West Brunswick Likes
Early Results From Outcome
Based Education Trial
BY SUSAN IISIIKR
An experiment in outcome-based
education (OBE) at West Brunswick
High School is changing the way
both teachers and students approach
their work? and for the better, says
Principal Ed Lemon.
The school is using OBE in core
ninth grade classes including Eng
lish, math, science, social studies
and physical education. It hopes to
expand the program, adding a grade
each year for the next three years
until the entire school is using the
So far. Lemon and Anne.se Haire,
social studies department chairman
and OBE coordinator, arc pleased
with the results of what they de
scribe as a "results-oriented" ap
proach to the business of schooling,
an approach based on the premise
that all individuals can learn, though
at different rates and using different
They say the school's ninth grade
students see themselves as a class
set apart, something special.
"It breaks down the theory that
you have to be smart to make decent
grades," said Lemon. "You may
have to work and do it over, but you
can have, you can experience, suc
cess in academics."
Students arc evaluated on their
progress in reaching standardized
outcomes, not in relation to the per
lormanccs ol other students or
against a calendar. Tcachcrs arc
charged with providing students
more than one way and more than
one opportunity ? to demonstrate
that they know and understand what
OBE is based on several other
assumptions as well: that success
breeds success, and that schools
control the conditions of success.
With OBE lully implemented, a
school knows exactly what it ex
pects a student to know and to be
like upon graduation, and sets out to
design a school and curriculum to
make that happen.
At West, OBE isn't fully in place.
For now the school is working with
end-of-course outcomes rather than
The results are documented bet
ter by a J-shaped curve than die tra
ditional bell-shaped curve of educa
Instead of acccpting the "bell
curve" theory that a ccrtain percent
age of students will fail, the school
raises its expectations. All students
arc cxpected to meet high level per
formance standards in those out
comes that arc within their reason
"We're a long way from where
this program can be, but we're see
ing success," said Lemon.
At the end of the first grading pc
"We' re a long way from where this pro
gram can be, but we're seeing success
? Rd Lemon, Principal
West Brunswick High
n?xl. seven of the 17 students with
all As were ninth graders. Of the
2X9 students with a 3.0 to 3.9 better
grade point average, 123 were fresh
In various courses, anywhere
from 89 percent to 95 percent of the
students finished the six weeks with
no incompletes, earning grades of 7X
"You hear comments like, 'What
about that ninth grade!," said
Lemon. "And they see themselves
that way, as different, better."
Rocky Fallon, a freshmen from
Holdcn Beach, says OBE is "great,"
but admits he isn't taking full advan
tage of the opportunities to excel it
"A lot of students could be mak
ing B's and C's in things. It's a real
ly go*xl program. I could be making
all A's but I'm not."
"It can help you make up work,
especially in harder classes like
civics," said Fallon, who wants to be
a commercial helicopter pilot. "You
have a chance to do it over for a bet
tcr grade when normally you can't
make il up. They tell you what work
you're missing and you tan make it
Lemon said most students are ac
cepting more responsibility, volun
tarily coming in to complete work to
erase incompletes and buying into
the higher standards of performance
set by the program.
"We cxpcct to see fewer incom
pletes as the program progresses,"
"What we're down to arc the few
students who arc just refusing to
come back and do the work," he
said. "Most of them won't fail."
These few students arc generally
older students who have already
been retained at least once before
ninth grade; some arc older students
who have left sch(x>l and returned.
Having those older students, in
cluding 19 year olds, said Fallon, is
the only "negative" he sees. "They
don't belong in ninth grade."
Lemon said the few who are fail
ing arc those who don't have an adc
Leam To Speak
Spanish At BCC
A class in conversational Spanish
will be offered starting Monday, Jan.
6, at Brunswick Community College
The coursc is designed for clinical
personnel, leathers, store managers
and others who work with Spanish
speaking persons or have Spanish
The introductory class will be
taught on Monday and Wednesday,
and the sccond-lcvcl coursc will
meet every Tuesday and Thursday.
All classes arc from 6:30 p.m. to
9:30 p.m. in room 162 of the ALS
The S30 registration fee can be
paid at the first class. North Carolina
residents age 65 and older can enroll
For more information, call the
BCC Continuing Education Depart
ment at 754-6922 or instructor Paul
Hernandez, at 754-2032.
quale support system ? low self-es
teem, litUe or no parental support,
reflected in a high absenteeism rate.
It's a problem Lemon and Ms. Hairc
hope the school can tackle next
through more of what it calls "inter
vention," going beyond the mini
mum. In tins case that means devel
opment of a "Big Buddy" type of
mentoring system that matches a
staff person with an at-risk student.
At West Brunswick High, ninth
grade students aren't allowed to ini
tially earn less than a minimum
grade of 7X, a C, on any subjcct on
their report card.
Instead, a student whose work is
at less than a 78 receives an incom
plete on his or her report card and
then receives extra assignments
aimed at helping him or her master
the subject matter.
The student has until the end of
the next six-weeks grading period to
work olT the incomplete by demon
strating mastery. Then the grade can
be changed by teacher and principal
If a student chooses not to com
plete the extra work, then at the end
of the sccond grading period, the
initial grade earned replaces the in
complcie on iheir report card.
Meanwhile, parents are notified
by letter that their child's perfor
mance has been unsatisfactory and
arc cxpected to work with the siu
dent and school to help the student's
Students who don't make up the
work are called in for a parent lac u I
Students can make up or catch up
work at any tune during the grading
period, cither voluntarily seeking
out after-school help from OBI.
teachers assigned to "eighth period"
or from their regular classroom
In more extreme circumstances
students arc assigned to "eighth pe
riod" tutoring sessions. At least one
teacher in each key subject area
stays after regular classes to work
with students who arc having prob
Though in some instances it
means providing aftcr-school trans
portation for their children, parents
have been supportive of the pro
gram, Lemon and Ms. Haire agreed.
Ms. Haire said parents generally
seem to appreciate the higher expec
tations set by the school.
Sludcnis and faculty at Lincoln
Primary' School held several pro
grams and cclcbralions in honor of
the Christmas holiday.
A play titled A Teddy Bear
Christmas was performed by Mary
Sandlin and Beth Crawford's second
grade classes Dec. 12 and 13 for
PTA members, fellow students and
teachers. The students also per
formed the play on a later date for
residents of Brunswick Cove
Nursing Home, and were joined by
students from Faye Nelson's class
who presented a medley of poetry
On Dec. 17, Lincoln kindergarten
sludcnis presented a musical Christ
mas show, A Trip to Santa's Toy
Shop , for parents and teachers.
Teachers of Lincoln Primary's
sccond grade classes teamed togeth
er to present Christmas Around the
World, Dec. 2-13, in which each
teacher selected a country and trans
formed the classroom to take on the
feeling and appearance of each cul
Students learned stories and songs
and sampled food from each country
during the two-week program. They
also had the chance to recognize dif
ferences and similarities in Christian
and Jewish ceremonies.
The teachers selected the follow
ing countries: Gilda Waddcll,
Africa; Beth Graves, United States;
Helen Davis, Germany; Mitzi
Daughtry, France; Beth Crawford,
England; Mary Sandlin, Israel; Faye
Nelson, Sweden; and Maria Carey,
Connie Bryant, cafeteria manager,
and her staff prepared special foods
each day so that students could taste
treats native to particular countries.
OUR SPECIAL WISH FOR YOU
Enjoy a safe
And thank you for putting
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STAFF PHOTO BY OORI C CURCANUS
Beautifying Their School
Andy McAllister and Diane Anderson, seventh graders at Shallotte
Middle School, brave a chilly morning to pull some stubborn
weeds in the courtyard outside the media center last Thursday.
Beautification of the previously overgrown area is part of an on
going project undertaken by Sylvia Pullen's Advisor-Advisee
group. They received supplies and guidance from iMng Bay
Garden Club, several local garden centers, parent Tripp Sloane
and school custodian Howard Bryant.
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