BY DEBBIE PAGE

The Mooresville Graded School District Board of Education honored 18 retirees on Tuesday night with a special dinner followed by presentation of inscribed crystal vases as a memento of their years of service to MGSD.

Superintendent Jason Gardner said the group of retirees represented more 500 years of educating the community’s children.

Those honored included Julie Blocker (25 years), Jeffrey Burchett (30 years), Kim Cline (31 years), Susie Harkey (28 years), Charles Hopkins (28.5 state, 22.5 MGSD), Ginger Huffstickler (29 state, 25 MGSD), Shelly Laska (28 years), Maureen Laury (20 state, 17 MGSD), David Martin (29 years), Lynn Mauney (29 state, 23.5 MGSD), Bart Mayes (30 state, 7 MGSD), Amelia McComas (30 state, 19 MGSD), LaFreida McCorkle (26 years), Robin Nussman (22 years), Paul Seidel, Jr. (13 years), Stephen Tate (24 years), Penny Tucker (29 years), and Margaret “Remel” Waters (30 state, 22 MGSD).

Gardner thanked these teachers and staff for their hard work and years of service to the district.

TESTING AND FUNDING

Superintendent Gardner also stressed that although the testing season is underway, it is important to remember that one test on one day does not define the work, accomplishment, growth, and development that students experienced during the school year.

“Test scores are something that we look at, and we evaluate them on a yearly basis, but they are not the complete picture of the amazing things that occur during an academic year,” he said.

Gardner noted that the state recently announced a $1 billion surplus, and he encouraged community members to advocate for those dollars be used for public education.

STUDENTS OF THE MONTH

Park View Elementary School kindergarten students Armoni Knox Scott and Noah Kennerly were nominated by Mrs. Armendaria and the administration team as Students of The Month. The best friends led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The nominators said: “Armoni and Noah are Super Patriots! They model our four school-wide expectations every day. They are always safe, kind, responsible, and respectful.”

“Noah and Armoni have a special friendship that started on day one of kindergarten. Noah uses crutches to get around, and although he is very independent, he sometimes needs help carrying things or moving things from one place to another. Armoni recognized this struggle and immediately took on the role of helping Noah around the classroom.”

“When we get our iPads out, Armoni gets his and Noah’s from the cart. Armoni gets his and Noah’s books from the cubbies when we carry our books to the library. Noah is always appreciative of the help he gets from his good buddy.”

“During the Pledge of Allegiance, Armoni always places one of his hands over Noah’s heart so Noah can hold on to his crutches for stability. Their friendship has been a model of kindness and compassion for the whole class!”

ARTIST OF THE MONTH

Park View first-grader Eliza Grieshaber was nominated by Lesly Rendon as MGSD Artist of the Month.

Rendon said that throughout the year, Eliza has been “creating quality art projects and leading by example. She always comes in with a positive attitude and work ethic and has made some beautiful artwork this year.”

From September 15 through October 15, first-grade students celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month, learning about Huipils and creating their very own representations of a Huipil.

A Huipil is the traditional garment worn by indigenous women from Mexico and other parts of Central America. The loose-fitting tunic is made from two or three rectangular pieces of fabric. Lace, embroidery and ribbons often decorate the garment.

“Eliza used a variety of different colored pieces of construction paper to create her Huipil. She used her learned knowledge of different shapes, lines, and colors as she cut and glued them on to her Huipil to create rhythm, repetition, balance, and unity. She added lines to create texture for thread and button designs. Lastly, she placed matching colored yarn in a pattern to create fringes to her Huipil.

“Eliza created a beautiful representation of a Huipil, and I am very proud of her artistic accomplishments this year,” said Rendon.

ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY AWARD

Park View Instructional Assistant Melissa Lane was nominated by Park View Administrative Team members Dr. Misha Rogers and Mrs. Jen Marshall for the “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” award because she is “an outstanding instructional assistant . . . who demonstrates leadership and passion for education at our school.”

“Mrs. Lane has taken the lead in creating our Instructional Assistant duty schedule to ensure a fair rotation and coverage for our morning duties.”

“This year, she also has taken on our STEM rotation and club for the last three quarters. Our students love their time in STEM. She plans exciting activities that challenge them to explore, create, and work together after they learn about a topic.”

She also checks in on classroom teachers to offer support during her available time and ensures students are always her priority.

“She does an excellent job of building relationships with all students and takes a genuine interest in them. If something of need arises, Mrs. Lane does not hesitate to assist in providing support or teaming up with the school counselor, teacher, or administrators to ensure they have what they need.”

Lane is in school to become a media specialist and has spent time working with the PVES media specialist on special projects.

PVES SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN SPOTLIGHT

Dr. Rogers and first-grade teacher Jessy DeFransico presented the PVES School Improvement Plan, which focused on improving reading skills.

One goal was to increase first-grade students’ proficiency of Nonsense Word Fluency – Correct Letter Sound (NWF-CLS) from 49 percent on benchmark at the beginning of 2023 to 80 percent by this month’s end-of-year test. The school tested 148 students, with 111 recently scoring proficient.

The staff implemented the University of Florida Literacy Institute Foundations (UFLI) Phonics Curriculum and utilized weekly UFLI assessment data to drive teacher instruction and small group student learning. The team’s strategy was specific and targeted with its instructional strategies.

When using the UFLI strategy, students manipulate letters on trays to create a word and then add and remove letters to create new words as they sound each out, talk about their strategies to change the words, and discuss the meaning of the words they create.

Teachers created a football field-style data bulletin board to show each classroom’s students progress in NWF-CLS, with those meeting the goal reaching the touchdown position on the field. The goal for kindergarteners was to raise from goals 57 to 82 percent and for second graders from 50 percent to 76 percent.

The teachers had team meetings to discuss students who were struggling and to come up with new strategies to help them succeed.

CTE YEAR IN REVIEW

The MGSD board heard with an initial draft of the 2024-2026 CTE local plan and expected budgets, as well as a review of key initiatives from the 2023-2024 academic year. Annual board approval is required of the plan.

Career Development Coordinator Kevin Wilson said that 2023-2024 fall and spring advisory meetings for automotive and career bridge advisory were held to get employer and professional input into CTE programs.

Over 1,000 students participated in 22 CTE field trips this year in grades 6-12, including a mix of college and university tours, industry visits and site tours, ZMax Raceway, NC Zoo, and Career on Wheels.

MGSD also had a career fair in April with 33 businesses talking with all juniors and seniors about different career paths..

Nineteen students had fall internships, with 42 this spring and 10 upcoming this summer. One student will have an with Apprenticeship 2000, with two apprenticing at Mooresville Ford this summer.

The district also gave work-based learning and career and college promise classroom presentations to all 10th-grade students.

All middle school CTE classrooms had career exploration activities prior to registration in March. MHS students had Major Clarity advisory lessons to begin their interest inventories and career development plans.

The number of students earning career credentials continues to rise. In 2021-2022, 22.8 students had credential attainment, which increased to 58.5 percent. The 2023 MHS credential was up 38 percent and ranked third highest out of the ten districts in the Southwest Region of NC.

Professional credentials earned by students this year includes Adobe Photoshop (19), Adobe Premiere Pro (11), ANSI Food Handler (144), ANSI Food Manager (27), ASE Entry Level Brakes (8), ASE Entry Level Maintenance & Light Repair (8), ASE Electronic Electrical Repair (12), Autodesk AutoCAD (22), CFR 14 Part 107 UAS Remote Pilot (14), CPR/AED/First Aid ECE1 (19), Certified Production Tech (CPT) Maintenance (7), Certified Production Tech (CPT) Safety (8), Entrepreneurship and Small Business (19), FAA Trust (13), First Aid HS1 (95), NIMS Measurement materials (17), NCCER Electrical (8), NCCER HVAC (8), OSHA 10 General Industry (8), S/P2 Auto Pollution Prevention (74), S/P2 Auto Service Safety (75), Stop the Bleed (BLS) & CPR HS2 (8), and Venture Entrepreneurship (45).

UPCOMING CTE CAMPS

Summer Career Accelerator Camps 2024 will be at Mooresville Middle School over 3.5 weeks. In weeks 1, 2, and 3, CTE Career camps, offered for students in grades 6-9, will help students explore careers in four class rotations using hands-on activities. Currently, 113 students are registered.

During the fourth week of camps, Mooresville High students will have the opportunity go on summer tours at the Mooresville Police Department, Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, Ameritech, and Roush-Yates Racing. Currently, 18 students are registered.

CTE COMPREHENSIVE LOCAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT

The district is also helping conduct a Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment to determine where the CTE program stands today. The process is an evaluation of performance, labor market alignment, size, scope and quality, career pathways, recruitment, retention and training of CTE staff, and equal access.

Several collaborative meetings were held to compile the CLNA rankings. A November meeting at Mitchell Community College gathered Mooresville and Iredell-Statesville Schools representatives and community stakeholders. The stakeholders completed a gallery walk where they answered the suggested questions in the CLNA guide.

In October, Iredell-Statesville Schools hosted a meeting with MGSD, the Iredell Economic Development Council, and community stakeholder to review CTE courses offered in middle and high schools. Feedback for future course offerings and potential partnerships was gathered from the group.

In February, Iredell-Statesville Schools hosted another meeting wit MGSD and Iredell County business leaders to hear a presentation from Apprenticeship NC about how to establish thriving apprenticeship opportunities.

2024-2026 CTE PLAN

New in CTE is the MHS CTE Student Advisory Board, featuring 12 students representing all grade levels who meet four times per year during advisory time to give the CTE program their suggestions and feedback.

New CTE courses next year include 3D Modeling and Animation, Biomedical Technology, Drone Technology 2, Financial Planning 1, and Python Programming 2.

New equipment purchases include a CNC router for carpentry and engineering, new desktop computers for 3D modeling, a flight simulator for drone tech, and real care babies and 3D printers for middle school.

CTE focus areas 2024-2025 include:

● Increase credential attainment and proficiency on all CTE proofs of learning.

● Create new articulation agreements and pathway alignment charts with Mitchell Community College.

● Introduce all students in grades 6-12 and their parents to Major Clarity.

● Collaborate with implementation of Career Development Plans.

● Implement career awareness activities in fifth grade.

● Expand opportunities for students, parents, and teachers for industry tours and visits.

● Centralize work-based learning opportunities for all students.

● Increase student involvement in career and technical organizations geared toward students.

Wilson reported to the board that the months of employment for CTE teachers provided by the state is expected to remain at 319 with state funds (PRC014) estimated at $105,377 and the federal PRC017 fund allotment at $82,354.

The board will vote on the 2024-2026 CTE plan at its June meeting.

Boards member Kerry Pennell liked the focus on Major Clarity in middle school to help students plan their high school courses and career plans. Many parents do not understand CTE opportunities and how those can lead to career opportunities.

Board member Rakeem Brawley noted that parents have a lot of questions about what is next for their children and said CTE gives them exposure to opportunities outside of college. Exposing them to CTE in middle school helps them choose pathways.

Board member Monica Bender said that college is not always the end result for students, and the program gives them ideas to consider for their future. Her daughter took a class, got two certifications and is now considering this area as a career path. She hopes more students will take advantage of CTE opportunities.

Board chair Greg Whitfield is glad the CTE program is continuing to expand. Providing much-needed mentor opportunities and exposures to local business and industry is important so students can see what’s out there.

PROPOSED CODE OF CONDUCT REVISIONS FOR 2024-2025

MGSD board policies regarding student discipline are collected into the MGSD Student Code of Conduct, which informs students of behavior expected, conduct that may subject them to discipline, and the range of disciplinary measures that may be used by school officials. School and district-level leadership annually distribute an updated code of conduct to students and parents.

MGSD leadership, under the leadership of Director of Safety Mark Reddick, has worked to revise the Student Code of Conduct to ensure full alignment with current policies and practices. The goal is to continue this annual review and bring any revisions to the board for information and feedback each year.

Some revisions to the 2024-2025 Code of Conduct include the addition of NC Parents Bill of Rights and the removal of a Saturday School and the alternative suspension program removed as discipline measures.

OTHER BUSINESS

Officials also added vaping devices to Rule 21, which governs narcotics, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, chemicals, and drug paraphernalia. Vaping products are also considered paraphernalia and are prohibited. Such devices will be confiscated by school administrators.

Another change is that in cases of violations of the N.C. General Statutes such as a drug offense, an assault, weapons possession, or other violations, law enforcement will be contacted and the student will be referred to Juvenile Justice for court action. Prior language stated the student “may” be referred.

Use of mechanical restraints by SROs and law enforcement will now be allowed in accordance with Mooresville Police Department’s policy and procedures.

The integrity policy has the following addition: “Students shall not utilize AI (Artificial Intelligence) software in a manner that is not approved by their teacher.”

For physical assault with physical injury (or attempt to cause injury), the consequence is changed from 3 to 10 days OSS to 10 days OSS. Stealing or destruction of property consequences are 1 to 10 days for elementary students and set at 10 days at the middle and high school levels.

Possession of a dangerous weapon (excluding firearms) is 10 days OSS and recommendation for long-term suspension instead of “possible” recommendation.

For a bomb threat, consequences are the addition of 1 day OSS and to up 10 days OSS and possible long-term suspension at the elementary level and a full 10 days (not up to 10) of OSS with possible recommendation for long-term suspension and an added possibility for expulsion.

Also recommended is the addition of a “Recommended Use of Police Canines on School Property” section. This would allow the principal or his/her designee to request a law enforcement agency to use a drug- or explosives-detection canine whenever a reasonable suspicion to conduct a search on school property exists.

The board will give feedback before Student Code of Conduct revision is finalized.

Marsh said that it may also be time to address phones in schools, as other districts have done and earned better test scores. Gardner said administrators are discussing the phone issue and will share some plans on that issue in coming months.

BUDGET ITEMS

The MGSD Board of Education approved leaving the current supplemental school tax rate at 15.5 cents per $100 valuation for next year.

The board also approved a number of budget amendments to help close out the system’s 2023-202 budget. Director of Finance Angie Davis said that the district is still receiving some funds and will need more amendments to spend the funds before the June 30 deadline.

RESURFACING MOORESVILLE MIDDLE TRACK/COURTS

This fall, MGSD was awarded $1.5 million in state athletic grant funding, with the help of NC Sen. Vickie Sawyer and Rep. Grey Mills, for updates to athletic facilities and equipment. One of the top identified priorities for this funding is to resurface the Mooresville Middle School track and tennis courts.

The board approved the administration’s request to use some of the money to resurface the MMS track, at a cost of $198,320, and the MMS tennis courts, at a cost of $280,470. The total cost of the project will be $478,790, excluding tax.

The project cost has been secured through a formal competitive bid process following state procurement guidelines. The state athletic grant funds will cover 100 percent of the costs.

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