Quick thinking by a Cleveland Police Department officer and two Cleveland City Schools employees was commended at a recent Board of Education meeting.
The three were instrumental in guiding students to safety when a special needs bus caught on fire Nov. 19.
Officer Matthew Brinkman reportedly extinguished the fire while city bus driver Bryan Grisham and bus monitor Barbara Ledford led the students to safety.
“I can only speak accolades to the wonderful work Officer Brinkman did and our employees did in [getting] the children off the bus,” said Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of city schools. “It was a quick fire; there was quick action to get off that bus.”
All three received certificates of appreciation from the Cleveland City Schools system.
Board member Dawn Robinson said she imagined it must have been a very scary moment.
Fellow board member Steve Morgan shared his appreciation for the three individuals’ successful efforts in keeping the students safe.
Recognitions continued when Teen Learning Center Principal Barbara Ector introduced School Resource Officer Mike Ricker and Valerie Dennis as the employees of the month.
She said Dennis volunteered as one of the first teachers to transfer to the TLC.
“Her philosophy is ‘Teach, teach, teach,’” Ector said. “She is energetic every day. What I love most about her right now is ... she has never complained about Common Core. ... Her students are always actively engaged.”
She said Ricker’s presence at the center makes students and staff alike feel safe.
“There are no words to describe him, and that is a good thing,” Ector said. “He is the type of SRO who I call on the phone and say, ‘I see —,’ and he says, ‘Got it.’ He is a fun guy, but he has a no-nonsense attitude.”
Energy Education Specialist Paul Ramsey presented the proposed school calendar for 2014-15.
He said the fall (Oct. 6-10) and spring (March 23-27) breaks will be the same as the Bradley County Schools system.
Board members asked about the discrepancies between the two school system calendars. Ramsey explained city students attend 181 days, whereas county students attend 180. Other differences, like staff development days, are based on the systems’ preferences.
According to Ramsey, the 2014-15 school calendar is divided into 89 days in the fall and 92 in the spring. A total of 13 “snow days” are built into the calendar. Four of the snow days are used as Staff Development days.
The board approved the new calendar per Ramsey’s suggestion. A calendar committee comprised of teachers and administrators worked on the specifics.
Board members also approved additional internal construction to the Jones Wrestling Center.
According to Cleveland High School athletic director Eric Phillips, a portion of the center originally intended to be a coach’s office was never completed. It is the only part of the building which remains unfinished. Specs reported an estimated $12,000 to build an office with a restroom and shower.
Approximately $6,000 have been donated toward the project by parents and supporters of the wrestling program. Phillips said he has reason to believe additional funds may be donated by businessman Allan Jones.
According to a letter Phillips wrote the board, “The staff has been raising funds for several months, but had decided to put the project on hold for another year so they did not deplete the season budget.”
Continued Phillips, “Allan Jones stopped by the Wrestling Center a few days ago and was impressed with the work that had been done by the athletes, staff and administration on the painting and cleanup of the building.”
Any additional large donations will be approved by the board.