RSS moving ahead on $26.3 million federal grant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 7, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools is continuing administrative work leading up to implementing a $26.3 million federal grant to advance renewal programs and the Board of Education will receive its latest update on Monday.

The district submitted a grant logic model and will have its first quarterly check-in on the project later this month.

The major federal grant, titled Accelerate Rowan, has multiple positions and contracts tied to it. An update which will be presented to the RSS Board of Education on Monday will include the hiring of a lab school director for the grant, and the previous update noted the hiring of a grant manager who was brought in from across the country.

The federal funds have been described as a teacher incentive grant, and the district is currently creating a compensation structure and working 0n its new accountability model.

The district is also submitting requests for proposals to contract for project evaluation services, ready-made resources created off-site and consultancy services.

Looking ahead, the district will create a new way of evaluating teachers and assign performance-based pay based on that system, develop its own lab school model and create a signing and retention bonus structure.

In other business on the agenda:

• Associate Superintendent Anthony Vann will present an update on properties the board recently declared surplus. The Faith Elementary School property was approved for surplus by Rowan County commissioners, but two other properties, Enochville Elementary and an old school property on Zion Street in Landis, were tabled pending more information. Vann included site plans for the three facilities.

The district is required by state statute to offer the properties to the county before it can dispose of them through other means. New charter school Faith Academy says it’s interested in taking over the Faith Elementary building.

• Director of Induction Susan Heaggans will present an updated Beginning Teacher Support Program plan to the board. The plan was first adopted in 2003 and has been revised three times since.

The revisions include required preparation program surveys for first-year teachers, signatures of teachers, mentors and principals on formative assessments and includes policy changes regarding the state evaluation instrument.

• The administration will recommend naming the North Rowan High School band room after Chuck Dunlap. Dunlap served as band director at North for 33 years and spent 40 years working in public education. The impetus for the naming was a request from the community to name the room after Dunlap passed away and a committee was formed to discuss the issue.

• The administration will recommend renaming the access road that loops behind China Grove Elementary school after Carl Wilkerson. The renaming recommendation was also based on a community request. Wilkerson was a custodian at the school for 32 years.

• Associate Superintendent Kelly Withers will present the district’s regular COVID-19 update.

The meeting is virtual. Members of the public can tune in via Zoom at or call in at any of these numbers: 301-715-8592  or +1 312-626-6799  or 646-558-8656  or 253-215-8782  or 346-248-7799  or 669-900-9128.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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