Title IX: Polk needs new girls soccer field

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 3/13/18

Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones announced to the school board Monday evening that  it appears the school system will be installing a new girls soccer field on the Polk County …

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Title IX: Polk needs new girls soccer field

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Polk County Director of Schools Dr. James Jones announced to the school board Monday evening that  it appears the school system will be installing a new girls soccer field on the Polk County High School campus.

Federal officials with the Title 9 program were notified that the school's soccer program was not being supported evenly with other programs. A follow-up  analysis apparently determined the girls' facility is not equivalent to other facilities.

"This is the same thing that happened with the girls softball field," Jones told the school board.  "They've informed us we have to build a girls soccer field.

He is still planning to discuss the specifics with federal officials, and has turned negotiations over to attorney Scott Bennett.

"Regardless of this situation, we want everyone, and every team and player, to have what they need," Jones said.

The director of schools also mentioned the fact he has found a deal on netting for the baseball and softball fields at Copper Basin High School. Those playing surfaces have been waiting for completion.

Jones is hoping to get the two fields ready for play, before having to moving forward with building the new girls soccer complex.

Jones said the key to these projects is cost. He said he finds himself asking every day (to a variety of projects) "How must will it cost?"

The director briefly brought up another sporting situation for school board members to ponder... the school system's high school wrestling program, and how it can advance.

Jones said he has been talking with Cleveland businessman and entrepreneur Allen Jones about the wrestling program. Allen Jones has been a financial supporter of the Cleveland and Bradley Central wrestling program, easily the top two mat programs in the state. Cleveland won this year's state titles.

"He very much wants to help us," said James Jones. The director of schools added that if they take steps for improvements at Polk County High, they will do the same at Copper Basin.

• A big announcement at Monday's school board meeting came from Copper Basin Principal Tim Kidd. He said the school's science department has received a $10,000 grant.

The grant is being shared by science teachers Ginger Montgomery and Anita Pippin.

Montgomery was at Monday's meeting and describe the grant as a godsend for her students, and discussed several things it will be used for.

Pippin and Montgomery, and their students, plan to use the grant to revamp the department, and purchase lab safety coats, towels, goggles, dissecting materials, supplies and other needed equipment and lab items.

Both teachers will also attend the National Science Teachers Association Conference to "steal" new ideas for their students.

The two science teachers, combined, do over 150 labs and other activities during the school year. School board member Shawn Prichett said he visited the science lab one day, and the students were dissecting sharks. 

Kidd said the ecology class at Copper Basin is helping with Chestnut Tree blight research, and planning to adopt an Eastern Screech Owl from the Raptor Center.

The school's forensic class is planning to visit UT-K's "Body Farm," and is setting up it's own insect mini-body farm to study forensic entomology. 

• The board and Dr. Jones briefly discuss school safety issues.
Board member Stan Howard said he had heard  the state might assist with funding for additional school resource officers.

The director of schools said they are continuing to focus on safety issues throughout the school system.

He said Benton Elementary previously had 17 entrances to the school building. It now has one secure entrance.

Jones said he has a good relationship with Polk County's SROs, but it would be great to have more.

Polk County High School's SRO, Jason Lamb, and Copper Basin's SRO, Robert Cole, are both members of the Polk County Board of Education. 

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