Rowan-Salisbury school board to discuss renewal changes

Published 12:05 am Sunday, August 26, 2018

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will meet Monday to discuss possible changes as a renewal district.

The school system’s renewal application was approved Aug. 2, giving it charter-like flexibilities. While the district plans to use 2018-19 as a planning year, teacher-led design teams are already meeting to brainstorm about which flexibilities they want to see implemented.

The teams — one from each of the district’s 35 schools — met for the first time Aug. 16 and discussed what they’d want to change about the way the school system operates. Those ideas will be brought before the board Monday for discussion and further planning.

Teachers unanimously decided that they want to ditch a traditional school calendar, which stipulates that school can’t start before Aug. 26. Instead, they’d prefer to have an early start — like Rowan County Early College or North Rowan High School have — or a year-round, four-day or other modified calendar.

While the new calendar would not be implemented until the 2019-20 school year, the district would need to start planning now if the board approves any changes.

Another freedom teachers said they’d like to take advantage of is ditching N.C. final exams and kindergarten assessments. If approved, the tests would be dropped immediately and would not be given during the coming school year.

But teachers also said they’d like to fight for fewer end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. This is not a freedom granted under the renewal district plan, but educators said they’d like to have the additional flexibility.

Educators also said they would like newly hired renewal teachers — those interested in teaching a class but not interested in pursuing certification — to have at least a 2.5 GPA and significant experience in a field related to the subject they teach.

Teachers also wanted to be included as part of an interview panel when considering job candidates.

Should the board approve any of these proposals, district personnel will begin putting together a strategy to implement them. Plans will be sent back to the teacher-led design teams for approval and further comment, then taken back before the school board for final approval.

The board will meet at 4 p.m. Monday in Wallace Educational Forum, 500 N. Main Street. The meeting will begin with closed session at 4 p.m. Public comment will be at 6 p.m.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.