Carter County School Board reviews in-progress items, agendas during Thursday meeting

The Carter County School Board met for its monthly meeting Thursday night. A variety of topics came up for discussion, including recaps of projects and achievements taking place throughout the county.

Director Kevin Ward talked about a recent trip to Chattanooga he undertook to see some of the car manufacturers there.

“We got to see how massive this supplier is,” Ward said.

He discussed how high school students in the area take place in a program that mirrors an internship, employing students to work at the factories there and learning the trade.

“Some of these students receive full-time job offers when they graduate,” he said.

He said he was interested in the possibility of partnering with businesses in Carter County for a similar program, but had no details to provide on the subject.

As the flu and other weather-related illnesses sweep through communities, Ward discussed the current absentee rates in county schools. He said there has been a slight increase in absenteeism over the past few weeks. Attendance rates on average are sitting between 88 and 90 percent.

“Right now in February, we are at 91 percent attendance right now,” he said.

The county’s Homeless Education Program spoke at the meeting, talking about a recent trip to a meeting in Boone, N.C. They said this was one of the rare opportunities for organizations to intersect across school lines.

They said the organization is committed to moving forward towards the future and the growth of its capability to help students in need, including its participation in Second Harvest.

The organization said it has been in talks with Ward about a permanent location, saying what they “really needed is a place” to store the items of food, clothes and other supplies they receive through donations. They said they are in talks with Ward and will have more details later.

The board discussed and approved the graduation dates for county high schools in May. Cloudland and Hampton High will graduate on Friday, May 17, and Happy Valley and Unaka High will graduate Saturday, May 18.

The next school board workshop will take place Thursday, March 14, at 5:30 p.m. at 305 Academy Street.

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