News from the Board -- August 8, 2023

Posted by Jessica Wells on 8/9/2023 12:30:00 PM

 

The Onslow County Board of Education held its first regular monthly meeting of the 2023-2024 school year on August 8 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items included an instructional services update, a redistricting presentation, an award of contract for a roofing project, the final adoption of policies in the 5000 series, and the Head Start Self-Assessment and Program Improvement Goals. 

Before the start of the meeting, Board member Angie Todd made a motion that the Board make changes to the letter the district issues to those who have been banned from campus after disruptive behavior. After discussion amongst the Board members, the motion did not carry.  

After a Good News Spotlight segment, during which Chief Communications Officer Brent Anderson and Executive Director of Elementary Education Dr. Mark Bulris introduced the Board and audience to the Raising the Bar initiative, and a public comment period with two speakers, Dr. Chris Barnes took to the podium for an instructional update.  

Dr. Barnes shared that the Raising the Bar initiative will be implemented districtwide this school year, and that we are hoping to build on our school’s existing practices and progress. 

He shared that Northwoods Elementary School was an “early adopter” of the Raising the Bar mentality. NWES has implemented strategies to identify and offer additional support for students whose test scores were just below proficient last year. The school’s determination and dedication embody the spirit of “raising the bar,” and they have set an example for other schools to follow.  

Dr. Michael Elder, director of college and career readiness, also spoke about raising the bar, in terms of his department’s Parent Academies. Parent Academies have been held for the past two years, and their offerings are continually expanding. These information sessions give students and their parents the opportunity to learn about post-secondary education, military service, joining the workforce, preparing for high school, and much more. There are already several sessions scheduled for the 2023-2024 school year.  

Next on the agenda was a redistricting presentation from Dr. Brendan Gartner, chief of operations. The upcoming redistricting of Dixon High School and Southwest High School for the 2024-2025 school year will aim to relieve overcrowding at Dixon High and make better use of the capacity available at Southwest High. Two possible redistricting scenario maps were presented to the community online and in person.  

Dr. Gartner shared with the Board that after collecting feedback at town hall meetings and via email, the public seemed to favor the Scenario 1 map. He also said that community members shared that if redistricting must occur, they would like to see current DHS students grandfathered in, and they would like to see the possibility of current students’ younger siblings being able to stay at Dixon as “legacies.” 

The Board took into consideration the public’s feedback and voted unanimously to approve the Scenario 1 redistricting map for the 2024-2025 school year and to allow students who will be seniors in the 2024-2025 school year to be grandfathered in at DHS, so long as they can provide their own transportation.  

After the redistricting decision, Dr. Gartner then presented to the Board a request to award a contract for the partial reroofing of Hunters Creek Middle School.  

Three contractors submitted bids for this project, and B&M Roofing was identified as the lowest responsible bidder in the amount of $620,624. The Board unanimously approved the contract.  

Next, Mr. Anderson returned to the podium to ask the Board to approve the final adoption of the policies in the 5000 series, as a part of the OCS policy update project. The Board unanimously adopted the policies. 

Last on the agenda was a presentation from Luisa Davis, director of early childhood initiatives. Ms. Davis presented to the Board the Head Start Self-Assessment and Program Improvement Goals.  

Every year, in collaboration with parents, staff and community partners, the Head Start staff is required to conduct a Self-Assessment to evaluate the program’s progress towards compliance with program, performance standards throughout the program year, and the effectiveness of the professional development and family engagement systems in promoting school readiness.  

The Board approved the Head Start Program Improvement Goals for the 2023-2024 school year.  

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