N.C. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson recently visited Rocky Mount Prep’s campus to tour the school and speak with faculty and students.
After greetings and a brief presentation by school CEO Doug Haynes and Board of Trustees Chairman Morris Wilder, Atkinson walked through the hallways, labs, and classrooms of the school’s three divisions.
Atkinson’s visit centered on Rocky Mount Prep’s innovative approach to education using blended learning and learning labs. She was interested in how Rocky Mount Prep’s approach could help other schools across North Carolina close the achievement gap.
Atkinson was greeted by members of the Student Ambassadors, a leadership development program in the elementary and middle schools. In the elementary school, the kindergarten music students performed a South African folk song, “Shay Shay Koolay” for Atkinson and the tour group. The tour also showcased the school’s state of the art blended learning labs and the brand new Microsoft IT Academy lab in the high school.
Following the tour, Atkinson was greeted by students of Rocky Mount Prep’s internship program in the high school. This year, Rocky Mount Prep placed 40 at various internship sites in the community. Among these internship sites included N.C.Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount Police Department, city of Rocky Mount, Nash County government offices, Nash General Hospital, WHIG-TV, Power 95.5, Webpoint, Opobotics and several other internship providers who generously opened their doors to these students.
Atkinson addressed the internship students and offered them some advice for their pursuits beyond the internship. She touched upon the common core and the new assessments initiated by the state this past year.
Junior Leo Heath asked her exactly what the state was assessing students on with these tests and whether or not there was a better way to find out if students were learning. Heath pointed out that he was assessed throughout the year and if he passed his courses, was that not enough evidence of achievement?
When asked about blended learning and their thoughts on this instructional method, senior Damiyah Williams added, “I like blended learning, because without blended learning here at Prep, I would not be able to graduate this year. I would still be a junior, but I was able to get ahead in my studies to graduate in 2014.”
Following the open forum, Haynes thanked Atkinson for her support of innovation in education. Before Atkinson left Rocky Mount Prep, SGA President Xavier Bunch presented her with a bouquet of flowers as a gift from the students and staff.
Rocky Mount Prep is a tuition free, public charter school serving the community of Rocky Mount and the surrounding counties.