09/07/06 — Officials review school improvement plan

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Officials review school improvement plan

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 7, 2006 1:52 PM

Local and state educators Wednesday night reviewed plans for ensuring that low-performing schools like Goldsboro High School will move toward improving test scores.

Representatives from the state Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction visited Wayne County to meet with local officials as well as the public. The forums were held at Goldsboro High School, with the group planning to return to the school this morning to tour the classrooms and to interact with students and teachers. Then, the state Board of Education's regular board meeting was to be held at the central schools office.

Dr. Pat Ashley, director of the Turnaround Schools Program with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, discussed the plan for improving student performance. She noted that Goldsboro High School was among 44 high schools in the state that were identified last fall as needing drastic improvement.

Dr. Ashley said plans have been implemented in the schools to assist struggling students and to shore up the academics as well as to increase professional development of teachers.

Principal Pat Burden said that since she arrived at the school in 2000, performance scores have risen from 30.5 percent to the latest preliminary scores of 59.4 percent. She said several measures are being taken to ensure that they continue to improve.

Among the programs being added at the school are a Freshman Academy to help incoming students transition to the rigors of high school, a parent academy throughout the year, after-school tutorial programs and alternatives to suspensions.

Sen. Howard Lee, chairman of the State Board of Education, said there is no choice but to take giant steps toward improving schools like Goldsboro.

"In my opinion, there are no low-performing schools. There are high priority schools, and this, for us, is a high-priority school," he said. "We're here not to criticize. We're here to learn. ... We're here to pledge to get the job done."