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School board names next principal for Overton Elementary

Assistant Principal GeRita Walden will take over Overton Elementary School’s top administrative spot Feb. 28.

She replaces longtime Principal Betty Tunks who is retiring after more than 10 years at the school.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education approved Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody’s proposal to promote Walden during a closed session early in Monday’s school board meeting. Walden was selected from 18 applicants for the position.

Walden has served as Overton’s assistant principal since September. Previously, she was an assistant principal at Summerfield Charter Academy in Summerfield, a principal intern with Guilford County Schools and an elementary school teacher in Guilford County and at Fort Bragg.

Walden has a master’s degree in school administration from North Carolina A&T University, a master’s in elementary education and interdisciplinary studies and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. She is currently working on a doctorate of education in educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University. She expects to receive her doctorate by this fall.

Later in the meeting, Director of Accountability Dr. Chaunte Garrett explained the district’s upcoming state-assigned school performance grades to the school board. The grades, which have not yet been released to the public, will be assigned to each school and are based on achievement and growth – 80 percent and 20 percent respectively.

“There is great argument about this calculation,” Moody said.

Performance grades are inconsistent from state to state. Moody said she would rather the weighting focus more on growth and less on achievement.

“We are not pleased at where we are at,” she said. “We have a wide range of scores here.”

She acknowledged, however, that the district is in its first year of implementing its new strategic plan and that the plan may take a year or two before they start seeing a measurable difference. Moody said a dip is to be expected when a new learning initiatives are implemented in a school system.

The schools will be assigned a grade “A” through “F” and will be weighted on a 15-point scale this year. Next year, a 10-point scale will be used. Schools receiving a “D” or “F” grade will be required to send a letter home to parents.

Henderson Independent High School will not receive a school performance grade because it is an alternative high school.

The grades will be released by the state Feb. 5.

Eisa Cox, director of secondary education, informed the board of the state-mandated changes to the district’s guidebook. Beginning next year, all high school students will be graded on a 10-point scale, and students will be able to receive diploma endorsements in specific subjects based on specific classes taken. Students’ Advanced Placement options will be expanded, and students will be able to receive credit by demonstrated mastery, as well.

The board also approved the following policies on a second reading: Alternative Learning Programs/Schools Policy, Use of Wireless Communication Devices, Student Discipline Records Policy, Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, Expulsion Policy, Student Discipline Hearing Procedures Policy, Disruptive Behavior Policy, Student Dress Code Policy, Drugs and Alcohol Policy, Assaults, Threats and Harassment.

The board made several minor changes to the Environmental Sustainability Policy and Criminal Behavior Policy to clarify the language in the policies.

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