By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Monday, Aug. 3 meeting of the Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Board Chair Jennifer Thompson; Vice Chair Ike Long; Secretary Tara Reed-Cooper; Board members Gloria Griffin, Karen French-Browning, and Regina Ledford Rosario; School Board Assistant Sunnie Clapsaddle; HR Director Heather Driver; Superintendent Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Beverly Payne; and Wolfetown Tribal Council representative Chelsea Saunooke present.
It was a short meeting for the School Board, and most of the discussion was focused on one thing – remote learning. They wished to address the need for expanded services and online access. To do this, they had Director of EBCI Destination Marketing Mike Parker and Director of EBCI Communications Chris McCoy in to talk about internet options moving forward.
“We got funding two years ago to develop a public access Wi-Fi system. That public access Wi-Fi system is a system of radios that stretches from Granny’s Kitchen up to the Village and Drama area, up to the flame across from Saunooke Village,” said Parker. The Cherokee Preservation Foundation partially funded the Wi-Fi project.
He said that it was initially planned to be used as a tourism asset, but recent events have shifted plans.
“Long story short, COVID hit. That kind of pushed all of our marketing efforts this year back,” said Parker. “What that does is that we also have an opportunity to have that access available for our students if need be.”
McCoy and the Board discussed different locations that might work for hot spot areas. The plan is to choose multiple easy access locations throughout the Boundary.
Chairperson Thompson asked them if they had plans for kids that live in more remote areas of Cherokee.
Parker said that part of this project would be to finish the job that Tribal IT started years ago with installing fiber. He said that IT runs fiber to most community buildings, but that it had never been hooked up. He’s hoping that the community buildings can also become hubs for internet.
Another piece of the puzzle is funding. Parker said that because of the recent funding through the CARES Act, the Tribe has additional funds to assist in COVID-19 related matters. Given that the school is operating in a remote learning setting due to the pandemic, Parker says that this project would then qualify for using the funds.
The Board then shifted attention to the consent agenda. It only held two resolutions. There were no objections and they were quickly passed. They set in place the following:
- Moriah Chavis approved for increase to Level 5 beginning school year 2020-21.
- Policy 7100 Recruitment and Selection of personnel be revised to define the term in-house employees.
There was only one piece of new business for the Board, and that was to address some policy changes to Title IX. This implements new policies and administrative regulations regarding sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination. These additions were passed unanimously by the Board.
The Board finished the meeting in a closed session, stating that no decisions would be made in the session.
The next meeting of the CCS Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17 at 4:45 p.m. Meetings are currently being held in the school’s Chief Joyce Cultural Arts Center to assist with social distancing.