- Lenoir County Public Schools
Double win in grant competition worth $3 million
Only 12 public schools in North Carolina made the cut when the state recently awarded $17.6 million in grant funds to bolster instruction and student achievement. Two of them are in Lenoir County.
Lenoir County Learning Academy and Southeast Elementary School will share NC Innovative Partnership Grant (IPG) funds totaling nearly $3 million. The money will fund a three-year program to improve student achievement at the schools by providing additional resources, expert guidance in school turn-around strategies and targeted professional development for teachers and administrators.
“We are super excited to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” Beverly Kee, LCPS’s Federal Programs director, said. Kee was a member of the team that wrote the grant.
LCPS is in the process of hiring IPG coordinators for the two schools and will have them in place by the program’s Sept. 16 start date, according to Kee. The coordinators will “ensure consistent implementation of the new strategies put in place,” Kee said, by working with school staff, an educational consulting firm LCPS selected for the program and a program administrator named by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the source of the grant.
Rashida Yellock, first-year principal at Southeast, said she is thankful for the support the grant provides and excited about its potential impact on teaching and learning.
“Our IPG coordinator will soon join our team, and we will work jointly with our partners to positively impact teaching and learning at Southeast. As a new principal, I am thankful for this opportunity and the additional support provided through the IPG to continue to move Southeast to greater heights!” she said.
“With grant funding and technical assistance, we will launch additional school improvement endeavors to impact student achievement.”
In addition to paying the salaries of the coordinators, the grant money can be used for “any additional resources beyond what’s provided by the district to schools to promote student success and professional development,” Kee said.
Generally, LCPS expects the program to bring more personalized learning to the schools, enhance their self-image and develop an organizational structure that will help perpetuate the program’s aims. “We want to make sure everyone is sharing in the vision of the school and student success,” Kee said.
The IPG competition is open to schools identified as those in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) under the state’s federally approved plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. For grant recipients, the goal is to exit CSI status.
Assisting LCPS with that work will be consultant Ed Direction, which LCPS chose from a list of nine external partners approved by the state due to its “reputation for successful school turnaround work,” Kee said.
Thirty-nine schools submitted IPG applications for the summer funding cycle. The grant to Lenoir County Lenoir Academy is worth $1,497,455. The grant to Southeast Elementary is worth $1,497,854.
Photo captions (from top):
Federal Programs Director Beverly Kee
Principal Rashida Yellock, left, and fourth-grade teacher Katena Cherry discuss a language arts lesson Monday at Southeast Elementary School, one of LCPS’s two winners in competition for NC Innovation Partnership Grant funds. Grant awards to Southeast and Lenoir County Learning Academy totaled nearly $3 million.