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Roanoke Rapids Graded School District students, staff, and Board members had a very busy week. 

Our pre-kindergarten students shared a tea party with our friends from Pine Forest Rest Home, and some of them were visited by a dog for their pet unit. 

Our elementary students and staff prepared for a week celebrating reading. 

Manning Elementary is now celebrating Dr. Seuss Week from Monday through March 1. 

On Thursday, Manning will host a family engagement night with the Suessical performance, book fair, living history museum, and reading night beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Belmont Elementary will celebrate Read across America with Literacy Spirit Week from March 4-8.

Our middle and high schools have spotlighted our talented Career and Technical Education staff through a CTE Spotlight series. 

I hope you will visit our school Facebook pages to see these special features! 

Our Early College ninth and tenth-grade scholars went to the Lakeland Cultural Arts Center to witness the inspiring stage play Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart. 

Lastly, our high school students had a wonderful experience this week at the CTE Career Fair. So many business and local government leaders graciously came to share with our students about their professions, and the experience was such an important one as our students explore careers and develop their career readiness skills.

Last Tuesday night was the February 2024 Board Meeting. 

The Board utilized a consent agenda process for the first time, and all four Board Committees provided reports from their February meetings. Among other items, the Finance and Personnel Committee (Cathy Keeter, Steven Ellis, Ed Liverman, and Mike Salanik) recommended the Board approve a salary study to be conducted by School Operations Specialists to ensure RRGSD will be in compliance with NC’s new required salary schedule effective for the 2024-25 school year and that bus monitors with their CDLs will continue to receive the same amount whenever they drive or monitor on a bus; the Policy Committee (Valencia Davis, Henry Ford, Tammy Colston, and Carol Dean) shared their progress on three policies; the Curriculum Committee (Cathy Keeter, Carol Dean, Valencia Davis, and Mike Salanik) recommended adoption of a new district wide math curriculum and the traditional academic calendar for 2024-25; and the Facilities and Safety Committee (Tammy Colston, Ed Liverman, Steven Ellis, and Henry Ford) presented updates on discipline data, athletic conference realignment, maintenance work orders, domicile procedures, and postponing the security risk assessments until the 2024-25 school year.

Two areas of discussion were the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s realignment of athletic conferences for the 2025-26 school year with possible changes for RRGSD athletics in 2024-25 and RRGSD’s recently updated domicile and residency procedures. 

At this time, the NCHSAA has not decided on its plan for realigning the current four conference divisions to eight, so we are waiting for more information from the NCHSAA. The realignment proposal has resulted in a robust discussion about how the changes may affect multiple campuses within RRGSD. 

Also at the meeting, I provided an overview of the recently updated domicile procedures.

RRGSD Domicile and Residency Requirements for Student Attendance — effective February 1.

Our new procedure operates in accordance with Board Policy 4120 (Domicile or Residency Requirements) and states that a student is domiciled in RRGSD if his or her parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian actually lives in their permanent home within RRGSD school lines. We implemented a new way (an online form on our website) to submit all domicile tips. 

To verify domicile (either before enrolling or after we receive a tip questioning a student’s domicile), we engage in a three-phase process. 

For phase one, families must show the following: 

(1) parent’s, legal guardian’s, or legal custodian’s proof of identification (to establish the address within RRGSD)

(2) most recent utility bills for electricity and sanitation (within the most recent 60 days showing usage for the address within RRGSD)

(3) if the name on the utility bills is not the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian establishing the domicile, then two other recent reasonably reliable indicators of domicile are required for the parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian at the address within RRGSD. 

These documents are required within ten days of contact from Central Office staff and must be submitted before the student is enrolled in RRGSD. 

If the documents are not provided, then the investigation moves into phase two. 

In phase two, one RRGSD staff member is assigned to conduct unannounced home visits to determine if the family is living at the enrollment address. 

If home visits do not provide evidence of the family’s domicile within RRGSD, then the investigation moves into phase three. Phase three consists of RRGSD staff or other contractors conducting unannounced surveillance of the enrollment address and/or address of suspected actual domicile outside of the school district. 

After the investigation is complete (within 30 days of receiving the tip), I initiate administrative withdrawal procedures for students who are not appropriately domiciled within the school district. 

As with many decisions that I make, families have the ability to appeal my decision to the Board, who has the ability to grant discretionary admission (Board Policy 4130) and may choose to charge (or to waive) tuition for discretionary admission (Board Policy 4135). 

While necessary if students are not domiciled within RRGSD, administrative withdrawal is one of the hardest parts of being the superintendent or a Board member. 

As educators, we build relationships and invest in every student, so having to remove a student from their classroom during the school year is difficult, but we make sure that we continue to do the difficult things kindly. 

As we move forward, the domicile policy and procedure will be reviewed by the Policy Committee in March’s meeting.

In closing for this week, I want to express how proud I am of our high school basketball teams, who entered post-season conference play last week. Our RRHS men’s basketball team has qualified for the NCHSAA 2A State Playoffs as the number 12 seed, and they will host the 21st seed Southeast Alamance Stallions tonight. 

Game time at The Hive is 6 p.m. with $7 admission. 

As this is postseason play, only NCHSAA passes can be approved for admission, so no local passes will be accepted. Please come out and cheer loudly for our Yellow Jackets!