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Furlow Governing Board updates pandemic plan

The Furlow Governing Board held their monthly meeting September 21 at 6:00 p.m. with all eight board members in attendance.

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Katie Minich.  After introducing herself, she stated she was “chairing this meeting because of some agenda items that are on the agenda as to not run into any conflicts of interest.”

Furlow’s Treasurer David Luvin presented the Treasurer’s Report:

  • 581 students currently enrolled with a budget based on a projected enrollment of 562 students.
  • 133 days cash on hand with 45 days cash on hand considered best practice
  • Two months into the fiscal year, the school is operating under budget.

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved a revision to the Promotion and Retention Policy.  Furlow’s Governing Board Chair and Chair of the Academics and Curriculum Committee Dr. John LeJeune stated the revision was a major overhaul” to the current Promotion and Retention Policy.

The revised Promotion and Retention Policy sets forth requirements for students to be promoted to the next grade. Any student who does not meet the promotion criteria will be retained.  Parents or teachers can submit retention appeal within 10 calendar days of notification of the retention to the Executive Director.

A Retention Review Committee consisting of no less than a parent, teacher, and administrator will meet to determine if retention is in the best interest of the student.  If the committee determines retention is not in the best interest of the student, the student will be placed in the next grade.  If the committee does not agree, the Executive Director will have ultimate discretion for final placement.  The determination of the Retention Review Committee is final.

The CARES Act Summer School Program Proposal was approved and will be funded by CARES 3 Funds and Title 1 Funds:

June 6 – June 30, 2022

  • Monday – Thursday 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • Instruction for elementary, middle, and high school
  • First priority for spots will be given to students with retention appeal meetings
  • More than 2 unexcused absences could result in dismissal
  • 2 tardies will count as 1 absence

Furlow Board Member and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Qaijuan Willis presented definitions for diversity, equity, and inclusion to the board for approval.

A revision to the Probationary Employment Policy in the Furlow Employee Handbook was recommended by the Executive Committee.  This revision will allow for an additional 90-day probationary period for new hires to be requested by the Executive Director or the Chief Financial Officer with only one 90-day extension to be granted.

Furlow’s Vice Chair and Resource Development Chair Katie Minich presented the Resource Development Committee Report:

  • A website template for extracurricular activities was approved by the committee.
  • A PTO Meeting was held Tuesday, September 14.
  • Furlow’s PTO has a dedicated email address of pto@furlowcharter.org
  • A parent survey has been created. The survey has been posted online and has been distributed to parents by teachers.

Furlow’s Executive Director Dr. Lezley Anderson presented the Executive Director’s Report with some items from the report included below:

  • 581 students enrolled as of today
  • 72 students on the waiting list
  • 7 students have withdrawn, since the last board meeting.
  • 9 students have enrolled, since the last board meeting.
  • 2 students are currently enrolled in the remote learning services program.
  • Attendance rate from August 18 through September 21 is 94.71%. This number includes students who were in quarantine and in isolation and includes excused and unexcused absences.

The State Charter School Commission (SCSC) Staff is proposing alternate measures for schools to demonstrate academic performance this year, and the proposal will be considered at SCSC October Board Meeting.

If the recommendations are approved, Furlow will be designated as “Meeting Academic Standards” for the 2020-2021 school year, since Furlow Charter School outperformed Sumter County Schools in all grade bands served:

  • 6 to 1.3 in elementary school
  • 4 to 7.4 in middle school
  • 4 to 11.6 in high school

Furlow has several staffing needs for positions that are open:

  • 2 Special Education positions
  • Remedial Education position in mathematics
  • 4 Interventionist positions

A COVID-19 vaccination event at Furlow held earlier this month was sponsored by Clinic Drug Store with 14 students receiving vaccinations.  Another COVID-19 vaccination event will be held in October.

The Georgia Department of Education and Furlow Charter School are hosting the 3rd Annual Jubliee International Symposium October 6 at Georgia Southwestern State University.  For more information regarding this event that is open to public, please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-jubilee-international-symposium-tickets-167999409757.

The State Charter School Commission (SCSC) will be on campus for a site visit Tuesday, October 19 at 11:00 a.m.

Following the Executive Director’s Report, the next item on the agenda was Grievance Resolution.  Vice Chair Katie Minich stated a grievance was filed September 15, 2021, and opened the floor for any motion to address the grievance.

Furlow Board Member, Governance Chair, and Parliamentarian Dr. Benjamin Meador immediately motioned: “As resolution to the grievance the Executive Committee is assigned to review the proposed Operational Management Monitoring Policy and to bring a recommendation before the Furlow Governing Board.”

There was no discussion to this motion, and it was approved 6-0-1 with Furlow Governing Board Chair Dr. John LeJeune abstaining.

After being in closed session for 2 hours and 32 minutes to discuss personnel, the Furlow Governing Board reconvened in open session with no action items from closed session.

The Furlow Governing Board unanimously approved the COVID-19 Phase 4 Learning Plan that was presented by Executive Director Dr. Lezley Anderson.

Changes to the current Phase 4 plan would provide a 24-hour notice to parents after the threshold has been reached for implementation of Phase 4, which is when students would move to virtual learning off campus.

Students would take home Chromebooks and connectivity devices the day of closure.  Take-home paper packets would be provided to students in grades K-8 and to any students in grades 9-12 who prefer to work in paper packets.

Mandatory Google Meets sessions will be held Monday through Friday and recorded.  Attendance will be taken at each live Google Meet session.  Hardship forms will be available for students to complete, if they cannot attend the live Google Meets sessions.

Grades K-1 would have 3 mandatory Google Meets daily.

Grades 2-7 would have 5 mandatory Google Meets daily.

Grades 8-12 would have 7 mandatory Google Meets daily.

Teachers providing special services would continue to meet with students who receive special services.  Special Services Teachers would contact students to schedule Google Meet Sessions.

The Furlow Governing Board approved the Compensation Plan for Continuity of Core Services for Quarantined/Isolated Students by a vote of 6-1 with Board Member Jeanie Smith voting against the plan.  This plan provides pay to teachers at their hourly rate when teachers have to use their planning period or work after school to provide materials or instruction for students who are quarantined or isolated that is above and beyond what they are currently providing their in-person students.  Teachers would be responsible for logging these hours and submitting them to administration for approval.

Furlow Governing Board Chair Dr. John LeJeune took responsibility for being two months late on approving a Liaison for Homeless Children.  He motioned for Furlow’s Director of Student Services Crystal Lingefelt to serve in this role for the 2021-2022 school year.

After each Board Committee Chair presented updates on the progress towards their committee goals, there was a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:32 p.m.

Furlow Charter School Governing Board meets every third Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in the Furlow Media Center.  Meetings are open to the public, and the board meetings are live-streamed and can be accessed using the link posted on the Furlow website and on Furlow’s Facebook page.