News from the Board -- February 7, 2023

Posted by Jessica Wells on 2/8/2023 12:15:00 PM


The Onslow County Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on February 7 at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center. Agenda items included an instructional best practice, a redistricting overview, and the 2023-2024 Head Start grant application approval.  

Before beginning the meeting’s business, the Board voted to change the agenda as presented and move Board member comments to the end of the meeting.  

After a Good News Spotlight segment, which celebrated OCS staff and students, and a public comment period with 5 speakers, Dr. Chris Barnes, OCS Chief Academic Officer, took to the podium to discuss an instructional best practice.  

Dr. Barnes shared with the Board that, this month, Instructional Services was proud to share the great work being done at Swansboro High School with their “Teaching as a Profession” courses. These honors-level CTE courses introduce students to the field of education and allow them to get hands-on experience in a classroom. Students who successfully complete the course have the ability to earn college credit through an agreement with the UNC System, Meredith College, and the Community College System. Two Swansboro High students attended the meeting and shared that they are interested in pursuing teaching and that the courses have helped them explore education.  

Swansboro High is the first school in the district and region to offer “Teaching as a Profession,” and Dr. Barnes shared that the program could expand to other high schools in the future.  

Next, Dr. Brendan Gartner, OCS Chief of Operations, made a presentation about the potential redistricting of Dixon High School and Southwest High School. Currently, Dixon High is operating at 130 percent capacity, while Southwest is at just 70 percent. Dr. Gartner shared that redistricting those two schools could result in a better use of our facilities and maximize our resources.  

Factors taken into consideration for redistricting include school capacity, growth trends, instructional programming, transportation efficiency, and, of course, community considerations. After a redistricting plan is created, public feedback is accepted and encouraged through email and public forums.  

Dr. Gartner asked that the Board grand staff the go-ahead to proceed with the research process to determine what a redistricting plan for these schools may look like. The Board approved staff to move forward.  

Last on the agenda was a presentation from Luisa Davis, director of early childhood initiatives, on the 2023-2024 Head Start Grant Application.  

Ms. Davis shared with the Board that the over-$2 million grant application was developed through a process that involved annual self-assessment, community assessment, and the application of foundational beliefs. 

The four goals of the program, she said, include: enhancing the delivery of developmentally appropriate curriculum to promote success in all blended classrooms by promoting the use of play-based curriculum and data analysis; strengthening classroom and center communities by utilizing research-based practices and resources; enhancing family engagement and educational opportunities; and enhancing community partnerships to assist families in accessing community resources. 

Grant funding would cover $2,000,895 for personnel, materials, contractual services, and administrative costs, $83,334 for indirect costs, and $24,354 for training and professional development.   

Board Member Angie Todd asked that the Board delay the vote on the grant application in order to give the Board more time to review the details. The Board agreed to delay voting until a special-called meeting later in February.   


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