88.7 percent is for bus conduct, 1.1 percent was for bus incidences where fighting might have taken place on the buses and 10.2 percent were positive referrals.
“We started using Bus Conduct three years ago and when we first started out we had a small percentage, like 2 percent of positive bus referrals and now we’ve increased it to 10.2. I’m glad to see that increase. We try to include the drivers in more educational opportunities to know how to deal with the students and how to have a better relationship with them,” he said.
The goal is to have zero bus incidents, he said.
“I’m proud that all people involved, all stakeholders, are doing their best to keep the students in a safe place, especially when we transport them in and out every day,” he said.