ECPPS Launches Community Schools Initiative

Exciting News


November 16, 2021

Research shows that the vast majority of the gaps in student achievement is explained by out of school factors. And that the capacity to learn academically is shaped by many social, physical, and mental factors. Schools alone cannot do all of the work that needs to be done for children. 

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public School District (ECPPS) is ready to join a growing movement across the United States (and in North Carolina to some extent) to create and sustain community schools — where strong, deep, and intentional partnerships between schools, faith and business communities, and other social and health agencies ensure student learning and whole child and family development. Community schools combine wraparound services with more personalized, deeper learning opportunities for young people and families. 

According to the The Community Schools Playbook, from the Partnership for the Future of Learning, characteristics of high-quality implementation of community schools consist of four main pillars: 

  • integrated student supports where teams of educators and other helping professionals work together to serve young people and their families, 
  • expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, connecting the PK-12 classroom to after school, summer, and apprenticeship programs,
  • active family and community engagement to support strong and positive communication between professionals and parents, and
  • collaborative leadership practices where every stakeholder shares responsibility in leading the work.

The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public School District has launched a process to reimagine education for and with the community, with assistance from Dr. Barnett Berry, University of South Carolina Research Professor, and Senior Director for Policy and Innovation. Dr. Berry shared, “We need to be tackling institutional structures that limit our ability to create the conditions that we need for whole child education to occur in schools. North Carolina as well as ECPPS have many of the pieces of the puzzle - but now we need to put them together.”

As ECPPS leaders continue to explore Community Schools, Dr. Eddie Ingram, Interim Superintendent, and the Board of Education are pleased to announce that P.W. Moore Elementary is the first school in the district to commit to taking a holistic approach to ensuring not only the success of our students, but also of their school community and families.  “This is an exciting time for public school education here in Elizabeth City,” said Sharon Warden, Board Chair.  “There is no better time than the present to embrace and fully support an initiative that will redefine how we look at our children’s futures and the future of our community.  Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Schools have always had incredible partnerships; innovative professionals; and, interested families, so it’s time to have them working as one cohesive unit toward one goal-the elevation of all our children.  We are ready to jumpstart education here in Elizabeth City and enthusiasm is extremely high for what our community is about to experience at P.W. Moore Elementary School, the home of the Lions.”

Stephanie Ambrose, P.W. Moore Principal, is eager to begin the work ahead and shared, “The families who are a part of the P.W. Moore Lion’s Den are our priority and we want to ensure we are providing the best possible outcomes for all.  We believe in the power of community, providing needed supports and resources for success, and most of all… we believe in our staff and families.  Together, we can reimagine education for P.W. Moore and work united for the betterment of our children and community.” 

Interim Superintendent, Dr. Eddie Ingram, is no stranger to the idea of community schooling and sees great potential for its success in ECPPS. “This initiative is the first step in developing a comprehensive approach to schooling that makes much more sense than the myopic approach of chasing a standardized test score,” said Ingram.  “The present accountability system is driven by zip code and is simply insufficient when measuring school effectiveness.”

Dr. Catherine Truitt, North Carolina State Superintendent, recently released her strategic vision, Operation Polaris, a plan to support public schools across the state in the aftermath of the pandemic.  One of the focal points includes student support services which “emphasizes the whole student, considering traditional elements such as school facilities, nutrition, access to broadband, and school safety as well the social and emotional learning needs of students as they and their families recover from the pandemic.”

Dr. Ingram shared, “Community schooling is a grassroots effort, drawing on the assets of schools, universities, and other agencies serving children and families. There are already over 5,000 community schools across the United States,” he continued. “The time has never been better to reimagine what our schools can be and I look forward to the work ahead.”