Bladen County Schools
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By: Bethany Stephens

Bladen County SchoolsThe Board of Education met this Monday where they recognized Dr. Robert Taylor, Superintendent, for being honored as Superintendent of the Year by the Western Region Education Service Alliance.

Twenty-three high school students were recognized for recently earning their Microsoft Office Certifications. The students were instructed as part or the Career and Technical Education Program by Jennifer Ballard at East Bladen and Camellia Ellis at West Bladen.

Seven Foods 2 students at East Bladen were recognized for earning their ServSafe Certifications. Kierstyn Beatty, Labria Drayton, Kristy Justice Grainger, Kaythelia Luckey, Jerry McIntyre, Victoria Seals, and Madison Smith all earned this accomplishment. The students were led by their teacher, Kathy Wilkes.

Two Bladen County students were chosen and accepted to attend the Governor’s School Program this summer. Emily Scott from East Bladen will attend the program in the Natural Science program, and David Collins Pridgen, also from East Bladen, will participate in the English program.

Eight of the county’s middle school students were accepted into the Duke Talent Identification Program.  These students are allowed to take the ACT or SAT college entrance exams as seventh graders.  Kenia Medina, Bradan Austin, Lauren Bowen, Amelia Harris, Cara Beth Lewis, Hannah Wheeless, Kayla Wilcox, and Gavin Hoytt Register.  Wilcox and Register also qualified for state recognition for scoring at or above the national average of recent high school graduates on at least one part of the SAT or ACT.

Attendance awards were presented next.  East Arcadia School won in the Elementary School Division;  Clarkton School of Discovery won in the Middle School Division, and West Bladen High School won in the High School Division.

Sharon Penny, Finance Director,  presented the May Financial Summary for information purposes only.  Willa Dean Williams, Career and Technical Education Director, gave updates on the C.T.E. program.  The program recently held the first Firefighter Inaugural Graduation Ceremony in the state. Thirty East Bladen students and twenty-one West Bladen students graduated from the program. Thirty-eight Juniors and Seniors from both East and West Bladen were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, and blood drives were recently held at both high schools — all in conjunction with the C.T.E. Program. Additionally,  Mrs. Bridgette White shared the C.T.E. Programs Post-Assesment Results.

A Digital Learning Plan, as recommended by Jason Atkinson,  Technology Director,  was approved.  The plan discussed opportunities for the school to work with Bladen Community College as well as funding and logistics involved in accessing various  digital resources and textbooks. In conjunction with the Digital Learning Plan, training for teachers and administrators in these technologies were also approved.

Dr. Reida Roberts, Director of Exceptional Children Services,  presented an executive report that was approved. The plan, that was largely put together by teachers and counselors, will be sent to D.P.I.

Spring Board Policy Custom Updates that were tabled last month were approved. Child Nutrition Bids were approved with the same companies that won the bids last year. One East Bladen High School basketball team fundraiser was approved as well as an Exceptional Children Program Contract to find an occupational therapist.

Insurance Renewals were approved as recommended by Sharon Penny,  Finance Director. Also approved was a Lottery Application to fund the replacement of a broken $31,603 cooler in the cafeteria at Clarkton School of Discovery.  One budget amendment was approved and a continuation budget meeting was set for June 27th at 4:30 p.m.  Following the above approvals, the board went into closed session to discuss legal issues and personnel.

Upon reconvening into open session,  the board approved Personnel Adendum Action Items as recommended by Antonia Beatty, Personnel Director. Robert Taylor, Superintendent, and Wilbur Smith, Board Chair, reminded the board of training days coming up, spoke of a recent luncheon for the county’s retiring personnel, and congratulated West Bladen’s graduating class for having 100% of their graduating seniors apply for college.