I recently spent an afternoon visiting Hamlet Middle School. Hamlet is on the southern border of North Carolina, between Rockingham and Laurinburg, and used to be a thriving railroad and textile town. These days it has hit hard times, and unemployment is high. Eighty-six percent of students attending HMS qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Jim Butler, HMS’s principal, is an inspiration. He grew up in the community, graduated from UNC Pembroke, and came back to be a teacher. He is determined to do well by his students, and he knows that to do that he has to treat his teachers well. In 2011, HMS agreed to participate in the Schools to Watch program, which is a whole school improvement effort. He established grade-level teams, rearranged the school day schedule to give core teachers common planning time, and applied for a grant to put computers in English, Social Studies, and Science classrooms.
Read entire op-ed: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article56117535.html