Elon hosts reception for Cummings High School faculty/staff

About 65 faculty and staff from Burlington’s Cummings High School joined Elon faculty and staff for a reception on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Cummings is one of 44 high schools designated low-performing by the state of North Carolina and, according to Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr., is one of 19 schools statewide that may be closed if academic achievement levels do not improve. Co-principals Meg Sheehan and Lynn Briggs have taken on the challenge. They, along with their staff, will be leading the effort to transform Cummings High School. The Elon community will take an active role in supporting their work.

Deborah Thurlow Long, associate professor of education and faculty administrative fellow, is coordinating Elon’s efforts to support Cummings. She detailed a variety of efforts that are under way, including the following:

  • Elon landscaping superintendent Tom Flood has developed a plan to beautify the Cummings campus, and Elon’s Kernodle Center for Service Learning is organizing an Oct. 28 “Make a Difference Day”, when volunteers will work on the Cummings grounds
  • Elon librarian Kate Hickey is working on a needs assessment with Cummings media center personnel
  • Elon student tutors are being organized by Mary Morrison in the Kernodle Center to assist with Cummings CSI (Cavalier Success Initiative) program
  • Elon math faculty members Janice Richardson and Ayesha Delplish are organizing efforts to support the Cummings Homework Hotline
  • Elon Admissions and Financial Planning Vice President Susan Klopman is organizing programs that will expose middle school and high school students to college life and the college admissions process
  • Becky Olive Taylor of Elon’s academic advising office is sharing materials to support the Cummings Freshman Academy

Elon President Leo M. Lambert said he believes passionately in public education and said the university wants to assist faculty and staff at Cummings to develop the strongest possible school.

“You are doing the most important work in society,” Lambert told the Cummings faculty and staff.

Sheehan pointed out that several Cummings faculty and staff are Elon graduates. She thanked Elon for its efforts on behalf of the school and also expressed thanks for the actions of Judge Manning, who brought the challenges of Cummings to light.

“Judge Manning brought to our attention the truth … and the truth is not pretty,” Sheehan said. “We will thank him in the long run.”

Sheehan said she is “100 percent confident” in the faculty and staff at Cummings because they want to be at the school and work toward excellence. “We will earn back our motto: Second to None,” Sheehan said.