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Appalachian will partner with Middle Fork Elementary in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools on Laboratory School

By Mary Giunca

BOONE, N.C.—Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education (RCOE) will partner with Middle Fork Elementary School in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School (WS/FCS) district on a new laboratory school that will open during the 2018-19 school year. Middle Fork has named Tasha Hall Powell the school’s new principal.

View larger imageDr. Beverly Emory, superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Photo provided by WS/FCSView larger imageDean Melba Spooner has shepherded the collaboration between Appalachian’s Reich College of Education and Winston Salem/Forsyth County Schools since 2014. Photo by Marie Freeman

Powell has served as assistant principal at Middle Fork since 2015. Before coming to Middle Fork, she was curriculum coordinator at Cook Elementary School and served as an instructional facilitator in the district office. She held a prior position as assistant principal in Cabarrus County from 2001 to 2009. She has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and a master’s and Education Specialist degree from Appalachian.

Appalachian was selected as one of eight institutions within the University of North Carolina system charged with establishing a laboratory school in districts with more than 25 percent of schools identified according to state guidelines as “low performing.” The University of North Carolina Board of Governors selected Appalachian because of the quality of its educator preparation program.

The RCOE and WS/FCS have a history of collaboration. The college has maintained a presence in the area since 2000, with literacy as a focus for teacher professional development. For example, the college’s reading education master’s program has offered courses in Winston-Salem since 2002, and many area teachers hold the M.A. degree and reading licensure from Appalachian.

This partnership, which was formalized through a joint agreement negotiated in 2014 and 2015 and signed in 2016 by Dr. Melba Spooner, dean of the Reich College of Education, and Dr. Beverly Emory, WS/FCS superintendent, provides support for literacy professional development to school system teachers.

The RCOE and WS/FCS considered the legislative mandate as an opportunity to build on their existing partnership, and the RCOE intends to work with the district in finding the best approach for meeting the needs of the children, communities and staff.

“We have an existing partnership with ASU that creates a strong foundation moving into the Lab School collaboration,” said Emory. “Creating a learning environment that allows for creative strategies to improve student outcomes and to develop innovative educators is an opportunity we embrace.”

In accordance with N.C. House Bill 1030, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees will oversee the lab school, including establishing an advisory board, the academic program for the school and standards of performance and conduct for the school. The implementation team for the lab school will spend the 2017-18 academic year in several stages of planning.

About the Reich College of Education

Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education (RCOE) enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.