01/11/07 — Duplin chief of schools outlines his goals

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Duplin chief of schools outlines his goals

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 11, 2007 2:07 PM

KENANSVILLE -- With a new year starting and about eight months in Duplin County under his belt, school superintendent Dr. Wiley Doby is trying to put Duplin County Schools on a new direction. On Tuesday, he brought a new vision and mission statement before the board for its approval.

Since his hire, the former high school football coach explained, he has tried to instill a philosophy he calls "blocking and tackling."

"We always operated from the standpoint that if the essential fundamentals -- blocking and tackling -- are executed well, we'd do pretty well," Doby said.

To him, the classroom is no different. Only there, the essential fundamental is the curriculum -- the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

"The North Carolina Standard Course of Study is crucial to the success of our students in the classroom," he said. "It's our bible, so to speak. It must be delivered day to day in the classroom."

Once the teachers are using that written curriculum, it must be taught at the appropriate pace, student performance must be monitored, instruction must be modified as needed and students must be either remediated or enriched based on continuous reassessments throughout the year.

"We believe these things are done and we're making progress in that," Doby said. "We do believe that if these things are done, children will be put first and that is the ultimate goal."

And now, he continued, with the entire district beginning to focus on those basic fundamentals, it is time to go further and create a comprehensive statement explaining the levels of success Duplin County ultimately needs to reach.

He's titled that statement, "Empowering Students and Staff for Success."

His vision is simple.

"A vision is what you want to become, the direction you want to go in," Doby said.

He wants Duplin County to become an "exemplary school system, which inspires, challenges and empowers students and staff for success in a globally competitive society."

His mission statement is longer.

"A mission is what you're trying to accomplish," Doby continued.

He wants Duplin County's mission to be "to provide all students ... with a rigorous and balanced curriculum, which provides academic and vocational knowledge by preparing students to problem solve, think logically, critically and creatively, while encouraging life-long learning, responsible citizenship and a healthy and active lifestyle."

Their efforts to make that vision a reality, he explained, will be based on their belief system and their critical expectations.

"I think in order to do anything in life, you've got to have some beliefs and hold to those beliefs," Doby said.

For the school system, those beliefs are that the students need a safe, orderly and caring learning environment, to be valued as unique individuals and to be taught to be life-long learners with the ability to apply their knowledge in practical situations in the 21st century.

The district's critical expectations will demand that each school hold its students and staff to high standards, that students be able to identify, access and process all forms of information while working collaboratively with others, that students be able to comprehend and apply concepts from all curriculum areas and that students and staff realize the importance of their education and of being good citizens.

"We're not just about academics. Academics are important, yes, but there are other things we need to teach if we are to have whole students," Doby said.

To the board members, all of whom voted to approve the statement, the creation of this vision and mission is a step in the right direction.

"This is an excellent springboard for us to start 2007," new board member Chuck Farrior said. "I really think this is a positive direction."

Now, Doby continued, they need to develop a strategic action plan to help them focus those beliefs and expectations into an actual results.

"I think we need to develop collaboratively in our school community and in the county, a strategic action plan -- specifically how we're doing to do what we're talking about doing. You've got to have a plan and then you've got to work your plan," he said, adding that they will be looking to teachers, school and central office administrators and parents for help.

"I think if you involve more people, you get more buy-in from the community and school system and you get more ideas, which is crucial. We'll start on the strategic action plan in the very near future."