School reform, class size on ECPPS 2018 agenda

Sharon Warden.jpg

Sharon Warden


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools is halfway through its first school year under state-recognized reform models at four consistently low-performing schools — and continued implementation of those reforms is high on school officials’ agenda for 2018.

Beginning with this school year, ECPPS is implementing the “restart” model at River Road Middle and Pasquotank Elementary, and “tranformation” model at Elizabeth City Middle and P.W. Moore Elementary.

The restart schools have new principals this year: Adrian Fonville at River Road and Antoinette Reid at Pasquotank Elementary. All four of the schools are allowed increased flexibility in budgeting and other areas under the reform models.

Board members plan to play an active role this year in the implementation of the reform models.

“The board's role, as in any transitional development that affects our schools, is to be inquisitive and proactive,” said Sharon J. Warden, chairwoman of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education.

The implementation of the reform models is part of a broader focus on improving student achievement in the local schools. Warden said everything the board does has an eye on helping students learn and thrive.

“The board's goals will be to move the school system forward with an eye on making each and every school a place where our children can develop their skills and reach their potential; where our teachers feel positive about their professions and their contributions; and, where our community will embrace the fact that education is the most important key to one's success,” Warden said.

The school board has a retreat planned for this year to supplement the work done in the committee meetings and regular board meetings.

“As always, our board wishes to remain informed and professionally challenged,” Warden said of plans for the retreat.

In addition to the attention they’re paying to school reform and other efforts to improve student achievement, ECPPS administration and school board members have begun planning for complying with state class size standards in grades K-3 beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

As with other school districts in the area, concerns related to class size include classroom space and numbers of teachers.

ECPPS is taking intermediate steps this school year to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 in anticipation of mandatory class size reductions next year.

The class size mandates were originally slated to take effect this school year but legislators postponed the implementation to give school districts time to plan and to give the Legislature itself further opportunity to discuss possible funding for additional teachers to meet the class size mandates.

In terms of the classroom space needed to implement the class size standards, Superintendent Larry Cartner told the school board this fall that he thinks ECPPS will be able to do everything it needs to do in the 2018-2019 school year without having to use mobile units.