NAACP to host meeting on school turnaround

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Keith Rivers.jpg

By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The local branch of the NAACP is hosting a meeting next week to inform Pasquotank County residents about school reform and to encourage community participation in the reform process.

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools has begun a process to address student achievement at four low-performing schools in the district: Elizabeth City Middle School, P.W. Moore Elementary School, Pasquotank Elementary School and River Road Middle School.

The Pasquotank County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is hosting a community meeting to explain the school reform process on April 11 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be in Courtroom B at the Pasquotank County Courthouse.

“The purpose of this meeting is to help create effective tutorial programs and relationship building between school administrators and community organizations,” said Paquotank NAACP President Keith Rivers and Pasquotank NAACP Education Chairman Dorsey Harris in a letter to the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education.

The community meeting will feature a presentation by Sarah Montgomery, policy advocate with the Education and Law Project of the N.C. Justice Center. Representatives of successful local after-school programs also are scheduled to make presentations.

The letter, which Rivers read aloud during the public comment period at the March 27 Board of Education meeting, calls for churches and community organizations to build partnerships with school administrators to create effective programs in after-school tutoring, parent-teacher workshops, and mentoring students.

Montgomery said that since the process has started in ECPPS to turn around four low-performing schools it's important for the public to have as much information as possible about the turnaround process.

The Justice Center understands that labeling schools as failing schools and initiating any turnaround model is disruptive, so the community needs to know that the process is transparent, Montgomery said.

Montgomery said her talk at next week's meeting will include information about the different turnaround models, how the community can be involved and how the Justice Center can lend support.

“Our goal, and I believe the NAACP's goal, is certainly that the community needs to be involved in the process,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said the Justice Center works with all stakeholders in addressing school improvement, including community groups, parent groups and the school district itself. She said the Justice Center believes everyone has a stake in expanding access to quality education.