9th grade move scrutinized

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 25, 2007

WINTON – Some are still displeased over the move of the Ninth Grade Academy from Hertford County High School (HCHS) in Ahoskie to Hertford County Middle School (HCMS) in Murfreesboro.

At Monday’s Hertford County Board of Education meeting, Jennifer Joyner, President of the Hertford County North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), represented the NCAE Board and expressed their discontent.

“Your proposal to move the Freshman Academy should have been brought before the School Improvement or School Planning and Management teams of Hertford County High and Hertford County Middle School,” she said.

Joyner also quoted an article published in the April 10 issue of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, in which Board Chairman John D. Horton said at an April 4 meeting he wanted the decision about the Freshman Academy to be a board decision and “don’t let the staff play politics.”

“It’s not considered playing politics,” she said. “It is considered professional courtesy.”

Joyner also stated that since the decision had been made, staff members have come forward stating that their jobs had been threaten due to their views on the academy.

She added with the county’s high teacher turnover rate “no one should be encouraging good teachers to find jobs in surrounding counties.”

“At the heart of teacher retention is respect,” she said. “Until employees receive that respect by playing an active part in decision making, Hertford County will continue to lose highly qualified teachers.”

The decision to move the Ninth Grade Academy from HCHS to HCMS was made at the April 4 meeting at which the board members discussed areas of concern, including who should preside over the academy and the feelings of the staff members affected by the move.

At that meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham said the recommendation had received positive feedback from the community and the only negative feedback had come from staff members.

Dr. Basham first proposed the move in the board’s March meeting and provided a list of advantages to come from the recommendation. Among them included the elimination of modular classrooms at HCHS, balance the number of students between the two schools and increase the ability to implement interdisciplinary lessons.

In other Ninth Grade Academy news, the board was updated by Ralph Evans who said the curriculum for the academy had been approved and committee members got a walk through of the facilities in terms of the curriculum.

The board also approved the Ninth Grade Academy staff, which lists Keisha Peele as Assistant Principal.