Once an underperforming school, Balfour Elementary in Asheboro sees dramatic turnaround

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ASHEBORO, N.C. — In Asheboro, there was a time when Balfour Elementary carried the stigma of a school with low expectations and low performance. But Asheboro City Schools Superintendent Dr. Aaron Woody said that unfavorable reputation is over.

“One of the things they have done here at Balfour is focus on core instruction and highly target intervention for specific students,” Woody said.

Emily Ramon is one of the many teachers working hard to elevate expectations and classroom performance.

“There is a fine line and a balance between the love and relationship and the high expectations,” Ramon said. “When you find that balance, magic happens.”

And there’s lots of magic happening now. Balfour is no longer the lowest-performing school in the Asheboro City Schools system, it is now the second-highest performing school in the system and ranks in the top 5 percent in academic growth statewide.

“They are hard-working kids, work ethic comes first and they aim to please,” Ramon said. “So their success is my success.”

Setting high standards is one part of the Balfour turnaround. Principal Christopher Tuft explained the second step.

“Growth is something that wouldn’t happen unless we had support from the community and that is something we have worked on in the last couple of years,” Tuft said.

Families are more involved at the school. Attendance at the last parent-teacher night was 10 percent higher than the one held last year. Tuft said the Parent Teacher Organization has over 60 members. Last year the PTO only had a handful of participants. With the aid of apps and other web-based services, families are involved in the classroom.

Ramon said Balfour Elementary will continue to build on their achievements.

“The fact that students come in and they know that there are multiple people in their corner that believe in them and know that they are capable of great things is definitely the key,” Ramon said.

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