The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue — Edward R Murrow
Halifax County School Superintendent Geraldine Middleton announced in a press statement improvements in the district’s academic achievement, with six of the county’s 14 schools meeting Adequate Yearly Progress as part of the federal No Child Left Behind standards for the 2008–09 school year, a decrease in the dropout rate for students in grades 7-12 and gains in reading and math according to North Carolina’s ABC education model.
“We’ve made great strides over the past year to improve curriculum, expand educational opportunities, and increase teaching effectiveness in our classrooms,” Middleton said. “Last year none of our schools made AYP. I think we’re starting to see pockets of success as a result of some of the plans my team implemented when I came to the system almost two years ago.”
The six schools achieving AYP are Brawley Middle School and five elementary schools: Aurelian Springs, Everetts, Hollister, Pittman and Scotland Neck Primary.
On the ABCs Growth Model, Pittman Elementary School achieved “High Growth” and Aurelian Springs and Scotland Neck Primary achieved “Growth.”
Following a comprehensive needs assessment, the district modified students’ daily schedules to allow for 45 minutes of additional tutorial time, had district-wide assessments of each student’s progress every six weeks, and conducted extensive professional development for teachers.
The district also entered into partnerships with Halifax Community College, Elizabeth City State University and North Carolina State University’s School of Math and Science to provide additional training for classroom teachers.
Under North Carolina’s ABCs program, which is designed to monitor students’ yearly growth on the End of Grade tests, Halifax students at several of the district’s schools achieved what the state calls “High Growth” in 3rd grade math and “Expected Growth” in 4th and 8th grade math. Several schools met growth in reading in grades 4, 5, and 8.
Another sign of the district’s improvement was a reduction in the number of students in grades 7-12 who dropped out of school. The rate decreased from 6.73 percent to 6.27 percent.
“While we see these successes as the first fruits of our labor, we recognize that as a district we must continue on this course to reach students and improve the quality of education they deserve,” Middleton added.
Improving elementary reading and math scores are still essential priorities for the 2009-10 school year. Eighty-two percent of students in grades 3-8 scored at or above grade level in reading and or math. At the high school level, a third of students proved themselves proficient on end-of-course tests.
In addition to weeks of intensive professional development for teachers and administrators over the summer, 12 full-time master educators will be working with the district this coming year to help classroom teachers improve instruction.
“This is a pivotal time for Halifax County Schools,” Middleton said. “Never before in our state’s history has a district come under such heavy fire politically, economically, and socially.
“It is my resolve that the children of Halifax County not be reduced to a set of negative statistics or part of someone’s political profile, but are allowed the opportunity to achieve and excel,” Middleton concluded.
The Roanoke Rapids Police Department Tuesday arrested a man for his alleged involvement in an October shooting in the 800 block of Marshall and Carolina streets.
Deputy Chief Adam Bondarek said Joseph Cordell Oglesby faces four counts of discharging a weapon in the city limits and a count of assault with a deadly with intent to kill. He was jailed on $100,000 bond and has an August 25 court date. There were no injuries in the shooting.
The city will not issue any fines as it comes up with ways to allow Roanoke Avenue merchants to display their wares on sidewalks.