By Becky Killian / Editor
The bomb threat that led to the evacuation of Corbin High School and the Corbin Area Technology Center Wednesday was discussed by the district’s board Thursday.
The discussion came during the Corbin Board of Education’s regular meeting at Corbin Elementary School.
First, Principal John Derek Faulconer said it was a “very trying experience,” and he thanked those who were instrumental in helping after the bomb threat was found. He included administrators, emergency responders, teachers and bus drivers.
“What happened yesterday was an amazing feat,” Board Chairwoman Kim Croley said. She asked Faulconer if he thinks it will happen again and if more emergency preparedness is needed.
Faulconer said parents want to know their children are safe when they leave them at school.
“It devastated me,” Faulconer said of the threat and subsequent events, saying he had hoped nothing like that would ever happen on his watch.
Faulconer said it isn’t known if it could happen again and it is important to sit down and talk about what worked and what didn’t work during the emergency.
Superintendent Ed McNeel said this issue is one for the district and, in evaluating how the emergency was handled, students and parents need to be involved since this was the first time the district had an evacuation that wasn’t a drill.
Faulconer said students need to made aware that such threats aren’t acceptable and that Wednesday’s threat “shut down” the city.
The board continued discussion of extending the district’s policy prohibiting tobacco use from students to include staff and visitors.
The board was told of the district’s about 350 full time employees, 20 use tobacco products.
The discussion focused on the difficulties of enforcing a nonsmoking policy on school property as well as programs available to help employees stop using tobacco and how much time should be given to implement any new policy to allow employees to adjust to the change.
“I think the board wants to stop smoking on our properties,” Croley said. She later added they are not doing a service to the district if they don’t have the same standards as the city when it comes to smoking in public areas.
McNeel said any policy change would require two readings.
Board member Todd Childers made the motion to amend the district’s nonsmoking policy for students to include students and visitors. It was seconded by Angela Morris. A unanimous vote carried the motion.
The policy will likely have a second reading during the board’s October meeting, though it hasn’t been determined when it will be implemented.
The policy would apply to any district activities and trips. It would also prohibit smoking in any of the district’s vehicles and properties.
The board heard an update on the Advanced Placement and Dual Credit Programs at the high school.
Several classes are offered online and in classrooms that allow high school students to receive college credit. Those classes range from college-level English to political science. A total of 187 students are taking advantage of the classes with some taking up three classes.
The board heard about the results of the most recent TELL, or Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning, survey, which is an anonymous survey taken by teachers.
Administrative Assistant Ramona Davis reviewed the district’s overall numbers. She said 74 percent of the district’s teachers participated in the survey, which is below the state average, so there will be a push to improve that number.
Davis noted that the survey shows approval of the facilities, indicating they are clean and well-maintained. Classrooms are believed to be conducive to learning. Davis noted these good results came despite the age of many of the district’s buildings.
Teachers did note they would like to see improved internet speeds, more time to collaborate, more influence in decisions, more feedback on their performances and more professional development. They gave good marks to community support.
Davis said the district’s results are available at www.tellkentucky.org.
Earlier in the meeting, Corbin Middle School was recognized for receiving honorable mention in the state for the 2012-2013 TELL Kentucky Survey. The school’s principal, Jennifer Parsons, talked about the TELL team that toured the middle school and how impressed they were with the school’s cleanliness and orderliness as well as the piano and barn dancing classes that were underway at the time they toured.
Corbin Elementary School Principal Chris Webb updated the board on the school, including recent renovations. Those renovations included the installation of a new playground. Webb said students are now excited about recess so they are more likely to behave so they are allowed to go outside and use the equipment.
Webb talked about the results of the school’s TELL survey, saying he was pleased with the results although there are areas he noted that can be improved.
The board heard about the school’s Bring Your Own Device Survey, in which teachers were asked the policy that allows students to bring in electronic devices as part of their learning experience. When asked how frequently devices are used as part of learning, 45 percent of teachers said they use them about once a week and 35 percent said they use them twice a week. The survey also asked if any students who didn’t have electronic devices were left out of those lessons, and all teachers responded “no,” since there are typically enough devices in a classroom so students can work together and share a device.
The board will meet next at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, in the central office.