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Back to school 2017: Moody’s message

By Dr. Lynn Moody

Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools

As I say this time every year – where has the summer gone?

It amazes me how quickly our summer break moves into the opening of a brand new school year. Reflecting on the astonishing accomplishments since the beginning of summer to the first day of school makes me proud to be part of the hardest working and best group of school employees who drive forward with a commitment of passion for helping our children.

Summer enrichment for students

Throughout the summer, our students participated in a variety of camps and challenges that engaged them in reading, STEM, inventing, TV and radio, outdoor adventures, space adventures, several career areas and art.

There are not enough words to express the heartfelt desire of our school nutrition staff to be sure our children are fed over the summer. Last year we began distributing books to children along with nutritious meals to nourish both their minds and bodies.

Professional development for staff

There really is no such thing as a summer break for public education — especially in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. We take advantage of these fly-by weeks to teach, learn, research and analyze how we can provide growing opportunities for our children. Between all the reflective retreats and conferences — in individual schools and together as a district — there have been loads of possibilities for staff to get updates and to learn more by brainstorming new programs, creating new plans and launching new initiatives. Teachers, principals and administrators — many volunteering their time — have rallied together to provide in-house learning experiences to staff.

Looking ahead

We will continue to focus on literacy and the personal development of each child. This combination gives a strong foundation for our students to graduate from high school prepared to enter college or pursue a career.

Here are a few of the new ways we plan to accomplish:

RSS iBook: A professional development tool that we created to help teachers learn about what makes a classroom successful. The book is interactive, and a new chapter will be released each month. The first chapter will be unveiled at our Back to School Teacher Conference on Aug. 22.

Restart: We are looking forward to providing a restart to 13 of our schools beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Restart is a state program that allows us to add flexibility to offer even more to schools, students and staff. The 2017-2018 year is a planning year for Rowan-Salisbury restart schools.

Advanced manufacturing: Salisbury High received a $700,000 Golden Leaf Grant to implement a program that includes training in engineering, mechatronics and metal fabrication for high school students. This program aligns with existing programs for middle school students, and is offered to all Salisbury High students.  

Responsive classroom techniques: Rowan-Salisbury educators continue to delve deeper into responsive classroom strategies. The program was implemented last year. Responsive classrooms use research-based approaches to teaching that focus on the strong link between academic success and social and emotional learning.

Community schools: Our district is moving forward in creating community schools in each geographic area. Principals in each area are forming teams and working together to sponsor events throughout the year that will showcase student work to local businesses, parents, elected officials and citizens. The development of a community schools concept is meant to form a unified approach to personalizing education for each student.

New West Rowan elementary school: Great things happen when our school board, county commissioners and staff come together for our children. The new west area elementary school is slated to open next school year under the leadership of Principal Kris Wolfe. This year, Wolfe is principal for both Cleveland and Woodleaf elementary schools.

This list just barely touches the many areas of teaching and learning that we are embarking upon as we approach our first day of school for the new school year. Our schools belong to all of us, and I look forward to everyone joining together and making this the best school year ever!

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