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SCS discusses school improvement plans

Principals from four schools presented individual improvement plans during a special called School Board meeting last week.

South Stanly and Albemarle high schools and North Stanly Middle School did not meet growth for the previous school year, based on recently released data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Central Elementary School received a D performance grade on the state school report cards.

Central Principal Melissa Smith said her school needs to focus primarily on culture and academics.

Smith said the school is looking to have at least 45 percent of the students reach grade level proficiency in reading, 50 percent of students in grades 3-5 reach math and 65 percent of fifth-graders reach science goals.

Besides examining accountability data, the school will look at its instructional content through classroom walk-through data, weekly collaborative teacher planning, long- and short-term assessments and RTI Stored, a digital platform that allows schools to look at a range of student data to better track behavior and identify warning signs.

Central is examining student attendance, behavior interventions and parental involvement to help boost the school’s culture and support the growth and development of the whole child.

Thanks to a recent $3.7 million federal grant SCS was awarded in partnership with Montgomery County Schools, five at-risk schools, including Central, will receive resources such as trauma counselors and student support specialists to help students cope with social or emotional issues.

Smith said last year the teachers didn’t feel trained to help students who were struggling with these needs.

The school also has a restart room where students can go to regroup and get away from the class and the teacher for a few minutes.

North Stanly Middle School Principal Benjamin Goodwin said he wants the school to improve its 2018-2019 proficiency scores for both math and reading, which is at 53 percent, to around 60 percent.

Goodwin wants to focus on improving the school climate.

“I felt like if we can get the school climate to where it needs to be then we can get instruction going,” he said.

Goodwin said he wants to use data to focus on individual strategic planning through each grade level and subject.

The school could track progress through weekly staff meetings, professional development and grade-level work.

He also wants to promote more self-care for students and staff.

Goodwin wants to increase attendance to 97 percent, up from last school year’s 94 percent, and decrease the number of students arriving to school late.

“How we handle behavior often affects how a student sees school,” he said.

When students don’t have a positive view of school, he said, they are more likely to avoid school.

Goodwin wants to see more students involved in the school’s Comet Champs reward system.

He also is going to implement a program pairing new teachers with veterans, allowing the teachers to learn effective teaching habits and gain feedback.

South Stanly Principal Chad Parker wants to see a 5 percent increase in proficiency and growth.

Parker said the teachers are working to make sure their assessments are aligned to the state standard and are assessing to the required level of the state standards.

He said the school is trying to increase student ACT scores. The ACT is a required standardized test given to all 11th-grade students.

Students in grades 9 to 11 are using the website prepfactory to help prepare for the test. Parker and his staff are checking in with students every two weeks to monitor progress.

Parker said the staff is going through walkthroughs in the classrooms and teachers are receiving informal feedback via emails.

He said he changed professional learning community meetings from once a month to once a week and is looking at the school’s smart lunch to make sure it’s being properly utilized.

Parker said the rest of the year will be spent building a more robust framework where teachers share ideas, build good assessments and use data to address student needs.

Albemarle High received a performance grade of C and a score of 60 from NCDPI during the last school year, the highest score the school has received, and the school’s growth index of -2.61 for 2018-2019 was an 18 percent increase from the previous year and less than .2 from the school’s all-time high 0f -2.44, according to assistant principal Katrice Thomas.

Thomas said the school is looking to increase its EOC composite score 5 percent from the previous school year and also increase its graduation cohort rate from 86.51 percent to 88 percent.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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