RIPLEY - The Jackson County Board of Education met last Thursday evening as the 2013-'14 school year is just around the corner. While the board held an executive session during the meeting, several items of interest were covered via the July BOE agenda.

The BOE honored seven retirees for their service and dedication to Jackson County.

In attendance was Kathryn Klingensmith who retires with 34 years of service as a teacher at Ripley Elementary. Sue McLane retires with 32 years of service as a teacher at Kenna Elementary School and Barbara Upton retires from Evans Elementary School as a Principal with 22 years of service.

Also honored were:
* Vickie Shockey - 37 years of service as a teacher at Ripley Elementary.
* Kristel Roark - 33 year of service as a teacher at Ripley Elementary.
* Judy Haught - 17 years of service as a paraprofessional/Aide at Gilmore Elementary School.
* William Gary Redman - 15 years of service as a Bus operator.

BOE Superintendent Blaine Hess brought to the board concerns over Jackson County middle school graduation rates. The board addressed the need for a program to assist middle school students who may be in danger of advancing to high school due to poor academic performance.

Vice President Jack Wiseman noted that to influence middle school graduation rates, action should be taken at the elementary school level as well as the middle school ranks.
Assistant Superintendent Keith Burdette gave board members an update on the progress being made at the new structure that will house Kenna Elementary School.

Burdette noted that the project is well within its target time table for completion in spring 2014 and that the construction is progressing smoothly and efficiently.

Board Member Carroll Staats noted that the bleacher removal at Ravenswood High's Flinn Field was moving along well as earlier that day a large portion of the targeted removal had been completed, setting the stage for replacement seating to be installed.

An approval of a right-of-way to Frontier Communications to provide communication services to the new Jackson County Schools Transportation Office Building located at 335 South Church Street was granted. The next Jackson County Board of Education meeting will take place on August 1, 2013. Look for a visitors guide to the new security systems at Ripley and Ravenswood High Schools in an August edition of JN.