The eastern area superintendent for the Wake County school system says area education work groups are focused on forming a foundation to help school-age children as work shifts to smaller committees.
The Knightdale Area Education Work Group formed during the 2013-14 school year, and the East Wake Education Work Group two years later.
They met to identify topics to work on as eastern Wake schools lag behind public schools in western Wake in student achievement as measured by end-of-grade testing.
Dr. Ed McFarland said the main thrust of the groups now is to form a foundation similar to the East Wake Education Foundation in Wendell but for kindergarten to 12th grade. The EWEF, founded 23 years ago, focuses on getting children from birth to age 5 ready to start kindergarten.
McFarland said a search is underway for someone to lead the new foundation on a volunteer basis.
“I hope at the end of the semester we can formalize the process and have a clear idea of the scope of the work,” McFarland said. “It’s evolving. It’s in its infancy stages.”
The larger work groups were meeting as often as twice a month, which was asking a lot of 60 to 80 people, McFarland said. “A lot of that work is now transitioning and is now ongoing in the schools.”
Smaller committees, including ones focused on communication, volunteering, adult team-building and recognition, are meeting to focus on issues raised in the work groups. Committees are working on planning an eastern Wake teacher of the year banquet at Zebulon Baptist Church and having students lead the pledge of allegiance at area town council meetings.
Committees are also working on building partnerships with local churches and businesses. Several businesses have agreed to display student artwork at their companies.
The public continues to be involved, with parents and town officials on the committees, as well as school administrators.
“It really gives us a voice as heard in the recommendations from a year ago and two years ago, and we’re working on those,” McFarland said.
No meetings of the larger work groups are scheduled currently with the workload shifting to the committees. “That’s not to say they won’t come together again,” McFarland said, “but it’s not as frequent.”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826