Today's Tubman is far from success

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Augusta's Tubman High School once was considered a premier institution of the South, drawing students from throughout Georgia and South Carolina who boarded trains and stayed with local residents to attend.

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Wayne Frazier: Principal of Bungalow Road Alternative School was named last week to lead Tubman Middle, replacing first-year principal Thomas Norris.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Wayne Frazier: Principal of Bungalow Road Alternative School was named last week to lead Tubman Middle, replacing first-year principal Thomas Norris.

Now a middle school, Tubman attracted attention for another reason last week. With parents complaining, teachers leaving or threatening to leave and a principal out on medical leave, Richmond County school leaders stepped in, naming one of their toughest, no-nonsense principals to take over a troubled campus.

Something had to be done, Superintendent Dana Bedden said. Tubman's atmosphere and discipline problems hindered learning, and on Thursday the school board replaced first-year Principal Thomas Norris with Wayne Frazier, the principal of Bungalow Road Alternative School.

"We have a great school here," Mr. Norris said Friday. "Regardless of what happens here, we have a great school."

Mr. Norris took over as Tubman principal in August, preaching a message of optimism to get the Walton Way school off the state's "needs improvement" list, where it has been for eight years.

Despite such goals and the hiring of many new teachers, Tubman continued to have problems.

According to discipline reports, 18 pupils were found guilty by school tribunals in the first semester, only a slight drop from 20 for the same period a year ago.

Discipline was not the only challenge. According to Dr. Bedden, the school has an inordinate number of inexperienced teachers.

State-mandated restructuring created a wholesale turnover of the school's staff this school year, and the turnover continued despite staff members signing three-year contracts.

According to numbers compiled by Assistant Superintendent Missoura Ashe, nearly a quarter of the 52 teachers at Tubman have two years' experience or less. More than a third have five years or less.

These teachers more than anyone must have high-quality professional development, mentors and a support system, said Jeff Hubbard, the president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

There seems to be another thing missing, too, he said. "It's parental involvement."

There must be a joint effort between the school, the parents and the community to want the best for their children, Mr. Hubbard said, and the "atmosphere" must become inviting.

"It's about creating a school environment where students come expecting they can learn, where teachers come expecting to be supported," he said.

Financial incentives might lure educators, but something needs to keep them at the school, Mr. Hubbard said. Changes can come, even at a low-income school, but it takes patience.

The state says it will help. The Georgia Department of Education has been monitoring the school and will assist Dr. Frazier.

"We will be sending a team down for a couple of weeks to help with the transition," spokesman Dana Tofig wrote in an e-mail. "The makeup of the team will depend on what the local superintendent needs from the (department). This will only be temporary and only to support the transition to new school leadership."

Despite fears by some that Tubman will be taken over by the state, Mr. Tofig reiterated that this will not happen.

"The state will not 'take over' a school," he said. "It's not allowed under the state constitution, and our preference is to help the school figure out how to improve and sustain that improvement themselves."

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

TUBMAN TRIVIA

- The school, which originally taught only girls, was named for its founder, Augusta's famous philanthropist, Emily Tubman (left).

- According to Historic Augusta Inc. records, Tubman was lauded as having the best technology of any school in the South, and it was the only public high school for girls in the area until becoming a coed junior high.

- Tubman is on the National Register of Historic Places and remains an important piece of Augusta's education history, said Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta Inc.

- Lloyd Preacher, the architect who designed the school, also designed the Lamar Building and Atlanta City Hall.

KEY DATES IN SCHOOL'S early history

1874: Tubman High School opens on Reynolds Street as the area's only public high school for girls.

1916: Fire burns 32 blocks and 746 buildings, including Tubman High.

1917: Tubman High re-opens on Walton Way, funded by Augusta's first bond referendum for education, for 300 girls.

1928: A three-story wing is added to accommodate growth.

Source: Historic Augusta Inc.

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justus4
101
Points
justus4 01/13/08 - 10:35 am
0
0
Parental involvement IS the
Unpublished

Parental involvement IS the key. Parents are failing these kids and our society. This problem is greater than Tubman and requires serious govermental involvement, with new ideas that motivate children to succeed. There is NO silver bullet to solve this isssue, but getting parents involved with their own kids is a good start. Good luck to the principal/staff in doing that.

pablanco
0
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pablanco 01/13/08 - 11:16 am
0
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cool, for once justus4 didn't

cool, for once justus4 didn't blame the white man.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 01/13/08 - 11:48 am
0
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Justus4, I am suprised. I

Justus4, I am suprised. I agree with you whole heartly on this one. That area around Harrisburg is pathetic. Alot of the parents do not work. They sit on the porch all day and drink, smoke crack and whatever else. You can see the children walking the streets all times of night and the parents are not educated enough to even help their children. Women switch men and men switch wormen around there like changing clothes. The children do not stand a chance.

doitrealbig
0
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doitrealbig 01/13/08 - 11:53 am
0
0
why do we think the

why do we think the government must be involved in everything? when the government needs a serious make over itself.
Parents are the key not government. When kids no better they do better and parents are not teaching them better at home which makes teachers and principles jobs most difficult

why can't "pablanco" make any positive contributions to the subject? people like this are more of the problem than the solution

Zorab
0
Points
Zorab 01/13/08 - 12:05 pm
0
0
I taught at Tubman for almost

I taught at Tubman for almost fifteen years and observed a downward spiral throughout my time there. I knew it was time to leave when I felt the need to physically protect myself from disrespectful children. On a positive note though, I taught students there who have gone on to lead productive lives...college students, military, educators, etc. The talent and ability does exist, but the tragedy of it all goes back to what has been mentioned.....no parental support. I knew it was time to move on...I no longer chose to deal with hopelessness and the senseless loss of lives to gun violence. During my stay there, I lost count of young people who never made it to adulthood. I am angry at the so called parents who have abandoned their own and just hope that a better way will be made.....God bless you and good luck.

marien
28
Points
marien 01/13/08 - 12:44 pm
0
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Good luck to Dr. Frazier,

Good luck to Dr. Frazier, staff, and parents at Tubman with hard work they will bring this school back to order. If you are a parent at any school considered bad or good the key is staying involve.

Little Lamb
45988
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 12:54 pm
0
0
I repeat a question from a

I repeat a question from a few days ago. Why would state control of Tubman be so bad? The state could invest the resources, freeing local resources up for other schools. It's a win-win for all.

RegWmsATL
0
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RegWmsATL 01/13/08 - 01:13 pm
0
0
Wayne Frazier is a good man

Wayne Frazier is a good man who deserves the support of the community, the school board and the other elected officials of Richmond County. The same is true for the rest of the admintrators and staff of Richmond County. When he has to make tough decisions don't leave him high and dry. When he has to call a spade a spade, don't pander to parents who have ignored their repsonsibilities. These are schools - not day care centers. People have come prepared to learn, and this includes bringing the right attitudes from home.

sunkeye
3
Points
sunkeye 01/13/08 - 01:41 pm
0
0
I work in an urban school

I work in an urban school district"up north" and I have also in the past worked in Child Protective Services. One of the common denominators is a complete lack of respect for authority or anyone. The mother's are worse than the children and the father's are nonexistent. Not meaning they are aliens but, that they may as well be because they are not involved in their children's lives. The students come to school and curse you out and dare you to retaliate. If you send them to the principal they call you a snitch as if they are in a jail yard. They may as well be because this is the only lingo they appear to be familiar with these days. There is a lot of overhaul needed(of the school system and home) and sad to say some of these "parents" not "students" need a kick in the arse.

At this point I am just tired and if the school systems don't start supporting their staff they are going to be faced with an emply building. When these parents have no one to "babysit"(educate) their kids while they are doing their thing...then maybe they will get their act together. Sorry one of the issues is that they(parents) are unemployed so they don't care if the kids are in schools.

Edward B. Turner
69
Points
Edward B. Turner 01/13/08 - 01:46 pm
0
0
A bottom line question begs

A bottom line question begs to be answered: Who assigned the inexpeienced teachers and a first year principal to a school that was already in such a deplorable state? Who are the fool(s) that did it?

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 01/13/08 - 02:13 pm
0
0
How many of the problem teens

How many of the problem teens at Tubman are fallout from Katrina ? Did Tubman inherit those problems ? The first step is to get rid of all the trouble makers so that the students who want to learn can learn. It is up to the community to get rid of the problem parents.
The old Regency mall would make a great "super project" approbate to house all of the trashy hoods who will spoil any school or neighborhood in which they dwell. You can't save the world but you can protect the decent people from the thugs. You can also separate the "bad apples" from the rest of society.

asucollegegirl
0
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asucollegegirl 01/13/08 - 02:19 pm
0
0
I am a past student of Wayne

I am a past student of Wayne Frazier. He was a wonderful, kind, and patient teacher and a good leader. I wish him good luck as he implements his accumulated knowledge and experience to turn this school around. I, too, agree with the majority of the respondants above. I am an elementary teacher and have little or no support from parents. I teach these children for 7 hours a day, using the latest technology, the states performance standards that delegate what the students must know, and the support of my collegues. I count on the parents/guardians to supplement what I teach as reinforcement for what they learn all day. It doesn't require a lot of time and the parents need to be more involved with their children and stop expecting the teachers and staff to RAISE their children. I have three of my own that are all in school and need help almost daily with homework. I don't mind helping because as a responsible parent, it is my job to ensure that I help my children become responsible, productive adults that will one day make an impact on someone else and society. It's not a hard concept: Step up parents and do the right thing.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 01/13/08 - 03:55 pm
0
0
so in a county where only 39%

so in a county where only 39% graduate high school you expect these losers to ? teach their children well? give a damn about their kids school when they didnt care about themselves? read to them? help them with their math? you must shut down the baby factories as the first step. then take the children if that is what it takes. let the [filtered word]parents starve to death. work or starve. harsh? they dont mind my taxes going up or my car being stolen out of my driveway or my bike stolen or my property values declining when they unleash the little scum upon society.

sunshinebear4
10
Points
sunshinebear4 01/13/08 - 04:26 pm
0
0
Good, Will be interesting to

Good, Will be interesting to see how this plays out~I wish him the best of luck!

pablanco
0
Points
pablanco 01/13/08 - 04:57 pm
0
0
don't tase me, bro.

don't tase me, bro.

ladie
1
Points
ladie 01/13/08 - 05:16 pm
0
0
why don't some of you who

why don't some of you who make these comments that don't work help do tubman a favor and volunteer your help one days that you can ? instead of downing the school!! not only at tubman but at any school in r.c.b.o.e. yeah we have some parents out in the c.s.r.a. doing drugs not caring but we all as a community can help as well. and before you all reply back to me saying something smart ,yeah i said it and i can say it and i do my part b/c i work there!!! and i know just how many people helps us out, so pleaae stop downing us, b/c we are gonna work it out as well.again to you mr.norris i hope the best for you ,and the best for you too.doc.frazier.

linrufo
0
Points
linrufo 01/13/08 - 06:52 pm
0
0
It is a sad situation to

It is a sad situation to learn my old High School where I had so
many fond growing up memories is being so "demoralized" and
"thrashed". Could we not introduce or re-acquaint the student body and staff to the three (3) R's. (1) Respect for yourself (2)
Respect for others (3) Responsible for your words and deeds.
Re-inforcing values is not a thing of the past and seems to be lost or missing.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 01/13/08 - 09:57 pm
0
0
Doitrealbig you are correct,

Doitrealbig you are correct, the government shouldn't. but they do need a gov't makeover like you said. The parents are the problem and they dont care about their children. I'll bet money the problematic kids have problematic parents, who dont work, dont parent, pretty much do nothing but procreate and have a good time. thats where the gov't needs to step in and stop handing out free rides to the losers and sterilize them. Even Badden said most of the problems come from the students of the 3 projects that feed the school. If the government doesn't step in, do you really think these sorry parents will change on their own?? The only thing they can do is stop their procreation, its nothing short of child abuse. It takes a very determined strong child to overcome the situation his/her own parents put them in and give them no support throughout school and life. It's very sad.

Chuchi
2
Points
Chuchi 01/13/08 - 09:59 pm
0
0
That's a very good idea,

That's a very good idea, ladie; I think if more people would volunteer to help at the schools it might make a positive difference. It would give people an idea of what really goes on in there and teachers always need extra help. I wonder if Dr. Frazier will do what Mr. Clark did: have a big assembly, expell the known dealers and major trouble-makers and whip the rest of the school into no-nonsense shape. A zero-tolerance policy, especially for showing disrespect towards teachers, would be a good idea too. Good luck Dr. Frazier! Based on what I've read here, the community is pulling for you.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 01/13/08 - 10:07 pm
0
0
ladie, good luck to you, the

ladie, good luck to you, the school, and the children. I am not downing the school by no means, it all lies on the sorry parents who could have prevented all this had they been parents and not losers. Of course not all, but you know the ones I am refering to. It will take a lot to turn it around and I am very excited to see Mr. Fraizer there to try and straighten things out, Good Luck to you all!!!!!

grrrrrrrrrrrr fed up
0
Points
grrrrrrrrrrrr fed up 01/13/08 - 11:59 pm
0
0
denali123 you cannot put all

denali123 you cannot put all harrisburg residents in the same group. i live in harrisburg and i work full time as does my husband and many other residents in harrisburg. my children do not run the streets .....my children go to school everyday and do thier best. do not put all people in this area in the same group please. good luck to the new principal..............i went to tubman back in the late'60's early '70's.so o i am not new to the area..........................

tuttblt
0
Points
tuttblt 01/14/08 - 01:32 am
0
0
Dr. Frazier will put things

Dr. Frazier will put things in perspective if given the chance. The term perspective is relevant, because Dr. Frazier will first determine what and with whom he is working. As a true realist, Dr. Frazier's assessment will no doubt involve faculty and staff, students and parents, and significant other adults in students' lives who are accountable in their daily lives.
His observations will probably not be immedaitely taken to heart by all because, there are those who are unfortunately living in the unrealistic fantasy that everything is ok. Some of us know this is a far cry from what is.
Some of us are traditionalist, by nature, and balk at any notion of change because it removes the comfort zone. Dr. Frazier will no doubt break into that zone of comfort by making some needed recommendations.
People, teachers included bless their hearts, may balk at these recommendations and may want to resist. A word to the wise: if you don't want to ride Dr. Frazier's train, because the ride might have a few rough bumps, you might ought step off now... rather than being asked off.
GOD SPEED and good luck Dr. Frazier!

keysplease
4
Points
keysplease 01/14/08 - 07:55 am
0
0
CSRA Business - this is the

CSRA Business - this is the final work of Charles Larke and his gang.

a crazy old man
30
Points
a crazy old man 01/14/08 - 10:17 am
0
0
Mr. Frazier better start

Mr. Frazier better start using that rule 23 in the student code of conduct rite of the bat and Mr. Bedden better have his back.

skeegee
0
Points
skeegee 01/15/08 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Problems at Tubman have

Problems at Tubman have existed for far too long. Mr. Norris is just one of many former principals placed there without the experience, support, or a true indication of what was required to be successful. The average administrator won't have the knowledge and/or experience to lead a school like Tubman due to it's unique challenges. Dr. Larke failed miserably in addressing the concerns of the parents and teachers of Tubman. He allowed a bad situation there to continue to worsen during his tenure. I truly wish Dr. Frazier well and much success with his new assignment. He will need support from Tubman parents, the community, and the RCBOE central office. An area requiring immediate attention is the student population. Tubman continues to lack diversity. For years the majority of the housing project areas have been zoned for Tubman Middle School. Previous superintendents were content with this situation because it allowed them to contain a number of the counties academic and behavioral problems to one school. There have been many knowledgeable, compassionate, and enthusiastic educators to work at Tubman. Unfortunately, most left after challenges became insurmountable or hopeless.

battlecataclysmic
0
Points
battlecataclysmic 05/29/08 - 09:40 am
0
0
I'm a Tubman Alumnus. And I

I'm a Tubman Alumnus. And I remember the good and the bad about Tubman. The problem truly is the parents, and that goes across the board for all schools. But as far as the kids, they are what they are influenced to be. Even the bad kids I knew when I attended were some of the most gifted and passionate people I've encountered in life. And had they been given a full and fair chance, I'm sure many would've come out better. But the tracking system was already at work as early as 6th grade. I was fortunate enough to attend the Expansion of Interest Program (E.I.P.), because they said I was "gifted". But many days, I would come back from these special classes and share what I learned with my classmates. AND THEY UNDERSTOOD IT! Parents are the number one problem, but another problem is that we sell our kids so short. We assume that they can't before attempting to see if they can. These kids are not worthless, they just haven't been raised. Perhaps we should look at bringing back boarding schools, where neglected children can get a safe environment and be surrounded by people that care about them at the home level. The children are nothing more than symptoms of a much larger problem...

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