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NEWS RELEASES 2000-01 :: FEBRUARY 5, 2001


State Superintendent Mike Ward and State Board of Education Chairman Phillip J. Kirk Jr. presented the 2000 Governor's Programs of Excellence in Education Awards to 10 local school programs designed to improve educational opportunities and performance for young people in these schools and communities. The awards were presented at the State Board of Education's meeting on Feb. 1.

These 10 award recipients join 74 previous winners in prior years and were selected by a committee of North Carolina educators. The award recipients were selected from applications submitted by local districts or schools. Awards were based on creativity, use of collaborative efforts and all-around excellence.

State Superintendent Ward, in presenting the awards, said, "These programs are as diverse as the school systems they represent, and they showcase some of the most creative ideas of educators in our state."

The award recipients and a brief description of each program are listed below.

South Brunswick High School Aquaculture Program
Brunswick County Schools; Marion C. Wise, superintendent
Contact: James E. McAdams, principal,
South Brunswick High School;
Phone: 910.845.2203

Fourteen years ago, the South Brunswick High School Aquaculture Program began with a shoestring budget and high risk students. Since then, the program has been the focus of local, state and national publicity and provided many students with the education and practical training to be successful in the rapidly growing fish farm industry. This program is an educational ladder where students can complete a high school aquaculture program, continue at Brunswick Community College's aquaculture program or choose to enroll in a four-year program at UNC-Wilmington or North Carolina State University.

Read to Succeed Program
Valmead Basic School
Caldwell County Schools
Contact: Tom McNeel, superintendent
Phone: 828.728.8407

Five years ago, only 18 percent of the students at Valmead Basic School were performing at grade level, as measured by performance on end-of-grade tests. Today, after the implementation of a locally-created reading program that draws on four available reading programs, nearly 76 percent of the school's students are performing at grade level and Valmead has become known locally as the "reading school." The hybrid program is a combination of Accelerated Reader, Reading Renaissance, 4-Block reading instruction and Facilitating Reading for Optimal Growth.

Community in Schools
Highland Elementary School
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Eric Smith, superintendent
Contact: Jenell Bovis, principal
Phone: 704.343.5511

Highland Elementary School serves children in an inner city neighborhood that is plagued by poverty, crime, substance abuse and other social elements that create a harsh environment for students and their families. Many of the students come from homes where the basic values and expectations are very different from the standards set by the staff. In 1996, this school placed last in the school district based on end-of-grade test scores. A partnership with Communities in Schools has helped address the critical needs of the schools' families and helped students focus on academic growth. Since then, test scores have increased by 39.9 percent.

Marine Corps Air Station
Craven County Schools; William B. Rivenbark, superintendent
Contact: Janet Furman, public relations director
Craven County Schools
Phone: 252.514.6333

In 1993, the Adopt-a-School Program, Marine Corps Air Station was instituted by the Commanding General of the Marine Corps as a way to get military men and women more involved in local activities and provide needed volunteers in the Craven County Schools. Each squadron at Cherry Point, the largest air station in the United States, is invited to adopt one of eight Craven County Schools in the Havelock area that borders the military duties. Each year, the squadrons have worked with schools to provide tutors, build playground equipment, work in media centers and perform nearly any task that will meet the goal of helping children learn, grow and develop. Each squadron donates at least 15 hours, on average, per school each week.

H.O.P.E. Service-Learning Program
Ramsey Street Middle School
Cumberland County Schools; William C. Harrison, superintendent
Contact: Mary Owens, principal
Phone: 910.437.5829

Ramsey Street Middle School is an alternative school created to continue the educational services for students in grades 5-8 who have been long-term suspended from their home schools. While continuing their education, students also participate in special programs/activities designed to redirect inappropriate behavior. Students plan, select and implement service-learning projects that address needs within the community. They then study related topics in the classroom.

Jumpstart - Connecting Home to School
Edgecombe County Schools; George Thigpen, superintendent
Contacts: Debbie Pace, preschool coordinator
Carol Kidd, exceptional children's director
Phone: 252.823.6049

Jumpstart, Connecting Home to School, offers Edgecombe County families with young children interrelated programs to provide a seamless transition from the home environment to a school age program. The result is children who enter school ready for learning. The goal of Jumpstart is to identify at-risk children between birth and age 5 in order to provide information, direct and indirect interventions, support and resources for those parents and children in Edgecombe County. Program components include Parents as Teachers, services to teen mothers of children under 3, services for 3- and 4-year-olds, a preschool/kindergarten transition program, and a family literacy program funded by Even Start.

High Point's Jumpstart Reading Project
Guilford County Schools
Terry B. Grier, superintendent
Contact: Sandra Frye, director of Curriculum Communications
Guilford County Schools
Phone: 336.370.8101

The Jumpstart Reading Program was initiated by a group of High Point business leaders as a K-12 component of a comprehensive plan to address local educational needs. Developed in collaboration with Guilford County Schools, High Point's Jumpstart Reading Project recruits and trains volunteer tutors to work with Level II fourth graders in preparation for meeting fifth grade Student Accountability Standards. Tutors are trained using a curriculum-based manual developed by the school system staff. This project is helping all 12 High Point elementary schools and provided 299 volunteers in 1999-2000. It is making a difference, helping as many as half of some schools' students move to grade level.

Close Harmony Program
Iredell-Statesville Schools
Howard Coleman, superintendent
Contact: Becky Kirkman, coordinator of Exceptional Children
Phone: 704.871.9553

This program is a partnership between a self-contained class for Behaviorally Emotionally Disabled children and three nearby senior centers. This partnership started in 1995 when the exceptional children's teachers at East Iredell Elementary noticed that BEH students had become somewhat isolated. At the same time, neighboring nursing homes noticed a loss of connection of their elderly patients with home and community. Out of these needs,

Close Harmony was born. This program is a long-term arts-based project. The students share what they learn in music, social studies and language arts in weekly exchange visits.

Tuesday Night Live
Malpass Corner Elementary School
Pender County Schools
Marc Sosne, superintendent
Contacts: Winifred Hill, assistant principal
Miranda Osborne, school counselor
Phone: 910.283.5889

Tuesday Night Live is a school-wide initiative at Malpass Corner Elementary School designed to help increase parental literacy, to foster home-school-community relationships and to increase academic achievement. The project provides families opportunities to participate in special educational, social, health and recreational activities every Tuesday night at the school. Families also can use the school library and computer lab for enrichment and remediation. Also, the local community college sponsors GED classes, and other organizations sponsor chapters of 4-H and Girl Scouts. This program has helped to build bridges between the home, the school and the community.

Cyber Academy: Technology Professional Development
Richmond County Schools
Larry Weatherly, superintendent
Contacts: Suzanne W. Griffin, Instructional Technology, Media and SIMS director
Phone: 910.582.5860

Cyber Academy, Richmond County School System's quality technical staff development program, was developed to enhance and improve the technological skills of its staff. Key features of the program's training: it is adaptable to different skill levels, provides a comfortable learning environment for adults, has product-based outcomes and provides relevant, high-interest classes using available technology.

For more information about the awards program, please contact Norm Camp, Staff Assistant, Instructional and Accountability Services, NC Department of Public Instruction, 919.807.3764.

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.