Board also recognizes student and staff achievements in classroom, on stage and on athletic fields

BY DEBBIE PAGE

Citing growth, transportation efficiency, and the opening of the new Selma Burke Middle School in August 2023, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Michael Royal presented a proposal for new school attendance boundaries to the Mooresville Graded School District School Board on Tuesday night.

The new map was constructed with the help of consultant Edulog and input from the community and district staff.

The plan reconfigures the grades housed at each school level as well as the attendance boundaries for each school.

Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, elementary schools will house grades K-2 (currently K-3), intermediate schools grades 3-5 (currently 4-6), and middle schools grades 6-8 (currently 7-8), with the high school remaining grades 9 -12.

Royal said grade and boundary changes will more evenly distribute the student population to alleviate overcrowding and create space for future growth at each school.

The Parkview Elemantary zone will be split, with the area area north of Highway 150 around Reinhardt Road placed in the South Elementary zone. Royal said this northern section of the school district best fit with South, based on transportation efficiency and capacity concerns at the other elementary schools.

The Gambill Forrest and Linwood Farms developments, potentially adding significant numbers of students to the school district, were assigned to South because of capacity concerns at Park View and Rocky River Elementary.

With growth projected to be concentrated in the southeast area, the district is trying to balance schools to avoid overcrowding at any school now and in the future.

Royal said that the addition of a second middle school also creates the opportunity to create direct feeder patterns from intermediate to middle school.

Board member Debbie Marsh noted that school districts cannot charge impact fees in North Carolina to build schools, so districts are dependent on voters approving bonds, with no guarantee of passage.

“That makes it a difficult situation to plan for the future,” she said.

Board chair Roger Hyatt joked, “The good news is we have a great school system with folks banging on the door to get in; the bad news is we have a great school system with folks banging on the door to get in.”

Dual Language Immersion programs are currently offered in each elementary school, with plans to expand to each intermediate school, so students can stay in the program even if zoned for a new school.

The redistricting process began in November of last year with the hiring of Edulog, a national company that provides efficient school bus routing and planning services to school districts. After getting familiar with the district and town, Edulog created proposed scenarios with input from two community meetings, online feedback, and consultations with board members and district staff.

After review by key stakeholders, Edulog then finalized the proposed redistricting plan, which is available on the MGSD website (https://www.mgsd.k12.nc.us/about-us/mgsd-re-districting-information).

The map will be taken under consideration for 30 days before receiving a board vote at the December 13 meeting.

Marsh noted that the board would discuss the possibility of grandfathering students at that meeting.

Those with questions can contact the Central Office (704-658-2530).

SAFETY GRANT

Assistant Superintendent Auxiliary Services Scott Smith announced the district has been awarded an $858,000 safety grant, in addition to the $350,000 grant received last year.

The district will use will use the new grant funds to add a School Resource Officer, additional counseling services for students in crisis, school safety trainings, and school level safety equipment and security system updates.

Smith also stressed the ongoing need for bus drivers. He noted the district is conducting a transportation efficiency study through December, with a report expected in January.

LETRS TRAINING AND BONUSES

Finance Officer Angie Davis and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Quinetta Pratt presented a proposal for a Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training bonus payment of $200 per teacher per unit, for a total of eight units completed.

These eight units will be completed in increments of 2 units per semester, beginning in this fall and ending in the spring of 2024.

They also proposed a flat, one-time payment of $200 to teachers who chose the “fast track” option and for teachers who are in Unit 3 as of November 1. These teachers have completed each unit well in advance of the deadline and will serve as PLC leads and mentors to those still working through the units.

Most of the funding for the bonuses will come from state money designated for training staff in the science of reading; however, the district would need to commit $112,000 to fully fund the plan.

Marsh noted that the time teachers are devoting to the training is equivalent to a college course. She also praised the dedication of teacher assistants, who covered classes as their teachers attended training sessions, and hoped the district can find a way to recognize their efforts as well.

Pratt said that 97 percent of K-5 teachers were on track in completing their training, with 14 percent ahead of schedule. She said teachers have positive attitudes about the training and are collaborating in their professional learning communities to create classroom lessons to implement the training.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

♦ Chief Communications Officer Tanae McLean announced the awarding of $60,000 in state School Health Advisory Council funding to the district. She said the funds will be used to set up a calming classroom at each school for students experiencing stress or emotional crisis.

♦ Royal said construction of the Selma Burke Middle School is on schedule, with recent progress including exterior bricks being installed, baseball dugouts completed, concrete bleachers poured, and wells dug for geothermal systems.

The maintenance department is going on a walkthrough of the facility before walls are finished to understand the infrastructure in order to facilitate future upkeep and repairs.

♦ The board voted unanimously to accept the School Improvement Plan presented by Mooresville Middle School.

♦ The board watched a video explaining and demonstrating the Mooresville Intermediate School Connection Circles, an effort to help students build relationships and empathy with their classmates.

Recognitions
Sixth-grader Ramses Bustos Batista was recognized as Student of the Month by Superintendent Jason Gardner (left) and Board Vice Chair Gregory Whitfield (right).

♦ Mooresville Intermediate School sixth-grader Ramses Bustos Batista led the Pledge of Allegiance and was recognized as Student of the month. The nominating administrators said that “when Ramses enters a room, you can feel his energy. He is always positive, polite, and very vibrant. Ramses is always wearing a smile, willing to help, and asks you how you are doing.”

This S.A.V.E. Ambassador is a leader who puts himself out there and is willing to make new friends while also making others feel included. He was described as a hard-working student who wants to put his best effort forward in everything that he does.

“He genuinely cares about other people and is a positive role model for all those around him.”

Melanie Greenwell, was presented the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty recognition by Vice Chair Gregory Whitfield.

♦ Administrative Assistant Melanie Greenwell, nominated by the Mooresville High administrative team, received the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty recognition. They noted that “Melanie is always willing to do whatever she can to assist in the day-to-day operations of MHS.”

“She tackles all situations, both large and small, with professionalism, attentiveness, and care. Melanie is the right hand to all staff. She keeps our ship afloat every day. Her genuine spirit and kindness are passed on to all who enter MHS. She treats everyone with respect and has created an extremely positive work environment.”

Mooresville Intermediate School Bobcat Chorus was recognized as Artists of the Month.

♦ The board also recognized the Mooresville Intermediate School Bobcat Chorus, which performed two songs, as Artists of the Month.

Team Recognitions

The Board also recognized the following sports teams: 

The Mooresville Middle School softball team, which won the Tournament Championship.
The MMS girls tennis team, which was undefeated and won the conference championship.
The MMS boys tennis team, which was named Tri-Champions.
Tennis coaches Joy Miller and Angela Ketchie along with team manager Drew Milholland.

 

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