Return to Headlines

Board of Education Recommits to Student Achievement

The Johnston County Board of Education held a day-long retreat on April 17 to review the district's current achievement status and hear plans for achieving the district’s goal of 100% of its schools earning a school letter grade of A, B, or C by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.

During the meeting, the following topics were addressed: learning loss during the pandemic, summer learning goals and expectations; the Board’s roles and responsibilities associated with achieving the district’s goal; and moving toward the tangible, non-negotiable goal of no grades lower than a C in three years.

“Johnston County Public Schools supports a district-wide culture where all instructional staff analyze student data, reflect on their practice, collaborate with their peers, and incorporate best-practice teaching strategies to ensure high levels of learning and increased student achievement for all students,” said Dr. Eric Bracy, Superintendent. “Our Board’s support and involvement in this endeavor are key to our success.”

To increase and foster the Board’s understanding of how to support the district and schools, the district’s School Improvement and Accountability leadership team from the Curriculum, Instruction, and Accountability department led a guided practice session on the components critical to the development of high-quality districts and schools.

The district’s Differentiated Plan of Support was also explained so that Board members would have an understanding of the systematic process for identifying, addressing, and supporting the unique continuous improvement needs of all schools.

Given this information, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Nicholas King then shared plans for how an effective curriculum, instruction, and accountability department will be created in order to implement and execute the plan toward school improvement. He noted that a department capable of delivering programmatic support that positions the district for success requires particular components.

He then shared the five pillars of a successful curriculum and instruction department:

  • Intentional development of a quality instructional program
  • Identifying and providing appropriate instructional resources
  • Quality Assessments
  • Impactful Professional Development
  • Strategic Budgetary Alignment

Dr. King emphasized that a quality instructional program is aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study; promotes and supports evidence-based instructional strategies; and demonstrates fidelity and consistency across schools.

According to the district’s area superintendents, because curriculum and instruction are the priority, a coordinated effort and regular, purpose-driven communication is necessary to make progress toward achievement. From Learning Walks to focused professional development, the tactics associated with achieving this goal have been intentionally designed to reach the 2023-2024 goal.

“We are all on the same page,” said Tonya Leathers, Area Assistant Superintendent for High Schools.

Board members discussed parent contracts to commit to the shared responsibility of ensuring student achievement and school improvement.

“We’re all in this together,” said Kay Carroll, Board member.

Todd Sutton, Johnston County Board of Education Chairman, added, “It is necessary that we continue the work intentionally and collaboratively. This Board is committed to that because we are just as accountable to our students' achievement as those in the trenches of teaching and learning. We all have to own this responsibility.”

Other reports given during the retreat were bus driver pay updates, step increase considerations for classified staff, and the state’s decision to cease the installment pay option, presented by Chief Finance Officer Stephen Britt. A human resources update was given by Chief of Human Resources Brian Vetrano.

Area Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Pearce gave an overview of legislative actions affecting the district, and the Board tabled its review of Board operations policies.

In a personnel action, the Board also approved Caitlin Furr as Executive Director of Communication, effective April 19.

You can find the full agenda from the Board’s retreat by visiting the JCPS website.