12/18/05 — Wayne considers three new school programs

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Wayne considers three new school programs

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on December 18, 2005 2:05 AM


Officials are considering three proposals for program enhancements in the central attendance area of the school system.

At meetings earlier this week of the Board of Education and its Curriculum and Instruction Committee, members discussed offering an international baccalaureate degree as well as strings and dance programs.

Schools affected include Carver Heights, School Street, and North Drive elementary schools, Dillard and Goldsboro middle, and Goldsboro High.

In explaining what each program entailed, Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for instruction, said the Goldsboro City Council and Wayne County commissioners have already discussed looking into funding sources for them.

The first proposal, a K-12 strings program, would include hiring four teachers, providing string instruments for the first year, music supplies, traveling to perform and staff development for teachers. Anticipated cost would be $400,000.

Offering a K-12 dance program in the six schools would entail hiring four teachers, music and sound equipment, music supplies, staff development for teachers, and travel expenses to perform. The cost for the program would be $345,000, Dr. McCullen said.

The most expensive of the three proposals is the international baccalaureate program, she said. In addition to hiring four teachers, supplies and materials and staff development, application costs for each of the six schools for the first year would total $58,000, and annual membership dues would be $30,000. The total program costs would be $568,000.

The diploma program is already in place in Wilson County, she said. While it involves more extensive studies in the areas of reading, research and social studies, she said the advantage is that the IB diploma is accepted around the world.

School board members discussed the possibilities of each proposal as well as the likelihood of introducing them into the school system as early as next year.

"I know it's inconceivable that we could do all of them at one time, but I would certainly like to lend support, especially to the strings program," board member Thelma Smith said.

She said she had attended a convention in Virginia where 100 students serenaded the group with violins.

"I thought it was so spectacular," she said. "I do believe that would be an excellent program."

Mrs. Smith said she had already spoken with community members willing to help provide the instruments.

"If our board could approve this for another year, we could get this rolling," she said, adding that she also it as an opportunity to promote diversity in the schools.

Board member Rick Pridgen has a strong background in music and said he would also support the strings program.

"It's been a vision of mine ever since I have been on the board, especially in the central attendance area where we could create more diversity," he said. "But moreover, most of the children involved in the strings program excel in other academic areas."

Pridgen said he has talked with several music teachers about fundraising opportunities for the program as well as bringing in music groups to illustrate the value of such a program.

Board member Shirley Sims asked Dr. McCullen to explore the possibility of hiring dance and music teachers already in their midst. With well-trained instructors in place who often run studios after school hours, there is the likelihood that they could lend their expertise by coming into the schools during the day.

"I don't know how successful we could be," she said. "But that's an option I suggest."

Ms. Sims said she understood the constraints placed upon schools to hire qualified and highly-qualified instructors, but noted that the ones in the community are also highly-qualified.

"We don't know whether the state (Department of Public Instruction) would allow people to come into the school site to do this," she said before requesting Dr. McCullen to investigate further.