School officials are continuing to move forward with a program to improve education throughout the district.
During a recent work session, Sheila Peterson director of middle grades, presented the NCStar initiative, a web-based program focused on guiding schools through improvement processes. It’s based on the national platform, Indistar.
Previously, Sampson County Schools officials were looking at school improvement about three times a year. Some of the work involved writing and advising plans. Though NCStar, she emphasized that their plan is based on contiguous process involving teams members and assistance. Some of it includes coaching support and research. It also includes a real time process, where notes may viewed online.
“It’s not just the school improvement team, it’s everyone in the school that’s involved in the process,” Peterson said.
The improvement also includes a set of indicators from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Some of the 12 include effective classroom management, monitoring by the principal, and making sure teachers paying attention to student’s emotional states.
“This is not a year timespan for NCStar,” Peterson said. “We don’t expect for them to complete these in a year. This is a three- to five-year plan.”
Once information is put in the system, school officials and members of the school leadership team may access information online through special access.
For the 2017-2018 school year, about 50 schools throughout the state used the free program. Some of them are Cumberland, Robeson and Scotland. A law involving the the role of data in developing school improvement plans, states that plans must have “clear, unambiguous targets, explicit indicators and actual measures, and expeditious time frames for meeting the measurement standards.”
While discussing school measures, Board member Mary Brown said she’s concerned about guidance, while mentioning an indicator about stress. She also asked if there was grants available to assist to teachers since they have to deal with a lot of students going through emotional problems. Peterson said a state policy is in place to address mental health. She added that the district has a few mental health trainers. In the upcoming weeks, more staff members will be trained to assist students.
“By the end of 2019, everyone in our buildings will be mental health trained,” she said about learning the signs of trouble.
The district also partners with Mobile Crisis Services with confidential assistance, for serous problems such as student talking about suicide.
“We have several different avenues that we’re exploring with our school counselors and also with our staff in order to help our students with our emotional and social states,” Peterson said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.