05/25/05 — Eastern Wayne High School one of top schools in nation

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Eastern Wayne High School one of top schools in nation

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 25, 2005 1:45 PM

From staff reports

Eastern Wayne High School has been named one of the top schools in the nation for having successful high school practices and policies in its educational program.

Selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the International Center for Leadership in Education, the school will be represented in a case study next month during the 13th annual Model Schools Conference in Tennessee. Last week, Custer and Doris Quick, representatives from the International Center, visited the school to prepare the report.

They spent time interviewing counselors, teachers and students about what makes the school successful. Among the findings were that there is constant communication between teachers and parents about a student's performance through progress reports every three weeks.

School officials said students at Eastern Wayne are also encouraged to take rigorous courses, such as AP and honors classes, and offer a diverse selection of courses that appeal to a variety of interests such as auto mechanics, allied health sciences, and early childhood education.

Athletics also encourage students to perform well in school, stipulating that participants pass three out of four courses to continue playing.

Ms. Quick said teachers at the school describe their teachers as caring and willing to devote extra time to help them.

"The kids are enthusiastic and consistent in what they say," she said. "The teachers say I can teach because the administration is doing what it's supposed to do. It feels like everyone is on board turning out kids who are terrific."

In turn, strong discipline by administration with high expectations allows teachers to maximize instruction class time. Principal Morris Kornegay said he has always felt that a successful school must be focused on strong discipline, have a caring attitude, and continually seek improvements.

"I have been fortunate to work in an atmosphere where all of those things were possible," he said.

As a result, the school has produced strong test scores at the state and federal level. In 2004, Eastern Wayne made high growth on the N.C. ABCs accountability program as a School of Distinction and made adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Law.

Kornegay will present the case study at the conference. The school will also receive a five-year membership, funding by the high school initiative, in the International Center's Successful Practices Network.

The center provides services to schools, school districts and states to help improve education systems by providing data collection instruments, publications for teachers, administrators and students, master teachers who demonstrate how to improve instruction and speakers on school reform.

Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, said that the high school's selection is reflective of best practices being implemented at the school every day.

"To be selected one of the top 25 schools in the nation is an honor and confirms out commitment to academic excellence for all students," he said.

"We hope Eastern Wayne High School will serve as a model and example for improved student performance for high schools in North Carolina and the nation."