Wqt Harrot Hecord
Volume 87 25* Per Copy Warrenton, County Of Warren, North Carolina Wednesday, March 21, 1984 Number 12
Innovative Plan Found At Warren County High School
Editor's Note: The following article on Warren
County High School appeared on the front page of
the March 11 issue of The Charlotte Observer. It Is
reprinted here with permission.
By SKIP HIDLAY
NORLINA — Warren County High School's 1,034
students live in one of North Carolina's smallest and
poorest counties, a place where the last U. S. census
found one-quarter of the families living in poverty.
Change comes slow in this rural county of cornfields
and cattle, ramshackle bams and weathered
farmhouses, located near the Virginia border about
60 miles north of Raleigh.
Yet here — where tradition hangs on — Warren
County High has broken with the past and is leading
Carolina high schools into the future.
Three years ago, educators there revamped the
traditional high school schedule — a change
national experts say is crucial to correcting what's
wrong with public high schools. Today, Warren
High is still the only N. C. public high school with a
reformed schedule and only one of a few nationwide.
Its school year is divided into three 60-day
sessions called trimesters. Students are required to
take four 80-minute classes daily each trimester
and receive a half-unit of credit for each course.
The new structure replaces one in which students
generally took the same five or six 50-minute
classes every day of the 180-day school year.
At the heart of the Warren County plan is using
learning time more effectively. There are no study
halls. With fewer classes each day, students waste
less time changing classes and teachers spend less
time on bureaucratic chores like taking attendance.
And there is more uninterrupted time for learning
in each class.
The innovation, which Warren County Schools
Supt. Michael Williams says cost only $500 in computer
programming to prepare schedules, has
allowed school officials to:
—Reduce average class size from 30-35 students
to 22-25, without hiring more teachers.
—Expand academic course offerings by about
20% and introduce half-unit electives like advanced
writing, genetics and foreign policy.
—Provide more students with more time to use
limited facilities like laboratory equipment and
—Reduce the number of students who flunk a full
unit course. Those who fail the first half of a
required course can repeat it the second trimester.
Then they can complete the second half of the
course the third trimester.
—Increase the amount of time—by about seven
hours yearly—that students spend studying a
—Increase the number of credits with which
students graduate. In June 1981, the last year under
the old system, 42% of Warren seniors graduated
with 20 or more units. In June 1983, after two years
on the trimester system, 57% did.
Officials say that's because students who fail no
courses in grades nine through 12 will graduate with
24 units — the maximum possible under either the
traditional or trimester system. Under the
traditional system, students can graduate with 18
units, the minimum required by North Carolina.
For science teacher Eva Howell, the 80-minute
periods have made teaching more rewarding. For
student Sherry Wilson, the new schedule has made
learning more exciting.
Howell believes the best way to teach science is to
introduce a concept and then let students experience
it through a laboratory experiment. She was
frustrated by the traditional system under which,
she said, there wasn't enough time in a class for an
effective, in-depth lab.
"For the most part, my labs were really crummy
because you had to rush through everything,"
Howell says. "In the traditional high school, by the
time you get everything explained to the kids and
they get set up, the class period is over."
Now, Howell says all her classes are laboratory
oriented. "1 think some of the concepts — especially
in upper-level science courses—are so hard to understand
that a simple lab can open students' eyes."
Wilson, 18, a Warren High senior, says the longer
periods allow her to get more deeply involved in
studying all subjects—not just science.
At first, she says, it was difficult adjusting to
longer class periods.
But now, she says, "My attention span has really
grown, and that's going to be a great asset when I'm
in college. I feel I learn more in a longer period
because I can really get into it deeper and grasp it
better. I have more time to ask questions and make
sure I understand the material."
And Wilson, who wants to be a pediatrician, says
the trimester system gives her more flexibility.
With each trimester course worth a half-unit,
Wilson was able to finish her required English unit
during the first and second trimesters instead of
taking English a full year, in her last trimester, she
then took an elective related to medicine.
"I think a trimester plan or some other type of
creative scheduling is definitely the wave of the
future," says Tom Houlihan, who oversees high
school education for the N. C. Department of Public
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Supt Jay Robinson
agrees. He's considering some version of longer
class periods in at least one of the district's 10 high
"Some types of learning just cannot be sliced up
into 50-minute blocks," says Ernest Boyer, president
of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement
of Teaching and a national expert on high
"The great problem today appears to be the incessant
interruption of the bell, the constant
movement of students from room to room, the
feeling that the class is over just as learning has
begun," Boyer wrote in a 1983 report recommending
sweeping high school reforms.
"There is not sufficient time to set up and complete
science laboratory experiments, no time to
write essays and critique them and no time to
engage in extended foreign language conversations."
Warren County's trimester system, Boyer says,
"is a splendid example of the kind of structure we
were proposing and suggesting in our report.
The idea came from Benjamin Terrell, who was
hired in January 1981 as principal of Warren's new
$4.5 million consolidated high school.
Several years before, while Terrell was principal
in Scotland Neck High School in neighboring
Halifax County, he became concerned about using
learning time more efficiently,
"I felt that too many of my students were having
to take too many courses a day and weren't getting
into the depth or intensity of studies in one area,"
Drawing on ideas from a few schools in Texas and
Colorado that had alternative schedules, Terrell put
together the trimester plan and proposed it for
Warren when he became principal there.
Richard E. Hunter, Jr., Warren County clerk of
court, administers the oath to two new registrars
who will be involved in registering students at
Warren County High School. The two, both members
of the WCHS faculty, are Noel Robertson and
Mrs. L. Gertrude Hawkins. Looking on during the
ceremony Monday afternoon are Ruby Jones, left,
supervisor of the Warren County Board of Elections,
and J. T. Wilkerson, principal of Warren
County High School. (Staff Photo)
Giveaway Of Food Is Planned Here
The Warren County
Department of Social
Services will begin
distribution of a shipment
of USDA Surplus
Commodities on Wednesday,
March 28, from
the National Guard Armory
on Highway 158
east of Warrenton, according
Farrar, Warren County
Social Services director.
items, cheese, honey,
milk and flour, will be
available for distribution.
Applications will be
received beginning at
8:30 a. m. on March 28,
and will continue the
following day or until all
items are distributed,
according to Farrar.
In order to reduce
congestion and help
problems at the armory,
the elderly and disabled
will be served in the
morning and the general
public in the afternoon.
Certification will be
made on the basis of
family income ne^n excess
of 130 percent of the
poverty level with food
stamp or AFDC
recipients needing no
Volunteers are again
requested to help in
taking applications and
distributing the com
modities, Farrar said.
In December 1983,
1,029 households applied
for the food items then
Testing Set For Warren Students
Students in Warren
County Schools will be
involved in several days
of testing beginning
March 26, according to
Rachael Ricks, assistant
Students in grades 1,
2, 3, 6, and 9 will be involved
in the Annual
Program March 26-29,
while students in grades
4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 will
take the ESEA Chapter
I Reading Tests. Kindergarten
children will take
reading tests in small
segments from March
"There are no special
procedures that parents
should follow to prepare
children for these
tests," said Mrs. Ricks.
however, make an extra
effort to see that their
children are in school on
these days. It is important,
too, that children
eat nutritionally balanced
meals during the
testing period and get
plenty of rest," Mrs.
Anyone with questions
concerning the testing
should contact Rachael
Ricks, Rosiland Gilliam
or Jennie Franklin at
the school system's Central
A reminder that the deadline for registering
to vote in the May 8 primary is April 9 was
issued here this week by Mrs. Ruby Jones,
supervisor of the Warren County Board of
Mrs. Jones said that those persons who will
be 18 years old by the time of the Nov. 6
general election may register to vote in the
primary for the party under which they
Richard Gnptoa, manager of Warren FCX Service
(left), presents caah awards to 141 club memben
who were wtamers In the Focus on the Family
poster coolest sponsored by the Warren Comity
Agricultural Extension 8ervice. 4-H Club memben,
1 v - '-'.J-..
front row, left to right, are Waveriy Detain
Roberta Ana Durham aad Reginald L. Pierce. C
second row, left to right, are Robert RasaeD, Lyi
nette Barnes and Yvette Terry.
By decreasing the number of courses students
take at one time, Terrell said he felt the quality and
intensity of learning could be improved.
"The first time I talked to (Terrell)," said
Williams, "I thought he's absolutely crazy. That's
too different, and there's no way anybody here
would swallow it. But eventually I began to see the
posible advantages and became sold enough on the
idea to try it."
Williams saw possibilities for expanding the high
school curriculum — something he couldn't do
before without hiring more teachers.
He saw a chance to stretch Warren County's
limited finances: In 1981-82, the latest year for
which figures are available, Warren County ranked
124th of 143 N. C. districts in local spending for
(Continued on page 2B)
To Be April 6
By KAY HORNER
Groundbreaking for a
$15 million OwensIllinois
plant near the
Warren County community
of Ridgeway has
with the company's
Forest Products Group
will also participate in
The Toledo, Ohiobased
company is planning
construction of a
been scheduled for
Friday, April 6, according
to Jim Whitley,
Warren County industrial
Top officials with
for the manufacture
of corrugated shipping
boxes and is expected
initially to hire
about 82 persons.
Owens-Illinois will be on
hand, along with county
and state officials,
Whitley said this week
that Governor James B.
Hunt, who in February
announced the decision
by Owens-Illinois to
locate in Warren County,
will attend, as will
Congressman I. T.
presidents Ronald J.
Glick and John Lebold
ceremony, at the 2(Kacre
site on U. S. 1 three
miles south of Norlina,
will begin at 11 a. m. and
will be open to the
Owens-Illinois is currently
gearing up to
begin operation in late
April of a training center
at the north Warrenton
facility that formerly
housed High Dollar
Winners Are Named
In Poster Contest
was the subject used by
Warren County 4-H club
members as a basis for
posters they made in a
recent "Focus on the
Family" contest. The
contest was sponsored
by the Agricultural Extension
cash prizes given by
Warren FCX Service.
Posters were judged
with the following points
considered in judging:
neatness, artistic ability,
originality and content
or subject matter.
Winners in the contest
were as follows: 9-13 age
L. Pierce; second,
Waverly Debnam, both
of the Best Better 4-H
club; and third, Roberta
Ann Durham of the
Silver Star 4-H Club. 14\
19 age ^roup—first,
j second, Robert Russell,
' both of the Best Better 4H
Club; and third,
Yvette Terry of the
| Silver Star 4-H Club.
Richard Gupton, manager
of Warren FCX
Service presented the
winners cash awards of
$10.00 first place; |6.00
second place and $4.00
The two first place
posters will be on
display at Warren FCX
Service during Focus on
the Family Week,
The other winning
posters will be on
display in the Warren
building during the
Members of the
Warren County Focus
on the Family week
committee are Gupton,
Mrs. Portia Barnes,
Mrs. Richard Holtzmann,
O'Berg, Glenn Woolard
and Miss Emily Ballinger.
By Local Agency
James T. Fleming Insurance
been purchased by Warrenton
Real Estate, according
to an announcement
made this week by
Monroe Gardner, president
of the purchasing
Fleming, who also
owns Fleming Realty
and Construction Co.,
said yesterday that he is
divesting himself of both
the insurance and real
estate enterprises in order
to concentrate on
the construction business.
Fleming Realty has
been purchased by The
Warren Group and will
(Continued on page »)