Year in Review: I-SS focuses on fine-tuning education experience
BY KARISSA MILER
Iredell-Statesville Schools central office staff and school leaders gathered Monday morning at the Unity Center for the annual end-of-year review.
Education is no longer a one-size-fits-all enterprise and customizing options for students and parents is an integral part of public education, according to Superintendent Brady Johnson.
“Our choice programs are attracting kids back into the district,” Johnson told an audience of principals, assistant principals and instructional facilitators.
Some of the new choice programs for the 2017-2018 school year include the Ag-focused early college on the campus of North Iredell High School, a Spanish-English dual immersion program at Lake Norman Elementary School and International Baccalaureate candidacy at Cloverleaf Elementary.
The superintendent urged school leaders to continue strengthening their brands and community relationships. Competition is stiff for students and it’s not just limited to charter and private school options.
“A lot of students are opting out of public schools all together and the number of home school students is growing,” Johnson said.
Enrollment in I-SS schools was down by 1.58 percent during the 2016-2017 school year.
To illustrate the importance of having a unified effort across the district, the superintendent had everyone in the room stand up and sing some lines from a song. Getting the music to sound like a song requires a bit of purposeful orchestration, he said.
“Let’s sing the same sheet of music, continue to fine tune it,” Johnson explained. “If we make mistakes and are off chord, then kids pay a price for it.”
That theme was woven into the day’s events. Music was incorporated into slides and activities. Several district leaders wore T-shirts honoring musical greats and different bands.
Working in small groups, I-SS personnel reviewed areas the district is doing well and reflected on areas where improvement is needed. The fruit of their labor will be used to develop school improvement plans, which principals and assistant principals will discuss with their teachers.
Principals and assistant principals will continue to meet at Unity Center through Thursday to hear updates on policies and other provisions that will impact the school year.
Year in Review
• The district’s overall graduation rate improved to 87.5 percent for the 2016-2017 school year.
• At North Iredell High School, office referrals were reduced from 1,121 in 2015-2016 to 518 in 2016-2017, while the number of out-of-school suspensions dropped from 265 in 2015-2016 to 121 in the 2016-2017 school year.
• Some 200 teachers in the district had an effectiveness rating that didn’t meet expected growth.