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From the Desk of the Superintendent – Dr. Barry Williams
All public schools in North Carolina received letter grades from A-F from the State Board of Education on Thursday, February 5, 2015. Eighty percent of the grade is based on how students performed on standardized tests. Twenty percent of the grade is tied to how much academic growth students showed while enrolled at the school and 65.4 percent of elementary and middle schools earned a grade of C or better, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. For high schools, 88.8 percent earned a grade of C or better, according to the state. As Superintendent Dr. Barry Williams walks through the hallways in all the Gates County Public Schools, he has observed several ingredients that illustrate effective teaching and learning in the classrooms.
1. Teachers take a wider view of student success – I appreciate how each of our teachers look beyond students’ test scores to their success in life. This mindset changes everything. When teachers acknowledge this without question, some common classroom practices become frivolous while others become instructional absolutes. Gates County teachers don’t have students mindlessly learn irrelevant facts, complete word search puzzles, or memorize passages from textbooks. They have students do the kind of work that will truly prepare them for future success such as creative writing, lab work, research, oral presentations, vocational education, persuasive essays, etc. From my observations our teachers juxtapose their thinking of curriculum as a series of filters: the first is state standards, the second is the school’s mission and purpose, and the third is whether the activity or assignment is beneficial to students. Whatever concept, fact, or activity that cannot pass through these filters will not be taught (Dr. Williams).
2. Our teachers recognize how their instructional designs enhance student growth – our teachers are business people! How lessons are ‘sold’ is as important as the product itself. Our teachers and staff prepare for class the way an actor rehearses for a play, fine-tuning content knowledge, presentation, active engagement, relationship building and confidence to involve all students.
3. Gates County Teachers internalize personal accountability – Our teachers hold themselves accountable for student success! We challenge any legislator to walk in a classroom to see the amazing accomplishments our teachers and teacher assistants do on a daily basis. What matters to our teachers? Achievement is only a singular facet of the classroom design while the growth to prepare a young mind to be an effective, productive citizen is the powerful impact our teachers produce in the classroom each and everyday!
4. Our teachers are masters of understanding student motivation – To foster effective learning, our teachers deliver the instruction in a format that is both doable and important. If assignments are doable but perceived as unimportant, students will become uninterested and fail to grow. And if assignments are important but not seen as doable, students will give up rather than struggle with the challenge. Rubrics, school improvement plans, and step-by-step instructional designs provided by our teachers are essential in motivating students to do their best. Benchmark assessments are extremely significant in Gates County: The common instructional approach of one-time cramming for unit tests and final exams reveal poor results in learning. Our teachers set goals and strategically plan with instructional objectives that keep student growth progressing at an exponential rate.
5. A continuing focus on improvement when we are not testing – Our teachers have an extraordinary talent of preparing our students to be next day, grade level and job ready. This is so because our exceptional educators realize the more they learn, the more they recognize their student’s growth and learning.
The Board of Education has established relationships with our classroom educators, students, parents and all stakeholders throughout our community and values and respects our dedicated, hard-working and committed teachers! Gates County Public Schools letter grades reflect we are effectively educating our students.
The Gates County Board of Education additionally firmly believes our schools are the heartbeat of the county; teachers exemplify professionalism by achieving National Board Certifications, continue their education to become administrators and most importantly applaud our students’ hard work of twelve years as they walk across the stage to receive a diploma. We all want to say to teachers and staff of the Gates County Public Schools - THANK YOU!
Personality Trait for the Month of April
Gates County Public Schools
P. O. Box 125
205 Main Street
Gatesville, NC 27938
Phone: (252) 357-1113
Fax: (252) 357-0207
District Office Hours - 8:00am - 4:30pm