School board to consider three more Renewal plans

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 11, 2019

By Andie Foley

During its 4 p.m. work session this Monday, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education could approve Renewal plans for three additional school sites.

The sites — Bostian and Rockwell elementary schools and Southeast Middle School — could join 17 other school sites approved by the close of June this summer.

The Renewal plans come as a collective revisioning of the face of education across Rowan County, coming through a systemwide status granted through an application to the North Carolina General Assembly. The status, enabled through House Bill 986, has allowed for district-wide, charter-like flexibility in terms of funding, staff, curriculum and scheduling.

And at each approved site, educators called teacher-led design teams are using these flexibilities to meet the individual needs of students at each unique school site.

Plans for Bostian, Rockwell and Southeast include:

Bostian Elementary School

According to plans prepared by educators at Bostian Elementary School, the school’s vision under renewal will include instilling learners with critical thinking skills, a global perspective and a respect for core values such as giving back, honesty, perseverance and more.

The hope, the plan states, is to use this push to prepare students for a rapidly changing world.

The school will work towards establishing this vision by meeting three identified needs: a need for community service leadership projects, the aforementioned core values and high-interest clubs.

Community service projects will be identified by grade levels each semester through student interest surveys, with grade-level standards and the needs of Bostian’s community incorporated into the efforts.

The school will also implement Ron Clark’s Essential 55 program schoolwide to teach and explore core values, alongside monthly student interest clubs that allow students to explore and develop personal passions.

Rockwell Elementary School

At Rockwell, according to its to-be-presented plan, the focus is to both strengthen academic skills and increase academic engagement. A particular area of focus at the site is math, the plan states, explaining a shift to cognitive-guided instruction in kindergarten through fifth-grade math blocks.

Cognitive-guided instruction is a technique meant to strengthen problem-solving and critical-thinking skills for math in learners. The plan states that its teacher-led design team will visit PAVE Charter School in Raleigh to observe the technique in action before creating an implementation guide for Rockwell educators and offering staff development.

The team will also create resource videos and model lessons for other kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers.

The school will also address student engagement by continuing professional development efforts that build these skills in educators, offering trauma-informed professional development for educators and by offering students problem-based learning opportunities and lesson plans that include engaging and interactive components.

Southeast Middle School

It’s all about building connections at Southeast Middle School, according to the site’s prepared plan. The school’s vision, the plan states, is that doing so will provide opportunities for student growth through real-world experiences and collaboration, with strong mentorship guiding students on the path to self-discovery.

In effort to increase mastery of fundamental standards, the school is planning to create “Patriot Volunteers” using parents and community members. These individuals will provide intervention and enrichment or PIE time for students who need one-on-one assistance in math and/or literacy.

The school is also planning to use PIE time to expose learners to new experiences and career opportunities, guiding students toward areas of interest through Schoolinks surveys. By utilizing a growing community of volunteers and working professionals, the school is seeking to create awareness surrounding a variety of jobs.

Finally, the students will develop interpersonal skills through structured interactions with educators and learners of all grade levels.

In other business from Monday’s meeting:

  • The school board will be updated on the process of planning for renovations or redesigns for Knox Middle School.
  • The school board will examine and discuss the district’s recently identified set of core values and an implementation process surrounding such.
  • The school board will discuss Partners In Learning’s interest in expanding to a system-owned property neighboring Isenberg Elementary School.