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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: FEBRUARY 16, 2009


First Flight Elementary (Dare County Schools) and Forestville Road Elementary (Wake County Schools) were recognized recently as Title I Distinguished Schools for 2009.

The Title I Distinguished Schools Recognition Program showcases top schools that are organizing successful academic programs for the state's neediest students. Title I Distinguished schools receive a $7,500 award and school leaders represent the state at the National Title I conference, held this year in San Antonio, Texas, Feb.19-22.

"First Flight Elementary and Forestville Road Elementary are to be congratulated for not only improving student performance but also for the citizenship and character of their students," said Charlotte Hughes, director for Program Monitoring and Support Division at the NC Department of Public Instruction. "As North Carolina Title I Distinguished Schools, they represent the strong efforts of educators to promote student success."

First Flight Elementary, a PK-5 school serving 380 students, was selected as a Title I Distinguished School based on high student performance, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status and having at least 40 percent of its student population qualifying as economically disadvantaged.

First Flight Elementary administrators and teachers are committed to providing rigorous and relevant instruction in a caring, cooperative, creative and safe environment with high expectations for student learning. The school schedule provides a common planning time for teachers and an intervention and enrichment period for students on a daily basis. At weekly collaborative team meetings, teachers evaluate the effectiveness of instructional strategies, share data from formative assessments, and determine interventions to meet specific student needs.

"This recognition is particularly rewarding for the First Flight Elementary faculty and staff, parents and community who have quietly gone about their work of doing whatever it takes to ensure the success of every child," said Principal Parker.

Active involvement in student learning is promoted through cooperative learning, use of hands-on materials, and the integration of technology. The "Kindness, Safety, Cooperation, Respect and Peace" program teaches and recognizes positive student behavior.

Forestville Road Elementary, a PK-5 school serving a diverse 597-member student body with over 43 percent of its students qualifying as economically disadvantaged, was selected as a Title I Distinguished School based on closing the achievement gap between different groups of students.

For three consecutive years, the school has made AYP, even though to do so the school must meet 25 target goals. The school must meet proficiency and participation goals for six student groups -- all students, Black, Hispanic, White, economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities -- in reading and math. The school has made a 5 percent gain in math scores over the past three years.

"The key to our success is our passionate belief that all children can succeed and that it is our responsibility to ensure that this happens," said Forestville's Principal Dianne Pridgen. "Our caring relationships and high expectations provide the supportive net to catch all students and give them opportunities to reach their highest potential.

In Forestville's professional learning communities, teachers meet regularly to evaluate lessons aligned to state standards, analyze data, monitor student progress, collaborate in classroom planning and ask questions about learning that improve teaching practices. A core teacher intervention team provides targeted intervention in reading, math and writing during the instructional day. The school offers tutoring before and after school and Saturday camps.

A pilot school for Building Thinking Skills, Forestville's staff help students develop their critical thinking skills and use creative problem-solving to set and achieve realistic academic and personal goals.

Both First Flight Elementary and Forestville Road Elementary made high growth in student achievement under North Carolina's ABCs program in the 2007-08 school year.

Nominees for Title I Distinguished Schools' recognition were pre-selected at the state level with one candidate being selected from each region for each of the two categories. Other 2009 nominees for the high student performance category were: Rock Ridge Elementary (Wilson County Schools), Laurel Elementary (Madison County Schools), Green Valley Elementary (Watauga County Schools), East Elementary (Cleveland County Schools), District 7 Elementary (Cumberland County Schools) and Brinson Memorial Elementary (Craven County Schools).

Three additional 2009 nominees for the closing the achievement gap category were: South End Elementary (Rockingham County Schools), Gardners Elementary (Wilson County Schools) and Meadow Lane Elementary (Wayne County Schools).

For more information, please contact the NCDPI 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.