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Rebecca Rider column: Moody’s meetings

If you haven’t heard about the superintendent’s informational sessions, you really should check one out. A few months ago, Dr. Lynn Moody started hosting what some may call “meet and greets” for certain professions. The first meeting was for faith leaders, the second, held Tuesday morning, was for barbershops and hair salons.

But don’t worry if you don’t strictly belong to one of these groups, I don’t think they’ll turn you away — they let me in, after all.

The goal, Moody has said, is to reach out to professions where the community goes to get information. The gatherings start with a short presentation, where Moody talks about the district’s strategic plan to promote literacy and how education has changed. Sometimes, she’ll touch on specific programs, such as Ready Rosie — an app that uses videos to help parents, grandparents and older siblings brainstorm activities to promote thinking and reading skills in children 6 and younger. It’s a new, bi-lingual program the school system has signed on with that’s free to anyone in Rowan County.

“That app is for anyone, anyone who deals with children,” Moody said.

After that, Moody opens the floor for a Q&A. If you need me to tell you what a good opportunity that is, you may want to start paying closer attention. And there have been some good questions. Attendees ask about the district’s Exceptional Children’s program, about the growing role of technology, about the system’s financial status or how to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot for students.

On Tuesday, Emily Perry asked what could be done about community involvement.

Perry is retired, and said that she recently started working as a substitute teacher in the school system.

“It was quite an eye-opener,” she said.

While working in local schools, she witnessed the heavy burdens that teachers are under, and said she remembered things being different when she was younger. Back then, she said, the community stood behind its schools and its teachers, and everyone turned out to PTA meetings. But now things are different, and teachers are struggling.

“I’m just really concerned about the future,” she said.

On Tuesday, she asked Moody how she and others could encourage community involvement.

Moody said that schools always need volunteers and substitutes — people who could support students and teachers by tutoring, becoming a substitute, helping out around a school or joining the PTA. But really, the desire to help has to be there.

“It’s kind of an internal thing,” Moody said, “You have to want to know what’s going on.”

Because sometimes, let’s face it, there are no easy answers. Although for Perry, getting involved is easy. She said she thought everyone should try their hand at helping out in a school — it only takes a couple of hours a week, and that’s all you need to have a shift in perspective, she said.

The next informational session will be for those who work in business, finance and insurance.

 

Contact education reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264 or rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com.

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