Edgecombe County School officials, along with members of the public, got good news Wednesday afternoon when they learned the district would be recommended for accreditation.
A six-person committee representing AdvancED spent two days in the county. During that period, they conducted a total 342 interviews — including teachers, administrators, community members, students and non-certified employees. The team included Dr. Virginia Anderson of Arkansas, Dr. Mike Griffin of Rock Hill, S.C. and Wayne King of Kentucky in addition to North Carolinians Natalie Gouge, David Jenkins and Diane Lynch.
The team spent two days in the county providing a summary of their written, observed and spoken findings of visits and interviews. Over the course of the interviews, they talked to 342 people including teachers, administrators, community members, students and non-certified employees.
“We had a good representation of people in the community,” explained Dr. Mike Griffin of Rock Hill, S.C. as he stood in front of ECPS board members, administrators, faculty and invited members of the community in the central office boardroom.
“It is as important for the six of us to mature the success of the children in Edgecombe County as it is for you, because they are going to graduate and become our leaders,” he continued. “All of those young people that we interviewed in six of your 15 schools yesterday who performed admirably and scored perfect scores on the ACT and gained addition to some of the really fine post-secondary institutions in this country is testimonial to the good work you have done and to the focus that you are beginning to implement new processes to take this district to the next plateau.”
District highlights the team considered noteworthy included:
• “Implementation of an effective communications process that appears to insure the dissemination of timely and relevant information to district and community stakeholders.
• “Creation of an Executive Cabinet and District Leadership Team for purposes of shared decision making and enhancing the flow of information throughout the district.
• “Use of data to assess student learning outcomes and inform instructional decisions.
• “A commitment of the ECPS board of education to participate in relevant training programs to improve sportsmanship skills.”
There were four required actions recommended by the committee.
One advised revising the district’s vision statement — “Edgecombe County Public School will be a top 25 school district in North Carolina.” The committee said the statement should reflect the social, emotional, physical and academic outcomes for all students.
“We felt this was essential to point out to you, not to indicate to you that aspiring to be a top 25 school district in North Carolina is not noteworthy,” Griffin said. “When asked about the district vision, almost immediately our response would be, ‘It’s a really good goal.’ It was never addressed as a really strong vision. It was always addressed as a really good goal. It is a picture that you can create in your minds, but it may not have the kind of long-term, far reaching focus that you want.”
Other actions included:
• “Strategically communicating the AdvancED process, including the standards and district-wide protocol and its intent for continuous improvement to all the district employees.
• “Develop, implement and periodically evaluate a plan that addresses in-house leadership development and orderly succession for all administrative positions.
• “Develop and implement a process that will provide ongoing training to register documentation and monitoring of the improvement planning process.”
The board was receptive to the recommendations.
“We see that we have things that we are still charged with and we will immediately get on them,” board chair Ann Kent said. “We know that a continuous improvement is very important and we know that all of the standards are equally important and we take that very seriously.”