Durham schools unveil student achievement plan

Posted January 26, 2011
Updated January 27, 2011

— Durham Public Schools unveiled a strategic plan on Wednesday to increase student achievement. 

Superintendent Eric Becoats focused on six areas of student achievement, including academic acceleration and equitable standards.

"Our strategic plan will provide us with the direction to move this district forward," Becoats said. 

Becoats targeted a series of goals with target completion by 2014, including reducing the high school drop-out rate to 3 percent or lower and achieving an 80 percent four-year graduate rate.

Other goals are to have all students enrolled in at least one college-level course and achieve an average combined SAT score of 1650 or better in the district.

The plan also aims to get more than 80 percent of students in second through 11th grades proficient in reading, math, science and algebra.

The DPS also plans to expand pre-K learning opportunities by April 2013.

Science, technology, engineering, arts and math summer camps are also planned. 

Another imitative is a Family Academy to assist parents with necessary resources.

In addition to student achievement, the district wants to increase its green efforts and become more energy efficient by using recycled and environmentally friendly materials and reducing energy consumption.

Nutrition is also a concern, with the district setting a goal to improve the nutritional value of food provided to students and staff by August 2013.

A competitive recruitment and retention initiative to attract teachers is also on tap. The district wants to establish a partnership with local universities and businesses to assist with tuition for teachers and administrators obtaining post-graduate degrees.

The district has set a December 2012 goal to redesign School Site Emergency and Crisis Plans, which deal with the safety of students, staff and guests while on campus.

Durham Public Schools logo Web only: Durham schools' goals announcement

In an effort to decrease the out-of-school suspension rate, the district hopes to establish partnerships with the local community to serve as alternatives to suspension centers and will implement a transition program for students reentering DPS from an alternative setting.

The district plans also to increase its visibility among the public by launching programs on a local-access channel and enhancing its website by the end of the year.

Becoats admitted that in order to transform all the connecting strategies in the classroom, it will require redirecting some resources and getting rid of programs that aren't working. He said the district is in the process of making the necessary changes. 

Becoats called on the community to support the plan, which he said will require grants and business partnerships to cover the cost. 

"We will actually be able to track the cost of implementing the strategy. We will also be able to track the time that it takes to get it done," he said. 

Rodrigo Dorfman, who has two children in Durham schools, said it was great "to finally hear something that puts together the best and the brightest ideas together and claim boldly that we can do them."

Some parents were upset last week when they found out that only a limited number of people had been invited to Wednesday's meeting due to lack of space.

The event was available online on the school district's website and will be aired on a local-access cable channel so more people can see it, school district spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte said. Also, district staff will discuss the strategic plan with various church, neighborhood and business groups in the coming months.


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  • mramorak Jan 27, 2011

    Now is this for all or just black males?since ive lived in durham they have dumbed down my children,so just askin.

  • Harrison Bergeron Jan 27, 2011

    Oh My. Reading the complete vision at the DPS website brought me to tears... I was laughing so hard.

    Vision isn't the right word to describe this. The correct phrase would be "delusional fantasy".

    In the span of a few years, not only do they plan to dramatically increase graduation rates, but while simultaneously keeping the drop-outs in school, they are going to raise overall achievement significantly and close the gap to less than 5%.

    I can't wait to see the magic wand they pull out to transform Durham into Lake Wobegon. Nothing short of replacing the student body is going to make this trick happen.

  • wakeconative4ever Jan 27, 2011

    You know what amazes me??? My children go to a private school. There are rarely discipline problems. Students are consistenly out-scoring their public counterparts. They are well rounded, taking classes in things like MANNERS beginning in K-5. The parents show up for meetings. All without fancy, hyped up meetings and with FAR LESS money that what public school spends per pupil. I just cannot understand why public schools can't be as successful as private schools in regards to student acheivement. Money and "new prgrams" are not the answer.

  • Dark of the Moon Jan 27, 2011


    No busing for diversity? No hour long bus rides for kids? No dividing up neighborhoods to go to different schools?

    Man, Durham is in the dark ages aren't they?

    Imagine, letting kids go to school near where they live. What is Durham thinking?

    Oh, wait a minute. That makes sense.

  • BeLoved Jan 26, 2011

    Maybe DPS should focus on keeping the teachers they already have. With the budget cuts, good teachers are getting non-renewed at the end of the year. We then have to wait most of the summer to find out if we have a job.