2014-11-20 / Front Page

All four Wilkes County schools will dismiss at noon Friday to allow travel to Brooks Co.

news editor

All four Washington-Wilkes schools will dismiss at noon Friday to allow participants and families to travel some 245 miles south for the Tiger football playoff game in Brooks County, members of the Wilkes County Board of Education decided Monday afternoon.

Since about 170 high school students, many middle school students, and a dozen teachers will be participating in the playoff game, Superintendent Dr. Rosemary Caddell said, she recommended to the board that school be dismissed at noon. State law says that the day still counts if students stay until that time, so it will not count against the total. Football players will attend first period and leave for the six-hour trip at 9:30 a.m.

Chairman Ricky Callaway polled the principals to see how they felt about the early dismissal. “We don’t do this lightly,” he said, “and we know it causes inconvenience to families with younger children who aren’t going to the game, and it impacts the primary and elementary students who aren’t directly involved.”

Since it is the Friday before the Thanksgiving holiday, Principal Florence Sandifer said, her primary school students would be having Thanksgiving plays in the morning and very little instructional time would be lost if students were dismissed early.

The precedent has been set in years past, Callaway said, and the option of dismissing only the high school early was not popular the year it was tried. His other concern was that bus drivers going to the game avoid driving for more than the maximum number of hours in a day. “We have to follow protocols,” he said. “We want to be safe going down there and safe coming back. Everything else is secondary.”

The board welcomed Dr. Joe Harris and teachers Katy Meech and Al Dawkins to discuss the effort the Kettle Creek Battlefield Association is making to make the Revolutionary War battlefield a part of the curriculum in local schools.

Last summer, Dr. Harris made a presentation before the Georgia Council for Social Studies Teachers on the importance of Kettle Creek to the Revolution and the availability of the site to help teach students about Georgia’s role in the fight for independence. At Monday’s meeting, he presented to each principal and to Dr. Caddell framed copies of artist Wilbur Kurtz’s rendition of the death of British General Boyd after the battle.

In other business, the board approved Dr. Caddell’s request to discuss with Washington city administrator Sherri Bailey the granting of an easement for a strip of land behind the elementary school near the Little League practice fields for city use.

The board also approved the proposed board meeting calendar for 2015. Meetings will remain at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month except for January and February, when holidays require that the meetings be held the fourth Monday of those months.

Also approved was the annual grant award notification for federal programs.

The next meeting of the board is set for Monday, December 15, at 2 p.m.

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