City schools benefit from IP’s largesse

Published 12:14 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

During its meeting earlier this month, the Franklin School Board was able to appropriate $6,500, which will benefit three different educational programs in the city school system.

The first of which was $2,000 awarded from International Paper. The money will be dedicated to buying materials and supplies for 3D printing and used by the Robotics Program. The second amount of $4,000 also comes from IP and will be used to buy materials and supplies to help with the food cycle and hunger awareness programs. The third is for $500, also from IP, and will help S.P. Morton Elementary School with its reading program.

The board’s acceptance of this generosity required increasing the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year budget by the respective amounts so as to correctly account for the money.

In the report by Supt. Tamara Sterling, the issue of recruitment and retention of faculty and staff was also discussed.

As stated, the school system is dedicated to hiring highly qualified staff that represent the community and “respond to our changing needs.”

But the recruitment is intended not only for existing vacancies, but anticipating later opportunities.

“The screening process will be consistent and rigorous for all candidates … because the recruitment effort affects every office and school, principals and Central Services staff will be key participants in the screening and interviewing process. Their participation on trips, their feedback on the candidates and the recruitment process, and their commitment to the characteristics of an ideal FCPS candidate are fundamental to the success of this recruitment plan.”

Of note is the difficulty in filling certain positions, specifically those requiring certification.

That’s attributed to a lack of quality candidates, those without the necessary endorsements and competition for candidates from other school divisions or even in businesses.

The recommendation is “…to be proactive in our recruitment efforts for Special Education, math, science and elementary teachers, FCPS will contact colleges and universities early in the year to seek information on those individuals who are candidates for completion of special education, math, science and elementary programs.”

Keeping teachers is a never-ending issue, and while some turnover can be healthy and expected, when too many instructors leave that can lessen the ability of a school to teach.

“Statistics show that small schools and schools serving high-minority, high poverty populations are particularly at risk of losing teachers,” the report stated.

Maintaining a positive environment — through support from principals, recognizing teacher accomplishments and having a safe and orderly work environment — is shown to be especially helpful in keeping teachers.

“Teachers and staff need to feel that they are a part of the learning community and that their input matters. Inclusion on school improvement teams, division committees and task forces, grade-level PLC’s, etc. provide valuable opportunities for contributions and input on decisions that affect them, their school and the entire division.

Incentive plans, such as rewards for perfect attendance, are also developed.

The city school system has sent a survey for teaches in their first through third years to gauge their thoughts on their positions, the school division and working conditions.

The next meeting will an organizational one on Thursday, Jan. 4, in the school board office; the next regular meeting will be on Thursday, Jan. 18, starting at 7 p.m. in council chambers.