Grant boosts math instruction in high-need schools

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in Lansdowne, Virginia, has awarded a two-year, $100,000 grant to North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to enhance middle-school mathematics instruction in Northampton County, North Carolina. NCSSM will partner with Northampton County Schools to develop and deliver a high school level integrated mathematics course via interactive videoconferencing to approximately 25 low-income, high-achieving eighth-grade students in each year of the grant. Ultimately, this course and related materials will be available online, free of charge, to schools across the state.

“We especially have to perform better in math.” —Northampton County Schools Superintendent Monica Smith-Woofter

Located in northeastern North Carolina along the Virginia border, the economically distressed Northampton County has a history of low student performance on state assessments. For the past two years, student scores have been lower than the state’s overall composite scores. Students have struggled particularly with mathematics assessments, with scores 70 percent below the state average in the same reporting period. By partnering with NCSSM,  the school district hopes to enhance student performance while building teacher capacity.

“We’re striving to perform better in every subject, but we especially have to perform better in math,” says Northampton County Schools Superintendent Monica Smith-Woofter, who attended Northampton schools herself and taught in the district before being named superintendent. “This partnership with NCSSM and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will give us the momentum we need to achieve that goal. I believe in our students and I believe in our teachers and I know the great things we are capable of.”

“Northampton County is one of those places where some exciting things are happening.” — NCSSM Dean of Distance Education Jamie Lathan

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics faculty will teach the course from the school’s interactive videoconferencing studios in Durham and develop additional digital materials to enhance the course. Northampton County Schools teachers will facilitate the course at their schools while gaining insight into course content and effective teaching methodologies.

“North Carolina has a lot of potential, a lot of intellectual capital, that — given the right tools and the right opportunities to develop and excel — could really make a huge positive impact on the state’s future,” says Jamie Lathan, dean of distance education at NCSSM. “Northampton County is one of those places where some exciting things are happening. The school leaders, from the superintendent’s office to teachers in the classrooms, are committed to the development of their students. We’re excited to be partnering with them on this program, and we’re especially grateful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for their support.”

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling, and other support services to students from 7th grade to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the Excellence Gap, the disparity between the number of low- and high-income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $130 million in scholarships to 1,900 student and over $80 million in grants.