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B.T. Bullock Elementary named first winner

Of new, incentive-centered Lee County public school initiative

Lee County Education Foundation’s Head of Class Project

Will award all Bullock employees with share of $50,000 award

SANFORD, N.C., Sept. 12, 2011 – The innovative incentive program created last year for Lee County public schools – offering financial awards for each employee of the elementary school that ranked highest during the past year – will award $50,000 to the staff at Benjamin T. Bullock Elementary School.

The Head of Class Project is a non-profit initiative supporting incentive-based school achievement launched in 2010 by the Lee County Education Foundation.  Head of Class is the first North Carolina initiative to offer financial incentives to school staff for improved student academic performance.

Education leaders have described the incentive program as a potential pacesetter for public education.  Awards for about 78 members of the Bullock Elementary staff will range from approximately $1,000 to $265 depending on the position.  Every employee– principal, teachers, teacher assistants, librarians, cafeteria workers and custodians – will receive a financial award.

“We could not be more pleased with the Head of Class Project and the achievement of the team at Bullock Elementary,” said Kirk Bradley, Chairman of the Lee County Education Foundation.  “The success created by the principal, teachers, staff and students help us bring our objective to life: incentive-based recognition is possible and meaningful in public education.”

Dr. Jeffrey C. Moss, superintendent of Lee County Schools, said the incentive program helped raise scores at all the elementary schools.  “This program has been a success in every way in Lee County,” Moss said. “The Head of Class program may well become a model in the future.  And in the short term, we hope to expand it to all schools in our own district.”

Criteria for the award were established by the Lee County Education Foundation in conjunction with Lee County School system leaders.  The key measures were an assessment of improvements in academic performance.  An overview of the measures is provided on the last page of this document. *

“Bullock experienced remarkable improvement in student performance,” said Dr. Carol Chappell, K-5 director, Lee County Schools.  “They just had a spectacular year and that’s really what you are looking for.  You want a school and a year when everything comes together.”

The principal of Bullock Elementary said the staff was elated to be recognized.  “We’re all intrinsically motivated to make a difference for the kids.  That’s why we are in this profession,” said Pam Sutton.  “But it provided an added goal to work toward as a team and the competition benefitted everyone involved, including the other schools.”

National leaders in education policy praised the Lee County Education Foundation’s non-profit initiative when it was launched in August 2010. A distinguished group of leaders – including Gov. Beverly Perdue, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson, Chairman of the State Board of Education Dr. Bill Harrison, former N.C. governors Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser as well as former U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley – attended the kick-off event at Deep River Elementary School in Sanford in August 2010.

The project will award $50,000 annually to the faculty and staff of the best performing elementary school in Lee County.

The Lee County Education Foundation has generated a $1 million endowment supported by non-tax dollars – individual donors and corporations big and small have played a part – to fund The Head of Class Project award.

Click below to download a hi-res JPEG image of The Head of Class Project logo:

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About The Lee County Education Foundation

The Lee County Education Foundation (LCEF), founded in 2003, is a non-profit 501(c)3 entity dedicated to supporting excellence in the Lee County Public Schools. The mission of the Foundation is to mobilize financial resources and fund programs that are highly likely to improve Lee County student achievement. Since its inception the LCEF has funded over $200,000 of programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Lee County public school teachers and students in grades K-12 have benefited from reading, math, social studies, science and career related programs as a direct result of LCEF disbursements. To learn more, please visit www.leecef.comAward criteria and scores for the Head of the Class project *

Three primary scoring measures:

  • One measure is based on the percentage of goals achieved by the school using the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) established by the federal No Child Left Behind program.
  • A second measure incorporates each school’s percentage of free and reduced lunch rate, which is a significant factor in predicting academic performance.  Overcoming a high free and reduced lunch rate to demonstrate improvement is considered important.
  • The school’s overall composite ABC score is established and measured by the state. It is based on the students’ reading and science combination score in the end-of-grade test.  Scores are assigned to elementary and middle schools based on the percentage of students that passed the reading and or math/science test.  This is presented as a composite score of all students at the school.

Schools were awarded bonus points in state-measured categories

  • If the school has a composite score of from 80 to 90 (from the end-of-grade testing) it is recognized and earns points as a school of distinction.
  • If the composite score is 90 or higher, the school earns points as a school of excellence.
  • A school that meets expected growth earns bonus points and a school that meets high growth earns even more bonus points. Potential student growth is measured by a formula that incorporates individual students’ past reading and math scores. This formula makes a prediction based on individual students and then the school as a whole.
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