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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: MARCH 29, 2006


State Superintendent June Atkinson recently kicked off an effort to coordinate and facilitate professional development resources for eastern North Carolina public school districts. Representatives from public and nonprofit organizations, UNC-Wilmington and East Carolina University, and local superintendents from eastern school districts met for the first time to discuss the Carolina East Educational Partnership.

The goal of Carolina East Educational Partnership is to improve student achievement in eastern North Carolina public schools by aligning professional development for school administrators and teachers in the region.

"We know that there are many groups in the state providing professional development to local educators and many who want to help provide these services. What is missing is a coordination of these efforts," State Superintendent June Atkinson said. "We need a brokerage service that will coordinate these resources to ensure that all school personnel have the same opportunities to receive sustained professional development that is aligned to North Carolina's Standard Course of Study."

Atkinson said the purpose of pulling these service providers together was to inspire broad-based support and commitment for the concept of a collaborative leadership and professional development program. The first step in this process is to assess current state and regional resources available for this purpose then address how those providers could collaborate for sustainable and systemic school improvement. Based on this information, an action plan will be developed for presentation to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly for implementation in the fall 2006.

"It's important that we stop duplicating professional development efforts and instead align efforts. From what I heard at this meeting, we have the interest and commitment to do this. Now we just need to bring the plan to fruition," Atkinson said.

Over the next few weeks, Department staff will begin inventorying professional development services and providers. Future meetings will address assessing teacher professional development needs, how to provide these services via face-to-face or through virtual means and what can be done to change community expectations for its schools.

For more information on the Carolina East Educational Partnership, please contact NCDPI's Communications division at 919.807.3450.

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.