05/25/10 — GHS seeks $6 million grant to improve instruction

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GHS seeks $6 million grant to improve instruction

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 25, 2010 1:46 PM

Goldsboro High School is vying for a $6 million grant that could call for several shake-ups, including teachers working year-round and possible replacement of long-time principal Patricia Burden.

Administrative changes are among the stipulations of the "Transformation Model" of the School Improvement Grant, through the U.S. Department of Education -- which specifies that any principal in place at a school for two years or longer can no longer serve in that position.

Ms. Burden has been at GHS since 2000, which means her position would be in jeopardy.

If awarded the grant, the school would continue to operate on the traditional calendar, but would add 30 minutes to each school day and require students to attend an extra five days during the school year.

The school applied for the grant in March, and administrators were recently notified that recipients will be named in June. At that time, they will learn if they are awarded the full or partial amount of the grant.

Goldsboro has the potential to receive up to $2 million each year for the next three years, said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

The funding would not only reduce costs for additional planning time and professional development, it would provide even greater resources to help meet the needs of students, officials said.

"If awarded the grant, staff will be placed on a 12-month calendar and will be able to use the summer months for professional development training, planning and collaboration with other teachers," said Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent.

GHS Principal of Admini-stration John Twitty said he has already interviewed staff and found them to be supportive of the changes.

"Professional development is a key part of this transformation grant," he said. "What we want to do through this grant is to help ensure students have the best teachers who have the time and resources to give every student their best efforts. We believe these changes can have a direct impact on student achievement and the dropout rate."

Any announcement regarding administrative changes will be made pending receipt of the grant.

In the meantime, officials credited Ms. Burden with playing an "invaluable role" in helping implement school improvement efforts -- including Freshman Aca-demy, Saturday Academies for tutoring, offering tutoring resources during and after school, and helping Goldsboro High become an America's Choice School.

"We are appreciative of all that Ms. Burden has accomplished over the past 20 years with Wayne County Public Schools," Taylor said. "Since she came to our district in 1990, she has served as an assistant principal at Brogden Middle and a principal at Goldsboro Middle and Goldsboro High.

"She has been named WCPS Principal of the Year three times, once in 1996, then again in 2000 and most recently in 2006. Ms. Burden has 40 years of education experience and a passion to help every student succeed. We are grateful for all she has done as a school administrator, and look forward to working with her in a different role if Goldsboro High is a recipient of the grant."