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Roundtable discussion focuses on education

Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 8:16 am

 Community leaders and parents met with Lincoln County Department of Education officials in April for a roundtable discussion aimed at helping set goals for the school system’s future.

“The Lincoln County Department of Education appreciates everyone’s time, their response to our call for help and their willingness to work with us to make our system the best that it can be,” said Dr. Wanda Shelton, director of schools, noting that roundtable participants meet a couple of times a year to discuss ideas and mandates in public education.

The meeting, held April 18, gave the county’s Department of Education Advisory Board an opportunity to be briefed on the system’s five-year plan, school safety and federal projects, as well as discuss issues, ask questions and provide feedback in a number of areas.

As part of the roundtable discussion, advisory board members were asked to address five questions, ranging from the best aspects of the system, changes they would like to see made and improvements that would give students a better educational experience, to how they feel about the student safety locally, technological innovations they would like to see in county schools, and ways to improve disciplinary policies.

Advisory board members agreed they were very pleased with the multiple opportunities offered students and with the quality of teachers and administrators. They are also pleased with the automated calling system utilized by the school system as well as good communication with parents.

Increased support of art and band, teacher use and knowledge of technology, and more training for advanced placement and professional development were identified as areas needing additional emphasis. The board also indicated in the roundtable discussions that they would like to see more advanced placement classes, the alignment of the five-year plan with technological advances and the incorporation of social networking for parents.

In some cases, the need for increased cafeteria sizes to accommodate growth was also identified, along with the need for more individualized instruction suited to each student’s abilities.

Roundtable participants indicated that they feel good with current school safety initiatives, noting they were especially pleased with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department deputies’ presence in all county schools since January. Additional training in emergency scenarios and the use of two-way radios on buses, instead of cell phones, were also among suggestions.

In regard to technological innovations, group members agreed that they would like to see students have more access to online textbooks, expanded computer labs, more training for parents so that they can better support students and the initiation of keyboarding classes by at least the third grade.

And while participants indicated that they would like to see a return to corporal punishment, they also said they would like to see additional parental support for discipline and school attendance, as well as mandatory evaluations for students who may have attention deficit disorder and other similar challenges.