07/11/06 — Board members - Reorganization will help schools

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Board members - Reorganization will help schools

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 11, 2006 1:57 PM

Problematic test scores at Goldsboro High School can be traced down to middle and elementary school levels, school board members said Monday night during a discussion of the school system's start and dismissal times for the coming year.

Earlier this spring, the Board of Education approved a move to reorganize feeder schools in the central attendance area. Elementary schools Carver Heights, North Drive and School Street, formerly K-5 schools, will drop a grade to allow all fifth- and sixth-graders to attend the former Goldsboro Middle School.

Dillard Middle School, which previously housed grades 6-8, will now be for seventh and eighth grades only.

Board member Thelma Smith said during a recently held community meeting that feedback about the reorganization was favorable.

"From the way it sounds, everybody is on board. Everybody is excited because we all realize that some work has to be done in the central attendance area," she said.

"What we did learn and probably had not focused on before is that even though Goldsboro High School is getting the brunt of the Judge Manning decision, we have to look at it realistically."

Mrs. Smith was refering to a recent admonition by Judge Howard Manning that 19 "at-risk" high schools in the state would be closed if their test scores did not improve significantly. Goldsboro was among those named.

While the blame has been placed on the high school, Mrs. Smith said that "much of the falling down of scores has been at the middle school level."

She said if test scores start to decline once the students reach middle school, by the time they enter high school, educators "have the humongous job to get those kids up to 60 percent" performance rate.

"I believe the reorganization of the middle grades is going to help tremendously ... and then we can send Goldsboro High School some better scores, and they can take it from that point on," she said.

Mrs. Smith maintained many of the problems being faced by the high school today are "not Goldsboro High's fault and I would like to tell Judge Manning that in case he would like to know."

She added that the public meeting prompted the community to pledge support in helping do its part to achieve student success.

Vice chairman of the board Shirley Sims said she also felt good about the restructuring of the inner city schools.

"For once, I believe that we made a change that the majority of teachers have agreed on," she said, referring particularly to those teachers required to move because of grade reconfigurations.

In addition to approving opening and closing times for the 2006-07 school year, the board also agreed to change the name of one of the schools.

When the reorganization was first announced, it was determined that Goldsboro Middle would become Goldsboro Elementary School. Since that time, a recommendation was made to better reflect the school's role, Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said.

It will now be renamed Goldsboro Intermediate School, he said.

The name change makes sense and will be more appropriate for students who have already left one elementary school, he said, adding the hope that it will also help with the transition to the next grade level.