Breakout Sessions

Participants will have the opportunity to attend a variety of breakout sessions. Sessions will be held on Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday. Below are some of the sessions. More will be added.

A Recipe for Authentic Learning
Rowan Salisbury Schools
Learn how Rowan-Salisbury blends cutting-edge practices like design thinking, reflection, digital portfolios, essential skill rubrics, and entrepreneurship to engage students in solving real world challenges. Challenge-based learning is what they do, and design thinking is how they do it.

Academy to Envision Tomorrow’s Schools
North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association
In March 2019, the North Carolina School Superintendents Association, in conjunction with Moseley Architects and other leading sponsors, launched the inaugural Academy to Envision Tomorrow’s Schools. The Academy was comprised of the 16 regional teachers of the year for 2017 and 2018. Known as the Academy Fellows, North Carolina’s teacher leaders were brought together to celebrate their impact, to capture their vision and voice about learning and teaching, and to add to the body of knowledge that addresses the impact of facility design upon learning and teaching.  The Fellows identified themes that have implications for the effective design of modern era schools. As well, they created visual representations of those themes and how they may apply to school design. This presentation will feature some of the Fellows who will express their resolve to provide learner-centered and personalized instruction while demonstrating how those values can be preserved in future school designs.

Best Practices for High-Performing Boards: Aligning the Core Work of Your Board
What does a highly effective board look like in practice? This panel discussion will explore some commonly shared traits among highly effective boards that help them focus on what’s important and how they are able to work more efficiently to align their core work around meetings, strategic planning, policy management, and evaluations to meet their goals.

Breakfast Equity:  A Solution to Student Achievement and Chronic Absenteeism
No Kid Hungry / NCDPI
Each school year millions of students miss at least 10 percent of school days, making them chronically absent. Chronic absenteeism leads to reduced student achievement, an increased likelihood of dropping out of school, weakened social development, and worse future employment prospects. There is a growing effort to identify school solutions outside of curriculum and instruction that can address absenteeism. In 2019, Share Our Strength commissioned a national and state-level study by the University of California, Santa Barbara, to examine whether providing school breakfast as part of the school day (via Breakfast After the Bell) can reduce chronic absenteeism and improve other student outcomes. The analyses demonstrate that Breakfast After the Bell has positive impacts on student outcomes, including chronic absenteeism rates. The presentation will provide an overview of Breakfast After the Bell, the study methodology and findings, implications for policy and practice, and will highlight stories of how innovative breakfast programs in NC districts are addressing the issues of the NC State Board of Education strategic plan and the Whole Child Commission focus on access and achievement gaps.

Building an Equity-Focused, Community-Driven Strategic Plan in Cumberland County Schools
Cumberland County Schools and RTI International Center for Education Services
Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, Cumberland County Schools, under the incoming leadership of Dr. Marvin Connelly, led a community-centered process to develop a new strategic plan. The plan includes a new mission, vision, core values, strategic priorities, and aligned actions.  Dr. Connelly, Ms. Chalmers, and Mr. Martin will discuss the process they led by providing insights into how the work was planned and structured, how teams were established, and how they gathered feedback in a town hall of 500 people. They will discuss lessons learned, pitfalls to avoid in district planning, and what they hope this new strategic direction will mean for the outcomes and life prospects of the students in Cumberland County Schools.

Building Stronger Family Support Structures at the High School Level: Family Engagement Structures in a High Needs High School
Lenoir County Public Schools
Increasing family engagement at the high school level can be difficult. Over the past five years, increased parent engagement combined with instructional transformation efforts at a Title I school in Lenoir County has increased student achievement in both proficiency and growth. Learn how this high school has structured its parent engagement programming to increase family engagement and build community supports for students.

Co-Teaching to Enhance Learning
Rowan-Salisbury Schools
This session will provide insight on how to successfully co-teach curriculum in order to blend learning for a higher outcome. Presenters are current co-teachers in a humanities course that blends English I and world history into one course. Data, standards, and learning outcomes will be presented related to the effect of co-teaching along with techniques to use in the course.

Crowdfunding in K-12 Education: and Your District, the free nonprofit built exclusively to support K-12 public schools and address educational inequities, has helped teachers in 4 out of 5 U.S. public schools request extra resources for their classroom. Founder and CEO Charles Best launched the organization 19 years ago as a high school history teacher. Since then, has generated $870 million in classroom resources from almost 4 million citizen donors for public school classrooms. Specifically in North Carolina, the organization has helped raise over $38 million in materials for the state’s public schools and funded over 75,000 classroom projects at no cost to educators or districts. Join this session to learn how provides free end-to-end safeguards and accountability for district leaders like school board members and what a districtwide rollout (including policy) could look like in your district.

Evaluating Your Superintendent
Gates County Public Schools
Don’t practice, practice, practice until you get it right. Gates County Schools practices until they can’t get it wrong. Attend this session to learn how good communication is essential in evaluating your superintendent. Presenters will discuss the role their weekly updates — which include updates on the relationship with the board, community relationships, staff relationships, and instructional leadership — play in this evaluation.

From the Boardroom to the Classroom: Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind
Lenoir County Public Schools
“Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind” served as an evolving theme for the Lenoir County Public Schools board retreat and administrative retreat. Aligned conversations about engagement promoted a deeper understanding of the supports necessary to allocate resources to meet the needs of children of poverty. As a result, schools embedded professional development to provide focus and encourage intentional integration of strategies to grow cognitive capacity. Presenters will share district, school, and classroom practices to deepen learning and teaching for students of poverty.

High School Choice: Creating an Informed Community Through Collaboration
McDowell County Schools
Learn how the principals representing McDowell County’s high schools worked collaboratively to ensure all rising 9th grade students and parents were informed of the various programs offered at each of the high schools in the district. Because of a shared vision, principals held multiple community meetings to educate 8th grade students and parents about the options available for high school. All 8th grade students in McDowell County applied to the high school of their choice.

How School Funding Agreements Impact the County and School Board Partnerships
Cabarrus County Schools
Presenters will report on an August session at the NC Association of County Commissioners regarding formal and informal financial agreements. Using a Q&A format, this breakout session will help participants better understand school system funding and tough topics like fund balance.

Innovation Does Not Need Permission
Vance County Schools
Vance County Schools serves as an incubator for innovation and innovative practices in their region. Over the past five years, they have developed a culture within the district that allows staff to take risks to implement innovative practices and programs to improve student outcomes. They have implemented the following innovations: digital learning, opportunity culture, non-traditional programs, Restart schools, year-round programming, fine arts programs, and social and emotional support for students. Learn how these innovations have served as the impetus for continuous improvement in the district.

Little Bodies, Big Emotions
McDowell County Schools
Hear one K-5 elementary school’s commitment to support students with trauma, high ACEs, and exceptionalities such as sensory processing disorder or autism. Walk away from this session with real strategies for implementation of a truly trauma-informed school or district that helps students learn how to self-regulate. The goal is to keep students in class and return them to a healthy emotional state where they can keep learning. Strategies shared will include upstairs brain/downstairs brain, stair climbing zones, walk and talks, walking sticks, and getting “AIR.” Learn how your school or district can support students prone to fight-flight-freeze emotional reactions to moments versus loss of hours or days.

Making a Difference Through Community Connections
McDowell County Schools
Through a structured interactive strategy session supported by testimonials and best practices, participants will learn how to utilize their community partners to transform student learning and create supportive student-centered environments. The session will also discuss how strategic planning with community partners is key to creating these environments and required in order to create strong, lasting relationships and long-term community change that will foster career awareness and services for students, improve soft skills and communication skills, reduce risk behaviors and dropouts, and encourage civic engagement and service.

Market! Market! Market! Using a Combination of  Approaches to  Build a Collective Community Opinion that Public Schools are the Best Available Choice to Educate Children
Lenoir County Public Schools
Public schools must market themselves as the best choice for parents among many available options. Learn how Lenoir County Public Schools strategically and comprehensively markets its district as a school system of choice using a balanced combination of traditional marketing strategies and cutting-edge, outside-the-box approaches to win the hearts and minds of stakeholders.

myFutureNC: Localizing the Goal
As our economy grows, the vast majority of new jobs require education beyond a high school diploma, but fewer than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44 have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential. And North Carolinians from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionately affected. myFutureNC is a non-profit focused on increasing the degrees and credentials required to meet the changing needs of NC businesses both today and into the future. The organization is on a mission to completely close the state’s educational attainment gap, with an ambitious goal of ensuring that 2 million North Carolinians have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2030. But establishing the goal was only the first step. The real work will be to deepen collaboration across the education and workforce continuum to eliminate systemic barriers to achievement, prepare students for work, and expand opportunities for skills training. myFutureNC’s success will depend on both state and local leadership and require support and engagement of local communities as we take this next step together.

Onboarding of International Staff
Vance County Schools
This session will share the experiences of Vance County Schools when onboarding international teachers. Their exposure to the curriculum begins prior to their arrival in the United States. Learn how Vance County has found this to be a great asset to students and staff.

Preparing Educators to Support Career and College Readiness
Buncombe County Schools
A guiding principle of NCSBA is to provide support to better prepare young children for success in K-12 education and in life. Additionally, NCSBA supports sufficient allotments to meet the nationally recommended staff-to-student ratios of school counselors and other support personnel. Key to both of these is staffing schools with school counselors and other personnel who are truly prepared with skills and strategies to support student success and career and college readiness. In this session, you will hear about the endeavors, recommendations, and resources from a multidisciplinary state strategic leadership team that has been working to enhance the capacity of school personnel by enriching pre-service preparation and in-service opportunities for school counselors, CDCs, and administrators to help schools graduate students who are truly future-ready for college and career.

Recruiting, Retaining, and Rewarding Excellent Teachers
Pitt County Schools
In this session, learn how Pitt County Schools has implemented teacher leader development programs and formal teacher leadership positions in an effort to reduce teacher turnover and improve educator effectiveness, all to positively impact student learning.

Resiliency & Recovery – Planning for the New Norm
MBP, Inc.
When an emergency strikes, keeping students safe and getting them back to school are critical issues to a community’s recovery. What steps may be necessary to ensure that your portfolio of properties are capable to withstand the new norm of flooding, hurricane force winds, school safety, and recovery after an event? Learn about those steps in this session.

Road to Recovery the Fourth Time Around: How Floyd, Irene, and Matthew Influenced Florence and Dorian Response
Lenoir County Public Schools
Lessons learned from prior hurricane events informed Lenoir County Public Schools’ planning and preparation for Hurricane Florence. Meeting student, staff, and family needs was the primary focus of school system efforts. LCPS will share strategies for proactive planning with emergency management, media, health and human services, and relief agencies.

School Board and Family Partnerships
North Carolina PTA
Parent engagement is one of the most powerful tools to guarantee a student’s success. But what does that look like, and what is the difference between parent engagement and involvement? This session will spend some time examining the differences between different parent organizations and what fits best for your schools. As a school board member, you can provide your community of schools guidance and be the bridge between school administration/teachers and families/businesses. Understanding changes needed through research and innovative approaches will allow you to help lead your schools in becoming a healthy community were everyone feels they are being heard and are welcome.

Simbli Board Management Software – Tips, Tricks, and Tidbits to Help Supercharge Your Implementation
You’ve got questions, they’ve got answers! Simbli users and non-users alike will enjoy learning more about the latest Simbli enhancements, helpful how-to’s, and informative tutorials on common Simbli tasks. Come armed with your questions, as presenters will also be dedicating time during the session to assisting you with your individual inquiries.

Superintendent Longevity and Student Achievement in the North Carolina Public Schools
Jim Watson & Walter Hart
In this presentation, the results of a study examining the relationship between superintendent and district predictive variables on student academic achievement will be shared. Student academic achievement measures included each NC school district’s performance composite score and the percentage of students who scored a 3 or higher on 5th and 8th grade EOGs. Specifically, the researchers examined the relationship between student achievement and (1) the superintendent’s overall tenure in the role, (2) the superintendent’s tenure in North Carolina, (3) the superintendent’s overall experience in education, (4) poverty in the district, and (5) the size of the district.

Tackling Tough Topics: How Do You Begin the Conversation of Equity in a Small District?
Roanoke Rapids Graded School District
Educational equity requires school board members and district/school administrators and staff to create systems that ensure every child has an equal opportunity for success. To begin that process, we need to understand the stories and challenges that individual students or groups of students face, as well as to provide additional supports to students as needed. How does this movement start? By tackling tough topics. But how do you begin the conversation about an equity department in a small district without funds? In this session, presenters will share their equity journey to look at the complexities of race, identity, and privilege in education through the eyes of students and facilitate educational equity conversations in Roanoke Rapids Graded School District. They will provide resources that you can use in your district to start these important conversations.

The NCHSAA: What’s Going On?
This session will provide updates to NCHSAA policies and procedures relative to the leadership and governance of high school athletics. Additionally, an overview of the current membership and the realignment process will be shared.

The Turnaround of Carver Heights Elementary
Wayne County Public Schools
This presentation will cover the highlights of the six-month turnaround at Carver Heights Elementary School (a historically low-performing school), which exited LPS status by exceeding growth with a new principal and implementing new strategies and practices in its first year. Presenters will detail how they made use of Restart strategies and the innovative possibilities of the Restart model.

The Value of Outdoor Environments – Enhancing Health, Well-Being and Safety for Students and Teachers
Clark Nexsen
School safety is multi-faceted, yet most discussion around the topic is focused on what to do in a worst-case scenario rather than a holistic approach to prevent the scenario from occurring. This seminar will discuss the role architects can have in incident prevention through enhancing outdoor environments. It will present research on the mental health benefits of outdoor experiences for K-12 students, followed by a case study of an elementary school in North Carolina that exemplifies usage of outdoor environments.

Transforming School Board Meetings from Information Sharing-Discussing-Voting to Leading and Learning by Truly Engaging with All Stakeholders
Lenoir County Public Schools
Learn how Lenoir County Public Schools has transformed its school board meetings from focusing solely on information and action items to strategic engagement sessions that provide board members and other stakeholders with opportunities to not only hear what’s happening but also experience systemwide transformation. At each monthly meeting and work session, board members engage directly with staff members, students, and parents about every aspect of the school system, including digital learning, curriculum and instruction, and many student support initiatives.

Using Performance Interviews to Maximize the Administrative Selection Process
Dare County Schools
In the spring of 2019, Dare County Schools began a new protocol to screen and interview school leaders called performance interviews. Adapted from the NC State Principal Preparation Program, this interview-style process gave district leaders the opportunity to see candidates’ instructional, strategic, and situational leadership abilities. Performance interviews encompass at least three different tasks as part of the process. Candidates completed a performance task to gauge their data literacy, instructional knowledge, and teamwork ability. They also completed a scenario response activity where candidates were given a situation and had to respond in writing for the district to learn more about their judgment and writing abilities. Lastly, each candidate had a traditional interview with members of the central services staff, which gave the candidate a chance to learn more about leading in DCS and brought the staff together to get a variety of perspectives about each candidate. During this breakout session, presenters will share more about the vision and goals of the performance interview process, lessons learned, and resources to help other districts get started.

Ramona PowersBreakouts