Guilford County Schools

Hassina Kiboua works with refugees in Ireland. She observed an art class at the Newcomers School.
Jess Clark

Visitors from seven European countries were in Greensboro Monday to learn how the Doris Henderson Newcomers School educates newly arrived immigrant students.

Wanda McLemore teaches a transitional fourth grade class at Falkener Elementary. The first half of her class is whole-group instruction.
Jess Clark

Forty percent of the state’s third-graders tested below grade level in reading last school year. Those are levels of achievement many parents and legislators say are unacceptable.

The state has been trying to boost reading scores for the last two years with a law called Read to Achieve. But is it getting schools what they need to improve scores?

children reading
U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Guilford County Schools says it needs more resources and teacher training to boost reading scores.

College graduates in 2013 at Syracuse University. Say Yes has another partner community in Syracuse, New York
Chris Becker / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of donors is going start paying for Guilford County students’ in-state college tuition next year. 

Several Guilford County organizations and Guilford County schools have partnered with a national foundation called Say Yes to Education. Together they've raised $32.6 million in private donations for an endowment to cover tuition costs for the district's students at all in-state public colleges and universities, as well as 100 nation-wide private universities, including Duke University and Harvard University.

Teachers and students say the new case (similar to an OtterBox) is part of the reason fewer tablets are breaking.
Jeff Tiberii

Students in Guilford County have tablet computers...again. The federally funded initiative first began in August of 2013, but school officials suspended the program weeks later after more than 10-percent of the devices broke. Now, middle school students have tablets from a different manufacturer.

At Jamestown Middle School several students surround a table in the media center. Their necks careen downward and their fingers move comfortably across glass screens. These tablets have games in math, social studies and science.

More than 2,000 tablets broke and about a dozen chargers partially melted earlier this school year.
Jeff Tiberii

Middle school students in Guilford County will face new punishments for broken tablet computers this fall.

Guilford County Schools rolled out a federally funded tablet program last August. But by October more than 15 percent of the devices had broken and a few chargers melted. The district stopped the program and found a new manufacturer.

After public feedback some new rules are in-place for the re-launch this fall:

Karin Vlietstra via Flickr

At least 28 school districts across the state have voiced opposition to a new law that repeals teacher tenure and replaces it with a plan that rewards the top teachers, according the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Cumberland County Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are among the latest to reject the law, which is meant to phase out tenure for all teachers by 2018.

  In the wake of the most recent General Assembly session, some teachers across the state are expressing concern about policies that affect the classroom, like voucher programs and budgetary restraints.

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Reporter Dave Dewitt; Wilmington Star-News education reporter Pressley Baird; and Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston.

More than 2,000 tablets broke and about a dozen chargers partially melted earlier this school year.
Jeff Tiberii

Guilford County school officials and the manufacturer of tablet computers once used in district classrooms disagree on why thousands of devices broke. Asus, the company that built the more than 15,000 tablet computers used for a time in Guilford County classrooms, is not taking blame for melted chargers. In a statement Asus says is has run tests on its products and found no problems.  The tablet program was paused in October after thousands of devices broke and nearly a dozen chargers partially melted. School officials believe the devices were defective. Meanwhile students are without tablets and the school system is working with Amplify, a for-profit education company to find another manufacturer and try to re-start the program.

“This doesn’t really change out view of what happened and our view of what’s needed to move forward, which is still to make sure that we get the products and services at the expected quality,” said Nora Carr, Chief of Staff for Guilford County Schools.

Math teacher Melissa Tatum is one of 900 educators who has been trained on the tablet computers. She plans to use Brain Pop in her classroom this fall.
Jeff Tiberii

Leaders with Guilford County schools announced today they are suspending a tablet-computer initiative indefinitely.  The surprising news came at a hastily called press conference Friday.  Guilford County was in the process of implementing the largest tablet program in U.S. History. It is funded by a $30 million federal grant. Since the school system started handing out tablets to teachers in June, and students in August, about 10-percent have been cracked or broken.

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