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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.