Johnston County Public Schools held an interactive State of the District Address on Tuesday, Jan. 22 to inform and gather feedback from the community.
Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow highlighted several recent accomplishments and discussed the district’s progress with the JOCO 2020 initiative, which aims to transform learning for students in Johnston County.
The address was held via video conference with several representatives from each of the district’s 45 schools, as well as with the public over livestream. Guests met at their local high school to participate in the event and provide feedback for future planning.
“This will help build a solid foundation for our strategic planning as we look at the next five years in Johnston County,” said Renfrow.
At the event he discussed recent safety and security upgrades made to each of the schools. All sites are now equipped with front door access cameras, while all other doors remain locked with secure entry granted through the use of key fobs and access cards.
Renfrow added that all schools now have interior camera systems and significant exterior camera upgrades are taking place. A recent grant also funded additional School Resource Officers for the district.
Another topic addressed was the recent growth seen in the district, which grew by 771 students this school year. The growth contributed to the need for the $61 million school bond, which was passed by voters in the November 2018 election.
The bond will fund projects in each area of the county. These projects will take place over the course of the next four years and will begin with the installation of security vestibules at each school.
“Keeping teachers and students safe every day continues to be at the forefront of our minds,” said Renfrow. “In addition, our mission is to put people in a position to be successful as it pertains to academics, particularly teaching and learning.”
Renfrow said the district will continue to focus on meeting students needs by promoting personalized learning and providing professional development for teachers.
“Through quality professional development we can continue to improve teaching in our classrooms,” he said.
Renfrow also presented the JOCO 2020 Portrait of a Graduate, which captures elements and traits the district hopes to instill in each of its students.
“Our Portrait of a Graduate reflects our values here in Johnston County Public Schools,” said Renfrow. “These are qualities that we feel each student should leave our school system with upon their graduation.”
Approximately 500 guests used the opportunity to provide feedback in real time on areas where they thought the district was thriving, as well as areas that they felt needed growth.
Participants praised the district’s commitment to school and student safety, as well as the innovative practices put in place.
They also asked for more information on the district’s grading system. Renfrow encouraged all participants to take part in the online Standards Based Grading and Report Card survey, which is active through Feb. 1 at 5 p.m.
“As a district we have demonstrated that we want to hear what you have to say,” said Renfrow. “We want your voice to help mold and shape what we do on a daily basis in providing a quality education to each of our students.”