Dean of Students position approved
The Jefferson County Board of Education approved the hiring of a Dean of Students for Jefferson High School during their regular board meeting Monday evening.
The vote came as a result of a request made by Jefferson High Principal Sherry McCall Ross to create the new position.
According to the written job description, the new dean will be responsible for a multitude of duties including many matters of discipline in the school.
The person will, among other duties, “coordinate, facilitate and implement disciplinary intervention steps and processes, including positive behavioral supports; manage discipline referrals and assist in the management and structure of the school; collaborate with teachers, parents and stakeholders and participate in regular meetings such as SAT, IEP and 504 plans; manage discipline referrals and assist in the management and structure of the school as determined by the administration; and, observe and understand students’ behavior and psyche and report suspicions of neglect, abuse, etc.”
Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson, superintendent, reported to the board members that a rubric of need has shown that Jefferson is the second ‘neediest’ school in the county as far as student needs.
“Jefferson High School students demographically need more support to be successful,” Gibson said.
Washington High School, that has a smaller student population, will not be creating a Dean of Students position.
Ross, who spoke to the board, indicated that the new dean will assist both administration and guidance.
Gibson echoed that saying that guidance counselors at the school serve approximately 400 students per counselor and don’t have enough time to enter grades, do transcripts and deal with potential student needs.
Two staffers at Jefferson High voiced their opposition to the creation of the position during the public comment portion of the evening’s meeting.
Salena Williams-Grant voiced concern that the teachers were not notified of the potential new position. She told Board members there are already four adminsitrators; what the school needs is to hire another math and Spanish teacher.
“We don’t need another leadership position,” she said.
She told the board that there are students who would like to take Spanish but are not able to enroll because of the lack of a teacher.
Donna Joy, a math teacher at the high school, echoed the need for an additional math teacher saying that math classes are crowded.
The board, in other action, voted to RIF (Reduce in Force) a half time math position and a half time Spanish position.
Board member Kathy Skinner, who voted in favor of the RIF as well as the hire of the new dean, questioned why students could not enroll in Spanish.
Ross replied that there are not full time teachers to offer enough Spanish I classes so students are being asked to forego taking the class until another year or enroll in another language.
Skinner suggested that a combination of upper level Spanish classes may open up a time period for a Spanish I class. She asked that the possibility be looked at and brought back to the board.
The vote on the RIF was 3-1 in favor with Mark Osbourn voting against. Laurie Ogden was not present for the vote. The same count was tallied for the approval of the Dean position with Scott Suddeth, Gary Kable and Skinner voting to approve the position and Osbourn voting against.
In other action the group approved the hire of four full-time substitute bus driver positions to help alleviate some of the unfilled bus runs and allow office personnel at the maintenance facility to focus on their office tasks rather than serving as bus drivers.