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GREENSBORO  Four schools in Guilford County are set to receive up to $1.5 million each from the state over three and a half years to pursue projects to improve student performance.

Three out of the four schools have Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) alumni and current students in leadership and administrative positions: Dr. Chelsea Smith (Principal at Bessemer Elementary), Katrinka Brown and Yajaira Owens (Principal and Assistant Principal at Jackson Middle School), and Dr. Ashauna Harris and Domieka Cantey (Principal and Assistant Principal at Welborn Middle School).

Each of these schools with ELC alumni in leadership roles will earn up to $1.5 million in grants from the state of North Carolina to pursue projects to improve student performance, bringing in a total of $4.5 million in grants to Guilford County Schools. 

Judges gave Bessemer’s proposal the second highest score. “We are ecstatic,” said Dr. Smith, the principal at Bessemer. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to do great things with the funds and make it beneficial to our students.”

Dr. Smith holds a Master’s degree in Education, a Post Master’s in School Administration, an Advanced degree (EdS) in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations from the UNC Greensboro.

Bessemer has a plan to outfit a full science, technology, engineering and math lab in one of its existing technology labs. Meanwhile, they aim to give a technology upgrade and makeover to the school’s library so that the space becomes centered on helping students find answers to their questions.

They also look to institute training for teachers related to social and emotional learning. Dr. Smith said that’s something that’s not usually emphasized in teacher preparation programs, even though it’s critical.

“It isn’t often that we talk about how to emotionally support a child and help them combat those things that interfere with them learning academic content,” she said.


This article was originally published by the News&Record on January 16, 2020. Read the full article here.