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North Carolina received good news from Washington. The US Secretary of Education announced that the Tar Heel State will receive more than $91 million to turn around its persistently lowest achieving schools.

Brunswick County Academy is a Tier II school, a high school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title 1 funds. It’s consistently one of the lowest-achieving high schools in the state or has a graduation rate of less than 60 percent. Brunswick County Academy is one school in our area eligible for the grant money.

The school district applied for the grant and is asking for $2 million per year for three years. The federal government requires schools that get the money to change their system by implementing one of four intervention models.

If Brunswick County Academy gets the money, school board member Shirley Babson says it will follow the transformation model. That means they’ll have to replace their current principal and improve the school through comprehensive curriculum reform, professional development, and extend learning time among other strategies.

“Be a school that can help those students, who have not been successful in other schools. That was the purpose of the school when it came there and I certainly do not want to ever do away with that,” Babson said. “There are fewer Tier II schools in the state. We think we have a good opportunity to get it.”

The Brunswick County School District now has to wait for approval. If it receive funds, it can start spending the money immediately to turn schools around for this fall.

A New Hanover County Schools spokesperson said that district could really use the financial help as well, but their schools fall under the Tier III category. Tier III schools can only receive funds once all of the state’s lowest-achieving schools have received funds, so the chances of new hanover getting any money are slim.

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