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‘It’s about the whole child:’ Iredell-Statesville Schools staff, parent discuss 2025 Strategic Plan

STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) – Improving student outcomes and coordinating teacher development isn’t an overnight process.

Iredell-Stateville School’s 2025 Strategic Plan isn’t a new document, but it’s still very relevant, just ask the parents of the district’s more than 20,000 students.

The 2025 plan was written in 2019 and published in 2020. It has three focus areas:

Focus Area I: Eliminate Opportunity Gaps

Focus Area II: Improve School and District Performance

Focus Area III: Increase Educator Preparedness to Meet the Needs of Every Child

The multi-page document also includes 19 specific goals ranging from improving test scores, nutrition, transportation efficiency, decreasing turnover, and having professional learning support for teachers.

Boen Nutting is the district’s Chief of Strategic Planning and Student Services, she says each individual goal serves a greater purpose in supporting each child’s full development.

“It’s about the whole child,” Nutting said.

Each goal is divided into one, three, and five-year progress points with specific data, they would like to achieve. Nutting says the pandemic threw a wrench in measuring some of their data points, but the district has a dedicated team that measures each goal and they’re constantly working to get back on track.

“We’ve got 19 people that are champions for each goal, in other words, everybody’s got a little piece that they’re in charge of and they’re very knowledgeable about it, and we talk about it every week. Every week we go back and talk about these 19 goals and that’s a continual thing throughout the year,” Nutting said.

Stephanie Kendricks has five kids in the district ranging from kindergarten to eleventh grade. she’s already seen some of the goals to support her children de ella since it launched in 2020.

“One of my kids that’s in I-SS receives services, she’s autistic, so they’ve really been trying to involve the counselors more because if your kid is struggling on that level, then their studies are going to struggle also,” Kendricks said .

There are multiple goals in the plan with a focus on improving end-of-grade performance with the help of different curriculum guides, programs, content coaches, and other assessments. The district is specifically focusing on improving performance for third-grade reading, high school English II and biology, fifth and eighth-grade science EOGs, third through eighth-grade Math and English Language Arts EOGs, and Math proficiency for certain subgroups including English Learners , students with disabilities, Black, and Hispanic students.

For example, by 2025, the district is planning for the percentage of students in EOG and EOC subgroups proficient in Math shall meet or exceed 40%.

The plan also has goals for increasing the number of equity-focused resources for educators, mentorship and coaching for new educators and boosting certified and classified staff attendance. For example, the district wants the percentage of certified or classified attendance to meet or exceed 97% by 2025.

“Not only are we wanting to make sure that we train our teachers that we have well, we’re also all about attracting and retaining new people to the profession,” Nutting said.

Kendricks says teachers won’t stay unless they get paid more, something she says the state and the district need to collaborate on.

“If we don’t give them the tools to make the decisions then I don’t know how they expect things to progress.”

Aside from test scores – the district has plans to increase participation in school nutrition, increase fitness participation, and have school-based mental health contacts.

“You can’t accomplish anything when you’re hungry. The same thing goes with the mental health issue, if you have other things that are weighing on you, you’re not going to be focused on algebra.”

In addition, the Strategic Plan includes improving transportation efficiency and increasing the number of students participating in the school nutrition program. For example, by 2025 the district is planning for 60% school breakfast and 85% school lunch participation as well as meeting or exceeding 90% transportation efficiency by 2025.

The district also has measurable goals supporting community partnerships with non-profit, for-profit, and faith-based organizations, the district intends to do this by having annual gatherings.

“We have to make a concerted and systematic effort to build those relationships and foster those relationships and continue them,” Nutting said.

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