ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Board of Education met Monday, where they were presented with the state assessments for all the schools in the district, particularly the low-performing schools.
The board was given an update on the procedures for the preliminary plans for improvement/school improvement plans for schools that were designated as low-performing by the recent state assessments.
The Department of Public Instruction identified 15 schools within the district that are designated as low-performing schools.
Those schools are Coleridge Elementary School, Eastern Randolph High School, Franklinville Elementary School, Liberty Elementary School, Northeastern Randolph Middle School, Ramseur Elementary School, Randleman Elementary School, Randleman Middle School, Southeastern Randolph Middle School, Southwestern Randolph High School, Southwestern Randolph Middle School, Trinity Elementary School, Trinity Middle School, Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve, and The Virtual Academy.
“I’m responsible for this school system, and as I told principals, we’re going to take this as our baseline and work to get better from where we are,” Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey said. “That’s what we’ll do, and that’s our plan moving forward. Our actions will be driven by our school improvement plans, as it’s what drives all schools academically, and we will continue to work with our principals and staff and go from there. This is our new baseline, and we’re going to move forward and minimize any backward movement.”
According to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Waddell, there will be a few requirements from the state in relation to these low-performing schools.
“The State Board of Education and the local board of education shall continue to provide online access to each low-performing school’s plan for improvement,” Waddell said. “Furthermore, each of the low-performing schools has written a parental notice that is required to be provided to parents and guardians of students attending each low-performing school. Those parental letters will go home tomorrow. Finally, local boards of education of low-performing schools shall include with their online plans a brief explanation that states how the low-performing identification shall continue pending assessment data from the 2022-2023 school year.”
However, most of the board felt that the assessments were unfair, especially with how the pandemic affected education.
“This a good lesson in how they screw you in Raleigh,” said chairman Gary Cook. “They wouldn’t let us keep our kids in school, they forced us to send them and teachers home, forced us to do it their way, but they’re holding us hostage now by continuing to grade us when we were set up to fail anyway. We don’t have any failing schools, I can promise you. We just have victims of a poor system that was thrown in our lap. Our kids, our schools, our parents, we all got a screw job. I can’t even believe they would have the nerve to grade us after all of this.”
The board also took action to approve a revision to the substitute teacher requirements for the district.
“Back in 2016, we went in and required anybody with a substitute teaching license to do one of two trainings,” said Gainey. “One was called the Basic Orientation Course. They paid $39 for that or the Basic Orientation plus the Substitute Training Course, which was $49. The second one had effective teacher training in it. So if you just did the basic orientation course, you were paid $104 per day last year. If you did the one with effective substitute training course, you were at a rate of $117 per day. And also, last year, certified teachers were paid $134 per day. That was all prior to September 14.”
“What we did on September 14 was make a decision to move everybody to the at least $117 per day rate, and so we cut out the $39 course. And now everybody is going to be expected to take the $49 basic orientation plus effective substitute teacher training course. That’s only for new subs because if they’ve been with us, they don’t have to do it again.”
According to Gainey, part of the reason for the change was that with the new $15 an hour minimum set by the state for all state employees, the $104 per day rate would not meet that criteria, so the district elected to just go with the singular requirement option.
Finally, the board selected voting delegates for the 54th Annual North Carolina School Boards Association conference in November 2022.
The approved delegates are Chairman Gary Cook, Tracy Boyles, Fred Burgess, and Mike Sink, with Sharon Petty Farlow serving as the alternate.
The Randolph County Board of Education will next meet November 21.