Education 2012: Strides in graduation rates fail to materialize in Vance

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 09:09 PM

In August, shortly after a record graduation rate of 80.2 percent was released for the state of North Carolina, Vance County Schools welcomed back an estimated 6,400 students for the 2012-13 school year.

The newly released, and most current graduation rate for Vance County, however, was not record setting at 68.2 percent, topping only two other school systems out of 115 in the state.

In Warren County, the graduation rate was above the state average, with 83.9 percent of high school seniors receiving diplomas this year. Granville’s graduation rate was slightly above Vance County’s at 72.6 percent.

Approximately 100 sixth-graders were welcomed to the first Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics middle school in Vance County on Aug. 27.

Terri Hedrick, public information officer for the school system, said Clark Elementary, the other STEM school, has attracted visitors from the state department.

“We’ve had folks from out of state come and look at it,” Hedrick said. “The folks at the state department tell us its completely new. We’re excited that we’re breaking ground.”

The North Carolina Office of Charter Schools has announced the state board’s preliminary approval of 25 charter school applicants. Among the applicants is Oxford Preparatory High School, slated to open this fall.

Henderson Collegiate, a charter school in Vance County, opened its doors to 100 fourth-graders on Sept. 8, 2010. Since that time they’ve added a grade and 100 more students annually. The school is now fourth through sixth grade, with plans to continue growing at the same rate until reaching the 12th grade.

The inaugural group of students are currently sixth-graders, known at the school as the Pride of 2019.

Seven Teach For America teachers work at Henderson Collegiate, another nine are active in the system, for a total of 16 working in Vance County Schools this year.

With grants from the Oak Foundation, and the Golden LEAF Foundation providing TFA of eastern North Carolina $550,000 in funding this year, its likely the Tri-County area will see more TFA teachers in the system next school year.

A Qualified Zone Academy Bond in the amount of $2 million will be issued to Vance County Schools in February, primarily to fund roofing replacements at three elementary schools.

Recognized this past year for their dedication to Vance County Schools, and their passion for education were: Natasha Rubin, Teacher of the Year from Zeb Vance Elementary; Laura Rigsbee, Principal of the Year from Aycock Elementary; and Marylaura MacKoon of Zeb Vance Elementary, who earned the first Assistant Principal of the Year designation.

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.