PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Hoke County Board of Education will hold its monthly meeting at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 in the Board of Education Board Room, 310 Wooley Street, Raeford, North Carolina 28376.
“PLEASE NOTE the time change for this meeting, due to attendance at the AASA 2016 National Conference on Education.
As we enter 2016, it’s important for us to look ahead at what a new year will bring us in terms of education. The Public School Forum of NC has released their Top 10 Education Issues for 2016 (see attached). Last year, there was a lot of uncertainty – specifically in terms of funding. This year, among the Top 10 issues are: increased resources for schools, teacher recruitment to NC, fixing the broken A-F grading system, supporting struggling schools, and expanding early childhood education.
Let’s begin with increased resources for schools. Currently, North Carolina is 43rd in the nation for per-pupil spending. Even the best teachers cannot perform optimally with little to no supplies. We must also keep in mind our need to attract and retain the best teachers. North Carolina needs to make a greater investment in public education in order for us to recruit (and keep) the best and brightest, as well as enable them to provide effective classroom instruction.
While on the topic of increased funding, let’s address teacher salaries. Last year, we saw a raise for beginning teachers. This year, we hope to see a larger, more significant raise for teachers across the board. North Carolina ranks 42nd nationally in teacher pay. Our teachers are responsible for shaping and molding the minds of our future leaders, doctors, professors – our entire nation. Shouldn’t they be compensated accordingly for the tremendous work they are doing? We must respect the teaching profession, beginning with a respectable salary.
Low performing schools – we’ve all read or heard about this. North Carolina went from having 118 low performing schools to 581, after a change in state law in 2015. State funding dedicated to turning around these low performing schools would only support about 79 schools. This year, we hope the General Assembly will look carefully at - if we’re going to define this large new pool of schools as low-performing - what we are going to do to help turn them around. Part of this conversation also goes back to the broken A-F grading system, which feeds our definition of what a low performing school is. This formula needs to be revisited and tweaked to be more representative of student growth.
Lastly, we are hopeful that early childhood education will see more attention this year. Legislators are becoming more and more convinced of what we as educators already know, which is that the early years matter a lot. If we’re going to reach reading proficiency by 3rd grade, we need to reach students early and often. Expanding Pre-K and doubling down in early childhood years is extremely important.
I encourage everyone to read through the entire list of the Top 10 Education Issues in NC for 2016 (see attached), keeping in mind why you are an educator. As an educator, you are giving each of your students the opportunity to transform their future and change the world. This is a tremendous task, and it’s one that you should be highly respected for taking on. Stay informed and be the voice for change in public education.
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, announced the finalists for the 2016 National Superintendent of the Year. Hoke County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Freddie Williamson, has been named one of four finalists for the 2016 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. Other finalists include Dr. Thomas Tucker from Ohio, Dr. Pam Moran from Virginia, and Dr. Steven Webb from Washington. This marks the 29th anniversary of the program, which honors school system leaders throughout the country.
Dr. Williamson has more than 30 years of service in public education, with the past nine years as superintendent of Hoke County Schools. He is known for his transformational leadership style, no- excuses philosophy and innovative approach to addressing challenges. Williamson began his journey in public education as a classroom teacher. His experiences have included school administration for more than 25 years in various capacities, including vocational education, curriculum and human resources. In the summer of 2006, he was named superintendent of Hoke County Schools. Williamson has also served in several leadership roles for organizations such as the North Carolina School Superintendents Executive Board, North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Board of Directors, Sandhills Regional Education Superintendents Council, FirstHealth of the Carolinas Advisory Board and Fayetteville State University Educational Leadership Advisory Board. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
“The four finalists for the 2016 AASA National Superintendent of the Year have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to excellence in the work they do,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “As a former superintendent, I know that the demands of a superintendent are incredibly high, which is why we look forward to honoring these outstanding superintendents as well as all of the 2016 State Superintendents of the Year at our National Conference on Education in February.”
The finalists for AASA’s 2016 National Superintendent of the Year will have an opportunity to meet the national education community during a press conference in January 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The applicants were measured against the following criteria:
· Leadership for learning – creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system.
· Communication – strength in both personal and organizational communication.
· Professionalism – constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team.
· Community involvement – active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.
Dr. Freddie Williamson, Superintendent of Hoke County Schools, earned the 2016 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year Award on Tuesday.
"This represents the work and service of the Hoke County Schools family," he said. "I am proud of the work we are doing to have our students college and career ready. I will continue to champion the cause of public education as the great equalizer for all students as I believe it to be."
As the recipient of this award, Dr. Williamson received $5,000, which he will award to Hoke County seniors in the spring of 2016 in the form of five $1,000 scholarships in memory of his grandparents and his parents, Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Rich Williamson Hull and Mr. Fulton Lee Williamson, Sr.
Dr. Williamson will compete at the national level for Superintendent of the Year at the American Association of School Administrators' National Conference on Education next February in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Dr. Williamson is known for, and continues to demonstrate, a remarkable passion for leadership and transformation in his district that makes him well deserving of this prestigious state award," said Jack Hoke, executive director of the North Carolina School Superintendents Association. Dr. Williamson received the recognition jointly from the N.C. School Superintendents Association, N.C. Association of School Administrators, and the N.C. School Boards Association.
In June, he was named the 2016 Sandhills Regional Superintendent of the Year alongside seven others from across the state. Dr. Williamson has earned other accolades including the 2011 Sandhills Regional Superintendent of the Year, Southeast Regional Principal of the Year, and the Wachovia Principal of the Year - twice. He has also led Hoke County to win awards such as the NC Innovator in Digital Learning award from Governor Perdue in 2012 and he has worked to increase the district's graduation rate by 27.7 percent.
Dr. Williamson began his career in education more than 30 years ago and has served as Hoke County's superintendent for the past nine years.
Students in Hoke County returned to school Monday after millions of dollars in building upgrades were made.
Officials said it’s guaranteed to make teaching and learning easier and more effective.
“It’s gonna be cool to be in school at Sandy Grove Elementary this year,” said Tonya Caulder, principal of the school.
Cool as in temperature. Sand Grove is among four schools in Hoke County to get facility upgrades, including new chillers. The previous units were either outdated or not working at all.
“It would get a little warm in our classrooms, we had fans brought in to make sure our students were comfortable,” Hoke County Schools Director of Public Relations Jodie Bryant said.
Twelve other campuses in Hoke County are receiving updates too, such as advanced environmental controls, weatherization improvements and state-of-the-art LED lighting.
“If you’re hot then you can’t think or you can’t concentrate, the lighting and all the other improvements are just gonna improve that student achievement,” Caulder said.
Also new to the district are tankless water fountains. Teachers said the cooling fans from the previous fountains would be so loud you could hear the vibration in the classroom.
The $6.2 million upgrades were made possible through a utility savings plan and performance contract. It guarantees the utility savings will be more than the cost in upgrades.
“We wanted to stay away from cutting money from other areas, we wanted to stay away from asking tax payers to give us more money for these upgrades so the energy performance grant was the perfect choice,” said Bryant.
The improvements are also in line with the district’s theme this year – Team Hoke – which speaks to collaboration in every area.
“[Team Hoke] encourag[es] our parents and our community that they’re part of a team, and with that, we only have one goal – to make sure students are college and career ready,” Bryant said.
Cree Lighting has published a case study on Sandy Grove Middle School. "At Sandy Grove Middle School in Lumber Bridge, North
Carolina, students not only get an education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math subjects at this STEM school. They also attend classes in their very own environmental laboratory and learn first-hand the benefits of a new concept in sustainability for educational institutions — a net-positive school building that produces more energy than it consumes. The school even has a working energy dashboard that tracks the performance of the facility’s green elements, enabling teachers to use the building itself as a teaching tool." Read the study in its entirety by opening the attached file.
Hoke County Schools in North Carolina has been selected as the winner of the Southern Regional Education Board's Outstanding School District Award. The award was presented by Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president, at the 29th Annual High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference in Atlanta July 15 before an audience of educators from across the nation.
To be recognized as an Outstanding School District, a district must have multiple schools implementing with fidelity various aspects of SREB's school improvement designs. "All schools in Hoke County, North Carolina, use High Schools That Work or Making Middle Grades Work and have implemented the designs with fidelity for years," said Rhenida Rennie SREB director of state initiatives, who nominated Hoke County Schools for the award. "Also, all teachers are trained to use Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative, with data showing the positive impact on student achievement. Not only are teachers involved, but district administrators, principals, assistant principals, and instructional coaches attend trainings and participate in follow-up activities. The level of involvement and support in Hoke County is remarkable." Hoke County is one of two districts in the nation and the only district in North Carolina to have fully implemented Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative district wide K-12.
A team of 79 teachers, principals, and district administrators from Hoke County attended the conference this year, of which 22 attendees made a total of 15 presentations before a national audience. "We are most honored to have had our teachers selected to present and to have received this national recognition. As a district, we believe that Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative are critical tools that we must employ to ensure that all of our students graduate college and career ready," said Bob Barnes, Associate Superintendent of Hoke County Schools.
The Southern Regional Education Board is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with states to improve public education at every level. SREB school improvement programs such as High Schools That Work serve more than 1,600 schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia and include training for the Literacy Design Collaborative and Mathematics Design Collaborative teaching frameworks.
Photo: Bob Barnes, Hoke County Schools' Associate Superintendent, is shown presenting the Outstanding School District Award to the Hoke County Board of Education members (from left to right: Della Maynor, Irish Pickett, Barbara Buie, and Hank Richards) at the July 28 Board of Education meeting.
The NC State Board of Education has implemented a new policy (# TCS-H-006) regarding school bus safety for the 2015-16 school year. Primarily, this policy involves newly adopted procedures with regard to crossing streets/roads/thoroughfares for student boarding, or exiting of school buses.