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Crucial initiatives keep West Craven High moving forward

On November 7, 2018, the Craven County Board of Education and West Craven High (WCH) spotlighted the work of the school’s Redesign Team, a high functioning Professional Learning Community (PLC) created for the purpose of reforming the school’s ability to meet student needs through remediation and enrichment. This team began its work while visiting several high schools in Rowan County where they gathered ideas from North Rowan, South Rowan, East Rowan, and Carson High Schools. They envisioned a West Craven High School that maximized instructional time and focus, allowed students to receive additional help when needed, and still allowed time for enrichment and social opportunities during the school day.

The team created a plan that incorporated the following initiatives they deemed crucial to moving West Craven forward: Common Planning for core area teachers; an Eagle Power Hour schedule for remediation and enrichment; the implementation of Career and Freshman Academies; Collaborative Spaces to accommodate 21st century learning; and a Growth Mindset among all stakeholders. The Eagle Power Hour schedule also resolved the problem of a disjointed third period block which broke up learning time for lunch. The team worked together for months creating plans and a presentation for school staff to outline their rationale for the plan and to gather input on the drivers and restrainers for implementation. 

One of the major hurdles they had to cross was finding a way to feed one thousand students in two 30-minute lunch sessions. The cafeteria staff has been an integral component of the success of the Eagle Power Hour. Susan Mercer and her team worked with the teacher members of the Redesign team to find a way to make it happen. They revised lunch schedules and found unused food kiosks to expand the number of students that could be fed at one time. They not only revamped lunch, but also breakfast. Breakfast moved from being served before school, to just after first period, also in various locations around the campus. As a result, more students are eating breakfast and they are able to enjoy an additional 15 minutes of social time within the school day. In addition, the cafeteria staff has been flexible in serving students when students have had testing or other school events that changed the schedule for all or a portion of the student body.

The redesign PLC has created a framework in which all other PLC teams are better able to meet regularly. Our cafeteria team has shown they believe that feeding students is a part of instructional support, not just a task to be completed. When asked to make changes, they ask, “How can we help?” rather than saying it couldn’t be done.

The team met after school and during the summer to finalize plans. They worked through email, phone and text to coordinate plans. They have not stopped working. They have demonstrated flexibility as they adjusted the schedule to accommodate calendar changes and the temporary addition of an elementary school to the school campus. We appreciate the work this team has done and what they continue to do as we move towards full implementation of our redesign. Congratulations to these teachers and our cafeteria staff who have shown their dedication towards putting student learning first at West Craven High School!