Over 70 of the Eastern Shore’s community, business and government leaders attended a forum hosted by the Northampton County Education Foundation Tuesday morning in the Northampton High School Gym with a goal of identifying strengths and ideas to remedy weaknesses in the school system.
After the singing of the National Anthem and a second performance by the Northampton High School Choir, Superintendent Eddie Lawrence gave a brief talk about the status of the school system. Lawrence pointed out test scores had been increasing in the various schools in the County, and after several years he was pleased to report Occohannock Elementary School was now fully accredited. He also pointed out the issues facing the County’s schools: falling student enrollment and by extension falling funds from the State and Federal governments, low teacher pay and retention, a need for new buildings and repairs on existing buildings and the changing standards set by the Department of Education.
Following Lawrence’s talk, the gathered crowd broke into groups and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the system. An overwhelming number of people identified the Dual Enrollment program and the new Job Shadowing program as very positive. Several ideas to improve teacher retention and better communication with the community were also offered. The discussion was moderated by Jeff Holland, CEO of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District.
Northampton County Education Foundation President Maxine Rassmussen was pleased with the event:
A full report on the most mentioned items by the break out groups will be compiled and given at a later date.