Today: Social Workers In Schools & Devonshire Elementary’s New System


Today Show: Devonshire Elementary’s Turnaround

In a school in North Carolina, the teachers do not accept that race or circumstance are any excuse for a lack of academic success. They have put together a program to ensure that everyone, no matter their ethnicity or background, is given an opportunity to excel in the classroom.

Today Show: Social Workers In Schools

Today: Devonshire Elementary's New System & Social Workers In Schools

Devonshire Elementary’s new plan has changed the way the students act to improve their academics.


At Devonshire Elementary, many students come from low-income families in troubled communities from around the area. After school, they may or may not be going home to a house without any electricity. Rochelle McCormick, a social worker, spends her time at the school teaching the students not mathematics or history, but social skills that they students can use outside of school to stay out of trouble.

With some students learning an “I do to you what you do to me” mentality outside of school, McCormick wanted to instill a different line of thinking in these impressionable young minds. Rather than using violence or less productive means to work out problems, she wants to teach children to talk it out.

The goal of teaching these student to be socially adept in and outside of school is to improve their performance in the classroom, and it appears to have been working. The school’s academic achievement has skyrocketed in the past five years since the program started. The number of students performing at grade level shot up from 40 percent to 90 percent, attendance is up 90 percent daily, and behavior has improved dramatically.


Today Show: Principal Of Devonshire Elementary School Responsible For Change

Suzanne Gimenez, Devonshire Elementary’s principal, said that she thinks you have to have a belief system that these kids can be a lot more than society thinks, and that where they come from doesn’t count where academic success is concerned. She achieved this by bringing in new teachers, a social worker, and providing extra help for students. They also got the parents involved.


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