02/16/05 — Eastern Wayne chosen as model school

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Eastern Wayne chosen as model school

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 16, 2005 2:13 PM

Eastern Wayne High School has been chosen one of six model schools in the nation making progress in closing achievement gaps, particularly among students of different racial and economic lines.

The Education Trust, a national non-profit research and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., received a grant from the Gates Foundation to identify high schools making the most significant gains. Eastern Wayne was chosen based on test scores as well as "promoting power," the number of students entering ninth grade compared to the number of graduating students.

The grant calls for identifying schools making progress and then providing more information to policymakers and the public about what the schools are doing.

Heather Peske, a research assistant and co-investigator with the Education Trust, visited the school Tuesday and today. She interviewed administrators, teachers, students and parents. She said her main question was what each faction felt Eastern Wayne was doing to close the achievement gap.

Several themes emerged, she said, with leadership mentioned by every group.

"Teachers have said that they feel very supported in being able to do their jobs," she said.

"Both teachers and students said that standards of discipline are applied constructively. They feel safe, cared for, and know what's expected of them."

The importance of teacher retention and continuity at the school was another priority, she said, as well as the educators' feeling supported.

"Teachers explain that they see this as a two-way street," she said. "They're very supported by administration to do their jobs and to teach. Everyone cited the fact that their teaching time is protected."

Students expressed the importance of diversity, she said, not only race but background.

"I heard how much they like getting to know other students who have traveled to other places," she said. "The concept in this school is that their expectation is to get to know one another."

This is the first year for the grant. The goal was to profile six high schools across the country that will serve as a model to others seeking to increase student learning.

Eastern Wayne Principal Morris Kornegay said it is an honor for the school to be recognized for its efforts.

"Our primary purpose is to make sure all of our students are successful," he said. "We strive to produce an atmosphere where learning never takes second place."

He said he has outstanding educators on staff, crediting them also with developing relationships with one another and the students.

"They're dedicated, they know what they're doing, and also partially because of the interaction," he said. "They respect the students and students respect them."