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Principal Dockery Receives United Way's Action Changes Things Awards

Cougar Pride was alive and well represented during the March 4th United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County Celebration Breakfast!

From our Community School Coordinator, Bruce Waller, emceeing the morning's festivities to Aleesha Ballard explaining the tremendous benefits our Parent Leadership Academy has had on our students and staff, our Cougar Family should certainly be proud!

Plus, our very own Principal April Dockery was awarded the United Way Action Changes Things Awards! This award honors those who actively and regularly move people to action through volunteer service, policy changes, or financial investments that positively impact our community.

For the past 5 years, United Way, Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools and more than 50 partners have employed the community school strategy as a way to support students, strengthen families and engage our community.

Mrs. Dockery is originally from Asheville and is truly committed to our community. She raised all seven of her children right here in Asheville City Schools and dedicates herself to creating a space where every child feels a sense of belonging and understands what they can offer the world around them.

In 2013, Principal Dockery attended a convening of nine United Ways that were advancing graduation rates by using the community school strategy in their middle schools. Inspired by what others were accomplishing, she has since played a vital role in helping pull together school and community partners to launch this work at Asheville Middle and beyond.

As both a district leader and school principal, she has led the way by example, setting high expectations, putting accountability measures in place and lending critical support to bring projects to fruition. Principal Dockery knows that in order to make big systemic improvements, staff, parents and students all need to be true agents of change. It is because of her leadership:

-The entire Asheville Middle faculty, along with several key community partners, are utilizing the Early Warning and Response System to streamline how they support students both in and out of the classroom.
-Parent Leaders are now an active and thriving force at the school, embedded in several classrooms as support for both students and teachers.
-During the first half-hour of each day teachers and students start off in Advisory time, checking in, building positive relationships, and creating a true sense of belonging at the school. They are building a compassionate culture and early signs indicate that this approach is helping to decrease the number of behavior referrals at the school.
-And finally, over the past 3 years, Asheville Middle has experienced a 17 percent gain in the number of students who are on track in all 3 areas of attendance, behavior and core course grades.

What's certainly clear is that Principal Dockery values student and parent voice and understands what is possible when we all work together!