ROWLAND — A job fair will be held on Thursday as a first step in identifying staff that will work during the next school year at Southside-Ashpole Elementary School, which is the only state school in the fledgling Innovative School District.
The fair will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at Rowland Town Hall at 202 W. Main St.
According to information from Eric Hall, superintendent of the ISD, 24 staff members must be hired in the following fields: K through 5; Exceptional Children; Physical Education; Music; Art; Assistants; Instructional Coach; Guidance Counselor; and Operations Specialist.
Information can be found on the ISD’s new website at innovativeschooldistrict.org, which was launched Friday. Applications can also be submitted at the website.
Current educators and support staff at the school are eligible to apply to keep their jobs. According to Hall, there will be an informational meeting at the school on Tuesday for those who wish to do so.
The school will be managed by Achievement for All Children, a nonprofit whose CEO is Tony Helton. It will work with Hall in the hiring of the school’s principal, who will then work with Achievement for All Children and Hall in selecting staff for the school.
Principal candidates can apply at www.aac.school. Hall said there is no timeline to hire a principal, but suggested there is some urgency.
“It is our top priority right now, but we need to make sure we find the right fit,” he said.
Hall promised a deliberative process.
“Over the next couple of months, we will focus on building and developing the school-based team that will ultimately lead the turnaround at Southside-Ashpole,” he said. “Our first step is to engage existing staff at Southside-Ashpole to examine their interest and desire in being part of the Innovative School District. At the same time, we realize that there are opportunities to recruit talent from across the region that can help fill potential gaps at the school. In the end, our top priority is to put together a passionate and dedicated team that is focused on returning Southside- Ashpole to higher levels of achievement that the students and community deserve.”
The Innovative School District is a new initiative from the Republican-led General Assembly whose task is to take low-performing schools from all across North Carolina to higher levels of academic achievement.
Southside-Ashpole was the lone school picked for the inaugural year, being selected from a pool that at one time included 48 schools, including four other low-performing schools from Robeson County. It will be part of ISD for five years, and then returned to the Public Schools of Robeson County.
Initially there was resistance locally, including from the Board of Education, but that waned as Hall did months of community outreach. The school board in January voted unanimously to turn the school over, but the only other choice it had was to shut it down and send students elsewhere in the system.
Hall has said the school will have some flexibility, including in hiring, operating hours, and approaches to teaching. But many services will continue to be provided by the local school system, including food and transportation.
The 260 students who attend the school will be the same as before, coming from within its district.
Editor Donnie Douglas can be reached at 910-416-5649 or [email protected]