Teachers will get an extra day added to their winter break in January, provided they have completed the annual online training modules assigned for the year.

The Cumberland County Board of Education unanimously approved excusing teachers for the scheduled Jan. 3 administrative day after a proposal last month to reward school personnel for completing extensive training sessions.

Tony Brock, 5th District representative, said, “I think we’ve taken care of a lot of this year’s issues for online training. I think we’ve come up with a solution for this year’s training — the best one that I think is possible — and also next year, so this will not be a problem.”

Brock said last month the online training totaled to more than nine hours required each year. While specific training varied by employee, sessions included HIV/AIDS awareness training, bloodborne pathogen training, and youth suicide awareness and prevention training. 

Two sessions were added as late as mid-September, he said.

“I felt teachers were being asked to do too much mandatory training on their own, and they were not being compensated for that or given credit for it,” Brock said last month. “It was another one of those duties they were expected to do.”

Though the training is to be completed by Nov. 30, any teacher who has not completed all online training modules must report to work on Jan. 3 and complete the assignments.

Some non-certified employees have been allowed to complete their training while on the clock, but not all non-certified personnel have had that opportunity. The proposed training procedures will allow employees who completed the training outside their normal work day to be given an equal amount of time to compensate them. 

Next year, safe school videos will be available beginning July 1. Certified staff will be credited one day of in-service credit for completing the training. This will satisfy one of the optional inservice days teachers must complete each year.

Non-certified personnel will complete their assigned training during the work day, using computers at the school or central office.

Brock thanked the administrative staff of the school system for taking his comments and suggestions last month and developing the procedure for this school year and future years. 

Director of Schools Janet Graham said the proposed procedures were a “good exercise” for the executive staff.

“We spent the better part of two days looking at what we could do and looking at statute,” she said. 

Nursing services programs at Cumberland County High School and Stone Memorial High School have been certified as advanced Tennessee Pathways. 

As part of the certification, the schools demonstrated high-quality college and career advisement; rigorous early postsecondary and work-based learning opportunities; and vertical alignment between kindergarten-12th grade schools, postsecondary programs and career opportunities. 

“It was a rigorous application process,” Director of Schools Janet Graham said. She thanked Leslie Eldridge, career and technical education program guidance counselor, for completing the extensive application process for both schools.

The two schools were among 400 applicants from 81 school districts. The Tennessee Department of Education recognized 122 pathways and 74 high schools. 

“We’re excited to know Cumberland County has received two of those 122 schools — which is a great percentage of that,” Graham said. 

In other business, BOE Attorney Earl Patton reported the Cumberland County Chancery Court had granted the board’s request to return ownership of approximately a half-acre of land in the Rinnie community. 

The board authorized Patton to reclaim the property in April. The school system had given the land to the Rinnie Community Organization almost 50 years before. The group is now defunct and the trustees of the organization deceased. 

The deed stipulated the land must be used for community purposes or revert back to the school system. 

“The suggestion has been made that we wait and see what happens with the Hwy. 127 N. road project,” Patton said. 

The board also approved a resolution recognizing a donation from the Fairfield Glade Ladies Club. The club donated $2,478 to assist with dual enrollment and industry certification programs in the school system. 

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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