ESL teachers earn accolades

Students achieve objectives
Feb. 07, 2014 @ 04:23 PM

The Feb. 4 meeting of Thomasville City School Board was an opportunity to showcase excellence in the school system.

Standing beneath a banner that read “Excellence is the standard,” Paula Gaylord, Director of ESL commended English as Second Language teachers and assistants on student success. Results released in January revealed that students achieved annual measurable objectives.

In a district of 2,454 students, TCS serves 318 who are designated as Limited English Proficient (LEP).

“The results show true collaboration between the ESL and the core teachers,” Gaylord said. “We are doing more co-teaching and co-planning. This is a measure of our success in teaching language skills to LEP students in our district.”

At the Feb. 4 meeting of the Thomasville Board of Education, Superintendent

Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin announced and congratulated the VITAL Award winners for February — Susan Loflin of Thomasville Primary School and Sandra Wold of Liberty Drive Elementary.

Matthew Pugh of Thomasville Middle School gave a report on Bulldog Academy, an alternative learning setting for middle school students. Currently the program serves seven students.

"Our goal is to intervene and modify behavior problems that prevent a student from being successful in the traditional setting," he said. "Bulldog Academy is a partnership. It's not punitive, but instead it's an opportunity for these kids.

"We want to modify behavior and keep children on task and on schedule to graduate with their peers.

Dr. Barbara Armstrong reported on progress in a proposed timeline for the district’s compliance with Senate Bill 402 which specifies that 25 percent of the district’s teachers will surrender their contracts in exchange for bonuses.

About 30 teachers in the district will be affected.

A committee has recommended a potential list of teachers who will be eligible to receive the bonuses in exchange for their contracts. Teachers with scores below proficient, have had interventions or excessive absences without documentation will not be offered the bonus.

The board opted to table a decision on policies that would apply to service animals in classrooms and on field trips.

Pitre-Martin rolled out a new strategic plan for the school system.

“If we see things that are not going right, then it is incumbent upon us to make mid-course corrections,” said Pitre-Martin.

“We are headed in the direction of being above the state average in all assessments,” she said. “We also want to see increases in all of our ACT scores. With the new strategic plan, we are going to have a laser-like focus as we do fewer things well.”

The new district strategic plan covers the next four years, with re-evaluation planned after two years.

“We were in the third year of the other strategic plan,” said Board Chairwoman Crystal Hodges. “When Dr. Pitre-Martin came on board, her philosophy is to pick fewer things and do them very, very well. We’re going to take this two years at a time so that it’s not set in concrete.

“We are headed in the direction of being above the state average in all assessments,” she said. “We also want to see increases in all of our ACT scores. With the new strategic plan, we are going to have a laser-like focus as we do fewer things well.”

Goals of the new strategic plan will be posted on the district’s website  www.tcs.k12.nc.us/.