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School board approves renewal plans for Faith and Carson

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – School renewal plans for Faith Elementary School and Carson High School were approved during the Monday meeting of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education.

Carson Principal Benjamin Crawford outlined how the school, which hosts the district’s arts academy, is integrating classroom subjects like math with experiential education like technical theater

As part of its renewal plan, Crawford said the technical theater teacher will work with a math teacher so students will learn the normal curriculum for Math 1 and apply the concepts to building a play set.

Crawford said that leaves students with the feeling they can do math and they see the practical application. The program is going to be extended to two more classes: algebra, and geometry and construction.

These programs will pair math with entrepreneurship involved in running a small business and using concepts to build things in the woodworking shop.

Denita Dowell-Reavis, principal at Faith Elementary, spoke about the communication focus at the school.

All the school’s teachers have participated in Academic Conversations, a training that emphasizes agreeable discussions and debates. The school has also created a rubric on communication skills that parents will receive reports on throughout the year. It describes things like eye contact, volume and tone during a presentation.

The other focus of Faith’s plan is exposing students to the world in ways they may not receive elsewhere. There have been speakers from different fields who have visited the school and spoken to students. Faith’s students also have researched careers so they could ask speakers questions.

Dowell-Reavis said when schools closed in March fifth graders were working on projects that included researching jobs and interviewing people who work in fields ranging from forensic science to train maintenance.

In other news from Monday’s meeting:

  • The board heard a proposal from Chief Human Resources Officer Kristi Rhone to partner with Kelly Education to take over substitute teacher management for the district. The company would grandfather in current substitutes and bring several benefits like no hour cap and professional development. The change is estimated to be able to reach an 85% substitute teacher fill rate for slightly less than if the district did so in-house.
  • The board approved Category No. 2 funding project contracts for network infrastructure upgrades. The upgrades — including switches, battery backups and access point licenses — is almost entirely funded by the state and federal governments, though the district will pay 20% of the cost of managed network services at $35,100
  • School redistricting and consolidation was added to the agenda simply to keep it in board conversations. The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined board conversations about the issue and Chair Kevin Jones wanted to keep the issue appearing on meeting agendas.

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