School board looks to future

Published 1:44 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cumberland County School Board members discussed the board’s strategic plan, self-evaluation and budget preparation during their November meeting.

Though none of the discussions were called to a vote, board members considered changes they would like to see to the strategic plan, as well as ways the board would like to improve during the next year.

Email newsletter signup

Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin led the read-through of the strategic plan, calling it just an introduction and saying there will be more discussion during coming meetings.

According to the plan, it is “designed to prepare each and every student to be a 21st century learner, worker, and citizen.” The plan says the school district will do this by fostering deep learning experiences to develop essential competencies and prepare students for the workplace.

There are five prioritized targets listed in the document to help the schools meet the listed vision. Of those targets, actions such as increasing number of college-level courses available for high school students, increasing early intervention programs and achieving a fully-funded capital and operational budget that meets the needs of the school system.

“We could still work on the family engagement part,” Griffin said as she read through the targets.

The plan lists three goals for the school board: “Cumberland County Public Schools will be student-centered,” “Cumberland County Public Schools will expand opportunities for learning” and “Cumberland County Public Schools will develop committed stakeholders who build positive relationships.”

Stakeholders are defined as students, faculty and staff, parents and community members.

These goals translate into the school board’s self-evaluation. The evaluation says the board will be more visible at school and community events, as well as working collectively and participating in professional development. It states the board will “seek input from all stakeholders.”

Regarding the division’s budget, Griffin said the board only has preliminary numbers now, but that she expects an adjusted budget to be sent out by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Dec. 16.

Griffin said she would like to see starting salaries raised for teachers in the 0-5 year range. In Region 8, Cumberland has the lowest salaries for new teachers, she said.

Christine Ross, District Five representative, suggested they just adjust the lower range, because the teachers employed for 10-20 years or more have salaries on par with the rest of the region.

“Do we know how our benefits compared to other counties?” Ross asked. “We have done a good job training students to know … it’s about more than a dollar amount.”

Griffin agreed and said the benefits could be looked at along with salaries when considering adjustments.

The board also approved of the division joining a coalition, which, if successful, could help Region 8 schools receive more funding from the state. Griffin will attend a Cumberland County Board of Supervisors meeting to seek the board’s approval for coalition participation.

In other business, there were a number of recognitions for staff members and students, as well as a presentation by members of Cumberland County Elementary School’s pre-kindergarten program about classroom inclusion.