Workshops highlight curriculum

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

Faculty and staff in Elkin City Schools already have had a number of opportunities for professional development during the 2015-16 school year.

Cynthia Altemueller, chief academic officer, updated the board of education last week on the training efforts which are ongoing by the school system.

In addition to training on project-based learning and the school system’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics) curriculum, other opportunities have included a focus on math for middle school teachers on four different occasions, she said.

“We are just really dissecting those standards,” she said of the new math standards being taught. “We did this last year with the high school. We are working on vertical alignment, so now we are working with the middle school.”

One mandatory staff development day already has been held, with a second day coming up in May, she reported. Also, “the small chunks of time for training designated on early release days have been very productive.”

Trainings have included seven math professional workshops, four literacy workshops, some science workshops, and five English as a Second Language or technology workshops.

The technology workshops “have been very self-driven,” Altemueller said. “They learn about different technologies, and then for the reflection part they use it in the classroom. There are close to 50 sessions of workshops of those and there are many more planned.”

Other updates given during the Feb. 22 school board meeting included:

• The Drug Free Elkin brochures have been updated, reported Angela Land, director of student services. She said in looking through the old brochures, several changes needed to be made, such as the Crossroads Behavioral Services is now Partners Behavioral Management. Also the new Elkin City Schools logo was added to the brochure. The information and policies did not change.

• A first read of the school system’s new drone policy was presented. The policy will regulate use of unmanned aerial vehicles by those in the community on school property, while still allowing use of drones by the school system. Already, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association banned all use of drones during sporting events, reported Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe.

• Chief Financial Officer Jan Zachary reported Dixon Hughes Goodman will continue to do the school system’s audit, based on the contract approved by the school board last year, which was signed for five years. She said the cost of the audit dropped $600. The first week of May auditors will make their first visit to the school system to begin audit work, with the rest being finalized the second week in July after the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year.

• Also, the school board approved several budget amendments allowing for incoming state and consortium funds.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood

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