The Courier-Record


But ‘No School Board member has ever told us’

District One School Board member Bill Outlaw is encouraging his colleagues “get into the schools more, and let all of the teachers and staff know how much they are appreciated.”

Outlaw offered that suggestion at the Board’s March 14th meeting and cited several positive experiences while visiting Crewe Primary and Nottoway Intermediate.

Outlaw said he was delighted by the spaghetti served while he enjoyed lunch with his granddaughter at Crewe Primary. He also was impressed by teacher Gwendolyn Cle- ments’ instructional methods and the level of student engagement in her class. “I encourage every Board member to take advantage of going into the schools and see some of the things that are that are going on.”

Outlaw said he also enjoyed a visit to Nottoway Intermediate’s 21st Century STEM Night Out. Activities included a focus on Egypt and actual mummification of a Barbie doll.

It was there, Outlaw recalled, where he initially observed that “some of the teachers were a little standoff-ish. And then finally, as the evening progressed, a teacher came up to me, and we started talking and had an excellent conversation. And that kind of broke the ice. As a result of that, I had some very heartwarming conversations with three or four teachers…It was very enlightening.”

Outlaw said the spaghetti was equally delicious at Nottoway Intermediate and that one day after lunch there, he noticed the custodial staff cleaning up, “doing a phenomenal job…and I went up to thank them for the job they were doing. And they said, ‘There’s never been a school board member who has thanked us for doing our job.’ And that was pretty heartwarming, you know, that they appreciated that.”

An active Republican, Outlaw also recalled visiting polls on Election Day, and among the precincts is Crewe Primary. He said he encountered two teachers and walked up to one of them and said, “‘I just want to thank you all for the job you’re doing.’ And the older lady told the younger one, ‘This is one of our Board members.’ And I got the same response: ‘No Board member has ever told us that we’re appreciated.’”

Outlaw told his colleagues, “We’ve got our work cut-out for us, folks.”

After Thursday night’s meeting, Outlaw informed the Courier Record that he also enjoyed recently meeting with NIS principal Lyndsey Noel. “She was delightful…”

Outlaw also recalled “good interaction with the kitchen and custodial staff. I was introduced to several teachers and staff — all very positive. I sat in Mr. (Cedric) Hawkes’ 6th grade math class. He stressed reading the instructions several times. Students were working on circles, diameter and circumference of three different size objects, then they had to design a graph and plot the information on the graphs — much like Ms. Clements at Crewe Primary.

“At one point, Ms. Noel said, ‘Get in there and interact with the students.’ Wow. When I left,” Outlaw recalled, “Mr. Hawkes said, ‘The door is always open.’”

Outlaw added: “The question left in my mind was: what have these teachers been led to believe — and why — about School Board members? We’ll be working hard to establish relationships much to the chagrin of Dr. Grimes (Division Supt. Dr. Tameshia Grimes).”

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