11/01/06 — Goldsboro High to share $20,000 in grant money

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Goldsboro High to share $20,000 in grant money

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 1, 2006 1:45 PM

Goldsboro High School will be one of three low-performing schools in the state that will share a $20,000 national grant to enhance staff development and to encourage more parental involvement.

The funding from the National Education Association will help the N.C. Association of Educators revise state education policies and create initiatives to close the gaps in student achievement.

Along with schools in Mecklenburg and Guilford counties, Goldsboro High will receive $9,000 in funding and professional assistance. Each school determines how the money will be used, but typically the grants have been used toward such areas as staff development, parenting training and new teacher support.

Goldsboro Principal Patricia Burden said the bulk of their money will be used to promote parenting programs.

"Of the $9,000 the school is receiving, $5,000 of that will sponsor Parent Academy four times this school year. That money will include providing transportation as needed, day care as needed, paying for consultants or guest speakers, food for the day," as well as materials for the parents, she said.

One Parent Academy was held in September, Ms. Burden said. The program's focus was on motivation, responsibility and discussion about the core subjects offered at the high school -- English, math and science. The session also included responses to questions raised by the parents.

"I think those parents that came really enjoyed themselves," she said. "We're looking for an even larger turnout in January."

The remaining $4,000 of the grant will be earmarked for staff development, Ms. Burden said.

"We're very fortunate at Goldsboro High School," she said, noting that Wayne County commissioners also got on board earlier in the school year.

"They heard about this grant, asked how much they thought it would be, how much we needed, then extended an additional $3,000 to support our Parent Academy," she said.

Ms. Burden expressed gratitude to the local chapter of the N.C. Association of Educators for bringing the grant availability to her attention.

"I'm glad we're helping them," said Cherry Townsend, Wayne County NCAE chapter president. "I'm happy that we received that amount. With 500 members in Wayne County in NCAE, any grants and funding we can get, we're appreciative."

The state NCAE office will provide support and training at the three schools. In addition to programs and materials, the NCAE is giving each school 5,000 "Great News" postcards to communicate positive news to parents about their student, said Karen Archia, public information coordinator for the NCAE.

The association has been working statewide for five years toward providing the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction with assistance on closing the achievement gaps. At the State Board of Education meeting in June, NCAE was listed as a partner to assist low-performing high schools.

NCAE President Eddie Davis said the organization wants to continue supporting its members and providing strategies that are proven to enhance student learning and classroom instruction.

"We want to help these schools build a strong community support base by supporting the leadership and members as they begin a journey of change, including tough conversations around what must be done to close the achievement gaps," Davis said.

The North Carolina grant is one of 22 awarded by NEA to state affiliates across the country in an effort to close the student achievement gaps.