08/26/04 — State Education officials work to narrow gaps

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State Education officials work to narrow gaps

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Published in News on August 26, 2004 2:01 PM

State and Wayne County educators will meet next month to talk about an array of topics concerning the federal No Child Left Behind law.

As part of Wayne County public schools' plan, "Building Capacity for Student Success," consultants with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will work with local educators to explore several topics, including race, income and stereotypes.

The meeting with the consultants will be Thursday, Oct. 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the schools' administration building on Royall Avenue.

The school system recently implemented a program, made up of 31 teams, one for each public school in the county.

Dr. Willette C. Wooten, director of federal programs, said, "The No Child Left Behind law has changed the landscape of accountability. With this new federal law, the school community is embracing educational reform of unprecedented scope and complexity.

"Thus, we have implemented 'capacity building teams' to include administrators, curriculum facilitators and parent facilitators. The purpose of the teams is to improve curriculum and instruction by building capacity at the school level through sustained high-quality professional development."

She said the goal for the year-long effort is to develop a system of support from school instructional leaders as well as the community.

Teams approach the initiative systematically by topic, she said. This past summer, teams examined the requirements of the federal law. In September, they will work on analyzing data to assess students' strengths and weaknesses and determine from the data how student performance will be integrated.

Later this year, teams will research the importance of parent involvement and methods to increase participation. Community involvement has been identified as a key ingredient in student advancement.

Dr. Wooten said specific strategies and plans for schools and student improvement will be developed, and each school will produce an improvement plan. The strategies implemented in each school will then be assessed and modified as determined by school instructional leaders.

The initiative, she said, serves as a comprehensive approach to examining students' performance and customizing strategies designed to address the character, community and student population of individual schools.