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Individuals interested in applying for a position will need to complete an application at https://nc.teachermatch.org/signin.do. If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact the Bladen County Schools Human Resources Department at 910-862-4136 ext. 10011.

By Cara Beth Lewis

On July 26, Bladen Online asked Superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinson and Valerie Newton, Public Relations and Information Officer, a series of questions that parents need answers to before the 2021-2022 school year that is quickly approaching. Today, July 30, we received responses from Newton.

Question: What are your plans for the curriculum coaches that have been placed at each school? Were other positions taken away to accommodate these new positions?

Answer: “The curriculum coaches from the district office that were moved to schools have been employees of Bladen County Schools; these specific positions were not newly created positions but rather newly titled positions. A couple of additional positions were added using federal dollars specifically designed to provide academic support to schools. No teaching positions were taken away for these positions. Academic coaches are shared between schools.”

Question: Do counselors have special plans to help students who are struggling with the return to in-person learning after the troubles of last school year — emotionally, mentally, and academically? If so, what are those plans?

Answer: “Bladen County Schools adopted its SEL and School Mental Health Improvement Plan (per NC SBOE Policy SHLT-003), which requires K-12 school units to implement a school-based mental health plan that includes a mental health training program and a suicide risk referral protocol, mandatory for grades 6-12 and in K-5 it recommended for our specialized instructional support personnel (SISP). The plan will be implemented beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. This plan will include six hours of mental health training for BCS staff the first year and every year after an additional two-hour refresher training. Counselors and other support staff will be utilizing various tools and resources to respond to the social-emotional needs of students.”

Question: What are the mask requirements for students in school? Will temperature checking and COVID screening still take place, or have we passed that point? Is this a decision of the county or the state?

Answer: “Bladen County Schools currently follows the guidance from the Governor, NC DHHS, and the StrongSchools NC Public Health Toolkit. The BCS Board will discuss masks requirements and other Covid protocols at their next regularly scheduled board meeting on August 9.”

Question: Are there still a lot of positions to be filled? Will this be taken care of before school begins, or is there a chance of many long-term substitute teachers?

Answer: “The BCS Human Resources Department, along with school administrators, actively recruit and interview qualified candidates throughout the year to fill any open positions. The ability to fill open positions is only as good as there are qualified candidates available. The most current listing of vacant positions can be found here. “

Job Vacancies listed by Bladen County Schools

Question: Are there any new resources or plans being implemented in the classroom? If so, please explain and describe.

Answer: “Teachers in grades PK through 5 will begin using research-based teaching strategies that will correlate with the training from “Science of Reading” for phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. Details can be found on our district website here.

The district will also be working closely with the NCDPI regional support office on strategies and best practices to address learning loss and support social-emotional learning. Additionally, the district is partnered with the NC Education Corps to provide targeted tutoring support for students in literacy skills.”

Question: Did summer school show improvement in students? If not, what is plan B for those students?

Answer: “Students in grade three showed academic growth in reading. In previous years, 4% of students became proficient in reading. For the 2021 summer camp, 15.89% of BCS students who attended became proficient in reading. This data was a result of the Read to Achieve assessment that was given prior to the end of the summer learning program. 276 High School students received at least one course of credit recovery during the summer camp. Assessment results from other academic areas and grade levels will be finalized and reported to NCDPI by October 15, 2021.”