School board approves Restart Model for 4 elementary schools

School board approves Restart Model for 4 elementary schools
April 04
00:00 2019

Last week members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board approved a motion to adopt the Restart Model at Ashley Global Academy, Forest Park Elementary, Kimberley Park Elementary, and Hall-Woodward Elementary.

For the past two years, districts across the state have used turnaround models to help improve low-performing schools to meet growth expectations. Schools are eligible for turnaround if they have been on the recurring low performing schools (LPS) list for more than three years and have been identified by the N.C. Innovative School District for state takeover.

During the school board meeting on Tuesday, March 26, WS/FCS Dr. Karen Roseboro made a presentation to the board detailing how the Restart Model will be implemented at Ashley, Forest Park, Kimberley Park and Hall-Woodward. The Restart Model allows recurring low-performing schools to adopt “charter school-like flexibilities.” Under the model, regulations permit schools to extend the school day, use funds in ways not designated by the state, and hire teachers for positions other than those for which they are licensed, and more.

The Restart Model made its debut in the local school district in 2016 when Cook Elementary (now Cook Literacy Model School) was tagged as one of the lowest performing schools in the state and decided to use the model for turnaround. Under the leadership of principal Dr. Paula Wilkins, Cook underwent a total instructional overhaul that included changes to the staff and teaching models. Since adopting the literacy model, Cook has made great strides to turn things around by meeting and exceeding growth expectations.

Before discussing the implementation of the Restart Model at Ashley, Forest Park, Kimberley Park and Hall-Woodward, WS/FCS instructional superintendent Dr. Karen Roseboro said the Restart Model will allow schools to sustain growth and maximize the use of funds.

“Restart allows us to make sure our schools have the opportunity to reform themselves and to sustain growth opportunities under an innovative model,” said Roseboro. “… We are asking for the opportunity to do this so that we may have opportunities to extend the school day, maximize the use of state, local and federal dollars.”

According to Roseboro, the current schools being considered for Restart all received a school performance grade of 38 or less. All four schools have also received federal and state “low-performing” designations.

Although each of the schools are looking to adopt the Restart Model, representatives from each school made recommendations on what the program will look like at their school. For example, Ashley is looking for personnel flexibility with teacher workday requirements, additional work staff, and flexibility to include Spanish assessments, just to name a few. Forest Park’s recommendations include alternative assessment measures, calendar flexibility including extending the school day, classroom size allowances, and “experiential field trips to enhance curriculum.”

Hall-Woodward Elementary is asking for a year-round calendar, an alternative testing calendar to include retesting for third, fourth, and fifth graders, as well as flexibility on curriculum to include subjects and topics that are vetted properly, but not on the state’s textbook adoption list. Kimberly Park is also asking for a year-round calendar and alternative testing for students in grades 3-5. The staff at Kimberly has also requested additional special activities and flexibility within teacher licensure requirements.

When discussing the timeline for the Restart Models for the schools, Roseboro said later this month they will submit the Restart Application for approval. For about a year district staff will engage with community stakeholders and visit other schools that have adopted the Restart Model. Ashley, Forest Park, Kimberley Park, and Hall-Woodward are expected to begin the Restart Model between August 2020 and June 2021.

For more information on the Restart Models and a complete list of what each school is asking for, visit the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools website.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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