N.C. education leaders tour county schools

Fatima Fokina

ROSEBORO — Two schools in Sampson County had the privilege of a special visitor this week — the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Catherine Truitt, along with other state and local educators, plus stakeholders, took a tour of both Midway High School and Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School. Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School Principal Dr. Doug Massengill arrived last January to school full of chaos of returning to campus from a COVID closure as well as returning from winter break.

Massengill highlighted their MTSS program, which stands for Multi Tiered System of Support.

“When I got here we did not have a full complement of MTSS tiers and services,” he said “I wanted to work really hard to get that set up, and I am really, really proud of what the staff has been able to accomplish in the time that I have been here.”

“They have done an extraordinary amount of work to get to where we are at,” he said.

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction states that the “NC MTSS is a multi-tiered framework which promotes school improvement through engaging, research-based academic and behavioral practices as well as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). NC MTSS employs a systems approach using data-driven problem-solving to maximize growth for all.

Massengill said that he was able to use Title 1 funds to bring on Tammy Weeks as an MTSS Coach. He said that he discovered that trying to have staff work on both creating MTSS instruction and regular instruction was too much of a lift. He also said that when he arrived they had no universal screener to see where students were.

“We use iReady as our universal screener now.”

By using this process progress is already being made, he said, citing “pretty good gains” in math.

“We are seeing a lot of students moving from Tier 2 and Tier 3 into the proficient level,” said Massengill. “We are really proud of that.”

He made it clear that despite the fact that in class learning was hindered due to COVID-19, progress was still being made.

“The kids can move and we can get more than typical growth.”

Truitt said that she couldn’t give them the exact numbers at that time but that the state numbers do not match that.

“So you need to be extra proud of whatever gains you have had in math,” she said.

He said that they have gone up from 15% proficient to 25% efficient in mathematics and a 4% increase in English Language Arts.

Massengill said that he noticed that a lot of classrooms had stopped teaching on standards in March and were working on test preparations. That really ended up hindering and not helping.

“We cut that out and said we were going to teach the standards.”

Massengill continued to explain a few fine details of each Tier, and basically a hierarchy of actions based off those standards and needs.

Those different bits and pieces determine what happens for students during their flex time. Flex time is 45 minutes at the end of their day where there is built in time for intervention.

“As you can see this is a lot of work, but they are doing it,” he said.

Students that are behind three grade levels or more automatically get placed in Tier 3, he said.

Additional improvements have been made on curriculum for other grades as well.

One major area of concern Truitt said is that there’s a large number of students graduating from 8th grade that can’t read, and that that is something that needs focus. She asked about their remediation methods, and one of those for reading is working on phonics.

Reach Emily M. Williams at 910-590-9488. Follow her on Twitter at @NCNewsWriter. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

N.C. education leaders tour county schools

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