School system to publicly track strategic plan progress

Published 2:57 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

By Jeanie Groh

By the beginning of November, anyone will be able to track the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s progress on its strategic plan.

On Oct. 27 meeting, department heads from each department will present an update to the school board. After that meeting, results will be available on the district’s website.

“We promised you we’d keep this as a living document,” Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody told the board. “Once we put it on the website, it will be live from then on.”

The document tracks the progress of each individual goal, and will be updated at least once a quarter.

The board also discussed how to celebrate retirements across the district.

“Due to some cuts we’ve experienced recently, we’d like to change the way we celebrate retirement,” said Human Resource Director Kristi Rhone.

Rhone suggested cutting the annual district-wide dinner, which, after labor and other factors are considered, cost the district roughly double the $6,000 budget.

Instead of hosting one large banquet each year, Rhone suggested the district provide some funding for each school to individually recognize those who retire each year.

“They would purchase their own gift,” Rhone explained.

“I have some concerns that as a district, it seems kind of cheap,” said Vice Chair Kay Wright Norman.

“It is,” Moody chimed in.

Board member Josh Wagner said he was concerned that each school would do things differently, and that some schools may not be able to honor retirees as well.

“There are very few things that we do to honor teachers. I’d like for you to look at differently,” Norman said. “I don’t think we ever need to do anything less. If anything, we need to do more.”

Rhone also suggested hosting a reception rather than a meal to cut down on the cost of food.

The board decided to email teachers a survey and to consult with a group of retired teachers about their preferences.

In other news, the Board of Education:

• Discussed the fact that, beginning Nov. 1, each school will be legally required to have two epinephrine pens on hand at each school. The board conducted a first reading of a policy that will enact that policy in the district. A vote will be taken at the board’s Oct. 27 regular meeting.

• The board conducted a second reading for its architecture contract with Ramsay, Burgin and Smith and its construction manager at risk. A final vote will be taken Oct. 27.

• Unanimously endorsed an anti-bullying proclamation after shifting the focus from the month of October to year-round awareness.

• Discussed volunteer background checks with Vicky Slusser from Communities in Schools and Jennifer Canipe from Crosby Scholars. The district is considering asking volunteers to pay for their own background checks or introducing a tiered system based on the amount of time volunteers spend volunteering.

• Discussed recruitment measures for next year’s work force.

• Received an update on parental permission forms for high school clubs. Club membership has dropped since the policy was instituted earlier this year.

• Reviewed the district’s matching funds applications. There are three carry over projects from last year, and the rest either deal directly with literacy or safety. A final vote will be taken Oct. 27.

• Director of Testing and Accountability Dr. Chaunte Garrett asked the board to consider adopting a resolution similar to one passed by Cabarrus County highlighting concerns with the state’s School Performance Grades, set to be released Feb. 5. Each school will be graded on an A through F scale based on its school performance score and growth index. A decision will be made Oct. 27.

• Susan Cox asked fellow board members to also consider passing a resolution regarding the new Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum similar to one passed in New Hanover County. The resolution states that there are major events missing from the curriculum.