Wake County Schools

Computers, coaches could boost Wake student achievement

Posted August 15, 2013

— Wake County school administrators are looking for ways to boost student achievement, and ultimately, graduation rates. The school board met Thursday to discuss options from computers to classroom coaches.

In most area public school classrooms, there's one electronic device for every three students. School board members said they want a 1:1 ratio, and they are considering a BYOD – bring your own device – policy.

Wake County Public School System staff will review various aspects of the idea, from the cost of boosting bandwidth at schools to accommodate an array of student laptops and tablets to the guidelines for classroom use.

"Kids are watching videos when you're trying to give instruction. My point is we need to make sure our policy is very clear there is teacher authority," board member Jim Martin said.

"How do we alter the culture to positively use this technology for student benefit, that’s the question," board member Bill Fletcher said.

More immediately, the board could vote next week on spending $350,000 to add graduation coaches at area high schools this year.

"Anytime you have someone who is truly focused on working with individual students to get the credits they need to stay in school, to address the attendance issues, it makes a difference," Knightdale High School Principal Carla Jernigan said.

Wake officials seek ways to increase graduation rates Wake officials seek ways to increase graduation rates

Knightdale High has had graduation coaches for four years and has seen its graduation rate increase each year. Jernigan said the coach works with at-risk students over lunch and after school – one student even stopped by the school over summer break to meet with the coach.

"When you have that relationship, when you feel connected, the kids are going to stay in school," she said.

The proposal to expand graduation coaches drew little opposition.

"None of the people who work for this school system want to see a student fail – none," Fletcher said. "The only reason it happens is because the need outruns the resource."

Board members also discussed curriculum audits of Knightdale Elementary School, Hodge Road Elementary School, East Wake Middle School and Knightdale High.

Parents in eastern Wake County have complained for years about a lack of resources and attention from the school system. The audits found inconsistencies in teacher expectations and resource distribution.

"We’re probably approaching 50 percent of our Knightdale students not attending public schools in Knightdale. To me, that’s horrifying," board member Tom Benton said. "We’ve got to be able to regain the trust of the public across the board that our schools are meeting their needs."

Benton, a former principal, said part of the problem is the lack of experienced teachers in the schools, and he called for a district task force to track the curriculum issues in the schools over the next few years.

"We've got to find some way to make sure we can attract and retain quality staff out there and we're not just a training ground for the rest of the county," he said.

"How we can help support those teachers and staff at the schools to level the playing field for those students is very important," board member Susan Evans said.

12 Comments

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  • grimreaper Aug 21, 2013

    I am sorry, but blowing more money on more technology and people simply won't fix a system that has no measure for success and no measure of accountability...just won't fix anything...never has...

  • Mo Blues Aug 16, 2013

    The modern school warehousing system is broken. We have a 19th century program that simply shoves kids into large brick warehouses and separates them by age. It's run by the government, and includes an entire transportation system (buses, small buses, and even SUVs), and full service food catering system, and a building/grounds maintenance program. It's unsustainable and is falling apart.

    Computers can now be used home and community settings. ALL children learn from the worlds BEST algebra teacher. Parents can tailor their childs' educaitonal program. The simple fact you are staring at a computer screen doesn't help you read or compute any better. It's how it's used.

  • NiceNSmooth Aug 16, 2013

    Moral character is of primary importance in our educational system. Without the moral backbone our young people are unprepared for any job

    Morals are taught - or should be taught at home!!!

  • superflames Aug 16, 2013

    Our nation sent men to the moon with slide rules and pencil/paper. When we know that is possible, we can moderate our dependence on technology as a substitute for smarts and common sense. Electronic devices as proposed are overrated. Moral character is of primary importance in our educational system. Without the moral backbone our young people are unprepared for any job.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Aug 16, 2013

    Also if you do the work FOR the students, and give students the credit, scores will rise.
    If you board the students and keep them away from their unloving, ignorant parents, that probably would help 50% of the enrollment.
    In the 2000's, parents show their "love" by unconditional permission and indulgence.

    Teachers who have to deal with personal problems of students all day long do not get to teach. This anarchy is condoned by management.

  • br549znc Aug 16, 2013

    Agreed gingerlynn.

  • gingerlynn Aug 16, 2013

    My 3 kids went to public school. Theft was rife. Their lunch money was routinely stolen while they were at pe, etc. I will be d** if I would send an expensive device with them to school!

  • JustAName Aug 16, 2013

    "Hello schools are paid for with property taxes!!! of which we all pay rent or own" - NiceNSmooth

    Do you think the state differentiates between property, sales and income tax when creating the budget?

    Yes, the county gets it tax through the property tax, which renters don't pay equally. Nor do illegals with multiple families living in a single house.

  • NiceNSmooth Aug 16, 2013

    "We’re probably approaching 50 percent of our Knightdale students not attending public schools in Knightdale. To me, that’s horrifying,"

    I am one of these 50%!!!! Hodge Road ele. is a horrible school! No electives, few specials, and God forbid your child is at or above level - I was told there is no money for resources for an additional reading group

    East Wake Middle and high are just a den of crime!! Its about time east wake county starts to get some attention cause Malone was too busy with the prom queen to care!!!

  • NiceNSmooth Aug 16, 2013

    It certainly isnt my reponsibiliy to pay for your childs education.

    Oh you mean the way my parents paid for your education?

    Get rid of the income tax exemption for dependents

    Hello schools are paid for with property taxes!!! of which we all pay rent or own

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