County school board awards school bid, reviews feedback on graduation recognitions

First Posted: 4/6/2009

DOBSON The Surry County School Board took another step toward building a new central district elementary school Monday night when it chose a contractor to build the facility.
Board members selected RLCasey Inc., which is headquarted in Greensboro, to construct the new school at a bid of $7,385,884. The board discussed April 23 as a groundbreaking date, but had not finalized the decision at the end of its meeting Monday night.
Im very excited about this project, Board Member Michele Hunter said.
Sexton Earlie Coe, the chair of the board, said he agreed. Im pleased with the bid, he said.
The board also reviewed feedback from parents, students and faculty regarding a new policy for graduation requirements.
Last month assistant superintendents Pat Widdowson and Terri Mosley, presented information to the board about a possible switch from recognizing valedictorians and salutatorians to recognizing cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude in graduation. The latter is usually done in higher education.
The switch resulted after studying the effects of the pressure on students when vying for that top academic spot, and to allow more students to be recognized for different achievements from different courses of study.
Last night, school officials discussed a survey regarding the change that was conducted through the school systems Web site.
According to the survey results, 69.9 percent of students and parentsor 58 peoplesaid they were in favor of using the three distinctions in lieu of valedictorian and salutatorian. There were 30.1 percent25 people who were not in favor of such a change.
Of the faculty who participated in the survey, 81.5 percent (44 people) were in favor of using the three distinctions, while only 18.5 percent (10 people) were opposed.
Some of the anonymous parent/student comments included I believe this program will give more students recognition for their achievements and Great Change! Students will still get class rank on their transcripts and this gives more students a change to be recognized for their hard work.
Not all comments were positive. This is stupid, why do you always have to make everyone feel good, raise self-esteem? It will not be that way in the real world, so why give them false ideas in school. Leave the system the way it is and let the colleges do the laudes, one commenter said. Another said Just another example of dummying it down.
Some of the comments from faculty suggested incorporating both valedictorian, salutatorian and the three distinctions.
One comment said Can we use valedictorian and salutatorian as well as cum laude recognitions? and I am fine with using the college system (cum laude, etc.), but why not use valedictorian and salutatorian as well?
Board member Michelle Hunter said she felt resignations about using only the three distinctions and explained that it can encourage students to settle for mediocrity.
I believe its okay to teach children to strive to excellence, she told board members.
Coe said there needed to be a standardized process for selecting students to speak at graduation ceremonies.
How would you determine who will give the speech? he said, adding he was surprised there wasnt more faculty responses. I wonder if we would not be missing someone in that aspect.
The board agreed to leave the issue on the table, and address it again next month, which would also allow more people to participate in the survey.
The board also approved a request by the Greater Mount Airy Area Habitat for Humanity to use the gymnasiums and cafeterias of both Surry Central High School and Central Middle School.
Habitat for Humanity, which is a non-profit organization that builds low-cost affordable homes for families, will host a team of 200 from Maryland to come to Dobson to build three habitat homes. Each home built will include walls pre-assembled off-site by the Surry County Construction Technology classes.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this, said Tim Van Hoy, the executive director of the local habitat. Typically, we build two homes each year, if this goes through will build six homes this year. Thats pretty large for our affiliate.
In other items on the agenda:
The board also granted Surry Central High Schools request for a storage building.
The board said it will not be requesting any new funding for the 2009-10 school year
It will maintain its current 2008-09 per child allocation for current expense and capital outlay for 2009-10 as well as allocations for boilers, painting, roofing, and mobile classrooms.
From the Title I and Title II audits the Surry County Schools was found in compliance with state and federal guidelines.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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