School board to receive “high-level” overview of accountability model

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 22, 2019

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury School Board on Monday will receive a “high-level overview” of its new accountability model.

The model sets standards for students in academic skills, unique life goals and interpersonal skills — the RSS’ “directional system.” It also includes a timeline for implementation.

The meeting will be 5 p.m. Monday at the Wallace Educational Forum — 500 N. Main St.

In the presentation, set to be given by Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Julie Morrow and Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Smith, some areas of the accountability model are ready to report this school year, others are in the process of being implemented and others are still being researched. Areas listed as in progress are attached to the 2020-2021 school year and the areas still being researched are listed with the 2022-2023 school year.

In academic skills, for example, only English and math fundamental assessments have been finalized. Meanwhile, areas listed as “in progress” include teachers’ evaluations of student learning, evidence of real-life application and social students and science fundamental standards. The school system also lists reporting competency-based standards as an area that’s still being researched.

Items listed with unique life goals include: identifying passions in elementary school, personalizing a high school interest plan in middle school and working toward being enrolled, enlisted or employed in high school.

The school system is still working to implement a comprehensive student portfolio as a standard and is still in the research stage of reporting internships and job shadowing.

Interpersonal skills is the area with the fewest accountability items — a student reflection survey and skill summary report.

The school board is set to have a final look at the accountability model on Oct. 28. Until then, educators in RSS will offer feedback, with the model being released to administrators on Tuesday and teacher-led design teams on Wednesday. The school board will also have a feedback session on Oct. 14.

In other business:

• The school board on Monday will consider “renewal” plans from two more schools in the district — North Rowan Elementary and Erwin Middle.

The school board will review, discuss and potentially approve the plans, both of which use calendar, curriculum and budget flexibility.

At North Rowan Elementary, the “renewal” theme is “discovering passions with purpose and its three “needs” are identifying gaps in student learning, helping teachers understand students’ social and emotional needs as well as providing students with social and emotional support and creating engaged learners.

Some strategies to address those needs in their proposed plan involve having teachers use their 90-minute planning time to identify learning gaps and create lessons for small group instruction, providing alternatives for students to minimize classroom disruption and implementing weekly “passions with purpose” clubs based on student interests.

North Rowan’s goals by 2021 include improving the following by 10%: absences and tardies, office referrals, literacy proficiency and math proficiency.

At Erwin, the theme is integrated learning, with needs being broadly defined as culture, scheduling and curriculum.

Strategies to address those needs are a school-wide strategy team, an intervention block that’s intended to focus on fundamental standards and where students have gaps and combining an instructional coach position with two teachers at East Rowan High to create an instructional coach for both schools.

Erwin’s goals listed in its plan include aligning professional development with needs in the school’s climate and culture, creating learning teams that focus on the “holistic learning curriculum,” having standards and mastery-based grading training for all teachers by May 2020, Implementing expeditionary learning curriculum by August 2020 and school-wide implementation of standards and mastery-based grading by August 2021.

Smith will present the plans to the school board.

• The school board will receive a presentation about energy savings stemming from $3.8 million in renovations completed across the district in 2016.

The presentation says energy savings were $316,232 from the first year, $331,766 from the second year and $311,281 from the third year.

• The school board will consider a repurposing template that allows principals to repurpose vacant or lapsed salaries to fund other budget needs as part of “renewal.”

• The school board will receive an initial budget resolution from Chief Financial Officer Carol Herndon.

• The school board will discuss redistricting. No details were provided on the agenda about the specific nature of the redistricting discussion.