The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 22, 2013

NECP literacy program gets a boost


TARBORO — North East Carolina Prep School’s reading program just received a boost – a $5,000 grant from Walden University. The grant targets students in grades four through nine at the charter school.

“The grant provides a wonderful opportunity to augment our unique approach to instruction at NECP,” said NECP Executive Director John Westberg. “The money will be allocated to support our literacy program, which targets students who need extra help in that area.”

NECP’s reading interventionist Nicole Bennett and NECP’s Director of Communications Diane LeFiles worked together to write the grant application. Bennett is a 2008 graduate of Walden and the grants were earmarked for Walden graduates. Walden is the flagship online university in the “Laureate International Universities” network—a global network of more than 75 campus-based and online universities in 30 countries.

The grant specifically will be used to purchase Science Research Associates (SRA) kits produced by the McGraw-Hill Company.

“The kits are leveled-reading guides that allow students to learn at their own pace,” Bennett said. “The kits contain different stories based on each student’s reading, spelling and vocabulary level. These materials allow the children to take ownership of their learning and then they are really able to grow and build their skills.”

NECP has a three-member literacy team – reading interventionists Bennett and Nannette Woodworth and Director of Literacy Jennifer Blunier. The interventionists teach reading in small groups to children who need additional help in that subject, LeFiles said.

NECP was one of five schools nationwide to receive a grant, in conjunction with Thursday’s nationwide celebration of “Educator for a Day.”

Grants were awarded based on teachers’ and administrators’ answers to essay questions about what non-educators should know about their school, what makes their school unique and how their school would use the grant money.

“This unique school is focused on the philosophy of Dr. Howard Gardner, who recognized individuals exhibit intelligence in multiple ways and learn best through teaching and learning techniques that tap into those areas,” NECP wrote in its grant application. “Utilizing Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory, NECP educators deliver the Core Knowledge spiraling curriculum aligned with NC Common Core Standards and college/career readiness measures.”

NECP also addressed its need for the funding in its application:

“North Carolina charter schools receive limited state/local funding based solely on student enrollment. NECP relies on ingenuity; careful budgeting, donations, and active grant writing to secure resources to meet the needs of its students.”

NECP is in its second year of operation and is currently accepting applications for the 2014-2015 school year. Open enrollment ends Jan. 15 and applications are available online at  HYPERLINK ""