MCDOWELL SCHOOL GRADUATE HONORED AT NATIONAL MEETING
Jean English Taylor, a former participant in McDowell County Schools' Title I program and a graduate of McDowell High School, is North Carolina's honoree in a new national booklet, "Title I Distinguished Graduates." She and other state representatives were honored last month in Oakland, CA, at a meeting of the National Association of State Coordinators of Compensatory Education.
Title I, which has operated the past 30 years, is a national program that dedicates teachers and resources to helping children be successful. In North Carolina alone, $128 million annually is spent on the program.
The Compensatory Education Association describes Title I as a program that's "made a difference in the lives of literally hundreds of individuals, giving them the extra attention and assistance they need to help them achieve in school and in life."
Such was the case for Ms. Taylor. She says, "It (Title I) made me hungry to know things and to read things - for learning." The 1989 high school graduate went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology from Appalachian State University. She worked as an intern research technician for Pioneer Hybed International in Hawaii, and now works as a microbiologist at Baxter Travenol Health Care, the world's largest I.V. company.
Her accomplishments are even more impressive when considering that in third grade, she could not read. According to an essay she wrote in high school, she said "the doors to a thousand worlds" were closed to her as a non-reader. It was as a fourth-grader that she was referred to the Title I program in her local school. "For me they were miracle workers," she writes of the Title I teachers.
She admits it was a struggle, but says by the end of that school year, "I took a reading placement test. I could not believe how easy it was. I was finished in about half the time it took the rest of the children. When the scores came back, I found some years later, I had scored at the ninth-grade level."
Today, reading, says Ms. Taylor, is a main focus in her life.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.