News

Planning Sessions Focus on Goals of Innovative Schools


Raleigh, N.C. -- Hundreds of North Carolina educators are gathering this week to discuss ways to continue improving their schools to ensure that every student graduates ready for college, careers and life.

The educators, all from schools affiliated with the North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP), are participating in six Regional Action Planning (RAP) sessions held today and Thursday across the state, allowing them to foster a collaborative support culture, network with peers to strengthen action-planning efforts, and receive support tailored to the needs of their school team. The RAP sessions engage principals and teachers in carefully designed, high quality professional development with NCNSP staff, leadership coaches, instructional coaches and their peers.

“In most school districts, principals work within their school to set goals for an improvement plan, but they might not get any feedback. The document tends to be more of a checklist,” says Jodi Anderson, director of North Carolina Center for Educational Leadership at NCNSP. “For us, this is part of a continuous improvement cycle where schools learn from their peers, share best practices and benefit from ongoing support and coaching.”

These innovative schools began the improvement planning process last spring and further refined their plans following the 2011 Summer Institute. NCNSP staff will continue to follow up with school visits and coaching conversations centered around the schools’ action plans to ensure that the right goals are being measured and met.

By meeting in regional groups, schools share similar demographics and similar challenges.

“These are unusual schools, so they need innovative strategies,” Anderson says. “When schools talk about what they’re doing and get feedback from their peers that can either validate or change their goals and strategies, they can harness the power of this peer group to move the school forward.”

Bringing teachers and principals together to share ideas and planning also builds leadership among both groups, says Loretta Rowland-Kitley, principal of Early/Middle College at Guilford Technical Community College at Jamestown.

“Our NSP annual self-assessment is invaluable for our school, and we use this document throughout the year to see how we are doing on our action plan,” Rowland-Kitley says. “We have worked hard to make connections between the action plan and our state- and district-required school improvement plan,” she says. “The regional planning session will give us another opportunity to review our progress, as well as learn from other participants. The camaraderie of participants is one of the most valuable aspects of being a part of this network.”

Principals work throughout the year in small regional groups – known as Leadership Innovation Networks (LIN groups) – to leverage the knowledge of their colleagues through a collaborative approach.

“Our LIN group meetings give us an opportunity to share ideas and successes, as well as review problem areas and ask for advice from our peers,” says Rowland-Kitley. “Many of us share similar situations within our schools, and learning how others deal with challenges helps us find possible solutions for our own situations. Many years of educational experience within the same room makes an astounding resource.”

The following schools will be attending a RAP session Tuesday, Nov. 29:

At Haywood Education Center:

  • Avery County High School STEM Academy
  • Blue Ridge Early College High School
  • Buncombe County Early College
  • Caldwell Early College
  • Haywood Early College High School
  • Henderson County Early College High School
  • Jackson County Early College High School
  • Macon County Early College High School
  • Madison Early College
  • Mayland Early College High School
  • McDowell Early College
  • Polk County Early College
  • School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville
  • Tri-County Early College High School

At Lee Early College:

  • Franklin County Early College High School
  • Granville Early College High School
  • Hillside New Technology High School
  • J.F. Webb High School of Health and Life Sciences
  • Johnston County Early College Academy
  • Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School
  • Lee Early College
  • Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School
  • South Granville High School of Health and Life Sciences
  • Southern School of Engineering
  • Vance County Early College High School
  • Wake Early College of Health Sciences
  • Wake NC State University STEM Early College High School
  • Warren Early College High School
  • Wilson Early College Academy

At UNC-Wilmington:

  • Brunswick County Early College High School
  • Columbus Career and College Academy
  • Cross Creek Early College High School
  • Craven Early College High School
  • Cumberland International Early College High School
  • Early College EAST High School
  • Howard Health and Life Science High School
  • Isaac Bear Early College High School
  • Lenoir County Early College High School
  • Pender Early College High School
  • Robeson Early College High School
  • Sampson County Early College High School
  • SandHoke Early College High School
  • Scotland Early College High School
  • Scotland High School
  • Wayne Early/Middle College High School
  • Wayne School of Engineering at Goldsboro High School
  • Wilmington Early College High School

The following schools will be attending a RAP session Thursday, Dec. 1:

At Iredell-Statesville VAPA Center:

  • Anson Early College High School
  • Cabarrus/Kannapolis Early College High School
  • Challenger Early College High School
  • Cleveland Early College High School
  • Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership
  • Davie County Early College High School
  • Iredell-Statesville Visual and Performing Arts Early College High School
  • The Newton School (Newton Conover Health Science High School)
  • Richmond Early College
  • Rowan County Early College High School
  • Rutherford Early College High School
  • Stanly Early College High School
  • Union County Early College

At Atkins Academic/Technology High School:

  • Atkins Academic/Technology High School
  • Davidson Early College High School
  • Early-Middle College at Bennett
  • Early College of Forsyth
  • Middle College at GTCC – Greensboro
  • Middle College at GTCC – Jamestown
  • Middle College at GTCC – High Point
  • Middle College at NC A&T State University
  • Middle College at UNC-G
  • Randolph Early College High School
  • Rockingham Early College High School
  • Stokes Early College High School
  • Surry Early College High School of Design
  • Wilkes Early College High School
  • Yadkin Early College High School

At Halifax Community College:

  • Beaufort County Early College High School
  • Bertie County Early College High School
  • Bertie STEM High School
  • City of Medicine Academy
  • Columbia Early College High School
  • Duplin Early College High School
  • East Duplin High School
  • Edgecombe Early College High School
  • Greene Early College High School
  • Hertford County Early College High School
  • James Kenan High School
  • J.P. Knapp Early College
  • Mattamuskeet Early College High School
  • North Duplin High School
  • Roanoke Valley Early College
  • Wallace-Rose Hill High School

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The North Carolina New Schools Project is a statewide public-private partnership that sparks sustainable innovation in North Carolina secondary schools. Its vision is to ensure every student graduates ready for college, careers and life. The North Carolina New Schools Project partners with school districts, businesses and higher education to link innovation in education to the emerging economy.