Harris’ improvement plan approved

SPRUCE PINE – The Mitchell County Board of Education at its regular meeting this past week at Harris Middle School unanimously adopted the Harris school improvement plan, discussed participating in training webinars and approved the summer school plan.

Harris Principal Michael Tountasakis summarized his school’s improvement plan for the board.

He said the plan, which he developed with the help of his school improvement team, is 41 pages long.

“We already know we have a good school,” he said. “The question is how do we go from good to great. We know there are ways to get better.”

Tountasakis said the school plans to focus on multi-tiered systems of support, identifying individual needs and using data to drive changes.

“We are trying to define who we are by what we do,” Tountasakis said. “We believe things we do should be based on evidence.”

Tountasakis said safety continues to be a primary concern.

“I’ve lost more sleep over safety this year than I ever have,” he said.

Tountasakis told the board Harris needs a third exceptional children teacher, an on-site counselor, an on-site resource officer, an on-site nurse and full-year elective teachers.

“There are things I don’t do especially well here,” Tountasakis said. “It’s mainly because I don’t have the time.”

Superintendent Chad Calhoun and the board began discussing requests to present to the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners in May.

Calhoun said a letter of requests will be drafted and sent in April before the meeting and presentation.

Board member Sherry Bell praised Tountasakis for his in-depth plan.

“Thank you for all the work you do,” Bell said. “I love multi-tiered support systems of support. I think it’s the framework for everything. I think data should drive changes.”

Board Chair Angie Burleson said there are school board training webinars April 24 and May 8.

The board expressed interest in completing the training.

“I know it’s hard for most of us to get to Raleigh,” Burleson said. “I thought both webinars were of interest and timely.”

Mitchell County Schools Executive Director of Personnel and Testing Jennifer Gregory presented the summer school plan, which the state requires every school system to approve annually.

The last day for elementary and middle school students is set for June 8. Students who need remediation will come to school June 11-13 and retest June 14-15. Mayland Early College is scheduled to finish classes May 31 and remediation and retesting is slated for June 1, 4 and 5.

Mitchell High is scheduled to end on June 14 and remediation and retesting will take place the following week.

Gregory said most remediation comes from the elementary and middle schools.

The summer school periods will be fully staffed. Buses will also run and the cafeterias will be open.

“It does not change the school’s growth but it can help proficiency,” Gregory said about summer school. “We can’t make students come but we can strongly suggest it.”

The MItchell News

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