Title: Edenton Lions Welcome Dr. Michael Sasscer

The Edenton Lions Club welcomed Dr. Michael Sasscer, the Superintendent of Edenton-Chowan Schools, on September 26th. His presentation included 2021-2022 school and district accountability data, strategic goals and an update on the John A. Holmes High School construction project.

Some readers may be familiar with Dr. Sasscer’s educational background but for those who are not, he holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, two master’s degrees and two bachelor’s degrees.

Prior to becoming the Superintendent, Dr. Sasscer served North Carolinians as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and coach. As superintendent, he continues to positively impact children, parents, teachers and principals in the district schools which include D. F. Walker and White Oak Elementary Schools, Chowan Middle School, and John A. Holmes High School.

Dr. Sasscer prefaced his formal presentation with high praise for district teachers, principals, students, and volunteers. Teachers received a special shout out for their innovative teaching techniques and creative outreach methodologies implemented during the COVID pandemic.

The first part of Dr. Sasscer's presentation was the impressive 2021-2022 Edenton-Chowan School District accountability results. The district is one of three in Northeastern North Carolina with zero low performing schools and maintained “C” school performance grade. Students met or exceeded growth as measured by the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) in 76% of seventeen state required assessments. (EVAAS is the assessment system used by the North Carolina State Board of Education for measuring student growth.) And finally, the graduation rate was 90.3, higher than the state graduation rate.

Dr. Sasscer then updated the Lions on the district’s strategic goals of eliminating opportunity gaps, improving school/district performance, and preparing educators. He elaborated on opportunity gaps.

An opportunity gap refers to any significant and persistent differences in academic performance between diverse student groups. This is important because gaps can result in diminished learning and lowered graduation rates. Significant differences can arise when a child is frequently in an overexcited state or stated differently, has a “flipped lid.” When this happens, the child is unable to engage with others, learn, or problem solve. If this state is repetitive and/or persistent, opportunity gaps may occur. To transition the student back to a receptive status, Chowan teachers use various techniques to calm and regulate the child. There are many methods and include transitioning the child to a calm room or corner or engaging them in a soothing activity.

Dr. Sasscer introduced the fully funded school building project to the group. He shared that the design is 85% complete and project bidding and scope will take place late 2022 or early 2023. The construction will displace students during the spring 2023, fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters. Security is of utmost concern during construction, with students’ well-being having been addressed in the form of shuttles to transport them during the estimated 18 months of construction.

Author: Gloria Maser, Edenton Lions Reporter

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