Press Releases - 2011

  • Reynolds American Foundation donates $250,000 for new career academy aimed at promoting economic development in Yadkin Valley

    December 20, 2011 - The North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP) announced today that Reynolds American Foundation has donated $250,000 towards the development of the Yadkin Valley Regional Career Academy, an innovative new regional school that aims to expand opportunities for students and bring needed skills to the workforce.

    The public school, which is slated to open in the fall of 201 is envisioned as a win-win both for students and the regional economy of the Yadkin Valley. The academy is intended to offer a new option for students with career-focused preparation in the areas of the health and life sciences and also aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, the school will teach students life skills to make good decisions.

    The mission of the school is to graduate all students ready for college, careers and civic contributions to the region, with a head start on postsecondary preparation for one of the area's emerging career fields as well as job-ready credentials.

    The school, proposed by area business leaders, is being developed under a broad-based partnership that includes four local school districts, two community colleges, local and regional businesses, the North Carolina New Schools Project, Piedmont Triad Partnership, the State Board of Education, and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

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  • Donors step up to help NC secure $15 million federal grant

    December 15, 2011 - Many companies, foundations and individuals from across North Carolina and across the country have stepped up to help the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP) raise $1.5 million in pledges in recent weeks to successfully meet a required private sector match for a $15 million federal grant. This grant would extend successful early college strategies to as many as 20 traditional high schools in rural, low-income communities across the state, benefiting more than 20,000 students.

    Pledges to achieve the grant match came from the following: the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Fred Eshelman, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Golden Corral and Investors Management Corporation, the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Hidalgo Family, Kryosphere, Lenovo, Lumbee Guaranty Bank, Novartis, SAS, The Lauren & James Whitehurst Family Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

    The U.S. Department of Education last month selected NCNSP from among nearly 600 applicants across the country as one of 23 organizations to potentially share $150 million under the federal Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program. The NCNSP initiative is the only proposal from North Carolina recognized for funding in this highly competitive grant program, and one of only five to be selected for potential funding at the $15 million level.

    Eligibility for funding from the U.S. Department of Education is tied to NCNSP's success in securing additional, private support for the five-year initiative. Successfully achieving the match is a key hurdle prior to the final award from the department, which is expected next month.

    Gov. Bev Perdue, who appealed to corporate and foundation leaders for support, said she believes the new initiative will bring new opportunities to many students in rural areas of the state.

    "Every child, no matter where they live, should graduate high school ready for a career, college or technical training," Gov. Perdue said. "I want to personally thank the businesses, individuals and organizations that contributed to helping secure this grant. Because of their generosity, the North Carolina New Schools Project will be able to reach even more students in more communities."

    The grant program supports the goals of Gov. Perdue's new Career & College Promise initiative, which gives high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credit, tuition-free, as a way to get a solid head start on college or strong preparation for a career.

    NCNSP President Tony Habit said he is grateful to the many organizations and individuals who pledged funding and volunteered their time to secure this significant resource for the state.

    "This speaks to our progress as a state," Habit said. "The U.S. Department of Education has signaled its confidence in the state's progressive efforts to improve educational opportunities for all students, and key leaders in North Carolina think that such education innovation is an important investment."

    The North Carolina New Schools Project, in partnership with the State Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, the SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro, and local school districts, will use the federal grant to apply lessons learned from the state's growing number of early college high schools, which focus on ensuring that all students graduate ready for college and careers.

    High schools in six rural county districts are currently included in the initiative proposal - Beaufort, Hertford, Madison, Richmond, Sampson and Wilkes. Additional schools in other districts are being identified as additional partners in the effort.

    With 74 early college high schools now open in 63 counties - from some of the state's largest to some of its smallest - North Carolina claims about a third of the innovative schools nationwide. The mold-breaking schools allow students to earn an associate degree or significant college credit, tuition free, along with their high school diploma. The schools are intended to serve students who are often underrepresented in college, including those who are from low-income families, minorities and those whose parents didn't attend college.

    A multi-year research study of early colleges in North Carolina is finding strong evidence of success. Dropouts are few, and graduation rates are high. Solid academic achievement is reflected in test scores that exceed state averages as well as high rates of postsecondary enrollment. The study is also finding that the schools are helping to close gaps in achievement between white and minority students.

    The North Carolina New Schools Project supports the 74 existing schools with coaches for teachers and principals and carefully designed professional development based on a set of proven design principles, all of which are aligned to an overarching goal of graduating all students ready for college, careers and life.

    Under the new federal grant, NCNSP will extend successful early college high school strategies to between 15 and 20 traditional high schools and up to 10 rural, low-income county districts where they are located. One key goal of the initiative is for all students to graduate with at least 21 college credits, or the equivalent of about seven courses.
     
    Each of the high schools will receive support similar to the early college high schools already affiliated with NCNSP. Teachers will learn to follow a proven common instructional framework that ensures consistent expectations and teaching approaches are followed in all classrooms. Students will be challenged to read, write, think and talk every day in every class.

    Early college high schools, typically located on the campus of a community college or university, are aimed at challenging students who are the first in their family to earn a college degree and who also need additional support to succeed academically. This initiative will allow these effective strategies to reach more traditional high schools across the state.

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  • Planning Sessions Focus on Goals of Innovative Schools

    November 29, 2011 - Hundreds of North Carolina educators are gathering this week to discuss ways to continue improving their schools to ensure that every student graduates ready for college, careers and life.

    The educators, all from schools affiliated with the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP), are participating in six Regional Action Planning (RAP) sessions today and Thursday across the state, allowing them to foster a collaborative support culture, network with peers to strengthen action-planning efforts, and receive support tailored to the needs of their school team. The RAP sessions engage principals and teachers in carefully designed, high quality professional development with NCNSP staff, leadership coaches, instructional coaches and their peers.

    "In most school districts, principals work within their school to set goals for an improvement plan, but they might not get any feedback. The document tends to be more of a checklist," says Jodi Anderson, director of North Carolina Center for Educational Leadership at NCNSP. "For us, this is part of a continuous improvement cycle where schools learn from their peers, share best practices and benefit from ongoing support and coaching."

    These innovative schools began the improvement planning process last spring and further refined their plans following the 2011 Summer Institute. NCNSP staff will continue to follow up with school visits and coaching conversations centered around the schools – action plans to ensure that the right goals are being measured and met.

    By meeting in regional groups, schools share similar demographics and similar challenges.

    "These are unusual schools, so they need innovative strategies," Anderson says. "When schools talk about what they're doing and get feedback from their peers that can either validate or change their goals and strategies, they can harness the power of this peer group to move the school forward."

    Bringing teachers and principals together to share ideas and planning also builds leadership among both groups, says Loretta Rowland-Kitley, principal of Early/Middle College at Guilford Technical Community College at Jamestown.

    "Our NSP annual self-assessment is invaluable for our school, and we use this document throughout the year to see how we are doing on our action plan," Rowland-Kitley says. "We have worked hard to make connections between the action plan and our state- and district-required school improvement plan," she says. "The regional planning session will give us another opportunity to review our progress, as well as learn from other participants. The camaraderie of participants is one of the most valuable aspects of being a part of this network."

    Principals work throughout the year in small regional groups – known as Leadership Innovation Networks (LIN groups) – to leverage the knowledge of their colleagues through a collaborative approach.

    "Our LIN group meetings give us an opportunity to share ideas and successes, as well as review problem areas and ask for advice from our peers," says Rowland-Kitley. "Many of us share similar situations within our schools, and learning how others deal with challenges helps us find possible solutions for our own situations.  Many years of educational experience within the same room makes an astounding resource."

    The following schools will be attending a RAP session Tuesday, Nov. 29:

    At Haywood Education Center:
    - Avery County High School STEM Academy
    - Blue Ridge Early College High School
    - Buncombe County Early College
    - Caldwell Early College
    - Haywood Early College High School
    - Henderson County Early College High School
    - Jackson County Early College High School
    - Macon County Early College High School
    - Madison Early College
    - Mayland Early College High School
    - McDowell Early College
    - Polk County Early College
    - School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville
    - Tri-County Early College High School

    At Lee Early College:
    - Franklin County Early College High School
    - Granville Early College High School
    - Hillside New Technology High School
    - J.F. Webb High School of Health and Life Sciences
    - Johnston County Early College Academy
    - Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School    
    - Lee Early College
    - Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School
    - South Granville High School of Health and Life Sciences
    - Southern School of Engineering
    - Vance County Early College High School
    - Wake Early College of Health Sciences
    - Wake NC State University STEM Early College High School
    - Warren Early College High School
    - Wilson Early College Academy

    At UNC-Wilmington:    
    - Brunswick County Early College High School
    - Columbus Career and College Academy
    - Cross Creek Early College High School
    - Craven Early College High School
    - Cumberland International Early College High School
    - Early College EAST High School
    - Howard Health and Life Science High School
    - Isaac Bear Early College High School
    - Lenoir County Early College High School
    - Pender Early College High School
    - Robeson Early College High School
    - Sampson County Early College High School
    - SandHoke Early College High School
    - Scotland Early College High School
    - Scotland High School
    - Wayne Early/Middle College High School
    - Wayne School of Engineering at Goldsboro High School
    - Wilmington Early College High School

    The following schools will be attending a RAP session Thursday, Dec. 1:

    At Iredell-Statesville VAPA Center:
    - Anson Early College High School
    - Cabarrus/Kannapolis Early College High School
    - Challenger Early College High School
    - Cleveland Early College High School
    - Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership
    - Davie County Early College High School
    - Iredell-Statesville Visual and Performing Arts Early College High School
    - The Newton School (Newton Conover Health Science High School)
    - Richmond Early College
    - Rowan County Early College High School
    - Rutherford Early College High School
    - Stanly Early College High School
    - Union County Early College

    At Atkins Academic/Technology High School:  
    - Atkins Academic/Technology High School
    - Davidson Early College High School
    - Early-Middle College at Bennett
    - Early College of Forsyth
    - Middle College at GTCC - Greensboro
    - Middle College at GTCC - Jamestown
    - Middle College at GTCC - High Point
    - Middle College at NC A&T State University
    - Middle College at UNC-G
    - Randolph Early College High School
    - Rockingham Early College High School
    - Stokes Early College High School
    - Surry Early College High School of Design
    - Wilkes Early College High School
    - Yadkin Early College High School

    At Halifax Community College:  
    - Beaufort County Early College High School
    - Bertie County Early College High School
    - Bertie STEM High School
    - City of Medicine Academy
    - Columbia Early College High School
    - Duplin Early College High School   
    - East Duplin High School
    - Edgecombe Early College High School
    - Greene Early College High School
    - Hertford County Early College High School
    - James Kenan High School
    - J.P. Knapp Early College
    - Mattamuskeet Early College High School
    - North Duplin High School
    - Roanoke Valley Early College
    - Wallace-Rose Hill High School

    The North Carolina New Schools Project is a statewide public-private partnership that sparks sustainable innovation in North Carolina secondary schools. Its vision is to ensure every student graduates ready for college, careers and life. The North Carolina New Schools Project partners with school districts, businesses and higher education to link innovation in education to the emerging economy.

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  • Federal grant to help NC broaden the reach of early college

    November 22, 2011 - The North Carolina New Schools Project, in partnership with the State Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System and local school districts, will use a prospective $15 million federal grant to help as many as 20 traditional high schools with lessons learned from the state's growing number of early college high schools.

    The U.S. Department of Education has selected NCNSP from among nearly 600 applicants as one of 23 organizations to share $150 million under the federal Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program. The NCNSP project is the only proposal from North Carolina recognized for funding in this highly competitive grant program.

    Final approval of funding from the Department of Education hinges on NCNSP's success in securing additional financial support for the five-year initiative. Under the terms of the federal i3 program, grantees must also raise private support to receive the federal funds. NCNSP is in the process of seeking pledges totaling $1.5 million, or 10 percent of the total grant, to ensure that the state receives the funding.

    Gov. Bev Perdue said she welcomes the effort, and is urging private support.

    "I recently announced my Career & College Promise initiative that helps every qualified student prepare for a successful future, whether in college or in career training," Perdue said. "The grant awarded to the North Carolina New Schools Project will help even more students prepare for life after high school."

    More than 20,000 students would benefit from the grant-supported effort.

    "This is an affirmation of North Carolina's early college high schools and a boost to the state's efforts to bring similar opportunities to students in more communities where options are often limited," said Tony Habit, president of the North Carolina New Schools Project. "We are delighted to partner with the State Board of Education, and N.C. Department of Public Instruction and higher education in this ground-breaking effort."

    With 74 early college high schools now open in 63 counties -- from some of the state's largest to some of its smallest, North Carolina claims about a third of the innovative schools nationwide. The mold-breaking schools allow students to earn an associate degree or significant college credit along with their high school diploma. The schools are intended to serve students who are often underrepresented in college, including those who are from low-income families, minorities and those whose parents didn't attend college.

    A multi-year research study of early colleges in North Carolina is finding strong evidence of success. Dropouts are few, and graduation rates are high. Solid academic achievement is reflected in test scores that exceed state averages as well as high rates of postsecondary enrollment. The study is also finding that the schools are helping to close gaps in achievement between white and minority students.

    The North Carolina New Schools Project supports the 74 existing schools with coaches for teachers and principals and carefully designed professional development based on a set of proven design principles, all of which are aligned to an overarching goal of graduating all students ready for college, careers and life.

    Under the new federal grant, NCNSP will help between 15 and 20 traditional high schools and up to 10 rural, low-income county districts where they are located apply many of the same strategies to raise expectations and achievement. Partners with NCNSP include the N.C. Community College System, the State Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro, and participating school districts.

    Each of the high schools will receive support similar to the early college high schools already affiliated with NCNSP. Teachers will learn to follow a proven common instructional framework that ensures consistent expectations and teaching approaches are followed in all classrooms. Students will be challenged to read, write, think and talk every day in every class.

    One key goal of the initiative is for all students to graduate with at least 21 college credits, or the equivalent of about seven courses.

    Early college high schools, typically located on the campus of a community college or university, are aimed at challenging students who are the first in their family to earn a college degree and who also need additional support to succeed academically.

    The North Carolina New Schools Project is a statewide public-private partnership that sparks sustainable innovation in North Carolina secondary schools. Its vision is to ensure every student graduates ready for college, careers and life. The North Carolina New Schools Project partners with school districts, businesses and higher education to link innovation in education to the emerging economy.

    Read More
  • National STEM conference coming to the Triangle

    November 1, 2011 - As North Carolina emerges as a leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the Triangle is poised to host a national conference focused on STEM education. Eight organizations, including the NC New Schools Project, are partnering to offer "S2:TEM = Scaling STEM: Transforming Education Matters" on April 16-18, 201 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, N.C.

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  • GlaxoSmithKline $10 Million Pledge for Education Reflects STEM Education Needs Nationally and in NC

    July 18, 2011 - GSK announces $10 million pledge to US education

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  • Bertie STEM High School wins 2011 Innovator Award

    June 27, 2011 - Bertie STEM High School, one of North Carolina's pioneering secondary schools with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, has been honored with the Innovator Award, presented annually by the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP) to a pace-setting high school within its network that is demonstrating strong results in preparing all students for college, careers and life. The award was presented June 23 to the school during NCNSP's Summer Institute, a three-day conference attended by 500 educators from its network schools across the state.

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  • North Carolina's first STEM high schools deliver strong success: Most graduate more than 90 percent of inaugural 9th grade classes

    June 9, 2011 - News release about STEM school graduations

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  • NC's Pioneering Early College High Schools Graduating More than 1,300 Students Well Prepared for College and Careers

    June 2, 2011 - News release with information about early college graduation

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  • NC's innovative high schools stand out with few dropouts

    March 3, 2011 - An analysis of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction's latest dropout data reveals fresh evidence that students in most schools affiliated with the North Carolina New Schools Project outperform traditional high schools. Nearly half the 106 high schools that are partners with NCNSP had no dropouts in 2009-10.

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