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School system making progress on strategic plan

The Rowan-Salisbury School System is making progress on its goals outlined in its strategic plan.

The plan, which was launched in May, includes goals for its curriculum and instruction, technology, student support services, operations, human resources, finances and communications departments.

Literacy and engaging work and instruction are the primary focuses for curriculum and instruction.

A literacy plan that spans kindergarten through 12th grade has been developed and published, and each of the district’s elementary and middle schools have hired a literacy or reading coach, as have two high schools.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. Julie Morrow, the literacy plan is constantly being updated, and professional development is an ongoing process.

The technology department has successfully implemented the roll out of MacBook Air laptops to all of the district’s high school students and are in the process of rolling out iPads in middle schools. They are also stressing responsible digital citizenship habits at every grade level.

Plans for an innovative professional development institute are on hold until funding can be secured.

Student support services includes school counselors; graduation rates; drug, alcohol and bullying awareness; athletics and career and college exposure.

A system-wide athletic director has been hired and a program and facilities assessments are in progress.

Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying program has been implemented at several of the district’s middle and schools.

Plans regarding school counselors and social workers have been started, but not much progress has been made.

The operations department has developed a plan for safety improvements, and will present that plan at the school board’s next meeting. Cameras have been installed on 101 buses, and the remainder of the busses will be outfitted with cameras next year. More than 50 of those busses also have audio capability as well. Bus routes have been streamlined, and 26 new buses have been purchased to increase efficiency

The district’s human resources department has created a design committee working with recruiting, retention and induction. The department is waiting on funding to conduct a comparative salary study.

The finance department has repurposed funding for the district’s one-to-one digital conversion and has just begun work aligning grant submissions with focus areas.

The communications department is focusing on promoting literacy through the “Give Five, Read Five” campaign and literacy summit and has launched a new website. The department has begun working on creating a social networking presence for each of the district’s schools, but hasn’t made enough progress to measure.

The strategic plan progress will be made available on the district’s website.

In other news:

• The board of education adopted a resolution requesting the Department of Public Instruction to adjust its performance grades, which assign a letter grade, “A” through “F,” to each of the district’s schools. This grade is based 20 percent on growth and 80 percent on performance.

• The board discussed the changes in the Advanced Placement curriculum, which is now more skill oriented than based on dates and historical figures. No action was taken, because Susan Cox, who was absent, wanted to be involved in the discussion

• The board approved the contract for Ramsay Burgin Smith Architects 4-2, with Hughes and Wagner dissenting. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann said a guaranteed maximum price should be settled by Thursday.

• During closed session, the board discussed Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody’s performance evaluation.

• The board deferred its discussion on the district’s Education Value-Added Assessment System growth report, which measures how much each school grows academically each year, because Dr. Chaunte Garrett, director of accountability and assessment, was unable to attend the meeting.

• Morrow updated the board on the curriculum team’s evaluation of the district’s Bible classes. She said the team was evaluating the lesson plans used, pulling information from other districts and studying the state’s essential standards for social studies.

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