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Rowan-Salisbury Schools Exceptional Children Department will deliver annual report

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Exceptional Children Department includes hundreds of staff members and a couple thousand students, and it will provide an update on its operations during Monday’s Rowan Salisbury Schools meeting.

The meeting will be 4:30 p.m. at Wallace Educational Forum. People can also tune in virtually by visiting vimeo.com/rssboe. People who want to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting are asked to register by 8 a.m. Monday by emailing mulkeysh@rss.k12.nc.us.

Monday’s meeting is an annual event for the $20 million Exceptional Children Department, which talks to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education about its activities every year.

A breakdown of employees is as follows:

  • Nine program specialists.
  • Seven school psychologists.
  • Six occupational therapists and three assistants.
  • Two physical therapists.
  • Two behavior specialists and three behavior technicians.
  • Four instruction coaches.
  • 126 teachers.
  • 114 classified staff including a mix of teacher assistants, language facilitators, interpreters and behavior technicians.
  • 27 speech-language pathologists and four assistants.
  • Four specialized teachers including two adaptive physical education teachers, one teacher of the visually impaired, one teacher of the deaf.
  • The director, financial administrative assistant, a translator, a compliance specialist and a prekindergarten coordinator.

At the beginning of April, the department served about 2,400 students. 

Department Director Elizabeth Mitcham will review the department’s accomplishments during Monday’s school board meeting, too. As of December, the department had caught up on evaluations delayed by schools closing last spring and the department added professional development for all staff.

In other agenda items:

• The board will review two alternate calendar plans for Salisbury High School and East Rowan High School. The plans were first shown at the April 12 meeting and met some discussion from the board.

The Salisbury calendar would give students a late start on Wednesdays while staff undergo professional development. The East Rowan calendar would add about a day of virtual learning every month to be used for experiential education like visiting college campuses or group experiences.

The plans are made possible by the district’s renewal status. They were originally slated for the consent agenda.

• The board will view an update to its policy for drug and alcohol testing of district commercial motor vehicle operators, which would include bus drivers.

The update includes new requirements related to Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database that gives information about drug and alcohol prohibitions on CDLs and commercial learning permits. School districts are required to register in the clearinghouse.

The update also covers defense against a positive drug test result showing THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, by a person tested claiming they have only used a legal CBD product. The policy says a positive THC result will be treated as a policy violation regardless of claimed CBD use.

“Please note that while the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) products is not itself prohibited by law, it is possible that certain CBD may contain sufficient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to lead to a positive drug test,” the change notes.

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