Ask the Superintendent: Changes ahead for middle schools

Dec. 10, 2012 @ 12:17 PM

Durham Community, I am pleased to have the opportunity to add to your understanding of our school district and the programs and services offered in DPS through your questions and my responses.  I look forward to our communication in this space.
Q: My son is supposed to go to Carrington Middle School next year, and I heard their academic program is changing. Is that true?
A: Exciting things are happening in all of our middle schools next year, Carrington Middle School included. Every middle school met their academic growth targets last year, and we are continuing to accelerate our progress. Next year, four DPS middle schools will have an instructional focus area and eight will be magnet programs.
Carrington is one of those four middle schools with a new school-wide instructional focus area for 2013-14.  Developed with the involvement of School Improvement Teams, DPS middle schools’ school-wide instructional focus areas include: Carrington Middle, Global Connections; Brogden Middle, Leadership Development; Githens Middle, Leadership Through Service; and Lucas Middle, Project Based Learning.
Our middle school magnet programs for 2013-14 include: Lakewood Middle Montessori, Shepard International Baccalaureate Middle, Rogers-Herr Year-Round Middle, Lowe’s Grove School of Technology Middle, Neal STEM Academy of Engineering and Design Middle, WG Pearson Magnet Middle School, The School for Creative Studies, and Durham School of the Arts. 
If you have additional questions about our middle schools, visit our “Moving in the Middle” webpage at You’ll find information about when to visit our middle schools, the magnet program lottery, and learn about helping your child make the transition to middle school.
Q: My child’s a senior, and I heard that she has to learn CPR to graduate. Really?
A: Your daughter will not be required to have CPR training in order to graduate, but the state Legislature did pass a law requiring CPR training in order to graduate beginning with the Class of 2015, this year’s sophomores. Not enough people in our state know Bystander CPR, which can save the life of a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. We’re working with our partners in city and county government to provide this training to all 10th-graders through their Civics and Economics class, which will take care of their graduation requirement – and possibly save a life.
Q: When is the Magnet School Lottery? What is the timeline?
A: If you’re considering a magnet school or pathway program cluster for your child, then you will need to apply online Feb. 1-20 at Applications for our small high school magnets (Hillside New Tech, JDC Early College and City of Medicine Academy) also require a paper application. Our student assignment office will conduct the lotteries at the end of February and send notification letters on March 1.
I invite you to send me your questions at Thank you for supporting our schools. I look forward to answering your questions in next month’s “Ask the Superintendent” column. 
Dr. Eric J. Becoats is superintendent of Durham Public Schools. He answers readers’ questions in his column the second Tuesday of each month. Submit your questions to