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Candidate Q&A: Robert Moore, Board of Education District 1

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Robert Moore

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Following are questions submitted by The Daily Reflector to Robert Moore, candidate for the District 1 seat on the Pitt County Board of Education, and his responses. District 1 is roughly bordered by Dickinson Avenue to the north and west, Davenport Farm and Fire Tower roads to the south and Evans Street to the east. (Click here for the map). All voters in the district may cast ballots on Nov. 6 and in early voting, which is ongoing through Nov. 3. The series continues Tuesday with candidates for county Board of Education District 2 seat. Visit reflector.com/election for more.

Name: Robert L. Moore

Age: 74

Town: Greenville

Profession: Quality control manager/ISO coordinator, DuPont Kinston plant

Political office: Pitt County Board of Education

Website: None

Social Media: None

Political philosophy: Take hold on instructions, for it is your life.

■ Why are you running for school board and what distinguishes you from your opponent?

Education is the key to a successful life. It is my aim to forward the Pitt County education system to partnering with family and community to prepare students to function effectively in a rapidly changing world by developing global citizens through academic excellence. I believe that every student by name should be prepared for college, trade, technical careers and participation as an active community member, regardless of race, income or zip code. I have enjoyed over 35 years of professional service in the chemical industry (DuPont) and a well-known industrial bakery (Sara Lee Corp.) working with adults to produce a products for global consumption. As a quality control manager, I have seen the skills needed to be ready for the global job market and I have the skills to impart the best I can to the operation of the school board so we can produce some of the best-educated students as men and women to the national job market. I feel I am a product of this effort and I wish to help others to this end.

■ What will your top priorities be if you are elected?

To operate a safe, efficient and effective Pitt County school system is very complex — in our case, about 24,000 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 with various and sundry operations are in the mix. Yellow bus pickup, meals, instructional time, special education and providing skilled psychologists, counselors and medical concerns are just a few operations that we must do perfectly. To this end my top priorities are:

• Ensure that the school building and site security improvements continue tracking on time and on budget and deliver innovative, 21st century schools safety on a continuing basis.

• Prepare Every student for life, college and career and to meaningfully contribute to their community.

• Create a successful enrollment balancing framework that creates a foundation of equitable core programming across schools.

• Create a system of behavioral supports that will reduce disproportionality in expulsions and suspensions.

• Ensure a strong principal and vice/assistant principal in every building who is well-matched to the school community.

• Create an environment in which supports are in place for teachers to thrive and have a voice in districtwide decision making.

• Create a system of quality instruction to increase literacy rates for all children.

■ Several county schools have so many students that they are at or beyond capacity; other schools have room but they are farther away than families want to travel or are not desirable for other reasons. Do you expect redistricting or new construction will be necessary to address imbalances?

Addressing school system imbalances, capacity, redistricting and/or new construction is a complex undertaking. It is an issue that the Pitt County Board of Education has identified as a concern, and we have staff members working on various and sundry programs that will help us address this concern. This issue as well as others are often put on agenda for discussion. We look at current data, data trends, enrollment trends, future home site building and other items before we undertake large scale fixes. We will also look at some unconventional fixes to see if they may be considered. As always public input is welcome.

■ Long bus routes force some students to spend up to two-hours a day getting to and from school. They have to rise extra early and often make their way to bus stops out of sight from their homes. Can anything be changed to encourage more families to utilize the county school buses?

A recent report stated the Pitt County Schools Transportation Department ranks 12th in North Carolina in the number of students transported to and from school each day. Daily, during the regular school term, approximately 218 school buses run each day transporting 12,000 students. Currently 40 percent of the school bus fleet will provide runs for two schools increasing efficiency. We pride ourselves in this accomplishment and will try to perform within the limits of the policy. We will continue to look at ways to reduce the time students spend on buses to and from schools.

■ The school system has a growing number of alternative programs, from early college high schools to open enrollment, magnet schools, the AVID curriculum, and high-level teacher training efforts. Pick a program that you think has value and explain why, or pick one that you think may have outgrown its usefulness and explain why?

Early College High School is the next quantum leap that, I think, will be available to all high school students “for free.” The Pitt County Schools Early College High School promise of providing students with the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and two years of transferable college credit or an associate's degree. The early college provides the high school and college level for students who are first generation college bound students and supports students through what effectively becomes their first two years of college. The school has proven very successful since startup in 2015.

■ Many Pitt County schools continue to struggle on state tests that measure student performance. Scores for black students continue to be lower than the population in general. How much weight should families give these measures and what can parents do to help increase student performance?

I believe that an effective testing and assessment program evaluates the progress of individual students and helps ensure that educational goals and objectives are being met for every child. The testing program also assists in the continued refinement of the instructional program. In addition, data from tests and assessments provide measures of student learning that are useful for evaluating educator effectiveness. Every effort is made to ensure that the testing program contributes to the learning process rather than detracts from it. For students struggling with state tests we have the AVID. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination and is of the upmost importance to student success. In this class, students focus on academic and life skills that will help them be successful in college classes and in their careers. Students learn organization, time management, goal setting, note taking, public speaking and social skills. Students are introduced to study groups, college resources, and how to make the most of the environment and resources available to them. There are also available after school tutoring programs.

■ If there is an issue you would like to address not covered in the questions, please address it here:

Another quantum leap in higher quality education is quoted in our vision statement. Pitt County Schools: a system of excellence partnering with family and community to prepare students to function effectively in a rapidly changing world by developing global citizens through academic excellence. If we can improve partnering with schools, family and community to prepare students, we can increase the learning process more during after-school hours to improve the total learning process. A unified, combined effort within these groups is fuel for success.

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