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Every Student, Every Day


QTL News & Stories


Excellence for Everyone - No Exceptions, No Excuses

August 2009

Wake County principal uses personal motto
to drive school initiatives.

khs scoresKNIGHTDALE, NC - Knightdale High School Principal Carla Jernigan loves a challenge. Last Spring when her Wake County, North Carolina school was vying for accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, she learned Knightdale was deficient in 21st Century Learning Skills, and end of grade pass rates were below expectations. So, she set out to change all that.

Jernigan says the conversation about student needs began in Knightdale's professional learning communities. Teachers then examined student data, identified trends in areas of low performance, and specific student needs. Using strategies modeled to them through their professional development and coaching, teachers used specific action plans such as cooperative groups and technology to tutor students. Baseline assessments, coaching and student evaluation were all part of the process.

When Knightdale's students began to consistently attend math tutorial sessions, they knew they were on to something. In fact, before this concentrated effort began, only about 18% of underperforming students regularly attended tutoring sessions. That number jumped to 63%. To teachers, this was evidence of student engagement.

But the real proof of performance was in the recently released end of grade scores where Knightdale High School saw increases in nearly every subject tested and ABC Results were up nearly 7% over all subjects compared to the year before. (See Proficiency Rates Chart above)

Principal Jernigan's personal motto: "Excellence for All. No Exceptions. No Excuses." has carried over in to her expectations for students and staff at Knightdale High School. In the end, she says the teachers at Knightdale made the difference. "We focused on teacher leadership. Teachers take responsibility for learning in the classroom and for every aspect of the school environment."

The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning congratulate Principal Jernigan and her dedicated faculty at Knightdale High School for raising the achievement bar for all her students.

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