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News from the Board -- January 26, 2021Posted by Jessica Wells on 1/27/2021 1:00:00 PM
On Tuesday, January 26, the Onslow County Board of Education held a special workshop meeting at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items included a review of OCS COVID-19 Communication Procedures, a review of Board policy 2310, and a presentation on the NCDPI Facility Needs Survey and the Long-Range Facility Needs Assessment.
The meeting opened with OCS Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson presenting to the Board a review of the procedures the district has used to communicate with families regarding COVID-19. Anderson shared that back in August of 2020, families were informed of the procedures the district would follow when communicating important COVID information. Procedures focused on making individual phone calls to those identified as close contacts and, when necessary, making school-wide calls when a positive COVID-19 case results in a significant disruption of a campus’ ability to safely operate or deliver instruction. The names of the people affected, and other personally identifiable information, will be provided to public health officials in accordance with reporting requirements; however, this information will not be released to the public or the media.
Anderson said that the district’s COVID plans and communication procedures were created to, and continue to, focus on privacy, confidentiality, and keeping schools open for in-person instruction.
Next on the agenda, was a review of Board policy 2310, which addresses public participation at Board meetings. Board Chairman Bob Williams opened up discussion with his fellow Board members regarding the policy and how it may be improved upon. In his comments, he suggested potential changes such as condensing the two public comment periods allotted at regular Board meetings into one comment period before the meetings’ general business, while keeping the 5-minute limit per speaker. He also suggested changing the wording on the form speakers fill out before meetings to say “Invitation to Address the Board,” rather than “Request to Address the Board,” to make the public feel more welcome to speak at meetings. Other Board members suggested looking into giving speakers more time to sign up before meetings and removing the requirement for speakers to bring 25 copies of any documents they may wish to share. The Board and staff will take all suggestions into consideration and follow up at a later date to make any changes.
Last on the agenda was a presentation from OCS Chief Operations Officer Steve Myers on the Long Range Facility Needs Assessment and the NCDPI Facilities Survey. First, Myers explained that the NCDPI Facility Needs Survey is required by the Department of Public Instruction every five years and is designed to keep state leaders informed on current and future facility needs for schools across the state. Contents of the survey include ADM projections, current and future school capacity projections, and short- and long-range costs for deferred maintenance, new construction, furniture and land. The survey does not take into consideration administrative and operational needs or funding sources.
Myers said that the survey shows a school-by-school breakdown of probable needs over the next five years, as well as projected needs for new schools and/or additions. The current survey shows the potential need for a new elementary school, a new middle school, additions to Northwoods Park Middle School and an upgrade to cafeteria and administration offices in the next 0-5 years. In 6-10 years, the survey shows a need for another elementary school, a natatorium and three new auxiliary gyms. The estimated cost for all projected needs across the district for the next 10 years is estimated to be $335,527,379. The Board unanimously approved the survey staff presented.
Every 5 years, the district also undergoes a local process, working with Smith Sinnett Architecture, to review data and plan for the district’s long-range facility and construction needs. The LRFNA process helps the district deal with existing conditions and plan for future growth to determine where and when new schools will need to be built. Unlike the DPI survey, this process considers operational, athletic and administrative needs. This year’s assessment, Myers said, identified potential needs to build new schools, update athletic facilities, upgrade the bus garage, etc. From here, staff will take all Board feedback into consideration and present a final version of the LRFNA for approval at a later date.
News from the Board -- January 5, 2021Posted by Jessica Coston on 1/7/2021 11:20:00 AM
The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on January 5, 2021 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items for this meeting included the election of the new Board chair and vice-chair, a COVID-19 update, the Long Range Facility Needs Assessment, NCSTAR school strategic plans for school improvement, and a special focus item on the Reveal Math curriculum.
In the Board’s first order of business for the new year, members voted on a new chairperson and vice-chairperson. After the votes were tallied, Board member Bob Williams was elected as the chairman, and member Jeff Hudson was named vice-chairman.
The meeting’s general business started with Superintendent Dr. Barry Collins, who gave a brief COVID-19 update. Dr. Collins shared with the Board and audience that the district’s goal is to continue to provide as much face-to-face instruction as it can. He thanked the teachers and school staff that have worked day after day to continue providing services to students and keeping schools safe. Dr. Collins reiterated that the district’s plan is to continue addressing COVID-19 concerns by classroom, grade level or school instead of recommending a transition to Plan C district wide when cases increase. He said that district staff will continue to monitor data and adjust as needed.
In the meantime, Dr. Collins requested that the Board approve the recent changes to the elementary calendar, which would allow Wednesdays to continue to be used as remote learning days for students to give teachers time to plan and custodial staff additional time to clean. The Board unanimously approved the changes.
Next on the agenda was a presentation from OCS Chief Operations Officer Steve Myers on the Long Range Facility Needs Assessment and the NCDPI Facilities Survey. He began by asking the Board to approve a resolution that would allow the district to continue working on the LRFNA with Smith Sinnett Architecture, who have an in-depth knowledge of OCS facilities and regulatory requirements for Onslow County and have worked on this project for the past 15 years. The Board unanimously approved the resolution.
Following the approval, Mr. Myers gave the Board a brief overview of the LRFNA and NCDPI Facilities Survey. He explained that every 5 years, the district works with Smith Sinnett to review data and plan for the district’s long-range facility and construction needs. The LRFNA process helps the district deal with existing conditions and plan for future growth to determine where and when new schools will need to be built. The NCDPI Facilities Survey, which identifies facility needs and deferred maintenance, is also required of LEAs every 5 years.
The Board will give input for the LRFNA in mid-January and review it later in Spring 2021. A draft of the district’s data and survey answers will be sent to NCDPI by January 8 and the Board will review and approve the data by mid-January. Later in the month, the district’s data will be presented to the county commissioners. A submittal of the final data, with signatures, is expected by February 1.
Dr. Mark Bulris, executive director of elementary education, took to the podium next to ask the Board for its approval of four schools’ NCSTAR Strategic Plans for School Improvement. These plans, Dr. Bulris said, are designed to help schools identified as low performing improve. Due to the lack of updated accountability data, the same four OCS schools that were identified as low performing last year remain identified as such this year. The Board unanimously approved all plans.
Will Laine, executive director of secondary education, and Heather Findeisen, coordinator of 6-12 mathematics, closed out the meeting with a presentation on the selection and implementation of the Reveal Math curriculum for secondary students. Mr. Laine shared with the Board that the instructional department selected the curriculum by inviting four pre-selected math curriculum vendors to present to a panel of district math educators and principals. The panel gave detailed feedback on each presentation and curriculum and overwhelmingly preferred Reveal Math in their reviews.
Mr. Laine and Ms. Findeisen said that the curriculum’s guiding principles are rigor, productive struggle, formative assessment, rich tasks, mathematical discourse and collaborative learning. The instructional model is divided into three section: Launch, Explore and Develop, and Reflect and Practice. Ms. Findeisen emphasized that Reveal Math provides a blended learning experience with interactive digital tools, instructional content that is available on a variety of devices, and access to materials and resources with or without internet.