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Math teacher education program funded / April 12, 2018

Eight Halifax County math teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a Math Specialist Training Program beginning in May after the Halifax County School Board approved $67,456 in funding for the program.

According to Lisa Long, Elementary Education and Professional Development director, 20 teachers have shown an interest in taking part in the program, which will be taught by Christy Lowery-Carter of Old Dominion University. Long conducted a staff survey and found that 67 percent of elementary school math teachers who have taught the subject for 10-15 years, last took college level math classes more than 10 years ago. Of those who have taught math for 16-20 years, 68 percent last took college-level math classes 11-20 years ago.

Overall, nearly 80 percent of the secondary math teachers have not had college level math classes for six years or more. Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg, who supported the program, said, “We envision having eight candidates in the program learning the latest research and best practices which will impact student learning in our classrooms immediately.”

The first class will begin in May and will be followed by more classes in the fall, two more in spring 2019 and end with the last classes in summer 2019. The program will enable the school system to train its own math specialists.

Currently the county school division has three math specialists, but it has been unable to fill one position because of the lack of qualified candidates.

With the school division footing the cost, teachers who participate in the program will be expected to remain with the county school system for at least another two years. The program was approved on a 6-0 vote with two trustees, Freddie Edmunds and Keith Lloyd absent from the School Board’s Monday night’s session.

Trustees also approved a recommendation by health insurance specialist Patsy Akridge to accept a proposal from the Local Choice Anthem for a health care insurance policy which will cost $5,004,636 this year. Akridge explained that the cost is budget neutral compared to the current year. However, the plan will lower employee payroll deductions and charge lower copays for medical office visits and prescription drugs. The policy also allows the same access to doctors and hospitals that school employees have previously used.

School Board members also approved two additions to the Facilities Study Committee: ABB engineer Ryland Clark and First Sgt. Ronnie Edmonds of the South Boston Police Department . They will serve on the panel as it begins to host community forums to discuss the long-term facility needs of county schools. The study committee also will prepare initial cost estimates to take to the School Board in June.

In other business, school trustees approved the renewal of a food service management contract with Sodexo which will run through June 30, 2019.

Trustees also were treated to a report on the daily activities of students at Clays Mill Elementary. Principal David Duffer and a Clays Mill student, Hunter Pulliam, gave a talk about the many good things going on at the elementary. School Board members also enjoyed entertainment by the students, who performed music from the Broadway hit, “Hamilton.”

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