Grant allows ECSU, local schools to redesign 'Trigg school

Kesha Williams
January 07, 2005Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) will collaborate with the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools (ECPPS) to redesign the H. L. Trigg Community School. ECSU received a letter of notification from Eve Hall, Executive Director of the Thurgood Marshall/Gates Foundation Redesign Program, indicating their selection for a redesign school. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports various redesign schools across the country to help students reach their full potential and prepare for college. The Thurgood Marshall Foundation manages funds for assorted educational programs at public, historically black colleges and universities. The organization channels funds from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to select universities who assist with the redesign of selected local public schools. The collaborative partnership of ECSU and ECPPS has received a planning and implementation grant, $325,000, over a five-year period, to implement the program. A sustainability committee is searching for additional grants and donations to assist them with full program implementation and with sustainability after program funds are exhausted. Their immediate goal this year is to carefully plan for the new school. The school will serve students in grades 6-12 and house a maximum of 200 students. Committee members say the new school will help students overcome learning barriers they may have experienced at other public schools. Dr. Claudie Mackey, Associate Vice Chancellor-External Relations at ECSU and a member of the planning committee for the new school says the program will give many students a new chance at success. "When you look at Pasquotank County Schools, there are some students who are not trouble makers but they aren't excelling in the large school environment," Dr. Claudie Mackey said. "We hope to create a new, small school environment where those underachieving youngsters will have that opportunity." The planning committee will use a number of human and material resources to create this new learning environment. ECSU facilities such as the library, the planetarium, the radio and TV stations, and the recording studio will be used to enlighten youths of the range of professions they can consider. Mrs. Anne White, Middle Grades Coordinator in ECSU's Education Department and a member of the planning committee, said exposure to various resources outside the classroom will complement the rigorous curriculum planned for the school. "With this program, we are not just thinking of the teacher and student alone. We will bring together the parents, resources of the community, Elizabeth City State University, and business and industry. So, this is a collaborative effort. We want our community to be the best it can be; we want to maximize the potential of the humans living here," White said. "The focus of the new school will be on the three R's for the 21st Century, Rigor, Relationships, and Results," she continued. Linwood Williams, Assistant Superintendent of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools believes the small classes, use of mentors and personalized education plans will help to decrease county wide drop-out rates. "This is certainly an opportunity for at-risk students. They will leave school ready or prepared to further their education. They'll be exposed to different resources here, college facilities, college educators and college students. It can all be used to enhance the learning experience," Williams said. Organizers are in the planning phase now but anticipate fall 2005 as the opening date for the new school.