Doing School Better

March - April 2017 Innovation ECPS News

Innovate With Us: Opportunity Culture Positions Open March 1st!

Do you see straight rows of desks and think, "It's 2017 - this isn't what education looks like anymore!" Then expand your impact in the ECPS Innovation Zone! Starting March 1st, new opportunities to teach and lead will be posted for Coker-Wimberly Elementary School, Phillips Middle School, and North Edgecombe High School. Design teams at each school have developed Multi-Classroom Leader, Expanded Impact Teacher, and Reach Associate positions for educators who want to earn more money and impact more scholars - without leaving the classroom. The mission of the Innovation Zone is to create rigorous, authentic learning environments where students will develop into the architects of their own lives - if you want to be a part of this movement or you know someone who should, visit for more information!

West Edgecombe Middle School: Where Everyone Succeeds Together

Innovation at West Edgecombe Middle School (WEMS) isn't about technology. It's not about fancy programs or new instructional techniques. It's all about relationships - authentic, caring relationships between students and staff, between administrators and teachers, and between parents and educators. The WEMS team is fostering those relationships in a variety of unique ways. Parents and community members can come into the school and do a walk-through of the building at any time of the day - announced or unannounced. Students are frequently asked for input into major decisions - as Principal Claude Archer puts it, "There is no way we can build a strong culture without the input of our kids." Teachers are given the autonomy to do what they do best; in fact, Instructional Coach Yolanda Johnson says that this has been the most rewarding year of her 25-year career because she is encouraged to "use her gifts to help students achieve." Every Friday, teachers and administrators visit a different neighborhood in the community to hand out snacks and strike up conversations. As teacher Brooke Sykes says, "We don't believe that there are some kids you just can't reach. We are here to make a difference in everybody."

And according to the students and parents, that's just what is happening at WEMS. Skyler Hodge, 8th grader and student government president, describes Principal Archer as someone who makes sure he's on track with academics and with life outside of the classroom: "If you need somebody to talk to, he's there." 6th grader Malena Chapman says that WEMS is a place where "we can be ourselves." And Mr. Frank Reynolds, father of a 6th grader, appreciates that the WEMS staff sees the potential of his son and feels that they are "on a mission" to help him grow as a leader.

In the years ahead, WEMS team members are planning to channel their innovative spirit into helping their scholars develop the "soft" skills necessary to succeed in college and their careers. WEMS scholars have an advantage already - they see these skills modeled for them every day by the collaborative, caring families and school staff that surround them.

Envisioning the Future of ECPS

A transformational education for every ECPS scholar starts with a shared vision. That's why ECPS Superintendent John Farrelly has convened the Blue Ribbon Commission on Educational Equity and invited stakeholders from across the community to come together to answer the question: "What is the future we imagine for our scholars?"

Students, parents, educators, business owners, faith leaders, community activists, and others are invited to attend a series of three town hall meetings and school visits this spring. Through these shared conversations and experiences, stakeholders will develop a vision for the success of all ECPS scholars and recommend priorities for the district's new three-year plan. Read the EdNC article about the kickoff to this work, and join future discussions!

Town Hall Meetings (open to the public):

Tuesday, March 21st, 6:30 PM, North Edgecombe HS: Focus - Educational Equity

Tuesday, April 11, 6:30 PM, Tarboro HS: Focus - Human Capital

Tuesday, May 9, 6:30 PM, SW Edgecombe HS: Focus - Educating the Whole Child

School Visit Series dates and locations are listed below. Please email Erin Swanson at for more details.

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Preparing for Life after High School

Innovation Around ECPS

  • Autism Learning Community: The ECPS Exceptional Children's Department has created a unique Professional Learning Community (PLC) specifically for educators serving children with autism. Autism PLC members meet every 6 weeks to develop their skills and discuss innovative approaches to helping their students soar.

  • Edgecombe Early College Scholar Teachers Program: The new ECPS Scholar Teachers Program will provide outstanding high school students in Edgecombe County who desire to become teachers with the most advanced preparatory program currently available in eastern North Carolina. Program themes include service learning, social justice, and the power of place. Students will complete all prerequisite courses required for entry into the College of Education at any university in the UNC system. Any rising junior or senior in Edgecombe County with a strong interest in an education career is invited to apply! Applications are due March 20, 2017.

  • Video Game Design & Coding: Students at Martin Millennium Academy and Pattillo Middle School are putting the 4 C's - critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity - into action every day! Through popular clubs, STEAM classes, and Career and Technical Education courses, students are learning the technical skills and the "soft" skills needed for success in video game design and coding. Scholars throughout the district can participate in quarterly Technology Nights focused on these skills, as well.

  • #AMPLIFYECPS: Teams from across the district met for the second time in February with staff from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to #AMPLIFY their instruction. They articulated a new vision for teaching and learning built around the 4 C's. See the inspiring example below!
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Innovation ECPS in the News

Opportunity Culture in ECPS

Student Ownership & Empowerment

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. Click "Follow" and subscribe to this newsletter to learn more!