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Halifax teachers hope training will 'turn this all around'

Posted August 6, 2009

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— Due to dismal student test scores, nearly 400 Halifax County teachers are undergoing training this week and next to help energize their teaching methods.

Coaches from the state Department of Public Instruction turnaround team descended upon the school system Monday and will stay until Aug. 14. School starts on Aug. 25.

“We’re not feeling it as a punishment. We definitely need the assistance, and this is quality assistance,” said Enfield Middle School language arts teacher Yolanda Wiggins. “We’re ready to show everyone that we can turn this all around.”

Wiggins is the district’s 2008-09 Teacher of the Year.

More than 71 percent of the district's elementary school students aren't proficient in reading, and 74.3 percent of middle school students aren't proficient, according to state figures.

At the high school level, about one-third of the students are considered proficient on end-of-course tests, compared with 68 percent statewide.

The performance prompted Superior Court Judge Howard Manning to call for a state takeover of the district, calling continued poor performance "academic genocide."

Gov. Beverly Perdue, state education officials and Halifax school administrators said the effort – the first of its kind in North Carolina – isn't a state takeover. Instead, they viewed it as a partnership to ensure local students keep pace with their peers statewide.

Teicher Patterson, a music teacher and band director at Northwest Halifax High School, said he was learning creative ways to combine music and other subjects into his teaching.

“As I’m working with English teachers this morning, we’re trying to determine what activities we can do in the music classroom that can also be done in the English classroom and social studies classroom,” said Peterson, who is also president of the Halifax County branch of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Benjamin Taylor, one of the state's trainers, encouraged the teachers and gave them tips to help inspire students.

“Let’s start at the textbook, but let’s end with creating really cool activities that will rope those middle school kids in intellectually,” he said. “What we try to do is make sure (these teachers) understand they’re the experts and they have it within themselves to make the difference in the classroom.”

The teachers are training at William R. Davie Middle School – elementary school teachers in the cafeteria, middle school teachers in the auditorium and high school teachers in the media center.

Other school employees, including teachers' assistants, nurses and counselors, will undergo team-building training. The Department of Public Instruction also plans to offer professional development opportunities throughout the year.

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  • gandalla Aug 6, 2009

    See for yourself. NC Charter schools aren't up standards. Even private schools, when you compare similar student populations, perform worse or the same as public schools.

    Hahaha wow that was funny. Both of my kids go to the Raleigh School. I am willing to put them up against any child in the same grade as them from any public school. Have them do a written test, a verbal test, have them read, have them work some math problems, have them do some hands on application projects I guarntee my kids will blow 95% of the public schools kids out of the water. So I take the credit in advance for producing such great young students, since its all about the parents right.

  • NCTeacher Aug 6, 2009

    iguessso1-

    I don't just think, I KNOW there is no money in the budget to pay stipends for workshops and traning. Yes, I'm sure the people at DPI are still getting paid for it, but they are 12 month employees and get paid to work year round.

    How do I know that teachers aren't getting paid for the workshops and training that they are doing over the summer? Because my colleagues and I have been to several mandatory ones this summer when we were technically not employed being 10 month employees.

  • Pilot Aug 6, 2009

    I suggested earlier in this discussion, to send a bright, aggressive WRAL reporter over to Halifax County and ask the teachers what they think is the cause of the trouble. If a being afraid of being indentified bothers them, they could always be off camera answering the reporters questions. Inquiring minds want to know WRAL!!

  • scorekeep Aug 6, 2009

    It is not the teachers, no way does Halifax county, or any county, have that many poor teachers.

  • Plenty Coups Aug 6, 2009

    time for real-

    Go to: http://www.nccppr.org/CharterSchools.htm

    See for yourself. NC Charter schools aren't up standards. Even private schools, when you compare similar student populations, perform worse or the same as public schools.
    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/15/education/15report.html
    Certainly this wasn't talked about while Bush was President as it did't fit into his ideology.

  • kickchick2000 Aug 6, 2009

    I'll be very interested to see how all this training increases those test scores. I mean they should shoot up a good 15% if the problem is the teachers right???

  • rallyann2 Aug 6, 2009

    Well looks as if this discussion got sidetracked in an unfortunate hurry!

  • Professor Aug 6, 2009

    MAKES ME WONDER WHY SOME EVEN HAVE CHILDREN. THAT IS NOT LOVE. YOU HAVE TO REALLY WANT CHILDREN IN YOUR LIFE. YOURS, SOMEBODY ELSE, ETC.

  • Professor Aug 6, 2009

    Thanks for allowing my comments, WRAL. I thought my comments was worthy for the public eyes. Again thanks and have a wonderful, restful evening. You deserved it. :)

  • Professor Aug 6, 2009

    JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN - ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD RED YELLOW BLACK WHITE - THEY ARE PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT. HOW DO THE CHILDREN APPEAR TO YOU? :)

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