Terry Grier speaks to edNews

I’m not sure how I missed this one, but I’m a one-man band right now.

The image “http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:7SrMpE0xFbJ4DM:http://photos5.flickr.com/8365556_729650ccdf_m.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Superintendent Grier spoke candidly last month to Michael F. Shaughnessy, a senior columnist with EdNews.org (on the web at www.ednews.org).

He spoke on the subject of academic success. Here the link to the article. I’ll provide an excerpt, and there are some local comments, one from our friend Stormy. Most of it is spin, but here are some interesting questions and answers:

Q: Keeping good teachers who are focused on academic success seems to be a concern. How have you addressed this issue?

A: Over the years, our teacher turnover rate has hovered around 10 to 12 percent. Our biggest teacher turnover problem has occurred in our schools most impacted by poverty. For example, one year, all teachers in grades three through five were new to one of our elementary schools. To help address this problem, we implemented ‘Mission Possible’—a comprehensive differentiated/merit pay plan. Math and English/language arts teachers in 29 Mission Possible schools are offered an annual $2,500 to $10,000 retention incentive and can earn up to $4,000 in merit pay for producing positive student academic value added growth. An important part of this program is a strong staff development plan.

Q: Some districts are simply “lucky” in that parents are involved, kids arrive at school motivated to learn, and the pupils seem to read well. How does a superintendent cope when they are in a district that is perhaps very rural or poverty stricken?

A: Parental involvement is very important to school improvement efforts. Superintendents and their staffs serving rural or poverty stricken families must find ways to reach out to parents. Frankly, we’re not very good at connecting with our disenfranchised families. Strategies such as teaching English to parents in the evenings and weekends, establishing a weekly district sponsored Spanish radio and video program and working with our local public housing authorities and human rights commissions are a good beginning. However, we cannot afford to use the ‘lack of parental involvement’ as an excuse for not teaching all students at high levels.

This year, we are piloting ‘Connect Guilford’ in a number of GCS schools. The concept pairs certified employees in a school with 10 to 12 students. Our staff members serve as mentors and advisors to students over an elongated period of time—i.e. all four years of high school. They meet with their students on a weekly basis, check on student grades, attendance, behavior and call parents and employers to develop a working relationship that are aimed at strengthening student academic performance.

Some comments:

 

Comment #3 (Posted by Stormy) Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated

I live in Guilford County, and I can tell you that this is the biggest piece of propaganda that I have ever seen. Public schools in this county are a joke under his “leadership”.

 

Comment #4 (Posted by another Guilford Co. resident) Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated

Stormy took the words right out of my mouth! Terry B. Grier is concerned with ONE thing and that’s his resume. He doesn’t mention the failing rate on his AP exams. Sure, anyone can be forced to take it but the majority of the kids in the district are failing it–at the expense of the taxpayers. Terry Grier loves a grant. He will rename a school just to get federal funding but the school is failing miserably inside. He touts his successes at the expense of the kids that are being overlooked and hidden in numbers and statistics. Terry Grier is nothing more than a magician than can fool an entire country! Any reader, please come visit the failing schools in Guilford county. We have several schools on the list for being shut down! We have one of the poorest performing schools in the entire nation! We have gangs, we have drugs, we have a joke of a system. It’s not by accident that Guilford County has one of the biggest home-schooling groups in the nation. Please don’t believe everything you read. I live here and it’s very sad.

 

Comment #5 (Posted by gc parent) Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated

What a joke! Instead of interviewing the magician behind the curtain himself (Grier), why don’t you do some investigative reporting in his school district? He says the drop out rate is 2.9% yet only about 2/3 of the students graduate. Look at the number of students PASSING AP exams – not at the number TAKING AP exams. If only a very small percentage pass, then all you’ve done is waste taxpayer money.

E.C. 🙂

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