Right about now, the Chapel-Hill Carrboro NAACP is holding a press conference/rally at Lincoln Center, the administrative home of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System (CHCCSS). I'm pasting their entire (long!) announcement below as it has a lot of interesting information, including a history of segregation in the school system.
I am not sure how many folks have read Macolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, but it has a very interesting take on the gap in success between poor kids (often, but not alway minority) and middle class ones.
Because I live in Chapel Hill and work in Hillsborough, I have the opportunity to interact with school officials and parents from both county systems - Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange. One thing that is clear is that there are excellent students, teachers and administrators in each system. As a parent with a Middle Schooler, I am curious about the way we make decisions regarding teaching our kids. As one of the original members of the Parent-Advisory CMTE for the Dual Language Program, I remember discussions about how to implement the program and reach out to an ethnic and economically-diverse population. What struck me was the pre-conceived notions regarding poor people and minorities.
From a press release:
Contact: Denise Bowling, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, 967-8211, ext. 282
MSA Local Team to host community presentation
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Minority Student Achievement Local Team will sponsor a community presentation by Mychal Wynn, one of the world's premiere authorities on Black male achievement, school improvement planning, closing the achievement gap and college planning. Wynn will conduct his presentation on Monday, August 4, from 4:30-6:00 pm in the Smith Middle School Auditorium. Smith Middle School is located at 9201 Seawell School Road.
Participants will learn why identifying, analyzing and understanding the unique societal, home and community variables that impact all students identified as "at risk" is prerequisite to developing holistic and effective strategies for closing the achievement gap and preparing students for college.
"Mr. Wynn has a clear vision that all students can learn at high levels, go to college and be successful in the adult world," said Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Denise Bowling. "He renews hope for students, their families and their teachers through his commitment and expertise. He provides a no-nonsense approach and shares a multitude of evidenced-based strategies. We are so pleased to have him work with us."
For more information about Wynn, please visit http://www.rspublishing.com/speakerprofile.html.
Monday, August 4, 2008 - 12:30pm
Smith Middle School Auditorium, 9201 Seawell School Road
The new board of the Orange County Schools was recently sworn into office. At their very first meeting, the three new board members joined with one of the standing members to vote out the old board chair and vice-chair. They were replaced by two newly-elected members, but the new chairs are far from new to Orange County Schools.
The new board chair is Steve Halkiotis, a former county commissioner and someone who spent his entire professional career in the Orange County Schools, working his way up from teacher to assistant superintendent. The new vice-chair is Tony McKnight, himself also a former OCS teacher.
These changes come less than a year after Pat Rhodes became the district’s superintendent, and like Halkiotis and McKnight he also has previous experience in Orange County.
So we have plenty of new leadership, but I’m wondering if they’ll take our district in any new directions. Can three leaders so tied to the district’s past bring innovative solutions to our contemporary challenges?
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