RSS to visit the White House

Published 3:00 pm Monday, August 15, 2016

SALISBURY — On Sept. 12, Rowan-Salisbury Schools representatives are going to the White House.

The school district has been selected to attend a convention on “Next Generation High Schools,” which brings together leaders from across the nation who have developed, or funded, replicable models for high school redesign. The summit will be led by senior policymakers from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools applied for the opportunity, and was selected to attend earlier this month. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said she was “thrilled” that the district will be attending.

The first Next Generation High School Summit was held in November 2015, following President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, where he proposed redesigning the high school experience to be more relevant to the expectations placed on today’s students.

At the summit, representatives are expected to brainstorm ways to transform their high schools, including: redesigning academic content, personalizing learning, ensuring that teachers have strong content knowledge of their subjects, providing career and college exploration and offering opportunities for post-secondary learning while in high school.

“The convening will serve as an opportunity for practitioners to share best practices and work to address common challenges,” an e-mail received by Rowan-Salisbury Schools reads. “Coming out of the convening, states and districts will continue to work with one another and our partners. States and districts will be invited to participate in follow up discussions through which state and district level leaders will receive ongoing support to continue developing and expanding new, better, and more engaging high school experiences for all students.”

“It perfectly aligns with our big goal this year,” Moody said.

During the summit, schools and other representatives will be asked to think critically and creatively about high school redesign. For Rowan-Salisbury, that means career pathways. Rowan-Salisbury Director of Digital Innovation Andrew Smith said that the district has set several goals for the summit. They’ll start tackling the system’s planned overhaul, starting with the development of career academies at each high school over the next three years.

“These career academies will support instruction through partnering with local industry experts to provide innovative coursework that prepares students for jobs of the future,” Smith said.

When the pathways are established, students will be able to attend schools and aim towards a specific career focus, such as communications, medicine or agriculture.

According to Smith, the district will also focus on establishing flexible schedules and environments at each high school in the next two years and developing a new recruiting strategy and rewards system in the next three months to fill science and math positions.