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Edgecombe Schools Report Improved Morale

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With such a great teacher turnover, learning can be difficult.
ROCKY MOUNT — Three months ago, state assistance teams marched into a handful of low-performing North Carolina schools with one goal in mind, to improveeducation. Now, after weeks of observations and recommendations, teamleaders are talking.

For three months, they've been watching our children and the teachers whoeducate them. Now, they're making recommendations to improve publicschools and end of grade test scores. At two Edgecombe County schools,response team members say teacher turnover, unfocused energy and lowexpectations led to last year's poor marks.

"There were low expectations for student achievement," says Phillipsteam leader Carolyn Morrison, "and we're trying to encourage a raisingof expectations."

Problems are on the way out, according to team leaders. At Phillips,students recently tested 18% higher in one course than they did last year.Team members say morale at all levels is improving.

"They are feeling real good right now about what they're doing, and we areextremely pleased at the way they have taken that on," Princeville teamleader Elaine Jones explains. "They realized very early that there weresome things they needed to adjust."

Improved morale may be the best way to overturn one of the area's mostpressing problems. Counties like Edgecombe often have a tough timekeeping good teachers.

"One particular class at Phillips School this year is working on its sixthteacher now and that makes it difficult to learn," says Edgecombe CountySuperintendent David Bryant. "We've got to be able to address that issue,and we really don't have all the answers."

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