CHAPEL HILL- The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board welcomed new and returning members on Thursday, but school officials are already eyeing tough budget challenges ahead.
Newly-elected school board member Andrew Davidson and returning members Michelle Brownstein and James Barrett took just a brief moment to celebrate after taking their oaths of office before the school board sat down to digest some sobering statistics.
Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese told the board the district faces a $3.3 million dollar shortfall next year.
“We’re using fund balance this year to balance our local budget,” said LoFrese. “We have used all of our available fund balance and we’ll need to either receive more funds to offset that or we’re going to need to look at reductions.”
This is the third year in a row the district has used reserve funds to balance the budget, but that money will not be available next year. LoFrese stressed that this shortfall comes after years of cumulative budget reductions.
“We think it is important to remind folks that this is not a single-year event. We have been living in tough times for several years,” said LoFrese. “We’ve made $8 million dollars worth of reductions over the last several years.”
Administrators struggled last budget season to make up for cuts to state funding that would have paid for 37 teachers and 25 teaching assistants. In total, state funding to the district was cut by $4.5 million dollars.
In the past five years, the General Assembly only approved a single 1.2 percent pay raise for educators. As a result, North Carolina now ranks 46 in the nation for teacher salaries.
CHCCS Human Resources Executive Director Arasi Adkins told the board this is affecting the district’s ability to recruit and retain quality teachers.
“The point is we’re going to continue to lose teachers to other states and other fields if North Carolina doesn’t do something to raise teacher pay across the board,” said Adkins.
The turnover rate for teachers in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district is now up to 14.47 percent, the highest it’s been in nine years. While more educators are looking to leave the system, student enrollment continues to grow.
“At the elementary level this year, we have 265 seats remaining with respect to SAPFO, 88 at the middle school level and 100 remaining seats at the high school level,” LoFrese told the board.
School officials anticipate opening new middle school in five year’s time, but some hope large-scale renovations to older facilities can increase capacity and delay the need for a new school.
The school board will revisit these issues next spring as part of the budget negotiation process. You can read the district’s 2013 Opening of School Report here.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/chccs-board-eyes-teacher-turnover-tough-budget-cuts/
CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina teachers have gone six years without a real pay raise, but that might change next year.
Governor Pat McCrory said Tuesday that he wants to roll out a North Carolina public school teacher pay proposal early in 2014 but didn’t get into the specifics of the plan.
Mary Gunderson, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ Coordinator of Teacher Recruitment & Support, said that without an attractive beginning salary to offer, it has been hard for the district to attract new and qualified teachers.
“Any increase for persons across the pay scale, but particularly those at the beginning of the pay scale, is very much needed and very much welcomed,” Gunderson said.
North Carolina’s teachers are among the lowest paid in the country, raking 46th. The beginning salary for a teacher with less than six years of experience is $30,8000 for the 2013-2014 school year, according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.
District leaders have said in the past that CHCCS relies on recruiting teachers from outside North Carolina due to a shortage of teachers from within the State. The district is forced to compete with other states that offer higher salaries, and often it comes up short.
“We absolutely need a competitive salary so that we can attract new people to the profession and to be able to retain them as the years go by,” Gunderson said.
McCrory told reporters after Tuesday’s Council of State meeting that the first step is making sure there’s room in the budget for teachers’ pay increases.
Stagnant salaries are just one of the many issues that educators have said threaten the education system in North Carolina. State lawmakers eliminated salary bonuses for teachers with advanced degrees and also nixed teacher tenure.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/nc-teachers-see-pay-raise-2014/
CHAPEL HILL - Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools leaders said Monday that a decision must be made by February 1 about how to reduce overcrowding at Glenwood Elementary School. That leaves the Board of Education with limited time to evaluate several controversial options, such as spot redistricting or halting the expansion of the school’s Mandarin Dual-Language Program.
Glenwood’s capacity is 423 students, but enrollment this semester is 513.
“And it is as simple as there aren’t enough seats at Glenwood Elementary School making it so some students will have to move,” CHCCS Superintendent Tom Forcella said, adding that the district would try to avoid relocating as many students as possible.
This overcrowding, Forcella explained, was due to several factors including an unanticipated number of students who moved into the Glenwood district and also an unexpected increase in enrollment in the Mandarin-Dual Language Program, which is projected to significantly increase in size over the next five years.
The CHCCS Board supported the expansion of the dual-language program at Glenwood Elementary in the past, but now that the school is above capacity and will continue to grow, district leaders at an impasse, and many parents are concerned over the suggested solutions.
A decision must be made before Feb. 1 when parents enroll their children in kindergarten.
The suggested solutions include spot redistricting, relocating the Mandarin Dual-Language Program to another school, delaying the expansion of the program, or the creation of either a Mandarin Immersion Magnet School, or a combined Spanish/Mandarin Magnet School.
If any spot redistricting were to happen, it wouldn’t be until the fall of 2014.
Although no school has been named as a potential site for a new magnet school, Carrboro parents have said at previous CHCCS Board meetings that they fear the plan to combine Mandarin and Spanish dual-language classrooms together at one magnet school would pull apart Carrboro Elementary. Currently half the school’s students are enrolled in the Spanish dual-language program.
“It’s just about the disruption of many, many kids versus expansion for very few,” said Mary Faith Mount-Cors, the parent of a third grader at Carrboro Elementary School.
Mount-Cors participated in a new style of meeting Monday night, hosted by the district, called a “Focused Dialogue” session. Parents, elementary school principals, PTA members and other community members conducted table group discussions about how the district should address the Glenwood overcrowding issue.
Those who weren’t sitting at the work tables could submit their comments online.
Though she wasn’t happy about the possible shake-ups that could be coming to Carrboro Elementary, Mount-Cors said that she did find Monday night’s process and discussions to be helpful.
Susan Swofford, parent of a fourth grader in Mandarin Dual-Language program at Glenwood Elementary, watched as the work tables discussed the options. She said she wasn’t pleased with the way the district accounted for growth in the program.
“The district has done a good job in making long-term plans with the Spanish [Dual-Language] Program but they more or less have dragged their feet in doing that with the Mandarin [Dual-Language] Program,” Swofford said.
Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese said the district doesn’t want to move children that were just affected by the recent redistricting. He also said district leaders do not intend to neglect the Mandarin Dual-Language program.
“I think the big challenge is trying to figure out how to expand a program, because as a district, we don’t have a lot of available classrooms across the district,” LoFrese said. “In reality, you need a lot of multiple vacant classrooms to be able to expand a program.”
LoFrese added that spot redistricting would likely result in a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students in non-dual language tracks.
Discussions about enrollment levels at Glenwood Elementary School are slated to return to the CHCCS Board Education in January.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/glenwood/
CHAPEL HILL – With the recent release of the Common Core Standards results, district leaders acknowledge that closing the achievement gap in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is essential in the coming years. As the school system acclimates itself to the new more rigorous method of assessment, it is also tailoring ways to help all students meet proficiency levels.
“We have a history of not doing as well with economically disadvantaged students as we would like,” said Diane Villwock, the district’s Executive Director of Testing and Program Evaluation. She presented an analysis of the Common Core Standards test results to the CHCCS Board of Education last week.
North Carolina adopted the more demanding Common Core Standards in 2010 because research showed that students were not ready for college coursework or the workplace. The 2012-2013 school year was the first in which the teachers, students, and parents saw them fully implemented in the classroom.
The district met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals; North Carolina’s READY structure of Common Core Standards were met at a rate of 94.6 percent and included 947 goals.
However, 27 performance goals were not met. Twenty of those unmet goals were from the economically disadvantaged student group.
“One of the parts of my report was to analyze who are the students who are in poverty in our district, and that turns out to be all races,” Villwock said. “Latino and black were around 1,000 [students in total] and whites and Asians were around 400.”
Villwock explained that the district defines “economically disadvantaged” as students who receive lunches for free or at a reduced price.
In her presentation to the Board, she explained that many of those students were limited in English proficiency.
“When you have multiple obstacles for learning, that means that the kinds of support need to be more intensive,” Villwock said.
To help economically disadvantaged students meet the Common Core proficiency levels, the Long Range Plan has outlined strategies aimed at closing the achievement gap.
A Central Office instructional services team was also created and charged with evaluating testing data and tracking student progress.
“We are going to get very targeted about support and really use the data to direct us,” Villwock said.
The district has also begun a strategy called “Response to Instruction.”
“We monitor students by giving them interim assessments. If they are not making progress, we assign an intervention. After the intervention has had a few weeks to work, we do some measures to see if that intervention is working,” Villwock said. “If it is not, we might either add another intervention or intensify the one we are doing, or change.”
Response to Instruction is already implemented in the elementary schools, is being introduced in the middle schools, and has planned implementation in the high schools.
Villwock said she and district leaders anticipated the new curriculum would cause an initial shakeup, but that in time, students would adjust to the changes.
She expects all scores to go up in the coming years as teachers also adjust their instructional methods so that students have practice in items the tests are accessing.
“If you are used to teaching one way, you don’t just flip on a dime and teach some way that is quite different.”http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-meets-many-new-testing-standards-disadvantaged-students-struggle/
CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board passed a resolution Thursday asking the North Carolina General Assembly to allow class ranking to be dropped from students’ transcripts.
Jeff Nash, CHCCS Executive Director for Community Relations, says that board members believe class rankings are doing students more harm than good.
“Now that the resolution has passed, we can now pursue some legislators who would be willing to put this into the form of a bill, and I think it will have widespread appeal from school districts around the state,” Nash says.
The resolution asks that the General Assembly allow the districts to decide if class rank will be included on their students’ transcripts, while not forcing them to do away with it.
Currently, the inclusion of class rank in a transcript is mandated by the State, but school officials say pressure to maintain high rankings is causing students undue stress, as universities and colleges are increasingly looking to other measures of academic achievement.
Nash explains that CHCCS assembled a task force last year to focus on reducing student stress. The group found that class-ranking status was one of the top reasons students became anxious.
“Their points were right on the money, and they did talk about how it discourages collaboration, and it discourages a student’s love of learning,” Nash says. “It makes for a much more competitive environment, which competition is not a bad thing in itself, but students tell us that they won’t take a woodworking class or chorus because it is not an advanced placement or honors class, and the can’t get the extra credits.”
The board believes students are focusing too much on taking accelerated classes only and neglecting electives like theater arts.
“The universities tell us that they want well-rounded students, and we have these wonderful opportunities for them to become these well-rounded students with well-rounded resumes, but they won’t take those classes in this competitive environment,” Nash says.
According to administrators, about half of the nation’s high schools have already done away with class rankings.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/chccs-asks-state-drop-class-rank-requirement/
CHAPEL HILL – Parents, students, and Chapel Hill’s mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt, lined the sidewalk outside Estes Hills Elementary School Monday morning to praise the teachers at the start of American Education Week.
***Listen to the Story***
Teachers of Estes Hills walked by the students and parents who were cheering them on and saying thank you for all they do.
Mayor Kleinschmidt told a group that stuck around after the teacher parade that he got a bit choked up looking on.
“As a former teacher myself and someone who cares deeply about education, particularly that of our children here in Chapel Hill, it’s very heart-warming and celebratory, and it’s such a stark contrast to the way so many folks in North Carolina seem to be engaging with education today,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.
In 1921, the Nation Education Association and the American Legion came together to create the American Education Week after finding out that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate.
PTA President Courtney Limerick says with the current need of support around education in the state, this was a good time to start an outward show of support.
“The way things are in the state today, this was a great time to be able to show our appreciation throughout the year instead of just on Teacher Appreciation Week,” Limerick says.
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10 this school year.
Mayor Kleinschmidt adds that the amount of work is only going up while the financial and other support is dwindling.
“These teachers haven’t had a raise in six years,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “The support has been dwindling; teachers’ aids have been cut. They’re working harder than they ever had before and are being rewarded less.”
Estes Hills Principal Drew Ware says support from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district continues to be strong, but it’s on the state level where he and others would like to see a change.
“Certainly paying our teachers more, paying our staff more is incredibly important,” Ware says. “It has an impact on students, but there are a number of other things that have a negative impact on students. Our district has done an amazing job of helping to, kind of, protect and build up around our students so they’re getting the best education they possibly can.”
American Education Week continues through Friday:
Monday, November 18: Kickoff Day
Nationwide Kickoff. Across the country, schools will celebrate excellence in education by hosting kickoff events and activities.
Tuesday, November 19: Parents Day
Schools will invite parents into the classroom for a firsthand look at what the school day is like for their children.
Wednesday, November 20: Education Support Professionals Day
Education Support Professionals keep schools running and students safe, healthy and ready to learn. Check out these charts to see how hard ESPs work to serve students in public schools and how committed ESPs are to both their jobs and their communities. Also watch the “It’s More Than Just a Job” videos below to learn more about ESP careers.
Raise Your Hand for Student Success: Education Support Professional Appreciation Radio Spot By 2013 ESP of the Year Donna Schulze
Thursday, November 21: Educator for a Day
Community leaders will be invited to experience the day as educators and experience the challenges of teaching and the needs of students. Learn more about this program through the Educator for a Day Promotional Kit.
Friday, November 22: Substitute Educators Day
Substitute educators play a vital role in the maintenance and continuity of daily education. Learn more about these professionals and take a look at resources and tips for substitute educators.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/parents-students-wear-red-support-teachers/
My first play in high school was “Little Shop of Horrors.” I was a sixteen-year-old junior, still in the midst of breaking out of my shy-nerd shell—and “Little Shop” pretty much completed the process. (Though playing Seymour, it helped to keep that shy-nerd persona around. My director/drama teacher told the local paper she instantly thought “Seymour!” the first time she ever saw me, and I’m still not sure whether that’s a compliment or an insult.)
It was a terrific experience.
But because it was my first play, I feel a sense of ownership over “Little Shop” that I don’t feel with any other show. Which means my relationship with “Little Shop” is a love/hate thing: it’s absolutely my favorite musical, no question (I’m one of those annoying people who lip-synchs along with all the songs), but I also have a really specific idea in my head for how I think the show ought to go—so invariably I end up walking out of the theater going, “Man, I loved that! But gee, if only they’d done this, and this, and this…”
(It’s a blessing and a curse.)
So. They’re doing “Little Shop” at East Chapel Hill High School, now through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. every night. Y’all should go.
Of course I was there for opening night. How did ECHHS’ version stack up to my imagined ideal?
Pretty well, actually, all things considered.
I was impressed as soon as I walked into the theater: the preshow soundtrack is all doo-wop music from the 50s and 60s, and they project a loop of old B-movie trailers against the curtain. Nicely played. I had a lot of fun just sitting there watching those.
As for the show itself. If you don’t know, “Little Shop” too is a takeoff of a B-movie horror flick, with songs inspired by early-60s doo-wop. It’s the story of a nebbish named Seymour Krelborn (played here by John Pate), working in a rundown Skid Row flower shop, whose life takes a sudden turn when he runs across a “strange and interesting” plant—an unidentifiable flytrap he names “Audrey 2” after the girl he’s secretly pining after (“the girl” here played by Danielle Katz). And suddenly everything’s great for Seymour—aside from the fact that the plant turns out to be a talking, scheming, very hungry alien with a taste for human flesh…
It’s a comedy. Go with it.
“Little Shop” is a popular show for high schools in part because it offers the coolest special effects that a high-school production can reasonably pull off. That would be Audrey 2, always the star of the show—a moving, talking plant that grows and grows as the show progresses. (How does it work? There are four Audrey 2 puppets all told: two hand puppets for the early scenes, then two much more elaborate contraptions manipulated by an unseen performer inside. In ECHHS’ production, Shira Snyder and Austin Lord are credited as the puppetmasters—but Pate, as Seymour, also gets to play puppeteer in one song. Watch for it.) Manipulating Audrey 2 is a daunting task—when our high school staged “Little Shop,” we cheated and had a teacher do it—so kudos to Snyder and Lord for making it work. (Kudos also to director Hope Hynes Love and set designer Alec Arshavsky. The set design for “Little Shop” is deceptively simple—all but one of the scenes take place either in or just outside the shop, but the design still needs to account for the fact that you have to move gigantic plants on and off stage in mid-scene, without anyone noticing. They do a fine job with it. I also liked the glass window they put in the backdrop—so you can see unheard conversations transpiring outside the shop throughout the show.)
So, how did it all come together?
I loved the little directorial touches Hope Hynes Love sprinkled throughout the show. A wino (Evan Douglass) takes a leak behind a phone booth. Audrey—the human Audrey—gives a dollar to a homeless woman. The Kleenex Seymour uses to win Audrey’s heart (“Suddenly Seymour”) gets called back later, when he’s weighing whether to destroy the plant and a spotlight suddenly fixes on it. Stick around for intermission, and you’ll catch Seymour creeping out on stage to dispose of evidence midway through.
And speaking of Seymour, let’s talk about the acting. From an actor’s perspective, “Little Shop” is a thin, thin tightrope to walk: it’s a campy parody, sure, but it also really cares about its lead characters, really loves them and wants them to succeed. Audrey’s song “Somewhere That’s Green” is the best example: it’s Audrey’s dream of a perfect life, and we chuckle because it’s so mundane—a garbage disposal, frozen dinners, a TV with a “big enormous 12-inch screen”—but at the same time, she believes in it so darn much that we find ourselves believing in it too. (Especially since Audrey’s real life is so horrible that, mundane as her dream is, it’s a dream she can never really hope to attain.) It’s a devastating song, when it’s done right. But you have to do it right. The temptation with “Little Shop” is to play up the camp and make it jokey—but the reason the show succeeds is that there’s a very real emotional heart at the center of it all, so to make it work you have to play it straight. (I saw the Broadway revival in 2004, with Joey Fatone as Seymour. They, um…did not play it straight.)
But as Seymour and Audrey, John Pate and Danielle Katz play it straight. “Suddenly Seymour,” their second-act duet, doesn’t have quite the crowd-rousing finish it could have, but whatever: Katz blows the roof off the place with “Somewhere That’s Green”—I got choked up—and Pate absolutely nails Seymour’s tragic desperation in his “Skid Row” solo. I could quibble with both performances if I want—all the actors do have those moments where they rush through the lines and choreography without stopping to feel them, and that’s true of the two leads as well—but let’s stick with this compliment: Pate and Katz get Seymour and Audrey better than anyone I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen “Little Shop” on Broadway.
(My one directorial quibble: Seymour should keep his glasses on.)
From the technical side, the show is solid but still has a few kinks. Well, really just one, and it’s the same problem you get with every musical: how to make sure the orchestra doesn’t overwhelm the actors’ voices. (The actors do wear mics, which helps a bit. I didn’t have much of a problem with it anyway, but then again I know all the songs by heart.) But I did find myself impressed with the lighting design, especially the use of strobes and backlighting to make Audrey 2 that much more menacing. Well done there. (Credit Domenica Sutherland for lights—and credit Audrey 2’s voice actors Ethan Fox and Jones Bell for the menacing laugh.)
Highlights: “Skid Row” and “Somewhere That’s Green” in the first act and “Suppertime” in the second; I also liked the grand finale, where the special effects really take over. (Lowlight: “Call Back In The Morning,” the opening number of the second act. This is not ECHHS’ fault. It is just a bad song.)
So, final verdict: Is “Little Shop” worth seeing? Absolutely. It’s true, I did walk out of the theater saying “Gee, if only they’d done this, and this, and this”…but I also walked out saying, “Man, I loved that.”
For me, with “Little Shop,” the two tend to go hand in hand.http://chapelboro.com/columns/aaron-keck/hold-your-hat-and-hang-onto-your-soul-little-shop-at-echhs/
CHAPEL HILL – Morris Grove Elementary’s Amy Rickard has been named the 2013 Principal of the Year for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools System.
Rickard says it was a shock when Superintendent Tom Forcella brought her flowers, along with the good news, during a weekly staff meeting.
“He arrived with other members of our District Cabinet and it was a complete surprise!” she says.
Rickard’s career in education began as a language arts teacher in Kannapolis City Schools. She then signed on with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in 1999 as an administrative intern. After serving as an assistant principal at McDougle Elementary and Rashkis Elementary, Rickard served as principal of Glenwood Elementary from 2004-2007.
When Morris Grove Elementary was opened in 2007, she was named as its first principal. Rickard says she’s proud of the school she and her staff have created.
“It was a real honor for me to open Morris Grove Elementary School,” Rickard says. “Planning a school from the ground up is a really unique experience, and to me an honor.”
Rickard earned her bachelors and masters degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She will now be entered into the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year competition along with a principal from each district in the state. Following portfolio reviews and personal interviews, eight regional finalists will be named to participate in the state selection process.
CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools System is projected to face a $2.2 million dollar deficit for the next cycle. The district has been facing funding issues for the past several years, in part due to constant budget cuts coming from the General Assembly.
The four candidates competing for three open spots on the CHCCS Board of Education spoke to WCHL’s Aaron Keck Monday about how they propose to overcome budget constraints if elected.
***Listen to the Forum***
Michelle Brownstein and James Barrett are the two incumbent candidates in the race, and the challengers are Ignacio Tzoumas and Andrew Davidson.
Brownstein, who was elected in 2009 and currently serves as Chair of the Board, said the district has already had to dip into the fund balance to keep elementary school teaching assistants in the classroom. She said the Board may not be able to deplete it any further to help offset the cost of state-level budget cuts.
“We are going to be going through each one of the roles that different people play to look for effective use of staff,” Brownstein said. “This of course will be done by our Superintendent, but he will be presenting it to the Board in the spring. He’s also going to be looking at the programmatics that we have going on, making sure that they are effective and that they are completely aligned with the long-range plan that the community has asked for. This is going to be really tough.”
Barrett, who was elected to the Board in 2011, said the district needs to continue to seek efficiency in staff operations.
“I think that one of the things I’ve watched on the Board is Dr. Forcella doing a very, very good job at looking at each individual that is working in our district, what they are doing, and how they line up with our priorities, and re-purposing where needed, so that we are not spending more money, but we are getting more bang for the buck for the people we have,” Barrett said.
Tzoumas said if he were elected to the Board, he would work to find new avenues of trimming the budget to be able to continue to serve a growing student population.
“We are very fortunate that this county values education so highly, and they have been subsidizing our school system, but we are already four to five times higher than the average in the state,” Tzoumas said. “And it is a strain. We are at a point that we need to be more creative with how we budget so we can make a fair infrastructure for all of our students.”
Davidson said he believed one of the answers to closing the budget gaps would be raising property taxes. Orange County’s property taxes weren’t increased for the 2013-2014 budget cycle, though the special district tax was.
“It’s two choices: do we want to see cuts or do we want to pay out a higher property tax rate,” Davidson said. “If I am given that vote as a voter, I’ll take the higher property tax every time.”
Davidson also suggested finding innovative ways to “stretch the dollar” on construction plans for the district’s fifth middle school. He suggested assessing which Middle School would be most appropriate to demolish and then rebuild it, adding another school on the site as well.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/chccs-school-board-hopefuls-on-looming-budget-problems/
CHAPEL HILL – You might have spotted the scrambled letter signs scattered across Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
It looks like gibberish, but Mary Carey said that’s the point. The organization BootstrapsPAC is behind the posters. Carey said that more than 100 have been placed along the busy intersections in Orange County alone.
“It frustrated adults and kids who are used to being able to read every sign,” Carey said.
Bootstraps is a nonpartisan, volunteer political action committee that seeks to shed light on the childhood illiteracy problem in the Triangle.
“When there are huge populations not learning how to read, it doesn’t just impact that child, it impacts the entire community,” Carey said. “It hurts Chapel Hill and Carrboro that half of our economically disadvantaged kids failed their reading tests.”
Carey said the signs were purposely placed to coincide with election season. She said she wants school board candidates and incumbents to take notice.
“They’re representing all of the kids who can’t read any of the signs or their classroom materials,” Carey said. ”There is a greater understanding and frustration for what these kids are feeling every day.”
Carey explained that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools System is one of the top districts in North Carolina, but that a significant portion of students are still struggling.
Bootstraps’ website purports that 51 percent of economically disadvantaged children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools System failed the third grade reading test, according to information gathered from NCPublicSchools.org.
Carey said she hoped this sign campaign would boost activism in helping to solve childhood illiteracy in our area.
“We want to connect them with organizations that are trying to help these kids and ask those individuals if they can give an hour a week and volunteer in a classroom or tutor with the Orange County Literacy Center or become a mentor,” Carey said.
For more information on area organizations to increase literacy, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/whats-behind-those-gibberish-signs/