The Conway Board of Education met for its regular meeting Tuesday night.
This was the first for new board member, Jennifer Cunningham as well.
The first order of business for the night was to reorganize the board with board member André Acklin taking the president seat, Trip Leach taking vice president and Scott Champlin taking secretary.
During the meeting, the board heard from Coach Janet Taylor regarding the district’s wellness program.
The program was developed as a way to encourage district employees to improve their health and incorporates a point system and a wide-variety of options for involvement.
Taylor previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that the school wellness committee, required by state law, had been wanting to do something like the new initiative for some time but finally got it started the middle of October 2017 through a partnership with Conway Regional Health System.
She told the board Tuesday that Conway Regional had been “exceptional,” and anything the committee asked was provided for them.
Taylor said that the biggest benefit of the partnership was the discounted district rate at the Conway Regional Fitness Center; the district had about 50 new employees sign up and take advantage of that, not counting the ones who were already members.
“I think that was a huge benefit of the program,” she said.
In addition, out of the 1,000 or so employees that Conway schools has, Taylor said, at least 700 signed up to participate in “some form or fashion,” in the program, a “huge success,” for the state of the year.
The optional program offered a variety of physical activities to help reduce stress and improve health including fitness classes, competitive contests and other educational opportunities.
“We ran it kind of like a report card system because that’s what teachers and employees are used to so that kind of worked out pretty good for us,” Taylor said.
For example, if an employee attended the kick off presentation, they were given 10 points. If they didn’t use sick leave during a quarter, they were given 10 points as well. Other items include getting a flu shot, five points; getting a blood pressure check, three points; attending a healthy cooking demonstration for five points; daily physical exercise, one point for each day; and other incentives.
Overall, Taylor said, the 5K and the two bowling tournaments brought out the most participants but the bike to work day probably had the least with only 20 people.
Bob and Betty Courtway Middle School Principal Amy Jordan, she said, was the big winner of the year, winning two separate drawings and clearing around $1,500 in prizes.
“Which, was good for her because she was a great promoter,” Taylor said.
For next year, she said, they want to “beef it up.”
“Just can’t thank Conway Regional enough for the support and their partnership with us all year long,” Taylor said. “It could’ve been better. We’ve learned from our mistakes but it’s growing and we appreciate the opportunity to get [the backing] from Dr. Murry and the board.”
During the meeting, the board also recognized three district employees who were retiring: athletic director Steve Daniels, assistant superintendent Carroll Bishop and Peggy Town, executive assistant to the superintendent.
Board president André Acklin said Bishop was his coach growing up and said he’s been an “even better friend.”
He thanked him for his service and wished him well in his retirement.
Murry also had a few words to say.
“If you don’t know that Peggy is wonderful, you aren’t paying attention,” he said. “Bish, for 39 years has been a friend to this district and to me personally for the last 11. We appreciate these folks very much and thank you for your service to this district.”
In other news, the board also approved authorization toward assistant superintendent K.K. Bradshaw to execute documents on behalf of the superintendent if he’s not available and gave Jason Lawrence, the new director of support services, the ability to execute facility-related documents, including construction contracts with architects, contractors and more, on behalf of the district, both to begin July 1.
The board also:
• Approved a $500 car allowance to the assistant superintendent for 2018-19.
• Approved six student transfers.
• Approved 15 resignations and 35 new hires.