Notes from the Chatham School Board meeting on Nov. 8

Pittsboro, NC – Here’s a quick summary of the Chatham County School Board meeting held on November 8, 2021.

Beginning Teacher of the Year honored

Ms. Lily Rosene, English teacher at Jordan-Matthews High School, has been named as the CCS Beginning Teacher of the Year. Ms. Rosene believes in skilled-based assessment and student-choice curriculum, noting her students surpass expectations when they have the opportunity to take ownership of their education. “She has a unique ability to connect with her students and elevate their learning,” stated Principal Barger. Ms. Rosene also will be featured on WRAL on Wednesday, November 10, as the station’s Teacher of the Week.

Ms. Lily Rosene has been named as the CCS Beginning Teacher of the Year.

EC Educator of the Year honored

Ms. Elicia Dunk at Chatham Grove Elementary School has been selected as the CCS Exceptional Children Resource Teacher Educator of Excellence for 2021-2022. “She speaks to the data that support her decisions in the classroom as well as the child as a whole,” stated Mr. Melvin Diggs, Executive Director of Exceptional Children and Academically/Intellectually Gifted Programs. School principal, Dr. Larry Savage, noted that Ms. Dunk is “positive and keeps her students at the heart of all she does on a daily basis.” Ms. Dunk has been a teacher for 15 years and will be recognized at the Exceptional Children’s Conference in mid-November.

Elicia Dunk was selected as the CCS Exceptional Children Resource Teacher Educator of Excellence

Four CCS educators receive Bright Ideas grants

Four Chatham County Schools educators have been selected as Central Electric Membership Corp.’s Bright Ideas grant recipients.

Chatham School of Science and Engineering teachers Cheryl Whitehead and Beth Vaughn received a grant of $2,000 for the school to improve a courtyard area of the school and transform it into a place where students can participate in project-based learning.

Jordan-Matthews science teacher Wendi Pillars’ grant request for funding to purchase a camera capable of micro-photography and underwater imagery, as well as a classroom mini-set of iPods to assist students with limited data plans or phone storage received $1,995. These tools will allow her students to “turn our schoolyard into a research station and our students into citizen scientists and science communicators.”

Moncure teacher Alicia Shoup received $2,000 to launch a container farm with MyHeart Farm to provide free vegetables to families in need in the county and teach children agri-science, marketing, entrepreneurship and business management. Silk Hope music teacher Sarah Stephenson’s request for funds to purchase more instruments for students. Currently, she said, the school had enough instruments for a little over half a class. Her project was awarded $1,867.96, which will enable the school to move closer to the goal of having an instrument for every child while in music class.

COVID-19 Update

* The board voted 4-1 to continue with masking. The policy will be evaluated again at next month’s meeting as required by Session Law 2021-130, Section 10/Senate Bill 654.

* Chatham County Public Health Department Director Mike Zelek provided a status update to the Board of Education. He shared guidance based on data from the state Department of Health and Human Services, which recommended continued use of face masks. He also answered board members’ questions about children’s vaccinations and statistics on the virus.

In Other Business …

* Audit report: CCS received the highest level a school district can earn in its 2020-2021 Audit Report, with the auditor noting that CCS has one of the best-run nance departments his rm works with, and that there were no audit exceptions or state and federal compliance violations.

* Summer learning report: Each district has to submit a report to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, which will then be submitted to the state Board of Education. CCS submitted its report in September.

* School Improvement Plans: The Board of Education unanimously approved the 2021-2022 School Improvement Plans.

* New Employee Supplement Plan: The plan is designed to keep the district competitive with others in the region with long-term sustainability. The Board of Education unanimously approved the plan.

* Capital Improvements Program: The Board of Education approved the proposed 2023-2029 Capital Improvements Program, which includes paving and evaluation of three gyms, among other projects.

* Winter track: The Board of Education approved the addition of a head coaching stipend for Winter Track head coaches at CCS high schools.

* Bus Driving requirement: The Board of Education approved temporarily waving the requirement (CCS board policy 7460) for newly-hired instructional assistants, custodians and school nutrition assistants to serve dual roles as bus drivers. The waiver will be applied on a case-by-case basis upon the request of the supervisor and approval by Human Resources, to ll urgent vacancies.

Consent Agenda

Software renewal

The following purchases are to renew software that we have been used in the district for over 5 years to support instruction in grades K-8. STAR is used for reading and math assessments. MyON is a digital library platform for students and teachers to access high-quality online books.

Remote and virtual learning plan

Approval of the district’s remote and virtual plans that it is required to submit to the state.

Coming Up …

The next regular session of the Chatham County Board of Education will be held at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Pittsboro at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13.