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State Education Officials Tour Troubled High School

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. — State Board of Education members and other leaders walked the halls of Goldsboro High School Thursday, getting a look inside classrooms and talking with students and teachers. It was a tour that principal Patricia Burden was happy to give.

"I think one way to get rid of the negative image is that people who talk about Goldsboro High School need to stop and visit Goldsboro High School," said Burden.

Goldsboro High is one of 17 low-performing high schools that Judge Howard Manning threatened to close if test scores didn't improve.

Burden highlighted big changes made at her school this year. They include a new freshman academy, yearlong core courses instead of being divided by the semester, more technology in the classrooms and special workshops to get parents more involved. All of the efforts are part of the same goal.

"Improved student performance" is the goal, said Burden, "preparing students to be able to have opportunities to go to college."

"Clear indications in a lot of ways that they've made significant progress, but also and I think all of us would recognize locally and statewide that there is a long way to go," said state Board of Education member Wayne McDevitt.

On Wednesday evening, Goldsboro High hosted a community meeting with state board members. Parents and others got the chance to hear improvement plans, ask questions and voice concerns.

"The passion in that auditorium was very obvious and I think that shows that people care and people are concerned, but it also says that passion needs to be turned into positive corrective action," said state Board of Education member Edgar Murphy.

The meetings and the tour are just part of the plan to keep this school moving forward. School leaders also discussed the issue of race at Goldsboro High, where nearly every student is black. In fact, a WRAL investigation two years ago found the six schools in Goldsboro are almost 100 percent black.

Schools in the county are much more racially diverse. State and local leaders say they need to find ways to reduce the number of students still leaving city school districts to attend other county schools.


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