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Workshop helping Ashley faculty, administration move forward

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Teachers were back at Ashley High School today having a meeting about the upcoming school year and how to make Ashley better.

This comes on the heels of surveys where teachers expressed their dissatisfaction with the school's administration.

Today's workshop was done by members of the School Improvement Team; folks who are also teachers.

We were not allowed in the meeting, but we tried talking with teachers as they left. They wouldn't talk with us on camera, but most had nothing but positive things to say. Though most implied difficult conversations were had inside the meeting, most said it was a productive step forward.

Principal Jackson Norvell released a statement to WWAY about the meeting.

"Today's workshop was the beginning of a process intended to improve working conditions here at Ashley," Norvell said. "While it is obviously early in the process, today's working meeting was a step in the right direction as teachers were provided the opportunity to work together to address specific school wide areas of concern."

One teacher told us he didn't want to talk because the discussed changes had yet to be implemented. He said it it still wait and see.

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Caring about schools, teachers

Mr. Hicks, you are awesome! Thanks you for all your support!

Meeting

The school improvement team members who ran the meeting on Monday, July 28, were chosen by Mr. Norvell. In the past, a representative was always elected from each department by its members. Last year Mr. Norvell decided that the team contained too many members and made the choices of members himself. Such a team does not represent the faculty of Ashley. Members of the faculty leaving the meeting would not speak on camera because the fear of continued intimidation and retaliation remains a very real possibility. I sincerely hope that the atmosphere at Ashley does, indeed, improve for the sake of the students, the teachers, the support personnel, and the parents. It is my desire that the entire community watch very closely as the 2014-2015 school year proceeds at Ashley High School.

Untrue Statements

Concerned citizen
I was elected by my department to be a member of the school improvement team as was everyone else that is now on it. If you don't know what you are talking about you should probably stop talking. Mr. Norvell is taking steps in the right direction to imp rove Ashley. Maybe everyone should give him a chance!

Ashley High School

Dear concerned Teacher,

The only way we got Dr. Markley to agree to meet with us was by going to the board meetings and speaking, and sending many emails to the board members. The media's coverage of the issues at Ashley also helped bring this about. We ran into the same stonewall that you did until last week when I got an email from one of the board members that "Dr. Markley will now meet with the parents".

I met with Dr. Markley yesterday, and the meeting was not constructive at all, except for reinforcing my belief of how badly the teachers in this county are treated.

I would start by sending emails to the board members and let them know what is going on, then have some parents show up and speak at the next board meeting on August 5th in your behalf. Many of the board members are aware of the problems that so many of our fantastic teachers are facing at their schools and with the Superintendent's office.

The bottom line is, our teachers have NO rights, and this has got to change.

Feel free to call me at 910-233-0509

Mr. Hicks

I have requested more meetings with Dr. Markley thn I can count. He refuses to meet with me regarding harassment I went through and all of the illegal things I witnessed at my previous Middle School! I have even talked with DPI in Raleigh. Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how I can get a meeting with him please let me know!

Ashley High School

How many of the teachers were invited to this workshop? Who invited them? Why would none of them speak on camera, even when they said it went well? Why were they afraid to get on camera? Who conducted the workshop - was it LaChance Smith, who sugar coated the 2014 teacher working conditions survey at the last full school board meeting, who never even mentioned the terrible survey results for Ashley, and a couple other schools? If the parents had not gotten involved with this, along with the media, and a few of the school board members, nothing would never had been done about the situation at Ashley or the other schools. By the way, what is being done at the other schools?

I will be meeting with Dr. Tim Markley today to discuss all of this. Please contact him at tim.markley@nhcs.net and set up an appointment with him to voice your concerns this week.

We need to make sure our leaders in our school district are trustworthy, open, and are willing to correct any problems that the school district has, instead of sugar coating the problems, denying them and avoiding solutions to these problems. We don't need our school district leaders policing themselves.

This workshop is a step in the right direction, but we need someone outside to conduct it, not the assistant to the superintendent.