School Board Nominates Farren to Represent Region
By JOHN LENTZ
Moore County Board of Education Chairwoman Kathy Farren has been nominated to be the region's representative to the North Carolina School Board Association for the coming year.
Board member Laura Lang made the suggestion during Monday night's regular meeting of the school board, which unanimously approved the selection.
"We haven't had a regional representative from Moore County in a long time," Lang said. "Ms. Farren's business experience and her time on the board would make her a great nominee for Moore County and for the state of North Carolina."
Farren will be one of several regional candidates vying for the position with the state board. The position is determined by an election in November.
"I am honored that School Superintendent Spence asked you all to consider this," Farren said to her fellow board members after the nomination was announced. "It's important to have a presence and a voice in Raleigh."
Farren said that it has been "a decade or more" since Moore County had a representative on the state school board association.
"One can obviously learn a lot by being on a board like that, and it also presents an opportunity to give input on issues as they occur, rather than getting the information after the fact," she said. "Being in that position can only be good for the system and for the county."
If elected by the state board, Farren will attend four regular meetings per year and serve on two committees. She will be eligible to serve for two terms in office.
In other news, Student Services Coordinator Tina Kissell and Director of Exceptional Children Becky Benton made a presentation to the board on an intervention plan for at-risk students.
"The Literacy Task Force met four times last year to give input on ways to improve students' achievement," said Associate Superintendent for Instructional Design and Innovation Kathy Kennedy, who introduced Kissell and Benton. "Of course, more issues came up, and while talking with them we came up with the national Responsiveness to Instruction initiative with its three-tiered method of assisting students."
The team implemented a Personalized Education Plan (PEP) as the law requires.
"By law we must intervene when a student begins to struggle," Kennedy said. "The PEP serves as a safety net so that the student doesn't fail."
Kissell said that county officials act quickly if assistance appears to be needed.
"The good thing is that while the legislature says that this must be in place by the fourth grade, here at Moore County we take a more proactive approach with students at-risk. If a student needs intervention from the beginning, we are there to assist them."
According to the school system website, each school has a student support team composed of school staff and parents who "meet to gather resources and to develop strategies to help children succeed in the regular education classroom."
The teams develop a set of interventions, and if student growth is demonstrated, the intervention may be slightly modified but continued. If student growth is not shown, other interventions may be attempted over a period of time with outcome data being collected.
Benton said that diagnostic information on an at-risk student "starts with kindergarten."
"A child's behavior is looked at along with the academics," she said. "We look at the whole child if he or she is having behavioral problems."
Kennedy said that teachers communicating with other teachers is how the process begins.
"We try to catch the student as early as possible if there are problems," she said. "The goal is to dismiss the child from intervention when he or she begins performing at grade level."
Several board members remarked on the "smooth beginning" of the new school year during a comment period held as a part of the meeting.
"I volunteered this summer to assist school personnel in preparing for the new year, and I was amazed at how busy they were," said Lang. "There were a lot of 10-month employees who came in on their own time to help, and I want to say thanks to them and to the other staff members who worked hard toward getting everything ready."
Board member Charles Lambert agreed.
"I've watched students get off the bus in the morning, and they seemed really happy," he said. "It's a good opening."
Farren joked about the board's attempt to use their new iPads, which they had received just that morning.
"We've gone to iPads instead of computers, so if we look lost we are," she said to laughter from the audience. "But seriously, I think it's wonderful that we have a board that wants to learn and grow, one that doesn't expect only the students to do so."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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