Tata delivers State of Schools address

August 23, 2012 8:22:56 PM PDT
Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata delivered his State of the Schools address Thursday evening at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School where he said the district saw gains in proficiency in all grade spans.

"All the arrows were pointing up and that's good news," said Tata.

Tata said the state's largest school system made gains in 19 of 20 key areas in English, math and science.

Classrooms with high percentages of students receiving federally subsidized lunches saw the largest gains specifically four elementary schools. There were schools targeted in the Renaissance Program.

"We took that Title One funding and found a different way to spend that money to increase proficiency," said Tata.

Wake poured $17 million into the schools in the form of high quality teaching assistance, teacher bonuses and technology upgrades.

"I love the effort and the alignment that they are presenting to our community members," said Ligon Assistant Principal Ronnie Sharp.

The school system also saw its graduation rate grow to roughly 81 percent, but disparities still exist among minorities including black males.

"Only six percent of African-American male students, 313 students out of 151,000 students in the system, take at least one AP course," said Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton. "We can do better than that."

It's why Tata's last pitch was to parents to stay involved. That's something Tammy Blue attributes to her son's turn around, graduation and enrollment in college.

"If you don't reach out to the teachers and get in PTA and find out what's going on -- when you do find out, it's going to be too late," said Blue.

Tata said school officials were able to attain their educational goals even with a shrinking budget.

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