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School plans adopted in Dare

School improvement plans have been approved for all Dare County schools.

The board of education approved the multi-sectioned, two-year plans. The school safety component was reviewed in closed session and adopted in open session but not published.

A school improvement team at each school is convened to develop the plans, establish top priorities and develop measurable indicators. The plan is presented to the entire faculty and reviewed by central office staff before reaching the school board.

At the early November board meeting, central office staffers made brief summary presentations about the plans. Sandy Kinzel reported on elementary schools. Keith Parker talked middle schools. Arty Tillett addressed high schools.

In some form or another, all schools want to improve student growth and proficiency.

First Flight High’s first goal states “closing the performance gap for certain students in certain subject areas (focus on Math 1 and Family & Consumer Sciences Education) and show growth for all students.”

Cape Hatteras Secondary wants to “increase student achievement by enhancing curriculum alignment.”

Manteo Elementary states as a goal “exceed growth in Reading, Math and Science” and “improve Our School Performance Grade,” which was a C last year.

Manteo Middle and First Flight Middle plans asked the following questions in planning: what do we want our students to know and be able to do; how will we teach it and know they are learning; and how will we respond if they don’t know/learn it or already know it?

Kinzel said all elementary schools desired to strengthen community partnerships.

Keith Parker pointed to the strategy to “teach in schools not classrooms. Every kid belongs to all teachers.”

During the Nov. 7 meeting, Johanna Parker shared the results of a student survey.

Students in grades 3-12 provided feedback via an electronic student survey in late September, answering the following questions.

  • What do you think is the purpose of school?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
  • What is the BEST thing about your school?
  • What is one thing we could improve to make your school better?

Johanna Parker reported over 2,800 students completed the survey or 70 percent of students in grades 3-12. She identified the following major trends:

  • Need for real-world, hands-on activities
  • Using time in a meaningful way
  • Wanting to live a productive life
  • Prepared for college, career, or to start a business
  • We have great teachers in Dare County
  • Mental health challenges
  • A need for a variety of after-school activities
  • Increase in arts programs

Farrelly on school safety

“Maintaining safe, orderly, and welcoming learning environments is critical to our mission in Dare County Schools. We all have a shared responsibility in providing our children with the safest school conditions possible,” wrote John Farrelly, Dare Schools Superintendent on Nov. 9.

Two days before, the Dare County Board of Education approved the confidential safety component of School Improvement Plans for each school.

Farrelly wrote that each school has a specific crisis management plan that includes crisis team members and responsibilities, central office/law enforcement contacts, emergency communication protocols, shelter/evacuation areas, medical equipment information and step by step emergency event actions.

“Providing safe learning environments for all stakeholders is our top priority in Dare County Schools,” wrote Farrelly.

He reported that the district has done a comprehensive school safety analysis over the past year and taken many action steps that have resulted in strengthening school safety protocols, provided more training and leveraged resources. He listed these actions:

  • Created a new district safety team
  • Audited all safety drill protocols
  • Held meetings with community leaders
  • Provided emergency drill training with local law enforcement officials
  • Outreach to parents, community, staff and students in community meetings
  • Additional staff training
  • Established additional safety protocols in each school
  • Implemented the “Social Sentinel” social media program
  • Purchased a new “alert” system to aid in emergency communication protocols and response times
  • Purchased new security servers
  • Provided every school with ACES (Adverse childhood experiences) training
  • Brought social workers to the district
  • Created the Dare County Schools attendance council
  • Created new emergency crisis guides for every teacher
  • Implemented additional mental health-related and bullying prevention programs
  • Law enforcement accessibility for Random Deployment Training (RDT)


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