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Roanoke Rapids Graded School District had a Board of Trustees meeting on March 19, 2024. It was a great example of #TogetherWeSucceed as students, staff, Board of Trustees, and community members engaged in the meeting. 

Board Members had meaningful discussion of the scheduled agenda items, nine stakeholders (including students, staff, and community members) made public comments on various topics, and the district had three groups of special recognitions.

Three Board Members were recognized with North Carolina School Board Association Annual Academy of School Boardsmanship Certificates. Board Chair Dr. Michael Williams earned the Diploma of Honor for completing 501 - 600 hours of training. Vice Chair Valencia Davis earned the Bronze Award for completing 601 - 700 hours of training. Michael Salanik earned the Scholar’s Circle for completing 900 + hours of training. Four RRGSD schools were celebrated with North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Growth Certificates for the 2022-23 School Year. 

These distinctions were earned by the hard work of students and educators and showcase the dedication to academic achievement in our schools. Belmont Elementary School and Manning Elementary met academic growth. Chaloner Middle School and Roanoke Rapids Early College High School exceeded academic growth. Roanoke Rapids Early College High School is also receiving a certificate for an Outstanding Graduation Rate of 100 percent. 

Lastly, all in attendance enjoyed and were taught by three of our fifth grade students from Manning Elementary School. 

Recently, their entire grade level created a living museum for the rest of the elementary school. Students spent two weeks in reading class researching a historical figure of their choosing and preparing a speech from that person’s perspective. 

Three students shared their speech during the Board Meeting. 

Khloe Mabb shared her speech as Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson; Christopher Godfrey shared his speech as Captain of the Titanic Edward Smith, and Nicholas Carter shared his speech as aviation pioneer Orville Wright.

During Superintendent Comments, I shared about March 15, 2024’s annual Roanoke Rapids High School JROTC Military Ball. 

Major Cynthia Bunch, Chief Mark Stith, and the Cadets from the Jacket Battalion did a wonderful job of planning and hosting this event at American Legion Post 38. 

We are proud of Cadet Damien Hill, who received The American Legion Noah Joyner, Jr. $1,000 Memorial Scholarship; Cadet Adam Robistow, who received The American Legion Scholastic Achievement Medal; and Cadet Cody Stansbury, who received The American Legion General Military Excellence Medal.

I shared that 15 students from Roanoke Rapids High School went to the North Carolina Association of Student Councils (NCASC) State Conference recently, and they represented our district well. 

We are proud of Reagan Mitchell, Cadence Elliott, Logan Daniel, and Emily Campbell-Tyler for their induction into the State Student Council Hall of Fame as well as Elizabeth Love, who was elected into the NCASC Eastern District Vice Chair Position. 

Our student leaders did an excellent job this weekend and we are excited to see what they do with the information they learned.

Lastly, I shared the results of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA)’s Membership Survey on athletic conference realignment. 

The 544 survey respondents chose the Big 32 realignment as their first choice.

Based on the student enrollment numbers that NCHSAA provided us in the survey and our current number of RRHS and RREC students in grades 8-11 (889), if NCHSAA goes with this pathway, RRGSD would be 4A (schools with 783-959 students). Survey respondents preferred conferences with multi-classifications but closer geography. 

While this reduces travel, this option would continue the split conference that we currently have with 2A/3A. 

Finally, just over half of the survey respondents preferred the NCHSAA reclassifying schools every two years instead of four. 

At this time, no decisions have been made by the NCHSAA.

Board Members discussed reports from each Board Committee. 

Highlights from the Finance and Personnel Committee included requests for Halifax County for 2024-25 funding and updates on current funding; from the Policy Committee included Policy 8325: Daily Deposits; from the Facilities and Safety Committee included monthly updates on discipline, domicile, and facilities; and from the Curriculum Committee included i-Ready data, Summer 2024 programs, and and the RREC Academic Calendar for 2024-25. 

We also had a moment of silence as we remembered our RRHS 2023 graduate Sherrod Person, who died last week.

In addition to our Board Meeting, we had engaging activities at our school campuses. 

For example, our Belmont Elementary School fifth graders toured Chaloner Middle School. 

We are proud of our Chaloner Jacket Pride Club members for doing an outstanding job showing the fifth graders around and welcoming them to Chaloner. 

We celebrated EC Advocacy Week across the district and raised awareness for the differences that we all have. Roanoke Rapids High School participated in Spring into FAFSA Completion Week and worked with seniors and parents to help them complete their FAFSA.

AIG students in elementary, middle, and high school competed in a chess tournament at Chaloner Middle School this week. Beyond being a fun game, chess serves as an engaging tool for developing crucial cognitive skills. 

It teaches young minds strategic thinking, planning ahead, and problem-solving in an enjoyable and interactive way. 

Congratulations to the following winners: Elementary School: 1st Place Ezekiel Halaman,

2nd Place Joey Brodsky, and 3rd Place Violet Lewis; Middle School: 1st Place James Lee, 2nd Place Vishal Pannela, and 3rd Place Emily Pernesky and Juan Ortiz; and High School: 1st Place Carlos Nery and 2nd Place Jack Moore.

Roanoke Rapids Early recognized Bailey Grissom and Austin Vu for achieving the top two highest GPAs in their class and that they will speak at their RREC graduation.

RREC also announced their Junior Marshals: Jackson Taylor, Ayden Brantley, Khamauri Wood, Emerson Bobbitt, Brandon Cook, Elijah Halaman, and DeVance Purnell. We are proud of all of these students.

Finally, RRGSD students will have two days of school this week, and they will begin Spring Break on Wednesday. 

Our staff will have professional development teacher work days and then also have Spring Break.