During last month’s work session, Morgan proposed a new policy to help third graders who struggle with reading.
“If a child is not a proficient reader by third grade, the likelihood of them graduating significantly drops,” Morgan said about his research into graduation rates.
Board members Alison Bartlett and Kathleen Angelucci said they wanted to ensure it didn’t replace or duplicate any current policies, but Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause said it would just be another resource to identify struggling readers.
“We had some concerns initially, but in working with legal counsel and staff, this is something we can live with,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “We certainly honor and support the intent.”
Morgan said, “My goal was to make sure we catch the issue early enough that when they are in the eighth and ninth grade, we aren’t scrambling around trying to figure out how to make sure a kid is ready to graduate in a few years.”
The state currently looks at third grade students’ Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores to see if there are any issues, but Morgan said the addition of this policy, which will determine literacy based on national tests, will bolster the district’s abilities to identify reading troubles.
“This creates a more rigorous process to implement an early intervention program … (that) addresses issues that commonly plague students who don’t graduate,” Morgan said.
At the close of the discussion, Lynnda Eagle, who represents northwest Cobb, said she believed this initiative could be something where the state takes the lead from Cobb on and thinks it’s “very important that the superintendent and staff are willing to take a chance.”
Thursday night’s meeting, which lasted almost three hours, was the last one for both Bartlett and Eagle, who were first elected to the school board in 2008.
Bartlett was voted out of her west-central Cobb seat by first-time candidate Brad Wheeler in November, and Eagle decided not to run for re-election. She will be replaced by Randy Scamihorn, who is also a first-time candidate.
Scamihorn and Wheeler will be sworn into office Jan. 9.
In other business, the board also unanimously approved:
* A $9.8 million Request for Proposal with Yancey Bus Sales of Austell to purchase 97 72-passenger conventional buses; three 72-passenger buses with lifts; and 15 48-passenger “exceptional child” buses with lifts.
Funding for this purchase will come from SPLOST III funds, an Environmental Protective Division and Georgia grant and the state Department of Education;
* To extend an award for construction time and materials to SouthCore Construction Inc. of Kennesaw and Triad Construction Company of Atlanta between Dec. 14 and Nov. 30, 2013. Funding will be provided through SPLOST III and the countywide building fund; and
* To extend a Request for Proposal for network data cabling and wireless infrastructure to NetPlanner Systems Inc. of Norcross between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2013. Funding will be provided by SPLOST III.