NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: FEBRUARY 20, 2012


DPI Plans Program to Operate on Two Campuses, Serving 550 Students

State Superintendent June Atkinson today announced that, thanks to the more than $700,000 raised by the North Carolina Governor's School Foundation, 550 high school students will spend five weeks this summer taking their studies in math, science, language and the arts to the next level.

After the General Assembly eliminated state funding to the Governor's School in the 2011-13 budget, the Foundation launched a campaign to raise money to save the program. Because of these fundraising efforts, the Department of Public Instruction will be able to operate the School at both of its host campuses this summer. Governor's School 2012 will serve 275 students at each of two campuses: Salem College in Winston-Salem and Meredith College in Raleigh.

"Surveys have shown us that Governor's School alumni are likely to go to college, graduate, remain in North Carolina and pursue a career in which they are able to help their communities," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "All you have to do is speak with one or two graduates to see how valuable the program is to young people and what a worthwhile investment it is for our state."

Roice Fulton, vice president of the Governor's School Foundation, aims to demonstrate the School's economic value to legislators this spring. "We now have the hard data to show that the program has a remarkable return on investment," he said. "A majority of alumni remain not just within North Carolina, but in their hometown communities – driving our economic engine in every reach of the state." The Foundation is preparing to launch a grassroots advocacy campaign to restore state funding in early March.

Starting in 2010, participating students were required to pay a $500 tuition fee to attend Governor's School to help offset program costs. The tuition requirement will continue this year. It will be the responsibility of the public school system, charter school or private school that nominated a student to pay his or her tuition if selected. Each school or school system determines how it will assess and collect the fee: options include paying the fee from local budgets, obtaining a corporate sponsor or requesting that parents cover the cost.

"The tuition requirement has already limited school systems and schools from sending participants, and it would present even greater challenges if parents were required to pay the full tuition costs." Atkinson said. "If we are going to protect and preserve this program beyond 2012, we will need lawmakers to return state funding for the Governor's School."

Three donors, the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Heisman Foundation, and the Florence Rogers Charitable Trust, have designated a portion of their donations to provide scholarships to cover the cost of tuition for a small number of students. The Governor's School Foundation, which will oversee the scholarship program, will provide 2012 students application information when they are invited to attend the School.

"We're happy that we can help offer Governor's School to some who might otherwise be unable to attend," said Jim Hart, a member of the Foundation who is coordinating the scholarship process. "But it's too late to help the many deserving students who decided not to apply because of the cost."

Students must be nominated to attend Governor's School by their local school superintendents, charter school directors or private school headmasters. Each school system, charter school and private school is allotted a certain number of nominations based on its 10th and 11th grade populations. Students are nominated in one of 10 curriculum areas: Art, Choral Music, Dance, English, Foreign Language (French and Spanish), Instrumental Music, Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science and Theater. The Governor's School curriculum focuses on the exploration of the most recent ideas and concepts in each discipline, and does not involve credit, tests or grades.

"The Governor's School provided the academic rigor, exceptionally engaging instruction, and social climate that made me want to pursue a post-secondary education and work to improve the lives of my family, my community, and my country," said Dr. Daniel Dickerson, a Governor's School East alumnus and an associate professor of science education, STEM education and professional studies at Old Dominion University. "I would not have gone to Governor's School without the state's support. I have never forgotten the investment the people of North Carolina made in me."

Dickerson was the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned a bachelor's degree in science education from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master's degree and Ph. D. in science education from N.C. State University. He is currently involved in over $5 million worth of grant-funded projects, owns a small business in North Carolina, and trains science teachers and educators who work throughout the country and world to improve the lives of their students.

Founded in 1963, the Governor's School of North Carolina is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. The program is open to rising seniors only, with exceptions made for rising juniors in selected performing/visual arts areas. Nominations for the 2012 session have already been submitted. The list of selected students will be available in March. For more information, visit .

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.