Schools began using Opportunity Culture models in:
Learn more about the Opportunity Culture initiative in Wilson County Schools by visiting this website.
The North Carolina State Board of Education awarded an Advanced Teaching Roles grant to Wilson County Schools in fall 2020 to join the national Opportunity Culture initiative. The district used the grant funding to design and strengthen its Opportunity Culture plans for implementation in fall 2021.
The district intends to use Opportunity Culture roles to help address difficulties in recruiting and retaining great teachers, and to strengthen student learning. The roles extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to many more students, provide intensive support to all Opportunity Culture educators, and create paid career paths that let great teachers advance without leaving the classroom.
“We are excited about the opportunities the Advanced Teaching Roles grant will provide for our schools and our district as we work hard to recruit and retain the very best educators to guide and inspire our students,” Superintendent Lane Mills said. “By implementing the Opportunity Culture model, we will be able to improve the quality of newly hired teachers, assist current teachers and add to the instructional knowledge base of our school system to increase student achievement. This grant will help lead an advancement in teaching and create pathways to encourage educators to grow in their profession while still continuing to teach.”
As of fall 2020, Wilson County has 26 schools and about 600 teachers. They serve 10,508 students, of whom about 44 percent are Black, 29 percent are white, and 22 percent are Hispanic. Forty-eight percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
- Public Impact Press Release: Wilson County, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Districts Win North Carolina Advanced Teaching Roles Funding to Implement Opportunity Culture
Leading Through Co-Teaching a Combined Class
As a temporary solution to a shortage of paraprofessional reach associates who can provide release time, Multi-Classroom Leader Sunil Dutt combines one of his math blocks with that of a new teacher into one large group meeting in the library, so that Dutt can co-teach and model instruction.
Dramatic Student Growth Follows Focus on Data, Small-Group Tutoring, and Collaboration
Lucama Elementary, a rural, Title I school in Wilson County, North Carolina, implemented several Opportunity Culture roles in 2021–22. Following a focus on data-driven, small-group tutoring, instruction based on the science of reading, and greater educator collaboration through Multi-Classroom Leader teams, the school dramatically increased student learning growth. Principal April Shackleford and Lucama educators explain their success, and why it led them in 2022 to expand to schoolwide Opportunity Culture roles.