Students get head start at new Cook

A student at Cook Literacy Model School is filled with excitement and ready to start school. Cook started the school year on Monday, Aug. 22, a week earlier than other schools in the district.

Students get head start at new Cook
August 25
07:55 2016



While most students in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System are enjoying their last week of freedom before school starts, the students who attend Cook Literacy Model School got a head start on the 2016-2017 school year when they started classes on Monday, Aug. 22.

As part of a new education model that focuses on literacy, the school formerly known as Cook Elementary School will also have an extended day that will begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 2:45 p.m., which is 30 minutes longer than other elementary schools in the district.

According to school administrators, the early start and schedule changes will give students more than a month’s time for extra learning. Principal Paula Wilkins said the goal is to decrease the learning off-time the students experience during both breaks, and summer.

“The fact that we are getting more than a month’s time of additional instruction is just great,” Wilkins said.

When school board officials first announced that Cook would be adopting the federal Restart model earlier this summer, they received a lot of backlash from parents who were concerned about the changes. Many parents argued that they were not being told what was going to happen to the school. At one point, parents even mentioned they heard rumors that the school was going to close.

While admitting they still have to build more trust with parents, Wilkins noted administrators have been working hard to connect with parents, and other stakeholders by host-ing informational sessions designed to let the parents know how the school would operate and to receive feedback.

“We understand that it takes a village to raise a child,” said Wilkins. “That’s why we have spent the entire summer connect-ing with students. We’ve made phone calls and even visited homes.

“We want our students here at Cook to know we care about them when they are at school and at home.”

Cook parent James Thomas said although he had his doubts about the Restart model, after seeing how much effort was put in over the break, he is confident that Cook will improve.

To wrap-up the summer, Cook held a back-to-school cookout during open house for students and their parents. After meeting their new teachers, each student was given a backpack filled with school supplies. On the first day of school, most students walked into classes with a smile on their faces, greeted by teachers they have already seen multiple times over the summer.

Although the effort is still in the early stages, Superintendent Beverly Emory is a strong believer that things will turn around.  She noted after seeing students, teachers, parents and others interact during open house and on the first day of school, she knows officials made the right decision to adopt the Restart model.

“Last week at open house, you couldn’t move because all of the parents, family, and community members who were there to support the students,” continued Emory. “After seeing the support they received, I knew we made the right decision. I am excited to see what the future holds for Cook.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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