STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON APRIL 22, 2003
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 2:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chairman Larry Young, Commissioner Bill Moyer, Commissioner Charlie Messer, Commissioner Shannon Baldwin, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy Brantley, and Public Information Officer Chris Coulson.
Also present was Dr. Tom Burnham, Superintendent of Schools. Present from the Board of Public Education were: Chairman Ervin Bazzle, Vice-Chairman Melissa Maurer, Kristin Huntley, Betsy Copolillo, Ken Butcher, Jane Orwoll and Debbie Reemes.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. The purpose of this meeting was a joint budget meeting with the Board of Public Education.
Chairman Hawkins stated the need to reset the Public Hearing date for the 191 rezoning issue. The meeting had been scheduled for May 8th, but there was a conflict with the West Henderson High School Auditorium. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set May 19th for the R-02-07 rezoning hearing at West Henderson High School Auditorium. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
BOARD OF PUBLIC EDUCATION BUDGET MEETING
Chairman Hawkins noted that the Board of Commissioners had come up with several goals they thought might be beneficial. Those goals were:
C Reducing the drop out rate particularly at the high school level
C Improvements in performance at the high schools
C Improve end of course test scores, particularly for minorities (using the end of grade tests, SAT=s and number of students promoted on the first test)
C Class size reduction
C Determine the number of teachers teaching outside their career field
C Determine how well we are preparing students for life after school
Review of Strategic Planning Process and Strategic Plan
Ervin Bazzle reviewed the Henderson County Public School (HCPS) Strategic Plan. He gave a brief history of the Strategic Plan, and provided the Board a copy of that working document. He noted that the Board of Education meets every year at the beginning of the year, and looks at the Strategic Plan to determine the progress of each goal, strategy and action. As those items are accomplished, they are removed from the Strategic Plan. He outlined the following goals, and spoke briefly to each one:
Goal 1: Focus on Every Child
Mr. Bazzle stated that North Carolina is probably the most accountable state in the country, being tested more than any other state in a lot of different ways. Unless you express to your students, parents and teachers that you expect certain things from them, they will never perform to that level.
Goal 2: Retain and Recruit Outstanding Faculty and Staff
One way to retain teachers and improve their quality is to give them time to improve their education. The system offers some continuing education, and the opportunities for teachers to improve their own qualifications.
Goal III: Lower Class Size
Mr. Bazzle stated that the more we can get instruction directly to a student, the better off we=ll be. That was a goal in 1999, and still is because we=re not there. Certain goals had been met in the Kindergarten, 1st and possibly 2nd grades, but not in the rest of the grades. An environment that is conducive to learning has to do with discipline, being ready to go to school, and expectations of parents. Teaching these skills early on goes a long way toward how students perform.
Goal IV: Develop and Maintain Safe, Quality Facilities
Mr. Bazzle reminded the Board that they had been involved in this for the past three years. He stated that we are currently in a position to be proud of most of the facilities. Maintenance of those facilities is a full time job and an ongoing process, but one which has been handled well.
Mr. Bazzle explained how the Strategic Plan was used to develop the budget. Each appropriation item is tied to a specific goal and a specific objective with the Strategic Plan. He stated that he was on the Board when it didn=t work, and having been on both sides he knows that the Strategic Plan works, and that it addresses the needs of the community and the schools.
Mr. Bazzle spoke to Chairman Hawkins= goal of addressing how well we are preparing students for life after school. He stated that he had worked with Job Ready before it was a Chamber process, he worked with it when it was a joint effort between the schools, the community college and the chamber, it is now within the Chamber as Workforce Development. This is an ongoing process, we are six years into the process and a lot of things are going on within the community.
Discussion of Improvement of End of Grade Minority Scores
Dr. Burnham agreed that there is no other public profession that is assessed to the level that education is assessed, with the results being publicized to the extent that they are. He noted that in grades 3-12, there are about 38 different assessments administered during the course of the year. When you add the number of field tests the state puts in place to support the assessment model, that adds another 37 assessments. That makes approximately 75 different assessments occurring in the school district in the course of a year, driven by the state assessment model.
Dr. Burnham spoke to some new Federal Legislation, called ANo Child Left Behind@. He stated that it would bring accountability to education in a lot of places in the country where accountability has not existed. There is a lot of emphasis on sub-populations in this program, the special needs children who have never been looked at in a comprehensive model before. The downside is that it will lead to more assessment, unless some way is found to blend Federal and State assessments.
The overall result of the program will be the Federal Government driving the schools, in the same context they have driven Special Education. A model will deem each school=s success based upon the lowest performing sub-population present in a school. If any group is not deemed to be successful in terms of making a year=s growth on an assessment model, then that school will fail to be successful.
Dr. Burnham spoke to Chairman Hawkins=s question about the number of teachers deemed to be appropriately certified. He answered that all Henderson County teachers are deemed to be appropriately certified. Some of those teachers may be going through the process of lateral entry, through which they have five years to become certified teachers.
Dr. Burnham then discussed the results of strategic planning, and becoming a goal driven organization. In 1999, Henderson County had four schools that were recognized by the state as being high performing schools, schools of distinction. Based on the last school year, we now have five schools of excellence, ten schools of distinction, and one school of progress. These statistics make Henderson County one of the most successful school districts in the state.
Dr. Burnham addressed some of Chairman Hawkins=s earlier questions. He stated that Henderson County currently ranks 8th in the state on the SAT. He was unsure about minority student population on that test, but stated he would find the answer. With regard to the number of students not successful on the first administration of ABC=s, he answered 10% or less. It was his belief that most of those were special needs children.
He then discussed minority achievement, displaying several charts that indicated the percentage of students at or above Level III in Reading, Mathematics, and High School End-of-Course. He specifically discussed the levels for African-American and Hispanic students. In general, percentages had increased across the board for the levels. One exception was Hispanic students on the High School End-of-Course tests. Dr. Burnham stated what had been found, was that Hispanic students coming into the system in high school not only could not read English, but for the most part were also unable to read Spanish.
Dr. Burnham outlined and discussed the following key points of the Minority Achievement Action Plan:
C Implement STAR (Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio) findings regarding improving student achievement among minority students.
C Evaluate Sheltered Instruction model for LEP (Limited English Proficiency) students in high school.
C Enhance cultural awareness through targeted staff professional development to improve teacher and staff ability to build connections.
C Implement and support AIM (Action/Inspiration/Motivation) Club at middle and high school levels.
C Modify and fund changes in staffing patterns to implement instructional delivery changes.
C Focus ultimately on quality teachers, not programs, in closing the achievement gap.
C Identify and internalize a system of Core Values.
Discussion of Reduction in Dropout Rates
Ken Butcher discussed a chart outlining the dropout rate percentage over a three year period. He noted that the state dropout rate was 5.25% with Henderson County being at the state average. He explained that dropout rates are based on Grades 9 through 12. To calculate the rate for the upcoming year, on the 20th day of school the number of students who are gone from school (those who have left and not gone to another school or those who were asked to leave) would be divided by the day 20 population of all four grades. What is misleading about that statistic is that when you look at the number of students from kindergarten versus those who graduate, the cumulative dropout rate is around 22%. There followed discussion over the statistics, and why dropout rates were higher at some schools than others.
The Dropout Reduction Action Plan was reviewed. It contained the following points, some of which were discussed in depth:
C Establish the Balfour Concept in partnership with the Blue Ridge Community College as an educational environment to support potential dropouts.
C Collaborate with National Dropout Prevention Center to develop a vision for the Balfour Concept.
C Conduct visits to model school sites.
C Develop and distribute Dropout Survey to the previous two years= dropouts (parents and students).
C Continue K-12 attendance policy initiative.
C Ensure that all children will be reading on grade level by the end of the first grade (Literacy Academy) and will remain on grade level every year thereafter (Extended School Year).
C Continue early childhood educational initiatives which were begun this school year.
C Provide mentoring, service learning and work-based learning experiences to our students.
C Continue higher levels of expectations and ensure challenging curriculum for all students.
C Continue to provide quality Extended Day and Extended Year programs.
C Strengthen school transition plans.
C Reorganize middle school daily schedule to increase instructional focus on the core curriculum.
C Implement new middle school courses - Introduction to Computer Applications and Exploring Technology Applications.
C Re-direct focus of comprehensive school counseling program to emphasize prevention as well as intervention.
C Emphasize parent and community communication plan.
C Broaden efforts to recruit highly qualified teachers.
C Continue the lower class size initiative to provide more individual attention and better learning opportunities during the early years.
There also followed much discussion of how the Strategic Plan has worked to help achieve the goals previously discussed. Dr. Burnham stated that he had never worked without such a plan, and that it had been most important in the progress seen in the schools. The budget problems within the state were discussed with regard to how they will affect the schools ability to continue implementing the Strategic Plan. Ken Butcher spoke at length about how funding affects students, especially those students already at some risk.
Chairman Hawkins thanked the Board of Education for the dialogue and benchmarks brought to the meeting. He thanked them for the job they were doing.
There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at approximately 3:37 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Amy R. Brantley, Deputy Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman