A developing network of innovative STEM secondary schools with a focus on biotechnology and agriscience – including a regional STEM school in northeastern North Carolina – will be significantly enhanced by a $500,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to the NC New Schools Project, a key partner in the network and regional model school.
Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Board of Trustees last month approved the NC New Schools Project’s proposal, aimed at creating a school that can serve as a prototype for networked approaches to innovative secondary school education and also for a specific STEM focus on biotechnology and agriscience. The NC New Schools Project is working in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to develop networks of STEM schools across the state with a number of different career themes.
“Innovative solutions, like those being carried out by the North Carolina New Schools Project, are crucial to preparing students for college and career success,” said Michele Cahill, Vice President, National Program, and Program Director, Urban Education at Carnegie Corporation. “To address gaps in high-need subject areas like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), NCNSP is leveraging local expertise by creating strong biotech and agriscience partnerships.”
The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience – the state’s first public school with a regional governing board – will open in August with an initial class of 60 ninth graders and will eventually grow to as many as 500 students in grades 7-13 from at least five counties. The regional STEM early college high school will serve as a statewide model and partner in a broader effort to transform a region that has suffered economic decline, loss of jobs and population, and low academic achievement since the early 1990s.
This new school will build on the region’s growing strength in biotechnology and agriscience and focus the secondary school experience on significant future challenges facing the region and the world. Among the thematic issues students in the school will explore in depth are sustainability and the challenge of providing food for the world’s growing population without degrading the environment.
Tony Habit, president of NCNSP, called the Carnegie Corporation grant a critical investment in North Carolina’s continuing efforts to improve educational opportunities for all students, especially those limited by poverty, family education and geographic isolation.
“These funds will help lay a strong foundation for a school – and a network of schools – that promise to prepare students with the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and careers,” Habit said. “North Carolina’s future depends on a workforce that can solve problems and think on its feet.”
During the next 18-months the grant will:
- Establish a partnership with NC State University, coordinated with the provost’s office, to shape a university wide strategy to advance the biotechnology and agriscience STEM network of secondary schools. A research assistant based at NCSU will lead this effort to engage faculty in engineering, education, agriculture, and other areas. The aim is to help provide a prototype for university engagement in secondary STEM education;
- Provide a technology instructional coach to aid the development of a one-to-one computing model at the regional school and to advance one-to-one computer access in schools across the region;
- Provide a lead math teacher at the school to teach integrated mathematics while also creating a model for professional development serving the initial five cooperating school districts engaged in the school;
- Develop case studies and videos of instructional strategies at the school to advance the statewide network of biotechnology and agriscience STEM schools and aligned instruction.
The Northeast Regional School for Biotechnology and Agriscience is a joint endeavor of: NC New Schools Project, North Carolina State University, NC Department of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, Beaufort County Schools, Martin County Schools, Pitt County Schools, Tyrrell County Schools, Washington County Schools, Avoca Inc. and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. The school is also receiving support from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Joining Our Businesses and Schools (JOBS) Commission.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.
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.