• News from the Board -- December 5, 2023

    Posted by Jessica Wells on 12/8/2023 4:30:00 PM

     

    The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on December 5 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items included the election of the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, an Instructional Services update, the 2024-2025 school calendar approval, the final adoption of policies in the 6000 series and policies related to the Parent Bill of Rights, a feasibility study for the everyday use of metal/weapons detections systems in Onslow County high schools, and a closed session in accordance with the Open Meetings Law, G.S. 143-318.11 (a) (8) to formulate plans by a local board of education relating to emergency response to incidents of school violence or to formulate and adopt the school safety components of school improvement plans by a local board of education or a school improvement team. 

    Before the start of the meeting, the Board held its annual election for chairperson and vice-chairperson. Current Chairman Ken Reddic and Vice-Chairman Bradley Williams were both re-elected to their leadership roles on the Board.  

    After a Good News Spotlight, which highlighted the accomplishments of our students and staff, and a public comment period with 15 speakers, Dr. Chris Barnes, OCS chief academic officer, took to the podium with an instructional update.  

    Dr. Barnes shared with the Board data regarding the End of 2023 Academic Indicators. The data shared shows where the district currently stands academically and where the district needs to grow.  

    Dr. Michael Elder, director of college and career readiness, shared a brief update on the OCS Parent Academy, including upcoming sessions that will help families plan for post-secondary education.  

    Will Laine, executive director of secondary services, presented to the Board information on the Be Pro Be Proud initiative recently brought to the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Over the course of a week in November, 715 students and 125 adults were able to participate in Be Pro Be Proud, which allowed them to get hands-on experience in a variety of career options through the use of simulators. He also shared upcoming CTE opportunities, including Trades Day 2024 and Careers on Wheels, Wings, and Water.  

    Next on the agenda, we heard from Brent Anderson, chief communications officer, who asked the Board for its approval of the 2024-2025 school calendar. After sharing draft calendars and collecting feedback, a final draft of the calendar was reached and presented to the Board. The calendar was unanimously approved as presented. If, in the future, any changes are made to calendar flexibility legislation at the state level, the calendar could be revisited.  

    Next, Anderson asked the Board for its approval for the final adoption of policies in the 6000 series and policies related to the Parent Bill of Rights. He shared that the Policy Committee made appropriate recommendations for these policies, all of which were reviewed by staff and provided to the NCSBA for final review. The 6000 series policies were previously posted in the Board's regular BOE meeting to permit time for further study and an opportunity for interested parties to react in accordance with Board of Education Policy Code 2420 Adoption of Policies.  The policies related to the Parent Bill of Rights were recommended for adoption on first reading due to required deadlines associated with the adoption of these policies.    

    After much discussion, the policies were adopted in a 5-2 vote.  

    In its final order of business, the Board heard from Dr. Brendan Gartner, OCS chief of operations, who shared the results of a feasibility study conducted to look into the use of metal detectors or weapons detection systems in Onslow County high schools. Surveys showed significant community support for the use of weapons detection systems in our schools, as part of a comprehensive safety plan. After summarizing the options available to the district and sharing more sensitive information regarding the systems in a closed session, Dr. Gartner recommended that the Board vote to move forward with the installation of Evolv weapons detection systems in our high schools for security screening during student intake. The Board unanimously voted to allow staff to move forward with the implementation.  

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