State of Schools Forum: ‘Stronger School System’

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Photo by Stefanie Jackson – At each annual NCEF State of the Schools forum, Northampton schools Superintendent Eddie Lawrence and all four Northampton public schools each give a Community School Partnership Award to an individual or organization who has donated time and resources for the betterment of Northampton schools. This year’s recipients were Willie Randall, accepting the award for himself and Edward Jones, Sheriff David Doughty, Lorraine Broward, Jordon Kellam, on behalf of Therepeutic Interventions, and Gerry Carranante (not pictured).

By Stefanie Jackson – The Northampton County Education Foundation (NCEF) raised around $22,000 this year to fund Northampton public school projects that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible, Superintendent Eddie Lawrence said at the organization’s third annual State of the Schools forum Oct. 8 in the Northampton High School gym.

“It’s not just the $22,000,” he said, “it’s all of the community support and partnerships and interactions … that’s making us a better school system and a stronger school system.”

Lawrence thanked all the stakeholders in the audience for their support.

The community can help support Northampton public schools through three NCEF programs that grew from ideas shared at the first State of the Schools forum in 2017.

Adopt-A-Classroom allows individuals and organizations to donate money to a classroom of their choice.

In 2019, 39 classrooms were adopted: 19 at Kiptopeke Elementary School, four at Occohannock Elementary School, nine at Northampton Middle School, and four at Northampton High School.

Adopt-A-Classroom donations funded items including a tank for hermit crabs in a Kiptopeke classroom, sketchbooks for advanced art students at Occohannock, and additional equipment for Northampton High School’s weight room.

As the name suggests, Fund-A-Project allows donors to fund a project of their choice.

For six years, Northampton High School had no marching band, until teacher Brad Ford restarted it. The band received $925 from Fund-A-Project to buy new instruments, repair old ones, and mend band uniforms.

NCEF contributed nearly half of $2,000 in donations received for fetal pig dissection kits for Northampton High School advanced placement biology students, plus $250 for students to conduct a lab activity in which they extracted their own DNA.

Kiptopeke received $441 for a fifth-grade field trip to Old Dominion University and $550 for second graders to publish a hardcover version of the book they wrote and illustrated, “How to Make the World a Better Place.”

NCEF’s Bulletin Board provides opportunities for donating goods and services instead of money.

On the Bulletin Board, the community can make offers and teachers can make requests for specific items. For example, schools have requested arts and crafts supplies, and New Ravenna has offered tiles, glass, and mosaic materials.

Part Two of this story, including information on new educational, social, and behavioral programs in Northampton schools, will appear in next week’s Eastern Shore Post.