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NCNSP Chairman Mitchell urges districts to stay the course

July 2, 2010 - Former North Carolina Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, chairman of the NCNSP's board of directors, urged district leaders during last week's Summer Institute to continue supporting redesigned high schools as an effective innovation for reaching all students.

"Some of you operate in communities in which your district may not fully support the model that you're creating," Mitchell said, addressing the 600 educators attending the three-day conference, but particularly those associated with small, focused high schools created from large, comprehensive schools.

"Our school districts need to get the message that the time for thinking is over," he said. "Your small schools have already demonstrated that having every teacher responsible for progress by every student is the bar we must reach. It is the bar we can reach.

"I challenge our school districts to stand by their new small schools and to support the teachers and principals who have made the commitment to every student -- not just some students.

"Failure is not an option. And by failure I mean failure of imagination. Do we protect the conventional high school because of tradition and because it is convenient for some adults? Or do we create schools in which every member of the staff is accountable to every other member of the staff for results.

"I am proud of what you have accomplished in such a short period of time. You should be proud. But we cannot be complacent, and we cannot stand by when some administrators want to return to the past; a past that served only a few students well."

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