State officials challenge Bertie School Board

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2007

WINDSOR – Why can’t you all get along?

That reoccurring theme within Bertie County was addressed again here yesterday (Monday). The only difference this time around was it was an outside source asking the question.

While a scheduled meeting between North Carolina school officials and Bertie County educators did cover other important topics regarding educational improvement within the county’s public schools, it seemed the most important lesson learned during the two-hour session was how to move the system forward.

While all in attendance, including North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson, agreed the Bertie school district faced numerous challenges and was in need of academic improvements, a major component to getting the system back on track is earning the public’s confidence in the local educational leadership.

“I’ve been in your county and have asked a lot of questions and the answers I’m getting is there seems to be a lot of issues here that need to be resolved,” said Marvin Pittman who serves as Community Liaison for the State Board of Education.

Pittman continued, “The first thing on your table as the local board of education is to address these issues. Everyone I spoke with is genuinely concerned about the education of your school-age children, but everyone seems to be going in different directions. If you will work adult-to-adult, you will move this system forward.”

Pittman said a good place for the local school board to start is to devise a plan on how to address the main issues.

“You have groups here that are pulling this community apart,” Pittman noted. “This is affecting your children.”

Pittman suggested the Bertie Board of Education host a community meeting and employ a neutral facilitator to lead the discussion.

“You need someone without a stake in the educational process here in Bertie County to lead this meeting,” Pittman noted. “Sit down with these groups and make every effort to get yourselves on the same page. From there your system will begin to move forward and you can address your other critical needs.”

More from Monday’s meeting, including suggestions for academic improvement, will appear in an upcoming edition.