All the BOE news that couldn’t make it to print

So maybe you’ve heard of this crazy little thing called the Bingo Trial? It’s not a big deal, oh except for the fact that it is, and it’s taking up a mammoth amount of space in Friday’s paper.

OK well that’s sort of an exaggeration, but it does explain some of why there wasn’t a whole lotta room to chronicle Thursday’s epic Montgomery County Board of Education meeting. I will say this for the MGM BOE: They sure do know how to pack a meeting full of interesting information.

In Friday’s paper, I’ll try and cover the high points of the discussion surrounding the selection of an architect for the planned Sidney Lanier Magnet Center, as well as the ongoing debate about Superintendent Barbara Thompson’s evaluation. Both discussions were somewhat charged, although not nearly as rough and tumble as last month’s meeting.

But there’s so much more than that, that simply could not fit in the 23.9 inches I managed to squeeze into Friday’s paper.

The board also talked about and expressed support for the expansion of a truancy pilot program that is done in connection with the Helping Montgomery Families Initiative. It appears the program is going to be expanded from three to 11 schools through city, county and school system support. The program really drills down to absentees and why they are not there and then connects them with the services they need.

Sidebar: I once did a ride along with a truancy officer (while covering Lynchburg City Schools) and he told me truancy is simply the tip of the iceberg. If students are chronically truant it’s because there are much larger issues in their lives. So you could see how this pilot program could really help Montgomery students.

There was also a brief presentation on the Montgomery Music Project, which is a new program this fall bringing more music eduction to local schools and an announcement of a special-called meeting Monday at 3 p.m. It’s simply to vote on a wording change in a policy.

Officials also talked about “zones.” OK, so that might sound sort of dull, but it’s not. It’s all about organizing central office personnel to get out from behind a desk downtown and into schools.

You can read more about the zones and truancy pilot in Saturday’s Montgomery Advertiser and right here at the Daily Siftings.

About Annie McCallum Bitter

Annie McCallum Bitter is the education reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser. She can be reached at or follow @anniemccallum
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