During its regular meeting this week, the Sampson County Board of Education approved the temporary part-time hiring of retired teachers to act as testing coordinators in five of the county’s elementary schools.
Interim superintendent Mike Warren explained to the school board members that, per the N.C. General Assembly’s decision, guidance counselors in the state’s public schools can no longer serve as testing coordinators.
That decision by state lawmakers is part of Senate Bill 589 which states that a guidance counselor’s “direct services do not include the coordination of standardized testing” and that “school counseling program support activities do not include the coordination of standardized testing. However, school counselors may assist other staff.”
According to Warren, the issue of who will now act as testing coordinator has been resolved at most of the county schools by assistant principals taking on the role and responsibilities. However, five of the county’s elementary schools — Roseboro Elementary, Salemburg Elementary, Hargrove Elementary, Plain View Elementary, and Clement Elementary — do not have assistant principals to designate the responsibility to, leaving the task to the principals unless another alternative can be found.
“In May, with the End-Of-Grade (EOG) tests, it’s a voluminous job,” Warren noted of the work involved in administering such standardized tests. “Those five principals need consideration.”
Warren shared with the board that many ideas had been tossed around as to how best help those five principals come testing time, including hiring five new assistant principals and sharing assistant principals between schools. However, school officials ultimately decided that hiring retired school teachers to fill the role of testing coordinators and help the principals at the five elementary schools with the administration of the EOG tests may be the best option.
Filling these positions will cost the school system around $5,000 to $6,000 for each retired school teacher hired, totaling about $25,000 to $30,00, he added.
“It’s a one time thing. We’ll see how it works this year,” he pointed out when the topic was discussed earlier on Oct. 22 during the school board’s work session. “We can’t come up with a more cost-effective way.”
During the work session, school board chairman Telfair Simpson called the recommendation “logical” with board member Mary Brown remarking that it “seems reasonable.”
When asked for official action during Monday night’s board meeting, board member Sonya Powell made a motion to approve the addition of five part-time elementary testing coordinator positions. Fellow board member Dewain Sinclair offered the needed second..
The school board unanimously voted in favor of the recommended plan, giving school officials the green light to select retired teachers for the testing coordinator positions through application and interview processes.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.