Doing School Better

November / December 2016

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Welcome to Innovation ECPS!

Problem solvers. Creative thinkers. Entrepreneurs. World Changers.

Our mission at Innovation ECPS is to create the conditions for our students to become transformational leaders - now and in the future. We seek out cutting-edge solutions to our greatest challenges, pilot promising ideas, and scale strategies that work.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn about:

  • Cool ideas we're thinking and talking about
  • Innovative partners we're working with
  • How our pilots and other innovations are progressing
  • Opportunities for innovative teachers and leaders to join our team

Putting the "EDGE" in Edgecombe County: Innovation at Pattillo Middle School

Walk into Pattillo Middle School on any Wednesday morning and you'll hear an enthusiastic chorus of, "G-O-O-D-M-O-R-N-I-N-G! Good morning! Good morning!" coming from the gym. The entire school convenes weekly for Harambee, a gathering adapted from the Freedom Schools summer program that's designed to celebrate literacy and build community. Harambee is a Swahili term meaning, "let's pull together," and these weekly events are just one way that the Pattillo Middle School team is working to create a stronger and more inclusive school culture. Principal Lauren Lampron and her staff have also implemented a Power Lunch, during which students are able to choose their own lunch time and attend an extracurricular club of their choice. Club choices include American Sign Language, Drum Circle, Coding, Indoor Walking, Service, and MakerSpace, to name a few, and they all receive rave reviews from the students. Lampron says that Power Lunch and Harambee aren't only about culture, however. "Both strategies are also aimed at helping our students improve their academic skills. During Harambee, a guest reader inspires a love of reading in the students by sharing and discussing a favorite story or poem. During Power Lunch, students engage in targeted remediation and enrichment based on their specific needs," says Lampron.

How did Lampron and her team arrive at these innovative strategies? "Our School Improvement Team spent last year brainstorming ways in which our school could challenge the status quo. Teachers went on site visits, engaged in thoughtful debates of scheduling options, and embraced the work occurring at Freedom Schools. We are blessed to have a team of teachers that wants to offer our students a nontraditional school experience." Want to see Harambee or Power Lunch in action? Contact Ms. Lampron at

Personalizing Learning in ECPS

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A team of ECPS teachers, administrators, and media coordinators is partnering with The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to amplify their classrooms. Throughout the year, the Amplify ECPS team will be developing an understanding of what personalized learning looks like in action; learning how to incorporate the 4Cs (Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking) into daily instruction; and exploring digital tools and their direct application to the 4Cs. Team members will develop units of instruction using the 4Cs as a framework, and then open up their classroom doors so that other educators can learn from their experiences and provide ongoing feedback. This innovative work will be featured in future newsletters.

On Our Minds

  • School-based Mental Health: How can we better serve our students with mental and behavioral health needs? The NC State Board of Education is asking that question, too - in November, they began to consider initial recommendations from the NC School Mental Health Initiative. In ECPS, we are exploring ways to provide mental health services and help our students build social/emotional skills during the school day - stay tuned for updates!
  • "Restarting" at Coker-Wimberly Elementary: The 2017-2018 school year will mark a new start for the students at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School. The school was approved as a "Restart" by the NC State Board of Education this summer, which means that it will benefit from many of the same exemptions from state rules and regulations as charter schools. The Coker-Wimberly School Design Team is holding sessions in November, December, and January to engage the school staff and community in planning for the new school design.
  • Imagining the Future of Edgecombe County: What is the future we imagine for our students and community? What is ECPS's role in making this a reality? What strengths can we build upon, and what challenges must we address? These are a few of the questions we will be seeking to answer in collaboration with our students, staff, families, and community partners over the course of the next six months as we refine our district vision and priorities. Input from all stakeholders is critical to the success of this work - please be on the lookout for opportunities to join the conversation, which will be advertised in the weeks to come!

Consider This

8 New Jobs People Will Have in 2025: Sparks & Honey, a New York trend-spotting firm, has a wall in its office where staff can post imaginative next-generation jobs. Read about 8 of them.
9 Elephants in the (Class)Room that Should Unsettle Us: A list of things that we don't really want to talk about in education ... but that deserve our attention now.

Thanks to our friends at Transcend - a national nonprofit dedicated to accelerating innovation in the core design of "school" - for these great reads!