Just the Facts

Education strategies, goals presented at school board

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Henrietta Haithcock

Three five-year pathways for strategies and goals in the Macon County School System were the main focus of a presentation by Mickey Noe, chief academic officer-federal program director, at the March 26 Macon County Board of Education meeting. A main takeaway: diverse educational planning will strategically involve the community and expand new visions for future student success stories.

Strategic planning for programs in reading and math as well as ESL (English as a Second Language) and teacher support were specifically identified in Noe’s report. Reading programs advised were CKLA (Core Knowledge Language Arts) and LETRS (Language Essential for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). The math program proposed is called Envisions. Each of these programs are funded by ESS (Educational Support System). The plan is for a leadership team to utilize these programs to help ensure future positive growth in each Macon County school. 

Teacher support was also an important aspect of Noe’s report. He noted that leadership teams would be encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions to strengthen support. 

MICKEY NOE, Macon County’s chief academic officer, reported on the county’s strategic planning for programs in reading and math.

“Focusing on the retention of highly qualified teachers and support opportunities for our teachers is essentially crucial,” said Noe, who also pointed out that creating a support system for teachers is an extended future goal for new and veteran teachers. Providing opportunities to share concerns and solve difficult issues in the Macon County School System is the main objective. 

“Problem-solving involves open discussions on issues such as classroom needs, available classroom resources, and how to solve problems that may emerge,” he said.

Noe, a career educator and former principal of Franklin High School, also shared goals to focus on the support of ESL [English as a Second Language] students or students with language barriers.

“ESL tutoring is the initiative that will become an ever-increasing challenge for the future needs of our students,” he said. “In order to serve the non-English-speaking students, a sustainable program needs to be advanced and implemented with the help of the central office, the leadership team, and teachers.”

A current example of this support is the constructive volunteer work being taken on by 28 Macon Early College students. 

“These bilingual students are traveling to elementary schools all over the county to support and tutor other Spanish-speaking students during their school day,” said Noe. “These students can benefit from their volunteer time on a variety of educational and emotional levels. The educational, emotional, physical, and social growth and wellbeing of our students will have the support of a wide-range of tutors and volunteers.”

Another goal cited was the implementation of programs that will utilize resources from tutors and volunteers to help at-risk students. Needs exist in such categories as clothing, food, sports equipment, and expenses a family may need depending on circumstances. The goal envisioned is a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for families in need.

Additionally, Noe commented at the March meeting, “Our largest challenge in the future is supporting students with mental health concerns. As a school system, it is extremely important for us to provide support to all students in our county. We want to provide a well-rounded education and give all students the career and technology classes – arts, culinary, music, P.E., welding, and more that they choose. These types of classes provide built-in therapy for positive mental health.”

Finally, Summer Camp Programs will be increased with an aim to add additional learning and hands-on activities to expand children’s experiences beyond the classroom scenario of the regular school year. A safe learning and play environment will be provided during summer sessions.

“This school system cares about the welfare of all its students. The teachers, administration, central office, and school board work together collectively to provide support, love, and safety to the students in Macon County,” Noe concluded.

Haithcock is a children’s book author. She wrote “The Secret Life of Mr. Brownie” and contributed to the latest edition of the locally published Suminski Family Books’ Animal Stories series. She shares this story as a read-aloud for families this Christmas.