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BOE honors LCMS basketball champions and commends LEAP Program

The Bulloch County Board of Education met April 11, 2024. They recognized the Langston Chapel Middle School basketball team and got an update from the school. Marty Holder also updated the Board on the county's LEAP program to address extreme behavioral issues.

Chairwoman Elizabeth Williams called the April 11, 2024 meeting of the Bulloch County Board of Education to order at 6:30pm. Joshua Tarva, a member of the Langston Chapel Boys Basketball Team, led the pledge of allegiance, after which the meeting agenda was adopted as written.

D. Board Member Comments

Board member Donna Clifton challenges parents to increase their involvement, especially with state testing coming up, and view their child's online literacy dashboard to see what they are doing in the classroom.

Boardmember Glennera Martin thanked community members for attending the meeting and urges them to keep coming back. 

E. Public Participation - No sign ups

F. Superintendent's Report

1. Langston Chapel Middle Basketball Team Recognition

LCMS Principal Willie Robinson introduced the boys basketball team, praising them for their talents and hard work. Team secured the Coastal Empire Region Playoffs Championship title for the first time in over ten years this spring, with a perfect season record of 21-0 after their last game against Effingham.

Robinson thanked the parents for the sacrifices they made during practices and games and applause filled the air to congratulate the team once again.

2. School Spotlight: Langston Chapel Middle School

Dr. Robinson introduced eighth grader Savannah Smith, whose sister is in 7th grade and whose mom is a special ed teacher at LCMS. She spoke about her love of LCMS and introduced the spotlight presentation.

The presentation noted the teacher clarity initiatives being implemented. The foundations of which is learning intentions and assessing individual student’s success.

The iReady program has raised LCMS’s math diagnostic growth to the highest in the counties middle schools, with instructors crediting the 45 minute intervention block at beginning of the day using iready and other tools, for this success.

“This has been the most rewarding year of my career,” eighth grade teacher Tammy Deloach expressed emotionally. She received the first Read 180 award from the remediation program as a teacher in Georgia.

The presentation included a video of student’s testimony about their own improvements in reading, writing and speaking; many said the felt ready and prepared to go to high school and were less scared to read in front of people.

Teachers reported that having kids track their own learning success everyday through criteria worksheets, has helped them take responsibility for their own learning, and greater success and improvements are being seen.

Mary Jackson, a seventh grade math teacher who has been at LCMS for two years, says that the school is a safe and orderly environment.

Disruptive behaviors are curbed and positive engagement is encouraged through mottos like “Blue Devils do right” and “Pulse Checks” by SEL specialists that check for behaviors that indicate potential negative patterns. Anti-bullying education and emotional regulation is cultivated in the school as well.

Prizes are awarded for good behavior in the classroom including snacks, rolly chairs, computer time, and celebrations. LCMS reports a 6% decrease in behavioral referrals YTD.

Highlights of climate and culture at LCMS this year:

  • Teacher, student  and staff of the month awards
  • Book recipe tasting day
  • Dot day and diversifying the media center
  • PBIS students that achieved criteria went to GSU basketball game
  • Staff parties after school

Robinson thanked district leadership, students, teachers and administrators saying, “We've come a long way.” 

Chairwoman Williams emphasized the importance of Read180, which she says has a lot of potential to help the school get back to where it needs to be.

She is also proud that they are utilizing the data to address needs of students; this will get them to “move fast.” Williams said, “It's going to result in a school making progress… leaps and bounds.”

Boardmember Glennera Martin commended “the passion demonstrated by the teachers today,” and thanked Principal Robinson for being a great leader and for the balance between academics and sports

Superintendent Charles Wilson said “It's wonderful to see the fire… you guys have really picked up and come a long way this year.” He appreciates the courage teachers take in challenging themselves.

3. LEAP Program Update 

This is the first complete year of LEAP, with a soft start.

LEAP is a highly specialized program that places students with extreme behavioral problems in a different class environment so that they can receive a high level of individual support. These students can pose significant risks to the learning environment and surpass the abilities of the Multi-Tiered system of support’s abilities to curb such behavior. The programs coordinators emphasize how important it is to make sure the right kids get into the program, as most students will not benefit from being removed from their classrooms, friends, teachers, and routines.

All kids are assessed by same criteria:

  • Student poses significant disruption to themselves and others in learning environment
    • Not just with one teacher or due to clashing personalities
  • No special education eligibility: there are other programs for this
  • Already at least 4-6 weeks of the most supportive behavior intervention plan with data collected about every single day
  • Parent and School have discussed the options one-on-one
  • All other resources are exhausted and kids would benefit from LEAP.

If a child is accepted, there is an extensive intake process and transportation to LEAP facility is arranged.

The administrator of the small program, Marty Holder, feels blessed to have been called to this job and is proud to be involved in a program like none other in Georgia.

He says that the purpose is in helping kids regulate themselves in order to get back into the learning environment. Kids are in the program for about 9 weeks at a time and when no kids are in the program, their staff is in other schools helping with behavior management.

Administrator Holder glowed about the compassion, professionalism, and abilities of the staff in the program who “can educate any student at any level, anywhere at any time.” The staff is trained in trauma-informed practices with each receiving more than 200 hours of training before the school opened its doors.

There are currently four students from four schools in the program.

One parent of a kindergartner in the program for 9 weeks, said they can now take their child to the grocery store and get haircuts, whereas before the child's behavioral outbursts made these tasks nearly impossible. Holder says this program has been life-changing for the families and helps parents not feel alone in these challenges.

The program ensures kids are still involved in the community of school, with teachers, administrators, and counselors from their “home” school, coming into the LEAP classrooms so the same interventions can be implemented when the student returns to their school.

Reintroducing the student is one of the bigger challenges. The program does not demand perfection, says Holder, but it's about teaching new behaviors and showing the child how to independently use coping skills.

The programs priority is to build capacity within teachers to deal with extreme behaviors, and to help students develop the skills they need.

4. FY 2023 Independent Audit Report Update

Alison Boatright, CFO, presented the audit report.

She says the Georgia department of audit completed the audit of the financial statement and federal awards, and the department received the best audit opinion, with no findings on their statements or awards. Recommendations were made and will be implemented.

5. FY25 Budget (Non General Fund)

Boatright presented the budget as well, based upon estimates that will be finalized in the FY25 Budget.

Extensive discussion was spent on the nutrition budget, with emphasis on the importance of being cost effective. The new freezer will allow for bulk ordering capabilities; ordering ingredients will drive food costs down by not ordering the final food product.

A menu and recipe accounting program that regulates ordering practice is being used to not exceed budget. The board is attempting to make the program self-sufficient and not subsidize the programs.

The board stresses the need to keep wages competitive so there are employees to feed the kids.


1. Board Minutes
a. March 14, 2024 Regular Session
b. March 28, 2024 Work Session

2. Board Member Payroll for March 2024

3. Financial Report for February 2024

H. New Business for Approval

1. Recategorize SFS Freezer to Esplost form School Nutrition Budget 

This is separate from the issues of the budget discussion items, with the costs of being $548,000 recategorized into Esplost from the school nutrition budget.

The board entered into executive session and after returning to open session voted unanimously to approve the following personnel recommendations.

K. Personnel Recommendation

1. Personnel Recommendations for April 11, 2024

2. Personnel Contract Recommendations for FY25

The board then voted to adjourn the meeting. View the full live stream of the Thursday, April 11 meeting here.