During a special meeting through Zoom that was streamed to YouTube on Monday, the Bryant School Board voted to approve personnel items.
The board approved certified resignations for Alexander Cambell, speech language pathologist, Joshua Gardner, high school assistant band director, Paul Gattin, high school assistant principal, Mardell Hamby, elementary teacher, Donna Taylor, elementary teacher, and Samantha Thompson, secondary teacher and seventh grade cheer coach.
Classified resignations approved are Tiffany Grant, paraprofessional special education, and Jordan Millsapps, custodian.
Bryant Superintendent Karen Walters said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district will not be able to hold the annual event honoring retirees. Instead, the district is putting together a video in their honor.
The board approved certified new hires for Tanika Anderson Davis, elementary teacher, Mattison Botti, elementary teacher, Jessica Brigham, elementary teacher, Carrie Clay, speech language pathologist, Tiffany Grant, special education teacher,
Whitney Ishom, special education teacher, Ashley Keesee, secondary teacher, Ashley Martins, school psychology specialist, Shauri Phillips, elementary teacher, Ashley Smith, elementary teacher, Abby Thompson, special education teacher, Taylor Thurman, elementary teacher, and Haley Ward, elementary teacher.
The classified new hire is Rita Guess as business manager.
Certified contract adjustments for Olivia Allard, resignation as seventh grade head volleyball and seventh grade girls basketball coach, and Leslie Penfield, a move from assistant elementary principal to elementary principal, were approved.
The classified contract adjustments are Carla Anderson, from a seven to eight hour a day contract, and Dana Ellis, from food service manager to secretary.
Walters said the psychologist specialist position is new due to a request from the Special Education Department. Bryant already had four, but learned other schools of its size have five or six, so Walters felt the school should approve the request.
Walters said the district is sending its graduation plans to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval. There are three plans. The first is a normal full graduation, the second breaks graduation into groups and the third is virtual.
Walters said if the school does the second option, each ceremony will last 30 minutes with 30 minutes in between. That option would have 340 people in the arena. She hopes the department takes the size of the arena and the fact the school can social distance people into account. Each senior would have four tickets with assigned seating.
Walters said the exact plans for plan B are still up in the air as to if there would be speakers. It is possible the entire ceremony could be just calling the seniors' names.
Teachers and board members would attend the ceremonies in shifts to avoid adding too many people.
Walters also told the board about four possible plans for school in the fall the district is preparing for. The first is if the district is allowed to resume normal in-person classes there will be extra disinfecting of all facilities. The second is a plan if the school has to go totally online. The third is a plan if the school has to operate at partial capacity. The last plan is if the school year begins as usual but is forced into another closure.
Walters feels the school is now in a better position if it does need to go online.
The district curriculum specialists have been working on plans to get students caught up on what they missed the last weeks of this school year.
Walters praised the staff and teachers for the work they have put in during the pandemic.
The announcement of Teacher of the Year for the district will be May 14.
Walters said the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has said there can not be in-person graduation for kindergarten or fifth grade. Virtual graduations are the only option. She believes some campuses are planning some way of honoring those students.
The board is considering holding the May meeting through Zoom.
Meetings are open to the public to attend or view, depending on the health department rules.