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Press Release


September 5, 2018


CHAPEL HILL, NC – On Wednesday, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction released the first year of data on student achievement at UNC System Laboratory Schools at Western Carolina University and East Carolina University. 

State test results show that more than half of the students at Catamount School at WCU met proficiency benchmarks, with 65 percent of students scoring proficient in reading. Students enrolled in the ECU Community School–the overwhelming majority of whom are from economically disadvantaged families–met expected growth targets in reading and math.

The data also reveal clear areas for improvement. The UNC System Office and the UNC Board of Governors Subcommittee on Laboratory Schools will continue to monitor these issues and work towards finding solutions.

“The General Assembly challenged our universities to build new K-12 schools that expand opportunity for some of the state’s most underserved students,” said UNC System President Margaret Spellings. “As first adopters, our lab schools at ECU and Western have stepped up to that challenge with optimism and creativity, and I commend them for their hard work. At the same time, we all know there is much more work to be done to ensure that this next generation of students is well-equipped for college and career, and we stand ready to support the Catamount School and the ECU Community School in their continued efforts to increase student achievement.”

“I applaud the leaders, faculty, and staff at Western Carolina and ECU for their hard work in getting brand new schools up and running on a very tight timeline,” UNC Board of Governors member and Subcommittee Chair Phil Byers said. “The parents who have chosen to enroll their children in our lab schools have entrusted the UNC System with a great responsibility. While much of the new data is encouraging, the results also indicate the size of the challenge that our institutions have gladly taken on. Our subcommittee is committed to high expectations for our lab schools, and we will continue to provide whatever support we can to ensure that these first two schools, along with the three that opened this summer, are successful.”

In addition to the Lab Schools at ECU and Western Carolina, three additional schools opened this fall: Appalachian Academy at Middle Fork in Walkertown (Appalachian State University), Moss Street Partnership School in Reidsville (UNC Greensboro), and the DC Virgo Preparatory Academy in Wilmington (UNC Wilmington).