Look at the Website of the Innovative School District’s Only School – What Does It Tell You About the Priorities of the ISD?

Southside-Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County was selected by the state to be the first school (and currently only school) in the Innovative School District back before the end of the last school year.

The first superintendent of the ISD was Dr. Eric Hall, who is now the Deputy Superintendent of INNOVATION in Raleigh having been “promoted” in a coup of control by State Superintendent Mark Johnson.

One particularly loud aspect of Johnson’s platform is his wanting to further North Carolina’s hold on technology. And the word “INNOVATION” comes out of his mouth quite often.

So, almost a month into the school year and several months to prepare for this inaugural school year, it was quite interesting to view the website of the new ISD school.

To say that it has a good profile and interface with its community would be a non-truth.

In fact, with the recent hurricane and disastrous weather having decimated much of the eastern part of the state, it would make sense that the school website keep as much info as possible to alert families of school closings and other important notices.

There are none. In fact, it does not even look like the website has even been completed for the first day of school as if it had taken a template of a website and plugged in some identifying markers in a matter of an hour.

You may find it here: https://saes.k12isd.org/.

That .k12isd.org address might be indicative of its being on a different server than other Robeson County schools, which by the way, have kept their communities up-to-date on closures. One guess is that it is maintained in Raleigh, where the ISD district super has had his office.

Look at the first page:



Those people? Not in that school. Those are “stock” photos. That’s not authentic, much like the purpose of the ISD plan to begin with.

Want to meet the staff and administration? You aren’t.


Actually, just more stock photos.

In a comparison with other Robeson County school websites, there is a stark difference between what this ISD profiles online and what other schools under local control have.

Local school websites under the Robeson County umbrella of control have:

  • real kids and real staff who actually are part of the school
  • actual events shown on calendars
  • resources for parents
  • news articles that are relevant
  • and, direct contact info for the administration

The website of the ISD school has:

  • just stock photos –  not real kids or staff from Southside-Ashpole
  • no real current news – the last news was from over a month ago
  • the only ‘parent resource’ is a link to Powerschool (i.e., something the State invested in for everybody; no local resources)
  • no administration contact or message

Does not sound very innovative, unless you want jargon and buzzwords.

This past couple of weeks, more schools were identified as being considered for the ISD – two from my own school system. If a school website is supposed to be a reflection of values and commitment to the community that the school serves, then what has been shown by the ISD here in North Carolina shows a lack of substance and a disconnect with the local population.

State Supt. Mark Johnson, give that school back to the people who know those students best and then get Raleigh to help that community more by increasing funding for schools and students, expanding Medicaid, and putting a school bond back on the ballot for next year to help these schools rebuild what needs to be fixed.