Opportunity Culture at E.O. Young, Jr. Elementary School

Exciting changes are coming to E.O. Young, Jr. Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year.

Principal Marylaura McKoon and her colleagues on the school’s design team for the Opportunity Culture initiative are completing plans to implement the innovative program to benefit students and staff members in the school.

E.O. Young will be one of three local elementary schools launching the Opportunity Culture initiative next school year. After a year of planning, McKoon and her staff are ready to implement the initiative.

Opportunity Culture is designed to extend excellent teaching throughout the school, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, to touch all students. The initiative will require the hiring of a multi-classroom leader, who will coach teachers in the school and will create and facilitate Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Opportunity Culture also will include the employment of an Extended Instructional Teacher (EIT) at the second-grade level who will have a classroom of students and also will pull in a small number of students from other second-grade and first-grade classrooms to work with them during a 90-minute English/language arts block each day. A third new position, Reach Associate (RA), will be filled by a teacher assistant who also will work with students in the EIT’s classroom.

McKoon added that the person in the MCL position will model lessons and teaching for teachers in the school, particularly in grades 3-5. She said this will be especially helpful to any new or novice teachers in the school.

Another key role for the MCL will be to assist classroom teachers to evaluate available data on students’ academic progress to see where he or she can most effectively help the teachers to enable their students to be more successful and to master skills.

Educators who are hired in these three new positions will receive higher pay for their responsibilities.

The hiring process for these three positions at E.O. Young will begin this spring.

McKoon notes that for the 2018-2019 school year, the Opportunity Culture initiative at her school will focus on instruction and support in English/language arts, with plans to expand the focus to mathematics the following school year. Since the MCL will be supporting classroom teachers, he or she will be a reading coach for teachers in grades 3-5 and assist them with classroom management and personal skills, McKoon said.

The work being done as part of the Opportunity Culture initiative in the school will be driven by data available for student achievement. The data will show where students at all grade levels need the most help and the MCL will lead efforts with the teachers to assist the students.

“This is a really good program and I am excited for what it will do for our school,” McKoon said. “It will provide us with the opportunity to expose excellence in teaching to all of our children and will be great support for our teachers. It really is a win-win situation. It will do good things for our school.”

McKoon also said that for the educators selected for the three new, key positions it will be essential that they be committed, good leaders, work well with others and have the ability to develop good relationships with students and colleagues. The MCL, EIT and RA also will have time during each school day to complete their “homework” to help colleagues and students and to have important planning time.

“Each of our schools now involved in Opportunity Culture, has its own design team to plan a program that best fits their school, students and staff,” McKoon added. “Our team also has developed our program budget, which includes funds for the higher pay for the three new positions.”

L.B. Yancey and Pinkston Street elementary schools also will implement their Opportunity Culture initiatives in 2018-2019. Those schools join E.O. Young as the second cohort for the innovative program. The first cohort includes Aycock, Dabney and Zeb Vance elementary schools which began their Opportunity Culture programs this year.

The new positions as part of the schools’ Opportunity Culture initiatives are now open for applications from current teachers (for MCL and EIT) and teacher assistants (for the Reach Associate). Interested persons may apply online at www.vcs.k12.nc.us or seek answers to questions from staff members in the Vance County Schools’ Human Resources Department at 252-492-2127 or by email at amiles@vcs.k12.nc.us.

Image Information: Principal Marylaura McKoon, right, talks with Assistant Principal Cassandra Evans in front of the charts for the school's Opportunity Culture initiative that is being planned for implementation next school year at E.O. Young, Jr. Elementary School.