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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

City school board receives update on summer projects

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The look of the school board changed on Monday as Chastity Pirtle was officially sworn in to take the place of Sherry McElrath, who relocated outside her district at the end of May. From left, standing, Joe Yates, Dr. Scott Self, Hubert Jones, Gleyn Twilla; sitting, Kathy Jones, Amy Heckethorn, Chastity Pirtle.
The assumption that educators take a break in the summer may not hold true in the city of Dyersburg. Summer has clearly become a time where school officials prepare for the next school year, and nowhere is that currently more apparent than in the Dyersburg City School System. Superintendent Neel Durbin gave an update to the Dyersburg City School Board on all the activities going on during a called meeting on Monday, June 25. The meeting opened with the unanimous passage of consent items on a motion by Vice Chairman Joe Yates and a second from Gleyn Twilla.

The consent items included:

* Authorizing Durbin to make line-item adjustments to the 2011-2012 general purpose budget

* Authorizing Durbin to make line-item adjustments to the 2011-2012 cafeteria budget

* Approving the 2012-2013 general purpose budget of $21,100,000

* Approving the 2012-2013 cafeteria budget of $2,075,000

Durbin updated the school board on where renovations stand at Dyersburg High School as well as providing an update on the retiling at Dyersburg Primary School. According to Durbin, the demolition at the front of DHS has been completed, including the demolition of the east room. The improvements at DHS will address some safety concerns as well as create a more efficient traffic flow during peak traffic times in the morning and afternoon.

Durbin also reported that the retiling at DPS is progressing at a rapid rate and the first hallway is complete and ready to be waxed, and the second hallway is already being worked on. Universal Contractors out of Union City is handling the retiling and is expected to be finished ahead of schedule, which would allow teachers to access their classrooms and set up for the coming school year earlier than anticipated.

The renovations and improvements at DHS and DPS are enough to excite anyone, but Durbin truly showed his excitement when he updated the board on the city's ELF program.

"The ELF program is doing great," said Durbin. "We are getting so many compliments and it is truly creating some excitement for our teachers because they don't have to worry about paperwork or test scores, they just get to teach."

The Early Literacy for Families pilot program is going on this summer and is currently serving approximately 60 kids in the community. Teachers and community supporters are working with 4-year-old kids in small groups and on a one-on-one basis to give them early literacy skills.

"It has just been a positive thing," said Durbin.

Chairwoman Amy Heckethorn asked Durbin how many kids he feels the school system could serve if he had access to unlimited resources. Durbin responded that they could serve 100 kids and sustain it because of the community support they have received so far.

In other business, Durbin announced that a bus tour will take place on Wednesday, July 25 between 1 and 4 p.m. The buses will be loaded up with city school teachers who will visit kids at pools, community centers and recreation centers in an effort to remind them and their parents that school will begin the following Wednesday, Aug. 1 and to welcome them back and get them excited for the new school year.

"School should be a fun place for them to be and we want them to be excited," said Durbin.

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