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Superintendent reports on first month on the job

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By Stephen Lega

Taylora Schlosser has completed her first month as the Marion County Public Schools superintendent, and she reported on that month of activities during the Aug. 13 meeting of the Marion County Board of Education.
On Aug. 6, the board and Schlosser discussed goals for the 2013-14 school year (see related story), and those goals were approved during last week’s meeting. Schlosser used those goals to shape her report.
For example, one of the goals relates to teaching and learning.
“We’ve started having a conversation with our leadership team about what are five essential elements of lesson planning,” Schlosser said.
She said this may look different in each school and each classroom, but any lesson plan should contain certain essential elements.
They also discussed how each school would assess itself.
“In other words, how do you plan to monitor progress? What tools are you going to use?” she told the board.
Schlosser added that they discussed professional growth and the programs in place at each school. She said they will assess each program to determine how effective they are. She also said they have discussed high expectations, and that starts at the top.
“The biggest thing with high expectations is leadership,” Schlosser said.
As part of that, the leadership team will be examining John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” throughout the school year.
Schlosser added that they are also emphasizing customer service within the district.
“We’ve got to make deposits so that we can make withdrawals as we ask people to do things, like, let’s maybe look at doing our lesson plans a little bit different,” she said.
With regard to school safety, all district employees will wear a badge to make them more readily identifiable, Schlosser said.
Lebanon Police Chief Wally Brady also approached Schlosser about putting a gun safe at the high school. The safe would be for the school resource officer or other police officers who may come to the building in the event of an intruder.
“If that’s something that we’re interested in, Chief Brady would like to come and present that to the board,” Schlosser said.
She added that only Brady, the school resource officer and a few other officers would be able to access the safe. The safe would open using a fingerprint recognition system, not a key or combination, Schlosser said.
The final goal involves communication. As part of that, Schlosser asked the school board to support the new slogan “Dream Believe Achieve” and the new logo.
“That’s about having a vision. That’s about believing in the work you do, and the achieve part is actually about monitoring that progress,” she said.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the new logo.
Schlosser reiterated that another part of communication is customer service, which she said is important at the district and the school levels.
Schlosser also said that she spoke at a recent Rotary Club meeting, and she asked them to help the school district through their time and their experience.

In other business:
- The Rev. DeLane Pinkston was elected to be the vice-chairman of the school board. Pinkston replaces Ed Hacker, who resigned from the school board on July 11 because his daughter, Tammy Newcome, was applying for a position within the district. Under Kentucky law, anyone with a relative working in the school district cannot serve on that district’s board of education. Newcome was hired as the district’s instructional supervisor on July 16.
- The school board unanimously voted in favor of making a commitment of $565,782 to the Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust.
- Under the consent items, the school board approved seeking requests for proposals for the HVAC system.
- The board approved renewing its security alarm installment agreement with Hayes Security Systems at a cost of $3,000.
- The board voted to accept $10,000 from the Marion County Fiscal Court for athletics and extracurricular activities funding. Board Chairman Michael Mullins expressed his appreciation to the county for this assistance.
The board also voted to request an in depth audit of the activity funds in the district since 2011.
“I just think it’s something that we need to do just simply to clear the air. There’s been a lot of talk about the activity fund,” said Pinkston, who made the motion.