JCBOE praises students, honors employees

The Johnson County Schools Board of Education recognized its monthly Golden Eagle Award recipients and listened to a presentation by the Central Elementary School Community Problem Solving Team Monday at its regular monthly meeting.

The Johnson County Schools Board of Education praised Central Elementary School students at its regular meeting Monday evening, with special attention given to the CES Community Problem Solving Team, who has recently begun work on writing a series of grants to help reduce stress in student’s lives, according to the students. The board also recognized this month’s recipients of the Golden Eagle Award.

“We would like to recognize our Community Problem Solving (team), for the past two years we have had the honor of

being asked to participate internationally in Wisconsin, and in 2017, our CmPS team were grand champions and that’s throughout the world,” said CES Principal Robin Halsey. “In 2018, we were second place, Junior Environmental Concerns division, and our goal this year is to make it to Massachusetts.”

The CES CmPS team introduced “Project Share the Calm,” and detailed their project for this year, which involved seeking grants for playground equipment, a yoga instructor and other methods aimed at reducing stress in students. According to the students, they conducted a survey among their fourth-to-sixth grade peers and teachers as to what the major causes of stress were, alongside effective means to combat the stress associated with school work, social media and general social interaction that can sometimes be unaddressed in students, leading to potential behavioral problems. 

“Recently, our teacher showed us this quote … it said, ‘I believe that children who are labeled good are kids who are able to solve their problems and manage their behavior and social life, and children labeled bad are kids who don’t know how to solve those problems,’” said one CmPS team member. “After hearing this quote, we all started to see why kids in our classes get into trouble. They’re all good kids who don’t know how to solve those problems.” 

The project, according to the students, has already seen some success, with a grant given to the students from Lowe’s Home Improvement aimed at improving the playground at CES in an effort to provide a constructive outlet for stressed kids. The students also detailed another grant they were applying for, aimed at providing a yoga instructor for fourth grade through sixth grade students to learn healthy coping mechanisms for stress. 

The students also detailed their plans for fundraising for the project, including selling roses and sweets at an upcoming Valentine’s Day dance and contributions from the CES Parent Teacher Organization.

“We can’t do it alone,” the students said, before closing the presentation. “We are also taking donations from anybody who wants to (help). Thank you for your time.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Halsey, and thank you students, for all of your hard work,” Superintendent Thom Cochran said, before introducing this month’s Golden Eagle Award recipients.

The certified employee winner, 1999 JCHS graduate and current fifth and sixth grade language arts teacher Francis Hackney, earned the first Golden Eagle of the night. “She’s upbeat, self-sacrificing and extremely hardworking,” Cochran said. “Not only a great educator, but extremely talented as well — she sang with Big Sandy for years — she uses her gifts here to direct the school choir, and serves as speech and drama coach. She is such a dedicated teacher, she once videoed a lesson for her students in the middle of the night when one of her own children woke up with a virus. Her students received that lesson the next day with a substitute in her place.” 

Classified employee Anita Guerra won the other award, having served Johnson County schools for 24 years, according to Cochran. 

“Going above and beyond to do her job, she ensures daily that her students feel loved,” Cochran said. “She decorates hallways, helps with holiday lunches, helps find extra clothes for those in need, and yet still finds time to complete all of her other projects. … It’s been said that it’s hard to find an employee who will do nearly as much as this lady. A true asset to the school and district, she is an inspiration to all who know her.”

The Johnson County Schools Board of Education meets on the third Monday of each month at 5 p.m., and venues change frequently to focus on and be held at each school within the district. All meetings are open to the public.

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