Education

Perdue visits Halifax school teachers

Posted August 2, 2010 5:37 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2010 6:35 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Bev Perdue on Monday met with teachers and school system staff in the troubled Halifax County Schools.

The state Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction last summer put in place a three-year intensive program to help boost student performance in the district after a judge ordered the state to get involved.

"Our future economic prosperity in this state is tied to the kids in the classroom," Perdue said. "I have all belief that the teachers in Halifax County and across the state are coming back, energized and ready to go, and they understand that high expectations will define North Carolina."

Halifax County Schools Superintendent Elease Frederick says the system has made some important changes and is headed in the right direction, but she said there is still plenty of work to do.

She said the governor's visit shows that the state stands behind the school system and its effort to succeed.

Judge Howard Manning, who has long overseen academic performance in the state's public schools, ordered the state to get involved last summer, saying the school system operated so poorly that it was committing "academic genocide."

State figures showed more than 71 percent of the school system's elementary school students and 74.3 percent of middle school students were not proficient in reading.

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

The Department of Public Instruction has since been providing support and oversight to coach principals in effective instructional and school leadership.

The school system recently received two federal school improvement grants totaling nearly $5 million to help improve student performance.

School starts in Halifax County on Aug. 25.