Superintendent reflects on school year, progress on strategic plan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Rowan-Salisbury School System is wrapping up year one of three of its new strategic plan, and Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said the district aggressively pursued its goals.

“The one thing that I’ve always liked about education is that there’s a beginning and an end,” she said, adding that it gives educators time to reflect on how things went during a school year.

“We really implemented our strategic plan,” she said.

“It was about literacy first. It was about engaging classrooms,” Moody said. “We began a digital conversion and we put a mobile device in the hands of every third through 12th grade student.”

She added that schools began implementing problem-based learning projects – a method they will continue to develop next year.

Through the digital conversion, teachers have a more data on their students and classes this year, Moody said.

The added data allows teachers to better customize each student’s learning experience.

“Almost everyone of our principals have reported to me that the students are more engaged, more excited about coming to school and are enjoying learning,” she said.

“This is a three-year plan,” Moody said. “We didn’t anticipate having all this done.”

Moody said the high turnover in leadership is partially responsible for the district’s rapid change.

“When people are new in their roles, they have a lot of energy,” she said. “We have a very energetic leadership team.”

The flip side of that, however, is that they’ve had to develop a lot more systems as they go, rather than relying on those that have been in place for years.

While the district has made incredible progress over the past year, they still have a long way to go.

“We implemented a great deal of change,” she said.

“I think the biggest challenge has been to stop all practices and to reinvent teaching strategies,” Moody said. “That is very disruptive to a school district.”

It’s about “true transformation,” she said. “We didn’t take a former strategic plan and tweak around the edges.”

It takes time for teachers to unlearn old practices and to learn new practices. It also takes students time to adjust to those new practices.

Moody added that she expects students’ test scores to dip this year.

“I’m totally expecting our test scores to drop,” she said, but added that once they “plug the holes” next year, she expects that “students will become much more competent.”

“Next year, I think is our year to refine the new things that we learned this year,” she said.

Moody expects that teachers, administrators and students will become stronger and more confident.