BY JIM RITCH, Eastern Shore Post —
The number of Northampton High School students simultaneously enrolled in college courses has risen 58% since last year, Superintendent Lisa Martin told attendees at a recent “State of the Schools” presentation.
Martin, who is starting her second school year leading the district, said the increase resulted in part from restructuring of fees that reduced the cost to students by 85%.
The measures contribute to reaching two overarching goals.
Martin wants every graduate ready to be “employed, enrolled, or enlisted,” she said on Nov. 9 to more than 100 participants in the high school gym.
Martin also wants to “light literacy fires at home,” she said.
Among other changes, parents whose children misbehave in class will see more of teachers and administrators this year.
Speaking in a breakout session at the meeting, Martin said that more parent-teacher conferences lie ahead as means of improving classroom discipline.
Administrators also plan to transfer misbehaving students between classes more frequently, hoping to move children to more stimulating or challenging subjects.
Ill-behaved children will also be assigned mentors to help them with their studies and other issues.
Extended periods of home studies during COVID slowed socialization, reduced attendance, and made classroom discipline more difficult to maintain.
District schools have also created six new courses, opened a new middle school STEM lab, and begun recruiting teachers from among the district’s own graduates.
A “Teachers for Tomorrow” program will offer high school juniors and seniors educational experiences and invite them to return to teach after college-level training.
“You will have a prize spot” upon returning, Martin said.
This fall, five Northampton High School graduates began as teachers, part of a cadre of 28 new teachers.
Of these, nine just started their first year in the classroom.
Because many Northampton teachers commute from Virginia Beach, the school district has collaborated with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Authority to provide a shuttle van parked on the Virginia Beach end of the bridge.
Teachers who park and ride can avoid the expense of the bridge toll, Martin said.
Among the efforts to better prepare graduates to work locally, the district has improved equipment and increased enrollment in a class to train emergency medical technicians.
Enrollment rose from 5 to 12 students in the class, which also received a new, $57,000 manikin on which to practice protocols.