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New principal aims to end ECMS' status as low performing

080218 ECMS Principal

New Elizabeth City Middle School Principal Delishia Moore (center) talks with Wendy Channell (left) and Wesley Young (right) during a "Chat and Chew" event Moore held at the school Wednesday to get to know parents and discuss the upcoming school year.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Delishia Moore promised parents at Elizabeth City Middle School last week that she will work with them, their children and the school’s teachers to end the middle school’s long-running status as a low-performing school.

Moore, the new principal at ECMS, told parents at a “Chat and Chew” event in the school cafeteria Wednesday evening that she remembers when Elizabeth City Middle was a School of Distinction. She said her goal is to lead the school’s students back to high achievement.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get out of low performance and we’re going to do it,” Moore said. “I’m committed to it.”

The principal said she will stress discipline and respect. Misbehavior on the school bus won’t be tolerated, she said, and students will not disrespect teachers. Likewise, teachers have been told they will not be allowed to disrespect students, she said.

“I am a very strong disciplinarian,” Moore said. “It is essential that in the classroom we will have very little distraction.”

In recent years some substitute teachers have refused to return to ECMS because of student misbehavior, Moore said. And some students have told a teacher, ‘go ahead and call my mother,’ when the teacher has mentioned making a call home, she said.

“That level of disrespect will not be tolerated,” Moore said.

She also said that parents need to avoid making disparaging remarks about a child’s teachers in front of the child, because it can embolden them to be disrespectful at school.

Moore said she is communicating to ECMS staff the importance of meeting a child’s social and emotional needs.

‘They have to know that we care,” she said.

Moore is setting ambitious goals for the school.

“I can promise you that within a year you’re going to see some changes,” she said.

Moore’s words were reassuring to parent Lin Bennett, who said he had some trepidation as his daughter Linnyah, 10, enters the sixth grade.

“Her presentation today really gives you more confidence,” Bennett said of Moore. “She really brought peace.”

It’s good to know his daughter will find a safe and encouraging environment at school, he said.

“I feel better now,” Bennett said.

Moore told parents she needs their help and support at the school.

“I need y’all to keep coming,” she said. “We need you.”

ECMS will be teaching students how to calculate their grade-point average and will communicate to them the importance of maintaining a good GPA, Moore said. She said if students keep their GPA up they will have the opportunity to take courses for college credit while they are still in high school.

A native of Newland and graduate of Elizabeth City State University, Moore was a business teacher at Pasquotank County High School and later an assistant principal at PCHS. This past school year she was an assistant principal at J.C. Sawyer Elementary School.

“I remember Elizabeth City Middle School being a School of Distinction,” Moore said. “What happened? What has changed?”

Moore said she is discussing that question with the staff.

Moore said she was “super excited” about being the principal at ECMS.

Elizabeth City Middle is introducing the “restart” model of school reform this year. The district’s other middle school, River Road, began the restart model this past school year.

Moore told parents that this will be a planning year for restart at ECMS and that staff will look at how to offer instruction in different ways.

One thing that will be new this school year is an academic advisement period for all students. All adults in the building will work in guidance and advising, Moore said.

The advisement period will help get the day off to a good start, she predicted.

In an interview before Wednesday’s Chat and Chew, Moore said she plans to hold similar sessions four times during the coming school year.

“The key to getting Elizabeth City Middle School out of low performance is keeping the communication going,” Moore said.

Pasquotank County Commissioner Charles Jordan attended Wednesday’s event.

“We as commissioners want to support the schools,” Jordan said afterward. “We want to support the schools financially but support is not just financial.”

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