As part of a busy monthly meeting Monday night, the Anson County Board of Education unanimously approved an abstinence education program for children in grades 4-6.
Administrator Mary Ratliff reported to the board that the school system had received a grant for the program, due to the county’s high number of teen pregnancies, teen births and children ages 0-17 in foster care.
The program, entitled “Why Try?,” encourages children and teaches them about consequences of their actions, Ratliff said.
“It’s not preaching to them, which is very important for this age group,” she added.
PE teachers will teach the “Why Try?” curriculum, starting Jan. 23. The teachers will incorporate 15-20 minutes of the curriculum into their existing health programs on a weekly basis. School nurses and guidance counselors will also be trained on the curriculum.
In other business at the Sept. 24 meeting, the board heard a presentation from Rotary Planetarium & Science Center director Wendy Efird. This is Efird’s third year as the director, and “we are growing by leaps and bounds,” she said. The planetarium regularly hosts students from Head Start, after-school programs, and even students from Montgomery and Stanly counties.
The board also heard a request from the Ombudsman program to implement a uniform policy. School board members Dr. George Truman, Carol Ann Gibson and Dr. Bobbie Little agreed to serve on a committee that will study the issue, and prepare a decision by the October meeting.
Superintendent Dr. Greg Firn presented the school board with a comprehensive engagement and communication plan, which he said outlines plans for next year. Dr. Firn also announced the 2012-13 Teacher of the Year, Christina Rose of Anson School, and Marty Godwin of Peachland-Polkton Elementary School, Principal of the Year.
Also in his monthly report to the board, Dr. Firn talked about a recent trip he took to Washington, D.C., where he met with Congressman Larry Kissell and the FCC. He shared that since 2008, Anson County Schools have gone from zero student laptops to more than 1,300, and this year students are using 350 iPads. Also, 90 percent of secondary classrooms are using interactive whiteboard systems, and 40 percent in elementary classrooms.
Firn also reported that Anson County students have made gains in the areas of student proficiency as well. Biology students’ proficiency has increased from 30 percent since 2008 to 70 percent in 2012, and fifth grade science proficiency has gone up from 27 to 55 percent in the same time period. In reading, proficiencies have increased from 38.4 to 65.9 percent in third grade, 40 to 70 percent in fourth grade, 40 to 64.9 percent in fifth grade and 41 to 71 percent in sixth grade. Anson’s high school graduation rate has also increased from 64.3 percent to 78.9 percent since 2008. In a follow-up to last month’s meeting,
Firn said that he has met with members of the Bearcat Booster Club and that group is well on its way to reinstating itself. After Howard McLean, executive director for teaching and learning, gave the monthly disciplinary report, board chair Lisa Davis voiced concerns at the number of kindergartners who have gotten Step 4s already this year. McLean explained that it was probably due to the students “being away from mama and daddy for the first time.” He added that if the number continued to be high over the next month, it will be a red flag and he’ll look into it.
The school board unanimously approved its consent agenda, which included the “Why Try?” program, as well as a contract with Camcor, Inc., to provide interactive whiteboards and Apple for laptops and iPads.
Dr. Firn also brought a Discovery Education proposal back to the board, and apologized several times for not being ready when he presented it to the board last month. School board members Daniel Wilson and Michael Livingston voted against it at last month’s meeting, but this time, the proposal passed unanimously, after the school board members had adequate time to review all the information.
The next meeting of the Anson County Board of Education will be held Oct. 29 at Anson High School.