New Schools Project is Focus of May RTRP Institutional Partners Meeting

Research Triangle Region, N.C. – An innovative secondary school project seeks to graduate every North Carolina Student ready for college, careers and life.

Tony Habit, president of the North Carolina New Schools Project, reported on the initiative at the quarterly meeting of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) Institutional Partners on May 5.

The New Schools Project is an independent, not-for-profit public-private partnership of the N.C.  Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction that seeks to change secondary education by transforming existing schools, creating focused and rigorous schools that serve all students demands, and establishing new schools in non-traditional settings, such as college campuses or local hospitals. The schools all emphasize acquisition of college credit prior to graduation and strategies to incorporate essential skills development.

“Keeping North Carolina competitive in today’s economy depends on the success of underrepresented students,” Habit said.

A total of 107 new schools opened in 2010-2011 serving more than 23,000 students through a collaboration of 71 of the state’s 115 local school districts and higher education partners, Habit said. Twenty are located in the 13-county Research Triangle Region, the area served by RTRP. Six are in Wake County, four in Durham and Granville counties, two in Warren County and one each in Franklin, Johnston, Lee and Vance counties.

Habit thanked RTRP for making education a priority in its 2011 Legislative Action Agenda.

“When students don’t graduate or fail to further their education, we all pay,” he said. “The costs may be buried, in lost productivity and wages, or they may be obvious, such as in higher crime and the burden on the criminal justice system. But either way, taxpayers, communities and young people suffer.”

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RTRP’s Institutional Partners includes government, academic and nonprofit organizations that voluntarily align their strategies and activities to support the region’s economic development strategy, called “The Shape of Things To Come.” The group meets quarterly to review progress, results and plan toward achieving the goals of the strategic plan and to receive briefings on issues and activities related regional economic competitiveness.

The next quarterly Institutional Partners meeting will be Aug. 4. For more information, to attend or to make a presentation, contact Pam Wall, RTRP vice president of product development, at (919) 840-7372, ext 24 or

RTRP is the public-private organizations that leads economic development for the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina, home to The Research Triangle Park and the 13 counties of Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren. For more information, visit