Halifax, N.C. — The tides may be changing in Halifax County for an area school system that's historically struggled with low test scores.
Over the past few years, the school system has been working with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to improve student achievement after a Superior Court judge ordered the state to intervene in the county's three school systems.
Now Halifax County Schools is seeing results, as evidenced by Northwest Halifax High School.
The number of students there passing end-of-course exams has risen from 36.1 percent to 60 percent in three years.
"I'm really pleased with what I'm seeing," principal Marvin Bradley said.
Bradley is in his second year at Northwest Halifax. In addition to instructional coaches for teachers, Bradley has worked to change the school culture and student attitudes, going as far as renaming buildings after state colleges to foster a more academic environment.
School administrators say the school is just one of several success stories across the county.
At the district's other high school, Southeast Halifax, the number of students passing end-of-grade tests went from 28 percent to 69 percent.
District-wide, including elementary and middle schools, the number passing is up 10 percent.
Beyond test scores, Halifax County's graduation rate has also increased more than 20 percent in the last four years.
"Even more than just the pleasure of having good news said about us is that we know that our students are going to be ready for the 21st Century," Halifax County Schools spokesman Keith Hoggard said.