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Hall County schools superintendent turns down bonus
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Hall County schools Superintendent Will Schofield turned down a 5 percent bonus Monday after the board chairman deemed Schofield’s job performance "exemplary" during the past year.

Also at the work session, the board appointed Rick Quarles, former principal of Sugar Hill Elementary School, as the new assistant principal of Davis Middle School. The board also appointed Michel Murphy, former health and physical education teacher at Lyman Hall Elementary School, as the new assistant principal of Lanier Career Academy.

In its first evaluation of Schofield, the Hall County Board of Education determined the superintendent had met an overwhelming majority of the initiatives the board and superintendent defined as goals in 2007. The board extended Schofield’s contract with the Hall County school board for another three years.

As stipulated in the superintendent’s contract, Schofield was due a bonus of no more than 5 percent of his annual salary as a result of his exemplary evaluation. But the superintendent "requested the bonus to be waived due to the current economic conditions and the potential of future dramatic cuts in the system budget."

School board member Brian Sloan said it was Schofield who encouraged the board to adopt an annual evaluation procedure for the superintendent last year.

"It’s refreshing to see someone who says, ‘I have a job to do,’ and implements a tool to make sure he does that," Sloan said. "I appreciate that."

Richard Higgins, school board chairman, lauded Schofield’s action.

"I think it shows the character of this man to turn down compensation," Higgins said. "It’s not all about money. It’s about making progress and helping kids. It shows good character."

Schofield said the process of evaluating superintendents should be a transparent one. He said all 45 pages of the evaluation soon will be available on the school system’s Web site.

In addition, Aaron Turpin, executive director of technology for Hall County schools, presented an interactive kiosk to the school board.

He said the kiosks, which are similar to the ones used by AirTran and other commercial businesses, could be positioned in schools throughout the school district to allow parents better access to students’ progress reports.

"We were wanting to give progress reports to parents on a more timely basis," Turpin said. "While 60 percent of parents are accessing them more than every four and a half weeks, 40 percent aren’t."

The kiosks contain a computer linked to a systemwide network and a laser printer, and would provide parents information regarding job openings within the school district, and could allow students to check in and out of school using an identification card.

Turpin said if the board finds the trial kiosk beneficial to parents, the board could invest in purchasing multiple kiosks at $8,000 each before the fall.

Summer retest scores also were announced at the meeting.

Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Hall County schools, said summer Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests retest scores show marked improvement for roughly half of county summer school students.

She said 55 percent of third-grade reading students who failed the initial CRCT test in April passed the retest in June. In addition, she said 44 percent of fifth-grade reading students passed the retest and 49 percent of fifth-grade math students passed the retest.

Barron said more than 500 Hall County fifth-graders were required to take the math portion of the CRCT retest this summer.

"We did great," Barron said. "Almost across the board, half of the students who took the retest passed the retest ... There are three schools that had not met (adequate yearly progress) that will this year."

She said 18 more students who were unable to attend the June retest sessions will retake the CRCT in mid-July.

Barron said she is hopeful that Myers and Lyman Hall elementary schools, as well as East Hall Middle School, will make adequate yearly progress this year. She said for those schools, this will be the first year the schools have met AYP since they were labeled "needs-improvement" schools.

It takes two consecutive years of meeting AYP, a measure of academic progress as outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act, for a school to dig its way out of needs-improvement status.

Barron said for the first time, summer CRCT retest scores will be factored into the second AYP determinations of the year. She said the second round of determinations typically are made late in the summer.

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