01/20/08 — Leadership class learns about local education

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Leadership class learns about local education

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Published in News on January 20, 2008 12:29 PM

Members of the 2007-08 Leadership Wayne County (LWC) class spent a day in December learning about education in Wayne County by hearing from local education leaders and visiting the public schools, Wayne Community College, Mount Olive College, and the Wayne County Partnership for Children.

The daylong event was part of the LWC graduation requirements. LWC participants must attend one daylong meeting each month, from September through May, to learn more about various aspects of Wayne County through local experts and tours around the region.

The December meeting started with tours of local schools. Class members divided into small groups and visited Goldsboro High School, Goldsboro School of Engineering, Goldsboro Intermediate, Edgewood Elementary and School Street School.

The LWC class then rejoined for tours of Mount Olive College and Wayne Community College. While at Mount Olive College, Tim Woodard, director of administrators for the college, and Kate Daniels, admissions representative, gave the class a tour of the campus. The LWC Class had the opportunity to get an up-close look at the college's newest buildings and state of the art classrooms.

The class toured two of the new facilities on campus -- the Pope Wellness Center and the new forensics lab where Dr. Michael McCann showed them the classroom filled with $400,000 worth of equipment that was capable of diagnostic tasks that one would see on the popular TV show "CSI." Students interested in careers in forensic science now have a local option for fields of study that will prepare them for many career choices in scientific research.

The LWC Class had lunch at Mount Olive College. During the lunch, Wayne County Public Schools Board of Education member Shirley Sims shared school system facts with the LWC class. Ms Sims discussed the confusion about the graduation rate, and explained that the 71.6 percent rate might seem low until you realize that many children are considered dropouts although they might have simply moved away or transferred to the new high school on the Wayne Community College campus and can no longer be counted in Wayne County Public School's statistics.

Although graduation rate is important, Ms. Sims was quick to point out Wayne County's record that shows that 87 percent of Wayne County's high school graduates go on to higher education endeavors.

With 58 percent of the student population on free and reduced lunch, Ms. Sims stressed the importance of the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Parental involvement and mentor involvement such as the Foster Grandparent Program are very important and help ensure that more students will be successful in school.

After lunch, the LWC class headed to Wayne Community College.

WCC is one of the two oldest community colleges in the North Carolina system, said Dr.

Kay Albertson, college president. In fact, WCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007.

Dr. Albertson defined the college's mission as workforce preparedness. Whether it is a career in teaching, dental hygiene, computer game creation or a foundation for transferring to a four-year institution, Wayne Community College has the infrastructure to make that happen at a very reasonable cost to the student, Dr. Albertson said.

Board of Regents members, Karen Burnette, Ray Burrell and LWC Class member Joanna Morrisette took the class on a tour of the campus and answered questions from the class.

From Wayne Community College, the LWC class headed to the Wayne County Partnership for Children. There class members teamed up for a game of Jeopardy, that creatively showcased the Partnership's many family support programs, health programs, and early care and education programs that are geared toward helping prepare Pre-K children for success.

Leadership Wayne County is sponsored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce and area businesses. The next LWC event will be Law and Government Day.

Special to The News-Argus