Manila School Board purchases door access/camera system for new high school

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Manila Middle School students demonstrated how they use the Chrome Books in their daily curriculum. They also thanked the board for purchasing Chrome Books and their support of the school.
Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock

Manila School Board reviewed options for a door control access/camera system, heard principal reports, acted on transfer requests, hired a teacher/assistant coach, and accepted the resignation of a board member at the Sept. 21 meeting.

Representatives from Progressive Technologies and Blue Skies addressed the council on the equipment, installation, maintenance, access control, camera system and cost for the new high school.

Superintendent Pam Castor gave the third bid information from C&C Protection which did not have a representative present.

Following the presentations, the board discussed in length which system most fit what they are looking for.

Castor said Blue Skies and C&C had worked with Manila school before and both have done a good job.

High School Principal Mark Manchester commented he liked the management system provided by Progressive.

They also agreed they liked the off-site monitoring which will alert the school if a camera is not working.

Mr. Manchester said once the system is in place, more cameras can be added as needed.

School Board President Tracey Reinhart commented the way technology changes, instead of looking at a system compatible to the other buildings, they may need to look at upgrading the other buildings to match the new system.

The board voted unanimously to go with Progressive Technologies bid for a turnkey job of $128,964. This includes systems for all doors of the new building, cameras inside and outside outside of the building, and monitoring services.

Members of the board present were Reinhart, Dan Robbins, Terry Carr, Tommy Wagner and Johnny McCain.

Newest member, Monte Middleton, was present but could not vote because the votes from the Tuesday election had not been certified to allow new candidates to be sworn in. Middleton ran unopposed for Position 4.

Middle School Principal LeAnn Helms gave her report. She thanked the board for their support as well as for the purchase of 180 Chrome Books utilized by the students.

“We are up 38 students,” she said.

She went on to talk about the curriculum and meeting the need of each individual student. Teachers meet each month in teams. She talked about a web-page to keep parents and students informed.

“One size does not fit all,” Helms said.

“We want all of our students and our teachers growing,” she said.

She spoke of the organization and requirements of a student council.

“We want our students to have a voice,” she said. “We are building leadership skills. It is an exciting time in middle school.”

Several middle school students joined the board members bringing in Chrome Books. They worked one on one with board members demonstrating how they use the technology in their daily work.

Principal Manchester then gave an update on the high school.

Manchester said he wanted to start with $1.4 million.

“That is the amount Manila seniors received in scholarships last year,” he said.

He said the district's goal is to prepare all students for college or career readiness.

“Last year we had 20 students take a two day campus tour of four colleges,” he said. “Out of the tour our students received over $100,000 in scholarships from the colleges visited.”

He went on to talk about the career readiness certifications which will help students going into the workforce and the efforts in place to improve ACT scores.

“Last year as I was in the hall students would come by and show me pictures they had taken on their phones,” he said. “I have always loved photography. It gave me the idea to look at what it would take to add a photography class."

He said the photography class falls in computer science category.

Art teacher Candice Dunigan and computer science teacher Geri McCann partnered to start a photography class.

“These kids are learning skills they can use as a lifelong hobby or as a career,” Manchester said.

Mrs. Dunigan and Mrs. McCann and several students from the photography classes addressed the board informing them what the class has meant to them and how they hoped to use it in the future.

Elementary principal Jason Evers had football duty Thursday night and will give his report at the the next board meeting.

Following an executive session, President Reinhart read a letter of resignation from Board member Terry Carr.

Carr said when he ran for the board his desire had always been to do what is best for the students at Manila.

“I never suggested or pressured the principal to hire Blake,” (Blake is Mr. Carr's son and was serving as a substitute teacher in middle school). “I visited his classroom. He is a great teacher and I think he is good for the kids. If you decide to hire him as a teacher you will be getting a fine young man. It has been a pleasure to serve with you.”

Castor noted Mr. Carr did not take part in the executive session.

“We do appreciate your service,” Castor said. “It is very true he has let Blake stand on his own merits. Blake has been serving as our long term substitute and has done a good job.”

Mrs. Castor recommended the board approve the hiring of Blake Carr for middle school teacher and assistant basketball coach for the 2017-2018 school year.

The board voted unanimously in favor of hiring Carr.

In other business:

*Superintendent Castor distributed information and asked the board to consider adding material and equipment for playground areas in the Master Plan. The total amount for tiling the basketball court area and material for the fall zone, has an estimated cost of $250,000.

*The board voted unanimously to grant the transfer request from two students, Dalton and Kenneth Mitchell, from Rivercrest to Manila.

*The board voted to approve the three year subscription to the School Board Model Policies service. The cost is $950 a year.

*Castor distributed the present chemical screening policy for students participating in extra curricular activities. She said the well being of the students is the board's goal. “We want to ensure the safety and a bright future for each one.” She asked the board to review the policy and they will look at any changes they would like to add at the next meeting.

*Board members approved a list of stipends presented by Castor.

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