Basnight talks with school board about professional development

Published 11:50 am Monday, March 4, 2024

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“We’re not going to move forward if we’re all doing the same things … We are going to get there on different paths,” proclaimed Dare Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight.

On Feb. 12, 2024, Basnight briefed the Dare County School Board the four areas of focus:

  • Increase student learning
  • School security
  • Recruitment and retention of qualified staff
  • Increase high quality professional development

Concentrating on professional development, Basnight reported that the process has been changed because “one size does not fit all.”

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Specifically, professional development will be tied to individual school improvement plans and teachers’ own goals.

Principals will be recognized as instructional leaders. Once a month, principals and others will participate in professional development lessons and take those lessons back to the individual schools.

Principals will have some funding from the budget. Each school gets a base rate of $5,000 plus $10 for each student in the school.

As to school security, the board accepted a $300,000 school safety grant, which will address specific needs. Basnight said the school system is working with law enforcement personnel from the various jurisdictions. Additionally, rape and concussion protocols have been reviewed. Basnight specifically mentioned that the system is concentrating on the returning student who suffered a concussion.

Each school has developed a list for professional development. Book studies are underway in several schools.

The superintendent reported to the board, as required by General Statute 115C-316.2, to report to the school board no later than February 15 the number of mental health support personnel, such as school psychologists, school counselors, school nurses and school social workers.

Basnight flashed the charts on the screens:

School psychologists: one full-time, one intern, one part-time, two virtually, one unfilled position

Schools counselors: 15

School nurses: one supervisor, 10 school nurses

School social workers: one lead, one fully-licensed, one family liaison, not licensed

For the 2023-2024 academic year, school counselors increased by one to 15. All other categories remained the same as the 2022-2023 school year.

Added to the agenda was a progress report from the district’s AI team leaders, Holly King and Denise Fallon. The first step of building a foundation is complete.

This spring, the program moves to staff development in three sessions. The district’s academic guidelines for using generative artificial intelligence are under development and are slated to be ready for introduction to school personnel and the community in the fall.

The consent agenda was adopted.

Budget amendments are included in the consent agenda as follows:

– State Public School Fund – Appropriates additional funds received for the following programs:  Behavioral Support ($127,000, Principal and Other Teacher Performance Bonuses ($207,711), School Connectivity ($258,404), CTE – Credential Program Support ($66,488) and Literacy Intervention ($97,403).
– Local Expense Fund – Transfers $300,000 from System-wide Support Systems to Instructional Services to correlate with staffing assignments.
– Capital Outlay Fund – Appropriates $130,000 from fund balance to address outstanding needs, specifically replacement of cabinets at FFMS due to mold infiltration last summer and the completion of wiring infrastructure for intercom systems throughout the district.
– After School Enrichment Funds – Appropriates funds remaining from the Child Care Stabilization Grant to cover grant expenditures.

The personnel agenda shows one suspension with pay from Nov. 28, 2023 to Feb. 1, 2024; six resignations; five leaves of absence; nine new employees; six internal transfers, 11 substitute teachers; three substitute bus drivers; and almost two pages of very small type listing coaches for spring sports.

Dare County’s Board of Education received a Gold Bell award for training excellence. Board member Susan Bothwell received a certificate of merit for 31 hours of training. Board members David Twiddy and Mary Ellon Ballance received certificates of achievement for the 100 hours of training.

The student advisors to the board delivered reports on activities in schools.

Board member Ron Payne was appointed to the Dare County Housing Task Force.

Board member Matt Brauer was appointed to the Dare Education Foundation’s Run Hill Expansion Project Committee.

The board agreed to receive public comments from Hatteras Island citizens from the Fessenden Center in Buxton.

The board adopted on second reading the following changes in its policy manual:

  • Revised Policy 3225/4312/7320: Technology Responsible Use
  • New Policy 6430: Purchasing Requirements for Equipment, Materials, and Supplies
  • Deletion of Policy 6412: Purchasing Authority
  • Revised Policy 6402/9100: Ethics and the Purchasing Function
  • Revised Policy 7100: Recruitment and Selection of Personnel

The board waived the requirement for a second reading and adopted the following:

  • Revised Policy 7510: Leave
  • New Policy 7520: Family and Medical Leave
  • Revised Policy 7730: Employee Conflict of Interest
  • New Policy 8325: Daily Deposits
  • Revised Policy 9125: Participation by Minority Businesses