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Educators gather to share ideas, prepare
Retreat best ‘in many years’
Kim Barnes, Kathie Braswell and Valerie Kaye talk Tuesday during the annual Forsyth County Schools Leadership Retreat. - photo by Jennifer Sami

The activities may have included drawing and tossing a ball, but the fun and games were just a small part of the annual Forsyth County Schools Leadership Retreat.

The two-day event, held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, welcomed administrators and central office staff to collaborate and plan for the 2013-14 school year.

Superintendent Buster Evans said the gathering “was the best we have had in many years.”

“We provided opportunities for the school leaders to get to know each other, as well as shared important information with them concerning [the College and Career Ready Performance Index] and our new continuous improvement process.”

Officials have said the state's new performance index, known as the CCRPI, will allow the system to better analyze and compare data based on more than just test results.

The new index scoring considers many factors, including test results, progress, attendance rates, closing the achievement gap, percentage of students with disabilities participating in general education classes and career readiness.

Held Monday and Tuesday, the retreat featured team-building activities both days, including those under the guidance of students in the Youth Leadership Forsyth program.

But the bulk of the retreat revolved around developing school improvement plans, discussion of the new Common Core standard method of accountability and planning information on technology, transportation and human resources.

Kim Fox, an assistant principal at Coal Mountain Elementary, said the collaboration benefits educators.

“We’re all about talking and sharing,” she said. “We’re just having a lot of good conversations and they’re also giving us some ideas to take back to our schools that we can use.”

Jennifer Caracciolo, school system spokeswoman, said the retreat is “the only time we have all the school administrators and central office administrators in one room.”

“It’s a good way for us to recap and talk about the success of our prior year and also to plan for the future,” she said.

Carl Jackson, an assistant principal at South Forsyth Middle, said it’s also a problem-solving experience that lets him gather ideas from other administrators or offer advice on successes at his school. It’s a chance to “be able to think without all the other day-to-day problems getting in the way.”

“It’s building relationships and really getting us a chance to talk shop a little bit with our peers,” he said.

Jackson added that he’s looking forward to using the new Common Core curriculum, which is “going to be huge as we get ready to have our students meet those new challenges.”