The Wayne County Public Schools are two years old to rehabilitate a low-performing elementary school to prevent it from being taken over by the state and potentially run by a charter school operator.

The National Board of Education voted Thursday to approve Wayne County's request to use a program called "Recovery Model" to try to transform Carver Heights Elementary School in Goldsboro. The vote cancels the previous decision of the state council to resume Carver Heights and add it to the state's innovative school district.

The Republican legislator created the Innovative School District in 2016 to subtract up to five poor elementary schools from the control of the local school district and entrust them to an outside group. Supporters say it's a way to help increase student achievement. Critics say the model, used in other states, is a means of privatizing education that has not worked well.

Southside Ashpole Elementary, in Robeson County, became the first school of the program this school year. The school is now run by a company with links to a wealthy political donor which helped to pass the law creating the program.

Carver Heights was the only school recommended to be added in 2019. Wayne County House Heads objected and warned that they could close the school rather than abandon it. .

The state council praised the Wayne County plan for straightening the school. but said in December, their hands were tied by the law of the state.

During the December special session, legislators have abandoned the requirement that all schools were to be added in 2019 and gave Wayne County the opportunity to use the restart model to keep control of Carver Heights.

The state's Department of Public Instruction has endorsed Wayne County's request, noting that Patrice Faison, former North Carolina manager of the year, was recently hired to head Carver Heights.

"They have chosen a school principal who has the habit of transforming underperforming schools," said James Ellerbe, deputy director of DPI's District and Regional Support. "She is known as a person who moves and shakes."

The decision of the State Council was applauded on Friday by Wayne County Heads of State.

"The decision yesterday was a vote of confidence in the ongoing school improvement efforts at Carver Heights Elementary School," said Wayne County Superintendent Michael Dunsmore, in a statement. A press release. "I would like not to thank our local delegation and the bipartisan support given to Carver Heights Elementary, together with our state education council and our department of education. public.

"The recent legislative changes have legally allowed the State Board of Education to accept our Restart claim and to allow Wayne County Public Schools to retain local control of the school while we work at the school. improvement of its educational trajectory.

The restart model gives schools consistently poor performance the type of flexibility that charter schools enjoy state rules. For example, Carver Heights will have flexibility in the way it spends money, the program taught, the school calendar used and whether it wishes to hire only certified teachers.

But if Carver Heights still ranks among the lowest 10% of the state after the 2020-2021 school year, the law states that the school would be transferred to the innovative school district.

"I'm delighted with the State Board's decision," said Faison, principal of Carver Heights, in a district press release. "Since November, my teachers have taken up the challenge of implementing powerful changes that will straighten out our school.

"While there is still a lot of work to be done, this proves that our efforts have garnered support from the North Carolina General Assembly and the Council of Education of North Carolina. # 39; State. Through the actions of the Commission and the legislature in recent weeks, Carver Heights now has the opportunity to prove to everyone that our students and staff have the ability to do great things. "