Houlihan Says GCPS Must Improve Student Performance ‘Despite Politicians in Raleigh’

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-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools

Dr. Tom Houlihan, Chair of the Granville County Board of Education, presented the following information at Monday night’s Granville County Board of Education meeting:

As Chair of the Granville County Board of Education, tonight I would like to share a few thoughts about the number one priority (after safety) of our school system this year. The board of education and the superintendent have mutually agreed to focus on one overriding goal for the school year. That goal relates to the improved performance of our staff and students.

Student achievement this past year was extremely disconcerting to all of us. Such performance must not become the norm of our system. We must replace mediocrity with a general level of expectation that is well beyond where we are today.

We must have a sense of urgency that drives us every single day. We must come to grips with a changing demographic make-up of our students and that more of the same is not acceptable. We absolutely must bring about change in performance and it must begin with us.

The board has great faith in Dr. McLean’s [GCPS Superintendent] leadership and willingness to be the driving force in the transition so badly needed. She has our support 100%. Yet we also know it is going to take time to transform this school system and we cannot wait any longer to get started. Let’s be clear– the board of education takes seriously the role all will play, including us, in helping to support significant performance improvement.

It is up to the administration to develop a set of strategies to carry out our goal for the year. We recognize that it will take time to see the fruits of the hard work it will take. Turning around a school system in North Carolina, a state that is stifling creativity and change, is not easy, but we can’t give up. We must do all we can in spite of the politicians in Raleigh. Given all we face, perhaps by combining long term improvement with short-term win-wins is a viable way for all to see improvement.

The purpose of this statement is to make sure everyone understands where this board of education stands regarding improvement. We will move forward hand in hand with Dr. Mclean. We know she needs the board’s unanimous support. We have extremely high expectations. There are no excuses. We must do better, and we will, and the Board will be right there to help as the journey of transformation moves.”

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