The League of Women Voters of Dare County have observers who attend and write notes on public meetings in Dare County. I found the following report very informative. Thanks LWV
The Dare County Board of Education met on November 7, and December 12, 2017 for regular
monthly sessions at Manteo Elementary and Manteo Middle Schools, respectively. In
addition, the Board met in two special sessions on those days to deal with personnel and
confidential matters with their attorney in attendance.
In December, Chairperson Basnight announced that Superintendent Farrelly had just
successfully completed the work and requirements for his doctoral degree at East Carolina
To shine a light on Dr. Farrelly’s digital and electronic efficiency mission and goals, this article
will focus on the following related initiatives/ announcements that were introduced to the Board
As Sharon Sullivan, Community Relations Coordinator, retires after 21 years, her successor,
Keith Parker, started his job on December 1 as Director of Digital Communications. At a
November community forum at First Flight High, Dr. Farrelly described the digital director
position as “a very significantly different-looking job” with a different scope of responsibilities
than the traditional public information officer. The term “digital director” indicates a larger
emphasis on social media and on-line technology for disseminating the system’s story and
connecting parents and other stakeholders.
In December, Dare Schools launched itself on social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook,
and Instagram. A completely new website will be ready in a few months. Dr. Farrelly and
the staff are in the midst of “rebranding” the image of Dare Schools.
In November, Dare Schools started using Social Sentinel to assist with campus safety
efforts. Social Sentinel is a social media threat monitoring service that flags potential
threats to schools and/or the district.
Also in November, the system began using Peachjar, an electronic flyer delivery system.
Through this new system, approved flyers from the community will be delivered to parents
via e-mail and posted on school websites. This will save the schools and community
partners (e.g., county recreation dept.) time and money by eliminating the need to print and
distribute hard copies of flyers at school; and, it will ensure that parents receive the
information in a timely manner. This service comes at no cost to the system.
Dare Schools Digital Learning Plan – A bit of history and the future: The system is now in
the fourth year of the 1-1 laptop initiative for all 6th through 12th graders; and, class sets
have been provided to 4th and 5th grades this year. The next phase of this plan is being
developed by central office staff with crucial input from computer resource teachers, Landra
Cartwright and Kathy Evanoff. The plan will involve development of digital instructional
practices used in exemplary classrooms by innovative teachers. A $50,000 grant from SDPI
will allow the system to implement this digital learning initiative providing professional
opportunities for teachers.
Preparing Future Workforce in Coding & Mobile App Development Grant: Central office
staff reported in December that Dare County Schools is one of two Northeast North Carolina
districts to be awarded a $25,000 grant from funds recently appropriated by the General
Assembly and NC State Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish computer science,
coding, and mobile app development programs for middle and high school students. The
grant supports partnerships with local businesses to assist schools develop such programs,
the first being a pilot “Innovision Lab” for Manteo Middle School in the spring of 2018.
Subsequently, the course will be offered at the remaining middle schools. The primary focus
is to grow a sustainable middle school computer science program while increasing
knowledge and the importance of computer science.
One last item of interest approved in the December consent agenda was the hiring of two school
social workers, each to begin work on January 2, 2018. Dr. Farrelly noted at the November
community forum that he was very surprised that Dare Schools had no social workers on staff and
that he hoped to find a way to bring some to the system soon.
Submitted by Marion Midgett. Education Director & Board of Education Observer