D45 board thanks Big 7, approves wrestling program

New books, new teachers, renewed accreditation and a new sports program were the highlights of the Barnwell District 45 school board meeting July 24.
Superintendent Jay Grissom presented a special award to the Big 7 Association for their donation of 7,000 new books to District 45's Literacy Outreach Program.
"Normally, the Superintendent's Apple Award is reserved for a district employee but considering magnitude of the donation, I felt it would be appropriate," said Grissom.
Grissom called the Big 7 members "Literacy Champions" and presented a plaque to Big 7 president James Wallace and vice president DeWayne Eubanks.
Eubanks said after the meeting that a grant allowed the organization to make the donation and Big 7 members were delighted to be able to assist.
Later in the meeting the board members attending voiced their delight at the donation. Dr. Rhett Richardson was absent due to a personal commitment.
Abraham Sexton thanked Big 7 heartily for their donation.
Chad Perry said, "We appreciate the new books. Nothing replaces a good book in my opinion."
Valenda Black said the donation is "such a treasure to so many children."
Teresa Spence said, "You couldn't have picked a better project. We need to get children excited about reading. We greatly appreciate the books."
Following the presentation of the award to the Big 7, district human resources manager Margaret Matheny introduced three new staff members to the board.
Eddie Byrd will be a math teacher at the Alternative School. Byrd is certified in middle school math. He is a graduate of S.C. State University and holds a master's from Webster University. He is coming to Barnwell from after serving in the U.S. Army and retiring at the rank of captain.
Bethany Pickering will be a second grade teacher at Barnwell Primary School. Pickering is a graduate of Winthrop University and is certified in Early Childhood Education.
Marvin Pernell will be a custodian at Barnwell High School. He is replacing Bill Hill.
Following the introductions Matheny also briefed the board on the AdvancED Accreditation Progress Report.
Mantheny explained that AdvancED provides accreditation, research, and professional services to 27,000 schools in 65 countries. The organization provides accreditation under the seals of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Assocation of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
Accreditation and the progress report "helps community members see and monitor the ongoing improvement efforts of their district/system. It demonstrates how the district/system uses its accreditation for the ongoing benefit of the students it serves."
Matheny said the organization reviewed the district's progress report and accepted it "earlier than anticipated."
She said the district won't have to undergo another review for three years.
Following the report, the board turned its attention to consideration of various physical education programs, including a new wrestling program.
Superintendent Grissom told the board, "Wrestling gives some of the smaller students who would not participate in other sports an opportunity" to be a part of an athletic program. Students would have to qualify under the same age limits as other sports and would be grouped by weight class to compete.
He said the greatest cost of the program would be the wrestling mats but they could be purchased with funds from the existing athletic budget. The other cost would be uniforms which, said Grissom, would be comparable to jerseys in other programs. He requested permission to develop a wrestling program.
Perry asked who would coach. Grissom said the high school's new English teacher, who has wrestling experience, has expressed a willingness to coach.
He said the wrestling season is the same as basketball.
Black moved to approve the proposal and was seconded by Perry. The program was unanimously approved.
Additionally the board approved Physical Education (PE): Girls Sports Training, PE: Boys Sports Training, PE I and II Varsity Sports, PE III and IV Varsity Sports, and Vocabulary as local electives for Barnwell High School.
They also approved the transfer of two students from Barnwell 45 to the Williston (D29) school district.