Rowan-Salisbury School System honors United Way at Report to the Community
By Kathy Chaffin
The Rowan County United Way was honored at this year’s Rowan-Salisbury School System’s Annual Report to the Community Breakfast Tuesday.
Before announcing the special recognition, Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom reviewed some of its many contributions, including the annual Day of Caring.
“This organization makes sure that every school in our district receives free projects by sponsoring community volunteers,” she said, “many of whom are sitting in this room this morning, and supplies for projects that beautify and enrich our schools both inside and out. There were 34 projects this year, some taking more than one day.”
The Rowan County United Way also partners with the Rowan Rotary Club, Grissom said, to sponsor the Service Above Self Awards recognizing the efforts of more than 300 students, both individually and in groups, “in modeling leadership and making the community a better place to live.”
Anyone in the community can nominate students for the awards.
In addition, the United Way sponsors the 6-UP and 9-UP programs at Knox Middle and Salisbury High schools to prepare students for an easier transition into the middle and high schools, she said. The programs were started with Community Initiative Grants.
Other United Way projects benefitting students, Grissom said, include Win-Win, Violence Prevention, Conflict Resolution Skills, Project SAFE Neighbors and Project Life. Many students also benefit from the services offered by the United Way agencies.
“I cannot imagine what not only our schools, but our community would be like without the support that is provided by this hard-working agency,” she said.
Executive Director Bob Lippard and Jackie Harris, marketing/campaign director, accepted the award on behalf of the Rowan County United Way from Grissom and school board members.
“Again, thank you so much for your support and for being here today for our children,” Grissom said. “You all have made a positive difference in the lives of our children.”
Also at the community breakfast, held at the Hurley Family YMCA, Grissom highlighted the school system’s 2008-2009 accomplishments and thanked all the people there who helped make them possible.
“Whether your part was as a school administrator or principal, a volunteer of your time or your talent, an active parent, a promoter, a cheerleader or a financial contributor,” she said, “it takes all of us to allow our school system to be able to ‘raise the bar’ as we reach out to every child, and every challenge, each and every school day. And we are doing just that.”
Among the school system’s accomplishments, initiatives and recognitions were:
– A $6 million “Safe Schools/Healthy Students” grant from the U.S. Department of Public Instruction to provide programs to address at-risk students and behaviors that contribute to students dropping out of school.
– A $500,000 COPS grant in partnership with local law enforcement to place security cameras at all of the system’s high schools and at the majority of middle schools.
– Expansion of the 21st Century Model Classroom Teachers from six to 15 classrooms that are now fully equipped with up-to-date technology.
– The “iPod touch” program at North Rowan High School through which all ninth graders were equipped with an iPod touch.
“Parents signed contracts,” Grissom said, “teachers were trained, and students quickly began achieving at a higher level of learning and with enthusiasm.”
The program was expanded this year to include 10th graders.
– Grissom said the system celebrated 26 out of 35, or 75 percent, of its schools achieving state ABC recognition for meeting or exceeding performance growth standards.
– Another 20 of the system’s schools met standards under the “No Child Left Behind” federal law, which was twice as many as met the standards the previous year. Because the school system met the standards in grades 3-8, Grissom said it “moved a step closer to no longer being in school improvement.”
– The Rowan County Early College completed its first year with 57 percent of ninth graders earning up to six hours in college credits. The Early College began its second year with 66 returning sophomores and 75 new freshmen.
– Carson High School began its partnership with the International Center for Understanding and another high school in China.
– State and regional recognition for the system, its schools and staff.
– Athletic accomplishments, including West Rowan High School’s football team claiming the 3A state championship and its coach, Scott Young, being named coach of the year.
Salisbury High won three state championships in girls tennis, girls basketball and track.
“I could go on and on,” Grissom said. “I do hope you will read about these and others in our report. You will see why we called this, ‘A year of Celebrating.’ ”
Jean Kennedy, vice chairwoman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, gave closing remarks at the breakfast, during which Grissom received a standing ovation for her leadership as superintendent.
“Together, we will make our system the best in the state,” Kennedy said, “and I’m going to go beyond that, the best in the nation.”
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.