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NEWS RELEASES 1996-97 :: MAY 29, 1997


When U.S. Education Secretary Richard W. Riley recently recognized 100 elementary and secondary schools in the country with outstanding Title I programs, two North Carolina schools were among the list: Elizabeth City/Pasquotank's Sheep Harney Elementary and Wilkes County's Fairplains Elementary. Awards were presented recently in Atlanta during the annual meeting of the International Reading Association.

Title I serves low-income area students to help them master the basics, as well as more challenging subject matter. In North Carolina, more than 800 schools receive the $129 million available funds for the program.

Now in its 13th year, the Title I Recognition Program - a joint project of the US Department of Education and the National Association of State Title I Directors - focuses on schools that use school wide programs to ensure all students have access to effective instructional strategies and challenging academic content.

Concerning accomplishments of the two North Carolina schools and the other 98 honorees, Riley said, "Each has found a successful formula for improving teaching and learning in a way that benefits students in the whole school, and for building partnerships with parents and the local community."

Elizabeth Anne Neal, Title I Director for Elizabeth City/Pasquotank Schools, including Sheep Harney Elementary, said, "The school's accomplishments are a credit to a diligent staff that works very hard to make a difference in the lives of their students. They truly 'walk the talk' in believing that all children can learn." School principal is Yvonne Walton.

Wilkes County's Associate Superintendent Dr. Linda Greene heads that county's Title I program which serves, among others, Fairplains Elementary School. "We are extremely pleased," she said, "that the dedication and collaborative planning on the part of the staff and parents at Fairplains Elementary School have resulted in state and national recognition.... I could not be more pleased with the effective utilization of Title I funds to set high expectations for all the students at Fairplains Elementary School." School principal is Al Olson.

This year's winning projects were recognized for meeting the following criteria:

  • Opportunities for all children to improve performance in the core academics;
  • Better teacher training and professional development;
  • Coordination with other programs;
  • Improvements in the curriculum and instruction to support teaching and learning to high standards;
  • Partnership among schools, parents, and communities; and
  • Three years of successful achievement data.

As part of the selection process, state education agencies nominated successful projects, and an independent panel evaluated their effectiveness in raising student achievement levels. Test scores, grade promotions and courses completed, student self assessment, teacher and parent ratings, as well as discipline and attendance, were reviewed to measure gains.

Title I, formerly known as Chapter 1, was totally overhauled under the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994. The program provides funds to schools in high poverty areas to improve teaching and learning for children who are at risk of falling behind.

Riley said that under the new law, schools receiving Title I funds are now raising academic standards as well as expectations for student success, improving curriculum and teaching, and increasing parent involvement in all aspects of school improvement. Keeping schools open beyond regular hours to provide extra tutoring is strongly encouraged, and schools are to reduce the amount of time children are "pulled out" of their regular classrooms.

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.