On Friday and Saturday (January 29 and 30), the Asheboro City Board of Education met for their annual winter retreat at the district’s Professional Development Center on the campus of Asheboro High School. The weekend’s presentations focused on innovation and envisioning the future of Asheboro City Schools as the Board begins the process of developing the next strategic plan.
“We had a tremendous weekend with our board members,” said Dr. Aaron Woody, Superintendent of Asheboro City Schools. “Our conversations were meaningful and robust as we thought through and discussed what our district could look like in the next five to ten years. We allowed this time together to be creative and imaginative. We challenged each other to really ‘dream’ about the types of programs we’d like to offer students and staff in the future.”
On Friday night, Dr. Wendy Rich, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Anthony Woodyard, Director of Technology and Innovation, led a presentation and activity about innovation and design. During this session, board members teamed up and were charged with brainstorming an idea that they would then market to the entire board. Chairman Michael Smith and Dr. Beth Knott presented an idea called “Binge-Worthy Learning.” In their presentation, Dr. Knott talked about content being presented virtually where students could “binge” all their lessons. “Rather than having an hour of math and then 45 minutes of English/Language Arts (or some variation), maybe students could get all their math lessons completed in one day and then work on ELA the next. This might be really appealing to some students. We’re thinking flexible scheduling, flexible course times/duration, and flexible sequencing,” she added.
“This activity allowed board members to think beyond barriers and brainstorm possibilities of what could be in the future. It was a great learning experience for all of us,” said Dr. Woody.
Once presentations during the brainstorming session were completed, the Board then heard from Carla Freemyer, Executive Director of Human Resources, and Dr. Drew Maerz, Director of Testing and Accountability, about new policy recommendations regarding recent updates to Title IX, a law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools. This session concluded the night’s agenda.
When the Board returned on Saturday, they engaged in Master Board Training through the North Carolina School Boards Association. The theme of their training was, “Building Our Team.” This session was for board members and Dr. Woody only.
Session three, led by Dr. Woody, started with a discussion about the Board’s legislative platform, which is slated to be approved at the February meeting (February 11). The draft platform includes advocating for increased funding for school safety, standardized accountability for all publicly funded schools, and an increase in the weighting of student growth under the state’s current A-F school performance grading scale. Additional legislative priorities for 2021 include calendar and class size flexibility, and adequate funding for NC pre-kindergarten, increased pay for all NC educators, and support for a statewide school facility bond referendum.
Following this discussion, the Board engaged in more innovation work where members had an opportunity to brainstorm priority areas to potentially be included in the district’s four-year strategic plan (2022-2026). The formal process of strategic planning with staff, family, and community input is scheduled to begin this spring.
The final session of the day solely focused on operational planning. Board members heard from Rhonda Angerio of Smith-Sinnett Architecture, about Phase III of the Asheboro High School Capital Improvement Project. This project includes updates and renovations to all major systems within the original high school building. The project is already underway and is on schedule to be completed by December 2022.
The Board also heard from Sandra Spivey, Finance Officer, about the district’s budget, and from Ed Keller, Director of Facilities, about the district’s 10-year facilities plan. The meeting wrapped up with Mrs. Freemyer and Dr. Maerz discussing additional information about policy recommendations regarding Title IX.
“We really used this time together to get some critical work accomplished and to be able to dream and imagine the future of Asheboro City Schools. I am extremely grateful for the preparedness of our team and our board members who came ready to work, listen, and engage this weekend. We’re tired, but it’s a good tired,” said Dr. Woody.
The retreat concluded at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The February meeting of the Asheboro City Board of Education will take place on Thursday, February 11. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Professional Development Center. A LIVE stream will be available for those unable to join us in person.
To learn more about Asheboro City Schools, please log on to the www.asheboro.k12.nc.us.
(Reporters/Editors: Please call Leigh Anna Marbert at (336) 625-5104.)