NHCS Board approves contract renewals, D.C. Virgo year-round schedule, health assessments

Published: May. 5, 2015 at 2:35 PM EDT|Updated: May. 10, 2015 at 3:20 AM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County School board members voted on some key items during their meeting Tuesday.

Contract Renewals

The School Board renewed 26 employee contracts, and Ashley High School Principal Jackson Norvell's contract was approved for another four years, despite a teacher's plea for the school board to wait.

Ashley music teacher Jennifer Sugerik was the only person who spoke during the meeting's call to the audience. She is also the only teacher that has publicly talked about problems at Ashley High School following a negative teacher conditions survey showing issues with the school's climate.

Sugerik said herself and other Ashley faculty and staff wanted the board to wait until results of 2015 teacher condition surveys were available before renewing the principal's contract.

"I think the students have a sense that the teachers are very uncomfortable," Sugerik noted. "I think you'll see a lot of frustration also, especially from faculty and staff that would like to enforce the rules but know when there are no consequences, that it's almost futile to do those things."

Sugerik has been at Ashley High School since it opened and says she is not happy with the direction the school is going in.

"The problem actually of course at the top is always the administrators, but when there's problems up at that level, it will filter down all the way down to the students," Sugerik continued.

Other principals approved for four more years include Wrightsville Beach Elementary's Mary Paul Beall, Sunset Elementary School's Jakkis Jethro, Alderman Elementary School's Robert Maxey, Wilmington Early College's Ivy Murrain, Williams Elementary School's Amy Oots, Noble Middle School's Wade Smith, Isaac Bear Early College's Philip Sutton and Freeman Elementary's Sherry Veasey.

D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy

The board approved a proposal Tuesday night to adopt a year-round schedule at D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy.

Last month, Principal Eric Irizzary presented the proposal to the board, saying the main reasons for the change is to decrease the amount of learning that is lost over the summer months - especially since the school has a high level of students of low socioeconomic status.

Virgo will be the only year-round middle school in New Hanover County.

Irizzary admitted he hopes the move would attract students from the four year-round elementary schools in New Hanover County (Eaton, Codington, Sunset and Snipes) and help bring more diversity to the open-enrollment middle school.

The new schedule will start in 2016.

Student Health Data

The Board also approved continuing and expanding health data.

New Hanover County officials, in partnership with UNCW and the NHC School System, completed the health assessment of the public kindergarten cohort that entered the system last August.

The study presented to school officials in April showed 27 percent of kindergartners in New Hanover County are either obese or overweight.

Officials also plan to collect height and weight measurements. There is one provision, an opt-in form for parental consent.The collection will be executed by school nurses.

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