Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Big changes on the way for Webster County school district

J-E News Editor
Everyone expecting change when the Webster County School Board selected Dr. Rachel Yarbrough as the districts next superintendent will not be disappointed. On Monday night the board unanimously approved a proposal from Dr. Yarbrough to conduct a major restructuring of the district’s leadership.

“For the upcoming school year I’d like to get the district focused on student learning at every level,” Yarbrough told the board.
Yarbrough’s plan will change the way that district administrators do business, starting right at the top. The first, and possibly biggest change, is the elimination of one of the district’s two assistant superintendent positions.
The remaining assistant superintendent position will be renamed ‘Deputy Assistant Superintendent.’ In districts that use the deputy title, job descriptions typically have that person playing a bigger role in the everyday activities of the school system, which seems to be in line with Dr. Yarbrough’s approach.
Yarbrough also plans major changes to other administrative personnel, including the Director of Secondary Instruction, Director of Pupil Personnel and the Director of Special Education. Each position will include a different focus and added responsibilities.
“Every person will be required to serve as a school level administrator at some point,” she explained to the board. Each of the restructored positions will have some responsibility at the school level.
The plan also called for the creation of up to four Instructional Coaches. Yarbrough wants these individuals to be “Master Educators”, which means they are not only experienced teachers, but they also have a masters degree. These coaches will provide support to both school level administrators and teachers in the classroom.
“The actual assignment of these individuals will be based on learning need and the experience of the group,” Yarbrough said. “The model teams are in the schools four days a week and then come together to work as a group on the fifth day. If we need two coaches in one location, we would have some flexibility to do so.”
Another major change will be an overhaul of the Alternative Center, which will include a new coordinator. Instead of focusing exclusively on behavioral issues, the Alternative Center will also look to aid students in credit rehabilitation and to assist with dropout recovery.
“When that 18 year-old dropout lands on top of Webster County, we are going to need some alternatives,” Yarbrough said. “We need to be creative and innovative on how we help the high school graduation rate across the county.”
Dr. Yarbrough said that she would be ready to post these positions soon.
In other business, board members approved the Site Based Decision Making  (SBDM) committee allocations for the 2014-2015 school year. The addition of the Webster County Middle School for next year will create a great number of changes in allocations and student enrollment.
School (fall students) teachers
Clay (247) - 10
Dixon (317) - 13
Providence (320) -12
Sebree (354) -14
WMS (340) - 14
WCHS (633) - 27

The new allocations call for 90 teachers for the 2014-2015 school year. The current year allotment was for 92 teachers.
“There are a lot of rumors floating around,” said Superintendent Galloway. “We will give out some pink slips, but some of those folks will be brought back once we get our funding figured out.”