First day of ‘school within a school’ for Cumberland County students

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Tuesday was the first day for a school within a school for hundreds of Cumberland County students.

We told you last month how T.C. Berrien elementary students are going to W.T. Brown Elementary while their school is being fixed for mold, air quality issues and structural problems. 

As soon as you walk in the door at W.T. Brown, you’re greeted with welcoming signs.  

“I got here early this morning,” said W.T. Brown teacher Susan McKinney. “We were ready to welcome the teachers and the kids.”

“I made sure I decorated the same way we had before so there’s some familiarity from the kids, they feel comfortable,” said T.C. Berrien teacher Bobby Gaye Jones-Senior.

Parents say the after-school pickup still has some kinks to work out, and they think the repair issues could have been prevented.

“The mold didn’t come overnight,” Audrette Gary said. “I can already see the chaos out here, it’s not running as smoothly as it normally does.”

“It’s difficult because I didn’t even know the school had that kind of problem going on, but it’s another drive, it’s another sacrifice we gotta make,” said Jonathan Jackson.

“It’s been a big transition, teachers moving rooms back and forth,” Gary said. “My kids have not been excited at all.”

Teachers say they’re doing what they can to make the transition as smooth as possible for parents and students.

“I try to make sure that my parents are comfortable, so my kids are comfortable and we can all enjoy the new space until it’s time to go back,” Jones-Senior said. “My kids are like my babies away from my babies, and my parents know I’ll go above and beyond for my kids.”

T.C. Berrien students and staff will finish out the school year at W.T. Brown as their school gets repaired.

The district picked the school twenty minutes away because they say enrollment at W.T. Brown was down, so it had the space to accommodate the new students rather than split them up into different schools.

“We’re just looking forward to finishing out and having a great school year,” McKinney said.

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