New positions and opportunities at three of Vance County School’s schools are on the horizon.
After a year of planning, Marylaura McKoon, principal of E.O. Young Jr. Elementary School, and her staff are ready to implement the Opportunity Culture initiative, according to a release from Vance County Schools. She and her colleagues on the school's design team for the Opportunity Culture initiative are completing plans to implement the program to benefit students and staff members in the school.
"This is a really good program and I am excited for what it will do for our school," McKoon said. "It will provide us with the opportunity to expose excellence in teaching to all of our children and will be great support for our teachers. It really is a win-win situation. It will do good things for our school."
Opportunity Culture is designed to extend “excellent teaching” throughout the school — pre-kindergarten through fifth- grade.
E.O. Young is one of three schools in the Vance County Schools district launching the initiative next school year, as L.B. Yancey Elementary School and Pinkston Street Elementary School will implement their Opportunity Culture initiatives in 2018-19 as well.
The first cohort includes Aycock, Dabney and Zeb Vance elementary schools which began their Opportunity Culture programs this year, according to the release.
“We want OC in as many of our schools as possible,” spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said in an email. “Adding [E.O. Young, L.B. Yancey and Pinkson] will bring six of our 10 elementary schools online with OC. Three more will be added in another year. E.M. Rollins, which is a year-round STEAM school, most likely will not become an OC school.”
The work being done as part of the Opportunity Culture initiative in E.O. Young will be driven by data available for student achievement, according to the release. The data will show where students at all grade levels need the most help and the multi-classroom leader (MCL) will lead efforts with the teachers to assist the students.
The Opportunity Culture initiative at E.O. Young will focus on instruction and support in English/language arts for the 2018-2019 school year, with plans to expand the focus to mathematics the following school year, McKoon said, according to the release.
The initiative will require the hiring of a multi-classroom leader, who will coach teachers in the school and will create and “facilitate” Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), which are workshops or small meeting sessions among fellow educators to talk about strategies ranging from classroom management, to discipline, to preparing lesson plans, to strategies for effective teaching in any subject area, according to Hedrick. PLCs can cover all “facets” of education and teaching, she added.
Since the multi-classroom leader will be aiding classroom teachers, he or she will be a reading coach for teachers in third through fifth grades and help them with classroom management and personal skills, McKoon said, according to the release.
The person in the multi-classroom leader position will model lessons and teaching for teachers in the school, particularly in third through fifth-grades, she noted, according to the release. This will be “especially” helpful to any new or “novice” teachers in the school, McKoon said.
Also, Opportunity Culture will include the employment of an extended instructional teacher at the second grade-level who will have a classroom of students and will “pull in” a small number of students from other second and first-grade classrooms to work with them during a 90-minute English/language arts block each day, according to the release.
A third new position, a reach associate, will be filled by a teacher assistant who’ll work with students in the extended instructional teacher’s classroom.
"Each of our schools now involved in Opportunity Culture, has its own design team to plan a program that best fits their school, students and staff," McKoon said, according to the release. "Our team also has developed our program budget, which includes funds for the higher pay for the three new positions."