ASHEBORO — An after-school program designed to increase student grades and deter gang activity has received support from the Randolph County Board of Commissioners.
The initiative called Carver Arts Academy was established by the George Washington Carver College, which owns and manages the George Washington Carver Community Enrichment Center at 950 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Asheboro, where the after-school program is held. The GWC College has partnered with RhinoLeap Productions, Communities in Schools, the City of Asheboro and Asheboro City Schools in the endeavor.
Clyde Foust Jr. presented the program to the commissioners at their May 1 meeting, asking for $10,000 to assist with the costs of Carver Arts Academy. Other contributors include $60,000 from the City of Asheboro, $5,000 in private donations and $25,500 of in-kind contributions.
Foust told the commissioners that Carver Arts Academy is for middle school students and is taught by professional artists and teachers. “Arts teach you how to think outside the box,” he said. “We tried the program and student grades went up.”
The launch of the academy was with 30 middle school students, who were bused to the GWCCEC after school. According to information provided by GWC College, the program uses retired teachers vetted by Communities in Schools, handpicked interns from Asheboro High School and professional artists in theater, dance, music and visual arts.
“In the first year, our educators have been able to make a dramatic difference in the lives of our students, bringing every student’s grades up in every class, if they were not already making straight A’s,” said the report.
The $10,000 in county funds will be used to purchase laptops, paper and other supplies as needed.
Sarah Watson, a retired teacher involved with the program, told the commissioners that the academy’s results were “encouraging. We monitor grades regularly and determine what interferes with their class work. We’re teaching good work habits and study habits. I believe in this program and what it’s doing for students.”
Shirley Miller said she got her granddaughter, who was failing her grades, into the after-school program. “I could see a change in her attitude,” Miller said. “She was more excited about school. She brought her F’s up to C’s and B’s. It’s working. I bring her every day. It’s all about the children.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to provide the $10,000 from the Strategic Planning Fund provided by revenues from Waste Management’s operations at Great Oak Landfill.
Opioid-related job discussed by County Commissioners
Randolph County Health Services is adding a new position. It will seek a Human Services Planner/Evaluator II. The Board of Commissioners approved the request at their May 1 meeting.
Public Health Director Tara Aker said the position will be funded by opioid settlement money. As part of the job's duties, they will make recommendations on how to spend that settlement funding. They work with organizations that receive funds and make sure it is used properly.
At the meeting, commissioners also voted to remove the tax cap on the Farmer Fire Tax District. This is the last district to have that 15-cent cap removed. Commissioners have found that the cap would render the district obsolete for providing the necessary protection.
The county will move forward on work on the county's Water and Sewer Master Plan, from U.S. 64 to the Toyota Battery megasite. The county can now invite engineers to submit statements of qualifications.
Commissioners also voted on funding for various services and development. They approved renewing the contract for the Microsoft 365 software. They voted to receive a One NC grant for Axium Packaging, which will build a manufacturing facility in Archdale. They will put out a second bid for a contractor to build the elevator for the historic courthouse.
Commissioners recognized Lt. Scottie Hicks, who retired from the Randolph County Sheriff's Office. His wife received a certificate from the sheriff's office for her support as a spouse of law enforcement. Chairman Frye also shared the news of two deaths among staff: Jeff Baker with building maintenance died on April 21 at the age of 62. Theresa Mitchell with social services died on April 23 at age 59.
Public comment at the beginning of the meeting primarily centered around the Confederate statue in Asheboro. Speakers Clyde Foust, Lydia Davenport, and Kevin Price spoke in favor of removing the statue from the courthouse grounds. Dwain Roberts spoke against. Tim Saunders spoke against the Constitutional Carry Act being considered by the NC General Assembly. Joe Milliken of Randleman spoke about housing zoning laws and how they may impact growth around the Toyota Battery megasite.