D19 students prepare for state testing

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Staff Writer

Barnwell District 19 principals updated the school board last week on preparations for standardized testing underway this week.
Eryl Smalls, principal of Macedonia Elementary, told the board during the March 10 meeting that students were doing a two-day writing simulation to prepare for the PASS writing test. A pep rally was held Friday to motivate students to do well.
At Blackville-Hilda junior high and high schools, Principal David Norman said they have also been working to motivate students. They have been practicing the testing routine and also held a PASS pep rally Monday.
In her superintendent's update, Dr. Teresa Pope said the district has created a grant writing committee comprised of representatives from all schools. The committee will look at ways to find funds for new technology and programs, such as art which was eliminated a couple years ago due to the budget, she said.
Concerning finances, Pope said they are having more frequent updates to keep things on track.
In other news:
Following a three-hour closed session, the board unanimously approved the staff recommendations for next school year provided by the principals. They also voted to place six students in the alternative school: three for 10 days each, two for 20 days each with counseling from the Axis 1 Center, and one for the remainder of the school year with counseling.
The district plans to seek bids to purchase and install new lights in its facilities.
Representatives from The Green Way Group have been to several recent board meetings to present how they can replace the district's lights with more energy efficient ones. However, no action has been taken after concerns were raised about whether the district needed to seek bids. Pope said she hasn't really found another company that uses these bulbs offered by The Green Way Group who also installs them.
"When you hear the word savings, especially when you have a strained budget, you get excited," said board chairwoman Inell Waring, who acknowledged they need to get bids before moving forward.
The board approved the first reading of three policies: one dealing with concussions and student athletes, one about distance, online and virtual education, and the other limiting liability districts have regarding the use of epinephrine auto-injectors.