The Scotland County Board of Education named a new vice-chairman during its regular meeting on Monday, also re-electing Charles Brown to the chairman’s seat.
Board member Jeff Byrd was unanimously voted the board’s vice-chair, replacing Terence Williams, who was not re-elected to the board this year. Byrd has been a school board member since 2008.
The board also voted for a temporary suspension in Board Policy 3420, which mandates that student results on End of Course final examinations constitute a quarter of their class grade. This action reflects one taken by the state board of education, according to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Pamela Baldwin.
“We would like to ask the board to suspend that policy so that we are in line with the state board to suspend the 25 percent weight of the final exam until after this school year,” said Baldwin. “What we will do is work with our secondary principals to decide a fair and equitable way to look at those final exams, and on a zero to 100 point scale provide students with scores that will allow the final exam to count but not to hurt them.”
Due to redesigned tests compatible with the new statewide Common Core curriculum, student grades will be given as a raw score without other data to contextualize an individual student’s performance.
“We will not get the statistical analysis and good information about the data until after grades are due - we will not even see the levels of achievement and the true data,” Baldwin said. “We will only receive a rough estimate of a zero to 100 scale for their grade; we don’t want to use that estimate to hold a student accountable for 25 percent of their final grade.”
In other business, the board recognized three Washington Park Elementary School students for providing the art work featured on the school system’s Christmas card. Their art was chosen by Superintendent Rick Stout from student submissions from all county elementary schools. The holiday art of third grader Hamp Bell, fifth grader Demetrius Avery, and fifth grader Jalen Everett, all taught by art instructor Morgan Cain, will be on the card sent to school districts around the state.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Cory Satterfield briefed the board on Educated, Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), a new method of professional development based upon student improvement. EVAAS is being implemented statewide by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
“We are going to use EVAAS to predict how well students will score on assessments,” said Satterfield. “We’re going to use past test data to predict how each student will do. When teachers get their EVAAS data, they can say that this student needs to be here based on what has happened in the past. We are comparing apples to apples; we’re no longer comparing this year’s class to last year’s class, we are comparing this student from last year to this student the next year.”
The system will also involve a system of standards and ratings for teachers and principals, which will after three years determining educators’ “status” within EVAAS.
“After teachers and schools show three years worth of growth data, they will receive a status,” Satterfield said. “So starting this year, they will start receiving growth data until three years is up, when they will get a status: needs improvement, effective, or highly effective.”
Data from the 2012-2013 school year will provide the baseline for two successive years of growth when teacher status is calculated, but Scotland County Schools have requested a one-year delay.
“We’ve asked Dr. June Atkinson to give us another year of reprieve to make these validations on our assessments this year, but we haven’t gotten an okay for that,” said Superintendent Rick Stout. “They’re saying the federal government is telling us that we need to go ahead and meet their timelines, which means this would be the first year that we’re going to count the scores for the teachers as well as validate the test.”
The status initially accorded to teachers and principals will be based upon an average of their students’ growth and performance in all three years.
“It’s going to be a three-year average, so hopefully they show lots of growth the second year,” said Satterfield.
There are seven applicants for the open non-Stewartsville board seat vacated with the death of James Underwood: Charlie Fipps, Jeff Shelley, James Oxendine, Emma Stone, Loretta R. McNeil, Jamie Sutherland, and Stacey Stewart. The board is expected to begin interviewing applicants in January.