Wake County Schools

Grassroots group seeing improvement in Knightdale schools

Posted August 8, 2011

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— The issue of student assignment in the Wake County Public School System has gotten national attention and triggered major changes in leadership.

In the midst of a heated debate over how students will perform based on where they are assigned to go to school, a local nonpartisan group of Knightdale parents, calling itself the Knightdale 100, has quietly pushed for change, and they say that they are starting to see results in student performance.

Schools in the Knightdale area have historically lagged behind other schools in the district when it comes to test scores.

"We thought we needed to look at the schools and see what we can do to help improve student achievement," said Kathy Moghaddam, one of about 100 parents in the group.

Knightdale 100 formed in 2009 and launched an information blitz by hosting forums and posting blogs about things like literacy and Algebra for middle school students. The aim is to get parents working with students, teachers and principals to help improve learning and test scores.

"Our parents didn't know that we were lagging behind," parent Catherine Dameron said. "They didn't know that we needed to step that up."

"Working together, we can focus on one goal and all be in accordance," Knightdale 100 member Derrick Burr said.

During a time of protests and contentious school board debate over changing the district's longstanding policy of busing students for community-based schools, Knightdale 100 has been relatively quiet and under the radar.

"There is not a lot of noise to be made," Dameron said. "It's just solution-based. How do we solve these problems? How do we support our teachers and our principals?"

It's an approach that seems to be working.

"Our student achievement has improved every year since this group has been in place," Dameron said.

Knightdale schools saw a 6 percent jump in end-of-grade test scores after the group formed. Superintendent Tony Tata recently credited the group with helping improve overall achievement.

Another benchmark – East Wake Middle School and Knightdale High School were two of only 10 schools in the county recently chosen to participate in a national program called STEM that helps prepare students for the global economy by specializing in curriculums focused on science, technology, engineering and math.


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  • wolfie7873 Aug 9, 2011

    Hey Superman, don't you think all that parental involvement is easier when the school is close to home? Duh! THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! Getting kids in schools close to home means getting parents more able to be involved.

  • wolfie7873 Aug 9, 2011

    Vague homework instructions in elementary school? I guess that means, "do #1-XX on page Y" is no longer the go-to assignment. kudos.

  • Shells Aug 9, 2011

    Part of Knightdale's low test scores are because they don't have the resources to keep the children who do well. My son is very smart and had a horrible year at a Knightdale Elementary school because the teacher had too many interventions and did not have any time to challenge my son. He was bored and frustrated to be getting behind. We have pulled him and are sending him to a magnet school who can teach to his ability (I hope). That is one good test score gone out of Knightdale. Now, add in several of his friends who also left for the same reason and it becomes hard to improve.
    Also, his homework instructions were extremely vague and it was hard to figure out exactly what was expected. We always felt bad for the large ESL population who had very little chance to get it right and probably just didn't do it.
    I hope this group succeeds because change needs to happen.

  • babbleon Aug 8, 2011

    I do like that this group is 1) solution oriented and 2) working to get parents involved. More teachers, time and money are only substitutes and supplements to parents.

    Now, how about ways to get help for students with parents who didn't make it to high school?

  • superman Aug 8, 2011

    Certain schools and certain students are under performing because of their parents and their economic status. Perhaps one of the things they need to look at would be attendance. Just what do you think is going to be different if students are assigned to a school next door to their house. They dont learn by being close to a book, library, or a school. The new plan does nothing to address increasing achievement or performance! The parents should volunteer in the schools by assisting teachers, clean up the school, do routine maintenance, mow the lawn, paint the classrooms. Send the teacher $100 at the beginning of the shcool year to purchase classroom supplies. Volunteer for bus duty, volunteer for cafeteria duty. Do something yourself rather than put the blame on someone else.

  • me2you Aug 8, 2011

    If busing students around is working, then why are certain schools under performing?