LAURINBURG —School officials said last week’s leadership retreat that covered everything from staffing to curriculum and finance, should help the school system better achieve its goals.
“It was an opportunity to look at where we are as a school system and to begin to put plans in place at our individual schools to move our district forward,” Superintendent Ron Hargrave said during the meeting of the Scotland County Board of Education on Monday. “It’s very exciting to be a part of that, to have everybody come willing to work.
The Aug. 3-5 retreat included individual schools’ improvement teams, including administrators, teachers, and staff.
Jay Toland, the school system’s finance officer, offered a preview of the funding predicament for schools statewide as the N.C. General Assembly remains in pursuit of a budget agreement.
“We explained to the principals how we are under a continuing resolution, which expires on the 14th of August and talked about the things that are set in stone so far,” said Toland.
Those realities include a cut to funding for teacher assistant pay — for which the board will use fund balance to compensate this year — and elimination of driver’s education funding on the state level. The only positions guaranteed raises are teachers in their first four years in the classroom.
“We had the principals compare their last year’s budget with their last year’s school improvement plan,” Toland said. “Did they achieve their goals through their budget and if they didn’t, is there something that we could change?”
The school system’s human resources superintendent, Cory Satterfield discussed teacher turnover, the system’s 97 percent teacher attendance goal, and teacher effectiveness.
“What we want is 100 percent of our staff in Scotland County Schools to be highly effective within the school community, based on the evaluation measurement and also data points,” he said. “We also want all staff to be able to show evidence of ethical and professional conduct, and we can’t do that unless we continue to train teachers and staff members.”
Satterfield also praised the school personnel who participated in the retreat.
“I’ve been in education for 23 years, and that was probably the most excitement I’ve seen in a room.”
Also on Monday, the board approved formal orders of closure for Pate-Gardner Elementary and Washington Park Elementary schools, along with an order of closure and consolidation for Sycamore Lane, which will transition from middle to elementary this year.
In recognitions, the school board awarded I. Ellis Johnson Elementary social worker Tammy Locklear a Key Player plaque, and also applauded the efforts of the school system’s maintenance and custodial staff after a summer of school facility improvements.
The board also applauded Scotland High School student Erin Zhang, who attended Governor’s School West this summer to study mathematics, and recent graduates Katie Collins, Kytel Collins-Jackson, Carrie Dean, Christian Kang, and Erin Salzlein for earning scores of 3 or higher on at least three Advanced Placement exams.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.