In the wake of the recent Newtown, Conn., school shooting, Lenoir City Schools is set to amend its emergency preparedness plan to address armed intruders.
Lenoir City Board of Education members discussed the changes in a Feb. 28 workshop and will vote on the amended policy at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.
Superintendent Jeanne Barker said the policy amendment is a suggested change from the Tennessee School Boards Association.
"It's in response to just all the threats we have in our society. Unfortunately that's where we are," Barker said.
"That's for the safety of our children and our teachers, making sure that everybody at least has an understanding of what this practice is. Right now that's something that unfortunately we're going to have to address, making sure that if anyone comes in our building, if they get through, and they are armed and intending to be a threat to our children and our teachers, that we have some procedures in place and they know what to do. We hope we never have to face that," she said.
The board also discussed amending in-service and staff development opportunities and compulsory attendance ages policies.
The in-service and staff development opportunities policy, Barker said, basically includes new wording, such as calling in-service training days the professional learning program.
"I think ... what we will find is there is going to be an increased emphasis on professional learning," she said. "In the past, we always called it in-service training and nobody knew what in-service training was, but professional learning it seems to convey exactly what it is."
The compulsory attendance ages policy will simply match current law. "So anywhere it references 2012-13 in our current policy, it just removes those words," she said.
In other business, the board:
● Discussed obtaining the Federal Communication Commission's E-Rate priority two funding, which provides a telecommunication service discount to public schools and libraries for internal connections. The funding, coming in at about $752,000, will go toward updating network switches and wiring at Lenoir City Elementary and Lenoir City Intermediate/Middle schools.
"We pay 10 percent of it. ... We will totally rewire those two buildings with all brand new networks, switches and the wire. What we are putting in is two times above what we've got in there right now," Chris Smallen, technology coordinator, said. The upgrades will be implemented at the end of the school year.
"We are limited with the network the way it is," he said. "We are very limited in the Internet traffic that we can push out. ... The larger wire, which we are putting in, if you think of it like water in a water hose, the bigger the water hose the more you can push through the water hose. That will push our network up to being capable of running anything through 2020, 2025."
Smallen said he hopes the district obtains funding for the high school in the future.
● Discussed utilizing Lealta Media, of California, to implement online fundraising opportunities for Lenoir City High School.
● Discussed approving a LCHS Panther Prowl fundraiser request to move the LCHS track fundraiser to October.