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Rowan-Salisbury Schools new strategic plan sets five-year strategies for student academics, life goals

The Renewal 2027 Strategic plan has more than 40 strategies to support the district’s 18,000 students
Rowan Salisbury Schools' new strategic plan "Renewal 2027" has 13 goals to help more than 18,000 students.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 8:25 PM EST
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - The year 2027 may seem like a long time from now, but for the Rowan-Salisbury School district, leaders are already planning for it.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ new strategic plan “Renewal 2027″ has 13 goals and 42 strategies to help more than 18,000 students with their academic performance, interpersonal skills, and life goals.

“We seek to educate the whole child in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. We know what matters most is improving literacy and providing life-changing opportunities and outcomes for our students.” - Superintendent Dr. Tony B. Watlington, Sr.

“2027 will be a milestone but we will not wait certainly for 2027 to get this work done,” said Senior Communications Officer Tracey Lewis.

Part of that work includes addressing learning gaps caused by the onset of the pandemic and switch to remote learning in 2020.

Jessica Moscardini’s son is in the third grade. Her son was in the district’s remote academy last year but is learning in person every day this school year.

She says her son didn’t perform as well after the pandemic started in 2020.

“He’s taken hit academically I think all of the kids have,” Moscardini said.

Moscardini said he is steadily improving each day and she’s looking forward to how the strategic plan will support her child and thousands of other students.

Another goal in the strategic plan is identifying learning gaps and continuing summer educational programs for students.

RSS is also doubling down on staff retention and diversifying its teaching staff with a focus on hiring more Latino employees.

“We want to make sure that our teaching staff and our instructional staff is reflective of the students in our schools,” Lewis said.

Standardized tests aren’t going anywhere - But RSS leaders say test scores shouldn’t limit a students’ advancement. Staff is focusing on teaching with depth versus breadth in an effort to help students retain the material. This district is also piloting new competency assessments.

“We are looking at how students are mastering the standards and whenever that happens why can’t the student move on,” Lewis said.

Moscardini says her child doesn’t do as well on standardized testing, and she’s grateful the district is using new measures.

“I love that the renewal program makes space for acknowledging that he has gifts that are not measured by standardized testing.”

The strategic plan also focuses on decreasing the achievement gap between white students and students of color.

“We will be actively pursuing strategies in order to help decrease any learning or opportunity gaps that may exist,” Lewis said.

When it comes to life after graduation, RSS is helping students identify their passions and goals to succeed in college, the military, or the workforce.

To read more about the Strategic Plan and see each individual goal, click here.

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