Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Associate Superintendent Ms. Anna Lankford. As the new school year begins, there are several updates in the Instructional Services area in which a brief overview was provided. They are as follows:
WCS Teaching and Learning Framework
A new framework for teaching and learning in the Wilkes County Schools has been adopted for the 2017-2018 school year. The new framework is being introduced by administrative instructional teams in each school during workdays prior to the first day of school. This year, during our Academy for New Teacher Success, 55 teachers attended. Ms. Lankford stated that out of her ten years of working with the beginning teachers how she was so impressed with how professional, attentive, and respectful this group was. The theme this year is “Empowering all Learners to Reach their Greatest Potential.” This means all staff will work for this from assistant teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria, clerical, etc. This framework consists of several components such as connecting, planning, teaching, assessing, and transforming. All of these make growth for all learners. This is what teaching and learning looks and sounds like.
This year we received a CTE Grant in the amount of $75,000.00 called Catalyzing Career and Technical Education through Enhanced Career Pathways. This grant will help with training expenses for our middle school and high school teachers to complete computer science and digital media training ($50,000.00). Plans are to hire a part-time ESL specialist to bridge the gap, and also partner with WCC ($25,000.00) to have additional CCP instructors and laptops.
Leader in Me (Year 2)
We are seeing wonderful things happening in our middle schools. This is year two with Leader in Me. The community has been very supportive by giving donations in support. Upon visiting West Wilkes Middle, you will see a TV that runs attendance and goals for students and teachers. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand then to be Understood, Synergize, and Sharpen the Saw) are displayed on a tree in the hallway as well as motivational quotes throughout the school. A Community Lead/Career Day took place in which student ambassadors were involved with showing parents what they had learned. We are seeing a difference in the schools that are participating in Leader in Me and are excited about the positive results we will continue to see in the future.
Central Wilkes Middle School was a pilot for the 6th Grade English Language Arts Test, an NC Check-In. This test was given three times during the school year. The data was given back to the teachers immediately. This could take the place of the Benchmark Assessment. The data was used to guide instructional practices. Mr. Johnson was skeptical at first but saw how well this program worked. Plans are to test Grade 5 ELA, Grade 6 in ELA and Math, and Grade 7 ELA. This will be a pencil-paper test.
Instructional Specialists and Digital Learning Facilitators
We have restructured instructional support for the 2017-2018 school year. We now have thirteen elementary instructional specialists, four middle school instructional specialists, four high school instructional specialists, and five digital learning facilitators. We will not have Instructional Technology Facilitators (ITFs) this year.
Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Pilot
WCS is one of eleven school systems to participate in this program. The model works hand in hand with our framework. Community Systems involvement is essential to our success. Ms. Ann Absher attended to give Board Members data from the Wilkes County Health Department that demonstrates the connection we have for coming and working together for the success of our students.
Revision of Standards in ELA and Math
New revisions are taking place in K-12 English Language Arts and K-8 Mathematics. Teachers will be taking training during the 2017-2018 school year. The Implementation will begin in the 2018-2019 school year.
Wilkes Virtual Academy
The fall of 2017 is a pilot program with a Spanish II Honors Class. Teachers created course plans this summer and will facilitate this course during the semester. There will be two face-to-face meetings with students. The teacher will have office hours two times each day for these students. The course is delivered through the Canvas System.
Project ADMIT Update
WCS is working to align the pathways to better meet the needs of our students and to meet the future workforce needs. This year, we had 412 students take coursework in advanced engineering, 220 in computer technology integration, and 9 students that did an internship. Those numbers will continue to grow. We will continue to seek other grant opportunities, and as you can see, we have a lot going on in Wilkes County Schools.