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C.S. Brown School comes back to life

WINTON – The oldest school in the county will soon become the newest.

Starting with the 2008-2009 school year, the C.S. Brown Student Development Center in Winton will be recognized as its own school.

Nora Artis, current Director and future Principal of C.S. Brown, came before the Hertford County Board of Education on Monday night to outline the school’s plan for the upcoming year.

Numerous changes are currently in the works, partly in an effort to get the facility up to the standards of an actual school.

The new plan as outlined calls for a revolving program per semester or year as opposed to the 45-day program in previous years, in addition to a cutoff date being set for new arrivals.

Also new this year, a 14-student cap is to be set on the number that will be accepted from the Exceptional Children program, whereas before there was no cap.

&uot;The reason for this is that we don’t feel we can provide a quality program for them if we have more than 14,&uot; Artis explained.

In the past, occupational track students – those who are preparing for a job out of high school rather than attending college – have been served at C.S. Brown, but starting this fall that may no longer be the case.

Other new additions include having intervention and transition plans in place, counselors to ensure smooth transitions, parents being involved in the student’s exit meeting and students being required to participate in project-based, service learning opportunities.

There will also be many more field trips as opposed to just a few as in the past.

Students will be taught a basic curriculum in addition to tested subjects and there is to be an increased use of appropriate technology to expand instruction.

One additional teacher and two paraprofessionals will be added to better serve curriculum needs.

The board voted to approve the plan as is, but not without much discussion and an agreement to address certain issues again in the near future.

&uot;I continue to have concerns for in and out students with discipline problems… I’m not real interested in students who are there because they can’t behave.

Also I believe we need to explore options to take middle school folks out of there altogether,&uot; stated board member Ronald E. Baker.

Fellow board member J. Wendell Hall added, &uot;I am still seeing that there is an external agency who has access to student records.

I have a problem with that… how can we take confidential records and share it with others to make a decision about placement?

I’m sure Raleigh (NC Department of Public Instruction) would have a problem with that too.&uot;

He continued, &uot;I’m also tired of middle school kids going over there, since the idea has changed now from discipline to the academic side.

Also, if it’s now a stand-alone school, how do we send students back to the school that sent them there?&uot;

Baker remarked, &uot;I don’t think anybody who’s sent there should leave until the end of the school year, personally.&uot;

John D. Horton noted, &uot;This is a big step; there are a lot of unanswered questions… we need to have a workshop to discuss options.&uot;

Baker introduced a motion to accept the plan as outlined, while still expressing misgivings.

&uot;I think we still need to vote on this and go forward, but still have that meeting that John (Horton) talked about,&uot; Baker stated.

Hall seconded the motion and it passed without objection.

The board members set a workshop to discuss plans further at 5 p.m. on July 28, prior to their next regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m.