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Superintendent Shares Plan for Future of GCS
One-to-one computing and more individualized learning will become a reality for thousands of Guilford County Schools (GCS) students in the next four years, Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green announced Thursday during the annual State of Our Schools event. The district plans to expand its technology initiative to provide educational tablet devices to all students in GCS as funding becomes available.
The technology initiative would extend the Personalized Achievement, Curriculum and Environment (PACE) project, which will provide tablets to all middle school students beginning next school year. That project, which was announced in December, is funded by a $30 million federal Race to the Top-District grant. Another $5.2 million will fund supporting projects, including the district's African-American Male Initiative, an online middle school program and Guilford Parent Academy.
"The only way to truly serve each of our 72,000-plus students is to give them every opportunity to develop to their full potential, regardless of what grade they are in or what school they attend," Green said. "The 2016 Strategic Plan strengthens our mission to ensure that all students are prepared for college or the career of their choice."
On Thursday, Green revealed details of the district's 2016 Strategic Plan, called "Achieving Educational Excellence: Personalizing Learning," which focuses on four areas: Personalized Learning (Area I); Character, Service and Safety (Area II); Parent, Family and Community (Area III) and Educator and Organizational Excellence (Area IV).
Highlights of the plan include:
- Greater emphasis on virtual learning
- Increased arts integration
- A strengthened focus on cultural relevance and unbiased learning
- Accelerated school reform and a focus on equity throughout the plan
- Increased character development opportunities and recognition programs
- More emphasis on the social and emotional well-being of students
- Strengthened school safety and security
- Additional digital and broadcast content for parents through Guilford Parent Academy
- A greater focus on communications, service and responsiveness
- A new Parent Academy on the Go program that will reach more businesses and community groups
- Adopting a national model for excellence as an organization
- Increasing operational efficiency by applying proven business strategies
The 2016 Strategic Plan was developed with the input of more than 2,600 staff and community members through more than 50 input sessions, as well as online surveys or polls.
Superintendent Green also updated the public on the status of the 2012 Strategic Plan. As of September 2012, 82 of 98 strategies set out in that plan, or 84 percent, were launched or completed. Fifteen strategies were placed on hold, mainly because of budget issues.
With the help of students from Murphey Traditional Academy, Green shared the results of the district's Three Million Books campaign, a continuation of the One Million Books effort that began in 2010. In the past year, GCS students have read 3,324,054 books, topping last year's achievement of reading 2.6 million books in one year.
Students from Gibsonville Elementary and media specialists from across the district took the stage to share the grand total of 7,913,454 books read during the past three years.
WFMY has been a key partner in the Three Million Books campaign through its Read 2 Succeed program, in which the Good Morning Show team visited GCS elementary schools to get students excited about reading. Larry Audas, president and general manager of WFMY, announced that a special commercial celebrating the success of Three Million Books will air during halftime of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will remain a focus for the district. On Thursday night, nearly 75 students from 10 schools filled the stage at the Carolina Theatre in recognition of the many STEM projects and programs GCS offers. Scott Maxwell, a North Carolina native who drives the Mars Exploration Rover for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gave a special video message challenging GCS students to reach for the stars.
Green announced Thursday that The STEM Early College at N.C. A&T had reached its $1 million fundraising goal, thanks to the support of 20 area businesses and groups. He also shared the news that a $1 million donation from the Ellison Foundation will support the new advantage model middle school, which will open in August 2013.
The superintendent saluted Pearce Elementary and the entire school district for being selected earlier this week as winners of the United Way of North Carolina Spirit of North Carolina Awards for Campaign Excellence. GCS was named United Way's top school district in the state, and Pearce was selected as the top individual school in North Carolina.
"As we personalize learning K-12, GCS will continue its quest for excellence in academics, character development/service learning and all that we do, and we will hold ourselves accountable to national standards of excellence," writes Green in the plan. The State of Our Schools event is funded by private donations and without the use of taxpayer dollars.