School board to hear update on Henderson Independent grant

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
EAST SPENCER ó The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will receive an update on Henderson Independent High School and how school officials are using a federal grant during Mondayís meeting.
Dr. Rebecca Smith, the districtí s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the Post sheí ll talk about progress in a number of areas.
Sheí ll discuss technology initiatives. Last year, the school became completely wireless and each student and teacher were equipped with a MacBook.
Smith will also give an update on the development of a media center, student services area and the completion of science lab.
Sheí ll also talk about upcoming training for the staff and the improvements for the building that include painting and landscaping.
The nearly $2.2 million grant, which is being distributed over a three-year span, was given to the school last year based on a formula that identified it in the bottom 5 percent of the stateís consistently lowest-achieving schools.
Hendersonís former Principal Trisha Baptist resigned at the end of August after being at the school for one year. The school system is in the process of hiring another principal. The deadline for applications was at the beginning of October.
Baptist has filed a lawsuit against the school board, accusing it of discriminating against her and the students who attend the school because of their race.
District officials have said little about the lawsuit, which is not on the agenda for discussion during Mondayí s closed session.
During the meeting, board members will also:
Hear a presentation from Vicky Slusser, executive director of Communities in Schools, a nonprofit organization that works to decrease the dropout rate. Sheíll provide an overview of the program and an update on the progress being made at North Rowan Middle and North Rowan High schools.
Consider a rate increase by its attorneys at Tharrington Smith of Raleigh.
The law firm is seeking an additional $10 per hour starting in January. In a letter to the board, attorney Ken Soo said the firm has not raised rates for school district clients since 2008, despite growing expenses.
If the board approves the rate increase, the rates will be $185 for partners, $170 for associates and $90 for paralegals.
The school board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at the districtí s Long Street Administrative Office, 110 S. Long St., East Spencer.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.