Statement delivered by Roland Clarke at the Clarke County Board of Education Meeting, December 19, 2011:
I am a community activist. I’ve organized the Berryville Citizens organization; run for a seat on the Berryville Town Council and am a committee chairperson with the local branch of the NAACP.
I feel that I have my finger on the pulse of many in this community – not just the minority community. It is my belief that all citizens working together can definitely improve the lives of all of us. I’m coming to you tonight asking you (who will soon be a new Board of Education in 2012) to begin working together for the betterment of ALL students in our schools. Please consider the needs of ALL-students – reflect on the outstanding achievements and the achievement gaps. Focus-on all sub-groups as you strive to improve opportunities for ALL students.
Each student needs to see an adult who reflects himself or herself in the classroom. Therefore, I’m asking you to vigorously recruit minority teachers to the class rooms of Clarke County Schools. The class rooms in Clarke County do NOT reflect the’ real world.
In 2004 I made a request to the then Superintendent of Schools to re-name the soon to be renovated elementary school, which will be housed in the old high school, in honor of an outstanding African American such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks or even Raymond Ratcliffe. Mr. Ratcliffe was the last principal at the segregated Johnson-Williams High School. He bridged the gap and supported many African American students as they transitioned to Clarke County High School and integration. As the federal grant writer for this school system he was responsible for thousands of dollars awarded to Clarke County.
In conclusion, I am respectfully requesting:
* The utmost cooperation between the Board of Education and the Superintendent.
* A sincere effort to recruit minority teachers. A suggestion is to secure the assistance of minority
* Rename the elementary school in honor of an African American
Thank you for your attention. I am willing to help in any way to assist you in improving the educational lives of ALL our children.
Mr. Clarke is a resident of Berryville, Virginia
Presented by Roland Clarke
Clarke County Board of Education Meeting
‘. December 19, 2011