WS/FCS addresses remaining priority schools

WS/FCS addresses remaining priority schools
March 18
00:00 2016



Teachers and administrators at ten schools in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System are still waiting for answers on what new education model will be implemented at their schools next year.

Last year the federal government notified Superintendent Beverly Emory that 11 schools in the district made the list of schools in need of reform. According to chief academic officer Kenneth Simington, the “priority school” designation means a new reform model must be implemented at the school.

The Chronicle reported that the school board decided to implement the federal government’s restart model at Cook Elementary, which means it will operate with a new principal, new staff and new instructional model. The school, which will become Cook Literacy Model School in August, is the only school that will operate under the restart model.

Earlier this week Paula Wilkins was named the new principal at Cook.

While Cook seems to be well on its way to reformation, not much has been said about the other ten priority schools in the district. President of the Forsyth County Association of Educators Rhonda Gordon said her phone rings non-stop with calls from teachers with questions about their futures.

“The only thing I can tell them is Cook is the only restart school and no school will be closing,” said Gordon. “But beyond that, I don’t know what to tell them.”

Gordon mentioned teachers and other staff members have questions about what the priority school designation means, and if they will keep their jobs next year. She said a number of parents have expressed their concerns as well.

“Students, teachers, and families need to know,” Gordon said.

During the school board meeting on Tuesday, March 8, Emory and other administrators addressed the other ten priority schools and the future of staff members. Emory said any teacher who would not be returning next year has already been notified.

“Early February was the deadline,” said Emory. “So anyone who there is a concern about, they should already know that. There shouldn’t be anyone in March with concerns about their performance. “

According to Simington, the remain-ing priority schools will implement either the turnaround or transformation models. The turnaround model brings back no more than 50 percent of the current staff and replaces the principal. The transformation doesn’t require any staff changes, but does replace the principal.

Emory said the board has not announced the models for the remaining priority schools because they wanted to give schools enough time to improve in troubled areas. She did mention that the board has set a deadline for early next month.

“We wanted to let performance drive these models,” she said. “We didn’t want to pick a model that didn’t align with what’s going on in that school.”

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