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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: MARCH 23, 2007


Building on its overarching direction of "Changing the Way We Do Business in the Village," the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's 11 th Annual Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps Conference will be held next week, March 26-28, at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons, Greenboro.

News media representatives who would like to attend sessions of the Conference should check in at the registration table to receive their credentials and packets.

This year's conference focuses on an R3 theme of rigor, relevance and relationships as key components in defining student success. In addition, the conference will highlight two reports, "Increasing Opportunity to Learn Via Access to Rigorous Courses and Programs: One Strategy for Closing the Achievement Gap for At-Risk and Ethnic Minority Students," and the North Carolina Advisory Commission on Raising Achievement and Closing Gaps' 12 recommendations to the State Board of Education. These two documents delineate strong, sound principles to move students toward higher achievement.

Additional conference goals include discovering ways to assist all student subgroups to make adequate yearly progress and exploring strategies for improving academic growth for high-performing students.

"This year's conference is guaranteed to provide educators and our partners in education with the tools they need to continue to move forward in closing the achievement gaps between groups of students. Although we've made progress in this area, it's not nearly enough," said State Board of Education Community Liaison and Conference Coordinator Marvin Pittman. Pittman added that the conference also is trying to bring various communities together to address this issue because "it's a problem that can’t be solved in the school alone."

Conference Highlights

  • Monday, March 26, Opening Session, Guilford Ballrooms, 7 p.m.
    The conference is blessed with strong keynote speakers and session presenters. During the Opening Session, State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee, State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and School Reform Services Dr. Elsie Leak will address conference participants.

  • Tuesday, March 27, General Session and Lunch, Guilford Ballrooms, 11:30 a.m.
    Dr. Pedro Noguera, a professor in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and co-director of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings, will address participants. Dr. Noguera is recognized as an expert on topics such as urban school reform, conditions that promote student achievement, youth violence, the potential impact of school choice and vouchers on urban public schools, and race and ethnic relations in American society.

  • Wednesday, March 28, Closing Session and Luncheon, Guilford Ballrooms, 11:30 a.m.
    Ron Clark, author of the best-selling book, "The Essential 55 Rules – Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child," is the keynote speaker for Wednesday's Closing Session and Luncheon. Clark is also known for his teaching successes with disadvantaged students in rural North Carolina, Harlem in New York, and now in Atlanta, Ga. In working with these youth, who were presumably low achievers, Clark developed and implemented programs that were so effective that both he and his classes were invited on three occasions to the White House to be honored by the President.

Wrapped around these stellar speakers are a number of focus sessions, concurrent sessions and spotlight sessions. A preconference focus session will be held Monday afternoon on what great school leadership does to raise achievement and close gaps. During the conference, 16 schools and four task forces also will be spotlighted for their efforts to raise achievement and close gaps.

For a complete conference agenda, please go online to For additional information, please contact the 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.