After a day of mostly sitting and talking about educational matters inside Sampson Middle School, principals and leaders throughout the Clinton City Schools district enjoyed traveling to Wilmington to partake in a scavenger hunt or “station hunt.”
The trip to Wilmington followed a day when local principals and administrators met at Sampson Middle School for the district’s Leadership Conference, a two-day event focused on making improvements for the 2015-2016 school year. Some of the information discussed included surveys, discipline results, enrichment classes and other assessments.
“It was a great opportunity for school leaders to get together and get to know each other, especially those coming from different schools,” said Superintendent Dr. Stuart Blount. “It was a very successful two days of training.”
Faith Jackson, community liaison and grant writer, said the participants were broken up into teams to solve clues at several stations. The locations included the Bellamy Mansion, the courthouse on Third Street, First Citizens Banks on Market Street and the Hannah Black Community Arts Center on Second Street.
Each team, had a mix of employees from different schools and building locations.
“It was very active and they had to work with their team,” Jackson said about everyone getting to know each other. “We wanted to build the unity within Clinton City Schools with carrying on a different activity for them, instead of just sitting in the media center and getting information.”
At one of the stations, group members had to come up with a chant to promote the new theme for the school year, “Above and Beyond.” At another station, team members discussed ways to boost employee morale and improve retention.
“It’ll be something that we’ll use at the district office to improve,” Jackson said.
The hunts followed with a tour of the USS North Carolina battleship. Jackson noted the battleship visit was apt to the “Above and Beyond” theme.
“That ship has gone to many places,” Jackson said. “The equipment on that ship is remarkable.”
Jackson said it created a better sense of unity between administrators and the teachers who represented each school.
“We’re all working hard for Clinton City School students to be productive members of society,” Jackson said.
Dr. Kelly Batts, curriculum coach and beginning teachers coordinator, was one of many school leaders who participated in the event. During the event, she went over a new plan for beginning teachers, which includes having effective management.
“I was able to work collaboratively with people who I may not have otherwise worked closely with,” Batts said. “I learned about these colleagues, had fun, and did some thinking about district improvement.”
Debbie McDuffie, a Sampson Middle School teacher for academically and intellectually gifted students, said the conference was very informative.
“We received very pertinent district-wide and school-specific information that will be very beneficial to take back to our schools as we continue to plan, begin and carry on into this new school year,” McDuffie said. “The team building time was very helpful in strengthening our connection to one another across our district. We can truly come out of this experience saying that we did and will continue to ‘work and play well with others.’”
Shirley Williams, director of student services, said the two-day event provided the opportunity for school leaders to bond as a team. Other local school professionals such as Child Nutrition Director Jeff Swartz believed it was a great way to improve CCS. During the meeting, he shared a new application for parents seeking free or reduced meals for their children.
Jennifer Hill, assistant principal at Sunset Avenue, said it was an awesome experience.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to network with other leaders in our district,” Hill said. “The information sessions and activities were geared to providing us with knowledge of the upcoming school year as well as the latest educational trends. I look forward to next year.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.