Dare County Schools announces plans for yearly assessments, spring break and new bookmobile program

Published 9:06 am Thursday, April 9, 2020

Superintendent of Dare County Schools John Farrelly addressed the school community on March 30 after a “successful” first week of remote learning:

“I have received numerous emails from parents who have been so appreciative of the work our teachers have done in providing engaging instructional learning opportunities for our students. While remote learning is not our preferred delivery of instruction, it is an opportunity to prevent academic slide and provide course completion at the high school level. As a parent, I can understand and appreciate the extra time, attention and occasional stress this has put on families. So, I thank you for your commitment and efforts at home. I am hoping that reconnecting with teachers last week provided some level of normalcy with our kids.”

Farrelly then shared several updates, including an announcement from the state Board of Education. The NC Board of Education unanimously approved a one-year waiver of federal student assessments and accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

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“Thus, there will be no EOGs or EOCs this spring even if we return to school during the present school calendar year.” Online AP exams may serve as the only exception to this waiver.

DCS announced they have been working on a bookmobile program, which would provide new books to students once per week to read at home. Donations from Dare CASA, Participate Learning and Pierce Group Benefits made this program possible, according to DCS. Sherry Smalley of First Flight Elementary School was credited with the idea for this program.

Keith Parker, DCS digital communications director, said that the bookmobile program will be launched as soon as possible. “The books have been ordered and as soon as they get here, we will decide how to distribute them,” he said.

DCS staff members will now be able to participate in professional learning webinars every Thursday. Farrelly shared that interested parents may be able to partake in a remote learning video series about the program platforms.

Parker noted that DCS is developing resources for parents and want to have a central location where all resources can be accessed. “We want to make this widespread,” he said, so that parents across the county can have access to the same resources.

The Board of Education meeting scheduled for April 21 will be streamed virtually, the community will be able to listen via audio and submit questions for public comment prior to the start of the meeting. Farrelly said more information will be made available in the coming weeks on www.daretolearn.org.

Farrelly also addressed spring break: “The senior central office leadership team and principals met virtually last week and are in agreement that teachers, students and parents will need a break come mid-April. Thus, we will observe spring break during the week of April 13-17.”

As for the DCS meal program, about 9,000 meals were served throughout the first week of remote learning. The meal program will not be open on April 13 in observance of the holiday, but extra meals will be provided on April 10 for families. The program will be open and running through the rest of spring break (April 14 through 17).

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