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‘Running point’ on renewal: Superintendent Lynn Moody talks RSS changes

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury School district Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said she’s heard a common complaint in recent months as district staff and the school board juggle consolidation and renewal.

“People have been saying, ‘All you’re talking about is dollars and cents, and the children are getting lost in the conversation,'” Moody said.

What’s happening, she said, is that two different conversations are happening at once.

One, the prospect of consolidation, may be a matter largely influenced by capital needs and resources. The second, the concept of renewal, focuses on student support and success, she said.

“We might not have done as good of a job as we needed to in merging these two conversations,” said Moody. “School consolidation has overshadowed renewal.”

In effort to combat this, Moody said she’s “running point” on renewal and working to make the community aware on the many and exciting changes coming to Rowan-Salisbury Schools in the 2019-20 school year.

Currently, the school is finalizing a new system for its renewal model — a focus on academics, unique life goals and interpersonal skills. At the center of each, she said, are Rowan’s learners.

The biggest facet of renewal will be curriculum, with a shift from common core standards to more practical, real-world applications.

“We believe that many common core standards just aren’t applicable in everyday life,” she said.

To put it more pointedly, she said, “You won’t use vectors every day, but every day you’ll need to know how to balance your checkbook and bank account.”

By moving the focus away from the broad expectations of common core into more practical applications, Moody said, teachers and students will be given the opportunity to explore fundamental concepts at a deeper level.

This could mean that systemwide scores could go up or down when it comes to standardized, state-required tests, Moody said. Learners may not have been exposed to the wide, surface-level common core topics, but they’ll have a deeper grasp of items that will benefit them — no matter their chosen career.

“Standardized testing doesn’t tell you the whole picture,” she said. “We believe there are other accountability measures.”

Other aspects of the directional system — those unique life goals and interpersonal skills — will help Rowan students prepare for their next steps after high school, she said.

“Currently in schools, success is equated to knowledge of content rather than who a student is as a person,” she said. “But more people end up being fired for who they are, their ability to work with others or to be a team player.”

School staff is currently working on methods to evaluate this three-tiered system, Moody said. From there, each school will be given the flexibility to carve its own pathway toward these goals.

“What will be common among all sites is this directional system,” Moody said. “That system will say we guarantee you this, but we are going to push your child as far as he or she can go.”

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