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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: FEBRUARY 24, 2004


Two North Carolina elementary schools were recently recognized as 2004 Distinguished Title I Schools during an awards luncheon held earlier this month at the National Title I Conference in New Orleans, La.

Hunter Elementary School, a pre-K through fifth grade school in the Guilford County Schools' System, was recognized as a 2004 Distinguished Title I School for its efforts to raise achievement while closing achievement gaps between groups of students. By focusing on the state's Standard Course of Study, using a balanced literacy program, and daily mathematics work in problem solving and computation, staff have helped students become "strong, independent readers and writers and proficient in numbers and reasoning." Working as a team, the school has gone from being designated low performing in 1998 to a School of Distinction in 2003 - and knocking at the door of School of Excellence designation.

Hunter Elementary School Principal Joe Ferrell said that it was nice for his staff and students to finally be recognized for all their hard work over the last seven years. "We're enjoying the moment, but we know we will always have new challenges to meet."

Lockhart Elementary School, a kindergarten through fifth grade school in the Wake County Schools' System, was recognized as a 2004 Distinguished Title I School for its exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years. Staff members use a tailored classroom instruction based on the state's Standard Course of Study to meet the individual needs of students. Strong parental and community involvement in the school is another reason for Lockhart's academic success. This team effort resulted in Lockhart being designated in 1999-2000 one of the Top 25 K-8 Schools in the state based on academic growth to a School of Excellence for the past two years.

Lockhart Elementary School Principal Martha Martin said that the recognition acknowledges the shared vision, high expectations, passion and commitment of the total school community. "It reinforces Lockhart's belief that, as a school family, we can work together to achieve any goal. The award also reflects the successes of our children, which are what, to us, education is truly all about."

Hunter and Lockhart Elementary Schools were two of 31 elementary and secondary schools across the country to receive the award in addition to a certificate of merit and a Distinguished Title I School Banner. The National Association of State Title I Directors sponsors the award program.

Bill McGrady, who oversees the Department of Public Instruction's Title I Program, commended the staff and students at Hunter and Lockhart Elementary Schools for their efforts to improve the academic achievement of all students saying, "Hunter and Lockhart Elementary Schools exemplify what hard work and dedication can do. Both schools have made a conscious effort to improve the opportunities for all of their students, so that all of their students can achieve success in their academic endeavors."

The goal of Title I is to improve student achievement by helping high-poverty schools upgrade curriculum, extend learning time, provide professional development for teachers, support teacher salaries, increase parental involvement, and purchase materials, supplies and equipment. North Carolina received $261 million in Title I funds this year and served a little over 1,100 schools and over 300,000 students.

This year's Title I Recognition Program focused on schools that had exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years and schools that were able to close the achievement gap between student groups. Winning programs provided:

  • opportunities for all children to meet proficient and advanced levels of performance;
  • professional development for educators;
  • coordination with other programs;
  • curriculum and instruction to support achievement of high standards;
  • partnership among schools, parents and communities; and
  • three years of successful achievement data.

For more information on North Carolina's Title I Program, please contact Bill McGrady, Compensatory Education, DPI, 919.807.3957, or by email,

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.