Chatham County Schools Board meeting summary – 1.16.24

Pittsboro, NC – In a recent regular session on January 16, 2024, the Chatham County Schools Board of Education addressed various crucial matters, ranging from updates on school programs to community partnerships.

Calendar Committee Deliberations

The board kicked off the meeting with insights into the first session of the calendar committee. This committee, tasked with refining the academic calendar, aims to ensure a well-balanced schedule for both students and faculty. Superintendent Dr. Jackson highlighted the committee’s commitment to adapting the calendar to meet the evolving needs of the district, emphasizing a collaborative approach involving various stakeholders.

Community Partnerships and Apprenticeships

Another significant focus of the meeting was the ongoing efforts to strengthen relationships with community organizations. An example is Carolina Meadows providing books for Pittsboro Elementary School. The board is actively exploring opportunities to restart apprenticeships and internships, with a recent visit to Chatham Hospital showcasing potential collaborations in the healthcare sector. These initiatives aim to provide students with valuable real-world experiences and align their education with future career paths.

Arts in Education

The board celebrated the success of the Artists in Residence program, which brought theatrical performances to elementary schools. Students engaged in literature and improvisation, showcasing the district’s commitment to holistic education. Additionally, students from the dual-language program impressed with their performance of “El Expresso Polar” in Spanish, highlighting the district’s dedication to language education and cultural diversity.

Academic Achievements and Sports Triumphs

The meeting also shed light on academic achievements, with an emphasis on the growth of spelling bees across all schools. The competitive spirit has returned post-pandemic and the growing competitiveness in sports reflect the determination and progress within Chatham County Schools. Notably, the Northwood Girls’ victory in the First Bank Classic and the Northwood boys’ success in a national tournament in Oregon highlight the opportunities for student athletes.

Recognition of Power of One Award

The board took a moment to recognize the recipient of the Power of One Award, an acknowledgment of individuals making a significant impact in the district. January’s awardee, Moncure School’s Catherine Oldham, received praise for her outstanding contributions, highlighting the invaluable role of dedicated individuals within the educational community.

Public Comments on Teacher Retention

During the public comments section, concerns were raised about teacher retention based on the results of a survey conducted by the Chatham County Association of Educators. The data indicated potential challenges, including low pay and staffing issues, leading to a discussion on strategies to address these concerns collaboratively.

Infrastructure and Community Support

The commitment to building a new elementary school at Chatham Park, together with the generous donation from Wolfspeed corporation, demonstrates the dedication to providing quality education and supporting community growth within Chatham County.

Accreditation Update

The meeting concluded with an update on the district’s accreditation process. Due to current circumstances, the accreditation visit will be conducted virtually, emphasizing the district’s adaptability to external challenges. The presentation outlined the steps taken to prepare for the accreditation review in Spring 2025, showcasing the district’s commitment to maintaining high educational standards.

There are also plans for a board retreat, setting the stage for further discussions and strategic planning to continue the improvement of Chatham County Schools.

View on YouTube the January 16, 2024 Chatham County Schools Board of Education Meeting

11:19 Board of Education regular session commenced

  • Motion for closed session for agenda items
  • Moment of silence for those affected by weather in other parts of the country

42:57 Superintendent gives updates on district activities and partnerships.

  • Calendar committee meeting held to discuss amendments to approved two-year calendar.
  • Building relationships with community organizations, exploring apprenticeships and internships for students.

47:24 Carolina Meadows provided books for Pittsboro Elementary School

  • Retired librarians from Carolina Meadows contributed a healthy collection of books for Pittsboro Elementary School.
  • The books were presented to the students by the residents of Carolina Meadows.

49:39 Chatham County Schools are excited about the upcoming spelling bees and the growing competitiveness in sports.

  • The schools are holding spelling bees and all schools will have teams this year, marking a significant improvement since the pandemic.
  • Northwood Girls won the First Bank Classic and the Northwood boys were the runners-up in a national tournament in Oregon, providing opportunities for students in athletics.

53:46 Recognition of January’s Power of One award recipient, Miss Catherine Oldham.

  • Miss Catherine Oldham is recognized for her positive impact at Moncure School, going above and beyond her roles as an EL teacher and NTS coach.
  • She is described as dependable, flexible, and enthusiastic, consistently helping out in various school activities and situations.

56:05 Recognizing outstanding individuals

  • Nomination process and prioritization of candidates for recognition.
  • Public appreciation for the school board’s efforts and a parent’s involvement in supporting the recruitment of new teachers.

1:00:07 Advocating for improved teacher and staff retention

  • Emily Moose expresses gratitude for school staff but highlights the challenges of teacher and staff retention.
  • She emphasizes the impact of high turnover on students’ education and the wider community and economy.

1:02:03 Concerns about teacher retention and compensation.

  • Less than half of respondents were definitely returning next year, with many considering leaving education altogether due to low pay.
  • Staff and bus drivers raised concerns about lost planning time and lack of compensation for covering classes and monitoring students.

1:06:08 New process for assessment being implemented

  • Assessment process will focus on artifacts related to classroom instruction
  • Anticipated to be less involved than previous assessments

1:08:22 Committing to building a new elementary school at Chatham Park.

  • Proposed development plan already delivered, focusing on property features and spatial plan.
  • Preliminary site plan in place to save money and streamline construction process.

1:12:39 Discussion on the ownership of school properties and the process of acquiring new property for construction.

  • The board is clarifying that all schools sit on either their own or county-owned land, with the memorandum of understanding stating that a new school will be built on a specific site.
  • The construction of the new school is set to start in July 26 and is expected to be completed by 2028.

1:14:51 Wolfspeed donation to Jordan Matthews High School

  • Donation of $155,000 designated for college visits and after-school tutoring
  • Consistent with strategic direction of preparing kids for their futures and supporting community growth

1:19:27 Wolfspeed’s generous donation and partnership with the Chatham County Schools Board

  • The donation from Wolfspeed corporation is aimed at benefiting the schools in Chatham County for the long term.
  • The representative from Wolfspeed, Delicia Hinton, has been recognized as an amazing ambassador for the partnership.

1:21:47 Board retreat on January 17th at 8:30 a.m.

  • We will start at 8:30 a.m. for the board retreat.
  • The meeting is recessed until tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.