During this week’s Board of Education meeting, Clinton City Schools’ superintendent Stuart Blount delivered a State of the District address, providing what he called “a snapshot” of how Clinton City Schools is doing.
Blount began by sharing a few of the new and advantageous partnerships Clinton City Schools is working to build, one of which is with Sampson Community College. Blount explained that he and college president Dr. Paul Hutchins are working together on three different opportunities. One of the main opportunities is accommodating high school students who graduate early, in January instead of May, and wish to go ahead and start taking college classes. The differences in the high school’s and the college’s calendars pose an obstacle, but Blount said he and Hutchins are working to make this opportunity possible for students.
“We are committed to creating as many positive partnerships as possible,” Blount noted.
The superintendent added that there are two future opportunities the school system is looking at pursuing — one is creating a teacher advisory committee and the second is holding town hall style meetings. Of the latter, Blount said, “We are looking to take our vision out into the community,” and explained that the meetings would be held in various places throughout the community, using churches as an example.
Blount then turned the microphone over to Lenora Locklear, who gave a report from Clinton City Schools’ Curriculum and Instruction department, discussing first the school system’s efforts to increase and improve the use of instructional technology within the classroom.
Locklear shared that teachers are being provided professional development opportunities and various resources to help them adjust to and better incorporate instructional technology into their teaching.
As for the students, they are using informational texts and various technology devices in the classroom as part of their learning experience, according to Locklear.
Locklear also shared that a digital learning committee has been created and will begin meeting soon.
Following Locklear, Terrace Miller, director of Special Programs for Clinton City Schools, gave a glowing report about the district’s dropout rate, citing that “Clinton City Schools was one of 10 districts reporting the lowest high school dropout rates,” and it’s “one of only three districts in the state that was on two of the top three ‘top 10’ lists for three-year decreases in high school rates of crime, short-term suspensions, and dropouts.”
Miller also praised the efforts of Clinton High School’s school nurse, Jana Hobson, for her work in helping to improve the dropout rate, specifically noting that “she was recognized by the School Nurses Association for helping to reduce the dropout rate in pregnant teens.”
For Human Resources and Career and Technical Education, Nancy Dillman, assistant superintendent and director of Instructional Programs, reported that there are 257 licensed personnel in the school district and that 7.69 percent of those are National Board certified.
Dillman also shared that the Beginning Teacher Support program is still in place and will continue to offer training, mentoring, professional development, and reflection opportunities for new teachers.
Lastly, assistant superintendent Clyde Locklear discussed school meals and nutrition, saying that “good nutrition is a part of good education,” and noted his pleasure in reporting that Clinton City Schools has had in place a free breakfast program for over 14 years now.
Locklear also shared that the district’s schools are aiming to provide even healthier meals in the future, preparing those that are lower in trans fats and offering more fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads.
Moving on to the topic of facilities, Locklear noted that the main goal is to provide “safe environments” for students and staff.
“When you feel safe, you are more open to learning and teaching,” said Locklear.
To confirm that the district’s schools are indeed as safe as possible, Locklear shared that an outside company has been asked to come in and evaluate the schools’ facilities.
Locklear also addressed school technology and what he referred to as the “digital age of education.”
“There are over 1,600 computers in our district,” noted Locklear, adding that that number does not include the numerous ipads, camera documents, and many other technologies used by the city schools.
Locklear continued reporting that “70 percent of those [computers] are in the caution to critical area” and many will soon need to be replaced. He indicated that maintaining the computers and other technology devices, as well as managing all of the websites and email accounts, is quite a task.
“Education has changed from what it used to be years ago. We rely more and more on technology now,” said Locklear.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.