SAT results were among the highlights discussed at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting in Hamlet. Despite a slight decrease in test scores within Richmond County, the board acknowledged a steady increase of test participation.
The results, based on students scheduled to graduate in 2012, represented the most recent scores and represented only a small group of self-selected students.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jeff Maples noted that the results should be interpreted with caution, particularly in making comparisons. Last year’s method in reporting scores differed from previous years’ reporting methods, he said, and due to the change, comparisons from previous years were not provided.
From 2011 to 2012, math scores in Richmond County saw a decrease of 6 percent, according to a chart provided by the assistant superintendent, while math scores in North Carolina decreased 2 percent. Writing scores in both Richmond County and North Carolina were reported to have fallen two points, and reading scores declined 2 percent in both areas, as well.
“Overall, we’re very pleased with the increase in participation,” Maples said on Tuesday. “We will continue to support our students in the preparation of SAT testing.”
The board also heard a school report from Principal Dennis Quick and several faculty members of the Ninth Grade Academy, who described a new learning system centered around “interactive notebooks.”
The notebooks have been designed to prepare students to be a part of the 21st century workforce, faculty members said, as well as to increase communication among stakeholders, differentiate instruction and support effective instruction. The system adopts a “whole brain” approach to learning, in which students are taught to engage both left and right brain-dominant thinking.
With the interactive notebooks, students have been able to utilize tools such as AHA Ideas, in which big ideas are broken down into smaller components that help develop learning targets, as well as specific note strategies and visual displays of summarizing and reflection.
“The Ninth Grade Academy has seen continuous growth since its start … ,” Quick said. “We are seeing tremendous benefits as we look to achieve a deeper depth of knowledge.”
In other action, the board:
• Approved a Beginning Teachers Support Plan presented by Bess Shuler. The plan allows first, second and third year teachers within Richmond County Schools to work with a mentor in order to ensure a smooth transition into teaching. Shuler reported 66 first year teachers, 35 second year teachers and 23 third year teachers that participated in the program this year. The Support Plan received additional assistance from the NCAT program, as well as a PREP grant from UNC-Pembroke.
• Heard an update from the Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program. Staff members reported the implementation of six new standards which began in July 2009. The standards have been incorporated into classrooms throughout the county, and board members praised faculty for their success thus far.
• Voted in favor of adding a change order to the roofing project at Mineral Springs Elementary School. District Superintendent George Norris proposed to the board a $11,545 addition to the project in order to add soffit panels as suggested by the current contractor. The board voted unanimously in approval of the addition.
• Recognized Bruce Stanback for 20 years of distinguished service to Richmond County Schools. Stanback was presented with a commemorative plaque and initialed cuff links for his dedication as a Richmond County school board member.
• Saw four new school policies presented by Associate Superintendent Robert Beck, including Online Instruction, Internet Safety, School Safety and the School Calendar and Time for Learning. The policies will receive votes at the next board meeting.
• Approved the motion to move the next board meeting from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. due to Election Day.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org