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Public Schools of Robeson County Approves the Transfer of Southside Ashpole Elementary in Rowland, NC to the Innovative School District

At the school board meeting held Tuesday evening at the City Hall in Lumberton, the Public Schools of Robeson County voted unanimously to transfer Southside Ashpole Elementary to the Innovative School District (ISD). Members of the Rowland community, including Mayor Michelle Shooter, Town Clerk David Townsend, Reverend Thomas Allen, and others–including Ronald Foxworth, Chief Public Defender for Robeson County–showed their support for the transfer. During public comment, Mr. Foxworth expressed heartfelt sentiments about the legacy of the school and its importance to the town of Rowland.

Southside Ashpole Elementary will be transferred into the ISD for a period of 5 years beginning in the 2018-19 school year. At the end of the 5 years, the school will be transferred back into the local district. “This is a real opportunity for Southside Ashpole, the Rowland community and the local school board to work together with the ISD and the school operator to help improve student performance,” said Dr. Eric Hall, Superintendent of the ISD. “The outpouring of community support for this initiative has been incredible and I cannot thank the Rowland community enough for engaging with the ISD. To maximize student success and to ensure that the reforms the ISD will bring to the school are sustainable, that support is welcome and necessary.”

Dr. Eric Hall added, “we can now move forward with identifying and selecting a proven innovative school operator to partner with Southside Ashpole and the Rowland community to develop a school improvement plan that is tailored to the specific needs of the school. Included in the plan will be teacher/staff training; tactics for addressing academic and non-academic barriers to achievement; curriculum that meets NC Standard Course of Study standards to ensure students are prepared to move to the next grade level; as well as details related to resources, staffing needs, support networks, and supplemental programs to assist in improving student performance.”

Southside Ashpole Elementary was selected for inclusion into the ISD based on the following criteria: grade level performance for most recent school year (18.4%), average school performance score over last three years (33%), school performance grades over the last three years (the school received the letter grade of F each year) and overall school district performance (66% of schools in district are considered low performing). This data shows a clear need for an intervention to provide improved educational outcomes for the students in Rowland.

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