Board of Education approves School Improvement Plans

2023-24 school year to have Early Start Calendar

ALBEMARLE – The Stanly County Board of Education met Tuesday, October 4, to approve the 2022-23 School Improvement Plans and an Early Start Calendar for the 2023-24 school year. 

The board approved the 2022-2023 School Improvement Plans for the district. 

“The Curriculum and Instruction team held professional development sessions with our principals in May and again in August to assist our principals in identifying areas of improvement and aligning those areas with required identifiers set forth by the State of North Carolina,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis. “While student growth and achievement continues to be an ongoing goal for all of our schools, many of our schools are including time to review their vision and mission statements. This coincides with the district’s strategic plan, which is being updated for the 2023-2028 cycle.” 

Some of the key focuses on the SIPs were the implementation of Bridges Math Tier 2 Intervention in elementary schools, which is designed to help strengthen math skills; corrective and Xtreme reading in middle and high schools to boost literacy levels; the multi-tiered system of support process, so schools are focusing on aligning available resources to support the best practice and interventions for students; and, finally, a focus on professional learning communities as an integral part of school improvement. 

The board also approved a 2023-2024 Early Start School Calendar. With the new calendar, the student start date would be August 9, 2023. The staff start date would be August 2, 2023, and the first semester would end December 15, 2023. The last day of school would be May 22, 2024. 

“When I joined the school board, and even before I joined, this concept of an early start calendar was a big deal,” Graves said. “It has a direct impact on students’ abilities to pass the test, but more importantly, it gives teachers the ability to teach without having to do extra work after the Christmas break to make sure that these kids are going to be able to score well. That’s how the schools are rated, and it’s been an unfair barrier that’s been put on all the kids inside of Stanly County and across the state, so I’m glad we’re finally able to do something about it.” 

The board was also given a few updates from their various committees, with the first update being from the Facilities committee. 

“It seems like that with the grant funds that the State has given, that new construction has been funded ahead of improving a facility or things such as that,” said board member Dr. Rufus Lefler. “We as a committee have been discussing this for about nine months now about the additions we were going to make at East Albemarle, Endy and West Stanly, and West Stanly Middle. But before we can have any new facilities to think about, we know the State grant will not build a whole new school, so we will have to get some input from the County Commissioners about how they might help us fund that, say with a bond or USDA grant or such as that.” 

Vice Chair Carla Poplin also gave an update from the Marketing, Community Engagement, and Safety committee, saying that they have submitted a few SRO grants and are waiting on those to come in. 

The board voted to approve 13 policies but specifically pulled out two – Policies 3200 and 3210, which were recommended by the State – as the board didn’t think that they aligned with Stanly County Schools’ current goals. 

“The policies that we asked to have pulled, several board members, if not all, had been contacted over the last month about two policies, 3200 and 3210,” said board member Anthony Graves. “These had to do with parental review of potentially objectionable materials and other policies relating to those. There were some significant concerns that we wanted to take a further look into with those policies and potentially rewrite them. That’s why we pulled those two policies.” 

The board then approved members Glenda Gibson, Vicky Watson, Dustin Lisk, and Poplin as the Stanly County voting delegates for the North Carolina School Board Association, with Lefler serving as an alternate. 

Finally, the board was given an update on some 2022-2023 Capital Budget Request Increases.  

The improvements requested were for the construction of an awning at the entrance and the replacement of the DH unit at East Albemarle Elementary, as well as the replacement of the roof at Aquadale Elementary. 

These requests totaled to $320,000 in increased spending and were approved by the board as they were deemed necessary expenses. 

The Stanly County Board of Education will next meet November 1.