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Jackson County Schools approve improvement plans

By Kristin Fox

The Jackson County School Board met this week for their monthly meeting at Blue Ridge School and Blue Ridge Early College. Following the Pledge of Allegiance and singing by Blue Ridge students, the board was welcomed by Blue Ridge Principal Kheri Cowan and Blue Ridge Early College Principal Dr. Nathan Frizzell.

At this month’s regular meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve all nine Jackson County Schools’ School Improvement Plans. Each plan is a snapshot of what each school has planned to make improvements. Each school will continue to make adjustments to their plans as the plans are ever-evolving documents designed to accommodate students’ needs.

JCPS collects data and has a comprehensive assessment system in place at all schools. While all schools collect data, the district and school teams will work to develop and/or scale up a systematic process for evaluating core instruction, supplemental instruction, and intensive supports, while monitoring progress and developing plans for groups and individual students. JCPS will prioritize rigorous and relevant academic CORE instruction through the use of consistent district-aligned reading and mathematics curriculum for grades K-8.

The mission of JCPS is to “Engage, Enlighten, and Enrich.” The vision of the JCPS is “Students are prepared to achieve their personal best as contributing members of their communities.”

To Engage (Connecting), the schools work to create opportunities for relevant, authentic, and meaningful learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom. The goal is that students connect knowledge to the real world and build friendships that last a lifetime.

To Enlighten (Learning), the school system believes every child can learn, achieve, and be successful in life. JCPS believe the foundation for success is knowledge. The school system has highly-qualified faculty consisting of trained and licensed professional educators who passionately work for the good of every student. 

To Enrich (Applying), staff believe that authentic learning involves thinking, exploring, evaluating, and creating. JCPS students have a wealth of opportunities to apply their knowledge and develop the skills they need to become leaders, decision-makers, and lifelong learners. 

Jackson County Individual School Improvement Plans are as follow: 

Blue Ridge Early College 

Mission: To engage, enlighten, and enrich our students. 

Vision: Learning for All 

Goals: During the 2021-22 school year, Blue Ridge Early College 7th and 8th grade mathematics students will increase the level of growth scores on the state End of Grade (EOG) mathematics assessment by 5% increasing scores from 36.7% to 38.5%. Students will increase the level of achievement scores on the state EOG reading assessment by 5%, increasing scores from 52.8% to 55.4%. Blue Ridge Early College High School students’ overall growth scores on End of Course (EOC) test will increase by 5% increasing scores from 16.7% to 17.5%.

Blue Ridge School 

Mission: To engage, enlighten, and enrich the students of Jackson County. 

Vision: Learning for All 

Goals: The 3rd-6th grade ELA EOG scores will increase proficiency by 5% annually with implementation of Wit & Wisdom as core reading instruction along with foundations in K-3rd grade. Math scores will show increased proficiency by 5% annually on EOG’s (3-6) supported by implementation of effective math instruction, using HMH as core curriculum.

Cullowhee Valley School 

Mission: Cullowhee Valley believes that every child has unique qualities that make him or her an important part of a bigger story. Therefore, the mission is to provide a learning environment that celebrates and supports the individual, grows an awareness of connections between self and others, and provides skills that open and expand visions of future opportunities. 

Vision: Students are prepared to achieve their personal best as contributing members of their communities. 

Goals: By the end of the year, the multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) team will meet with 100% of grade levels K-8 to mainline the process for MTSS interventions. Currently, a third of the school is below proficiency according to iReady math diagnostic assessment. Using NCCAT resources for school-wide professional development, staff will implement research-based math instructional strategies.

Fairview Elementary 

Mission: Every child, every day, do your best the eagle way. 

Vision: Preparing students to be a positive part of their communities by doing their best. 

Goals: Exceptional children subgroup will grow from less than 5% to 18% proficiency on the reading and from 6.6% to 18% on the mathematics EOG Tests by the year 2024. 60% of students will demonstrate proficiency (level 3, 4 or 5) on the EOG reading test by the year 2024. 70% of students will demonstrate proficiency (level 3, 4 or 5) on the EOG mathematics test by the year 2024. English learner (EL) subgroup will grow from less than 26.5% to 35% proficiency on the reading and 14.7% to 25% on the mathematics End-of-Grade Tests by the year 2024.

Jackson Co Early College 

Mission: Engage, Enlighten, and Enrich students following the core principles of JCEC: Education, Leadership, Service, and Community. 

Vision: Students are prepared to achieve their personal best as contributing members of their communities. 

Goals: Increase school performance grade from 85 percent to 90 percent or above for the 2022-2023 school year. Increase annual successful completion for all enrolled college courses (completes course with a grade of C or higher) from 84% to 95% by June 2024.

Jackson Community School 

Goals: JCS will maintain a graduation rate of 70% for the 2022-2023 school year by ensuring all students are provided resources to overcome barriers to graduate. JCS will improve performance grade calculation for 2022-2023 by June 2023 by linking standards to instruction; providing high quality, rigorous, engaging, relevant, culturally responsive, and differentiated instruction; focusing on social/emotional development and skills; and data responsive problem solving.

Scotts Creek Elementary 

Mission: Scotts Creek School, in partnership with parents and community members, is dedicated to providing an educational setting where students may learn in a safe environment that promotes opportunities for student achievement and success. The school will strive to inspire in each student a sense of self-worth, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning. Learning together. Leading together. Every Child~Every Day. 

Vision: Students are prepared to achieve their personal best as contributing members of their communities. 

Goals: Scotts Creek will meet the exit criteria for the TSI-AT status with a three-year growth score above 1.00 or meet measures of interim progress on long-term goals (20.6 reading proficiency score and 18.0 math proficiency score in 2018-19 for Students with Disabilities).

Smokey Mountain Elementary 

Mission: Engage, Enlighten, and Enrich Our mission is “to inspire dreams and promote excellence.” SMES’s motto is “Dream and Believe. Learn and Achieve.” 

Vision: At SMES, staff connect instruction, connect professional development to instruction, and connect expectations to instruction. This empowers teachers to collaborate at the grade level and hallway levels so that instruction is streamlined and connected within the building. As a result, students are provided access to equitable learning experiences and teachers are provided with opportunities to develop collaborative team. 

Goals: SMES will increase school performance grade calculation for subgroups American Indian and Students with Disabilities to exit TSI status. SMES will increase total school performance grade calculation above 55.

Smoky Mountain High 

Mission: Establish a positive school culture that empowers teachers and students to be leaders both in and out of the classroom: Work together to use data to determine relevant action steps in order to enhance change and growth: Then, teachers and students will be motivated to engage in meaningful learning experiences. So that, every student will graduate with the power to choose their own path; ready to fulfill their unique purpose in a healthy and vibrant community. AND every teacher will feel connected and able to create meaningful relationships that inspire personal and professional growth. 

Vision: At SMHS, students are locally grown and globally prepared. Staff focus on connecting students to their passions so that they are empowered to make positive contributions to our overall community and world. 

Goals: Students will make academic/social/emotional growth through participation in various support programs. Graduates of Smoky Mountain High School will be college and career ready.

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