RALEIGH — At the August monthly meeting of the State Board of Education, the North Carolina Education Corps requested additional money to continue its work.
In April, the group asked for half a million dollars. This time around, it is requesting another grant of $246,622 from the N.C. Education Fund.
The North Carolina Education Corps (NCEC) was formed in 2020 to help districts with communications and learning gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stated purpose of the grant is to “help launch North Carolina Education Corps (NCEC) as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to support K-12 students in the wake of COVID-19,” and to help NCEC “engage, educate, and support ‘corps members’ as tutors who provide whole child and academic supports to public school unit students” across the state.
The grant request also says that “COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on K-12 education, producing a ‘COVID slide’ of learning time loss.” NCEC says that slide is resulting in a “lack of learning that is exacerbating long-standing challenges for public school unit students across North Carolina.”
NCEC provided a financial forecast to the board, which shows overall budget costs of over $15.5 million over the next three years and “fundraising needs” of $23 million for the same time period.
The North Carolina General Assembly is also looking at giving NCEC public and federal dollars.
The House is proposing $13.2 million as part of Senate Bill 654, the K-12 COVID-19 Provisions. On the Senate side, $10 million in Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) funds would go to NCEC for tutoring programs detailed in Senate Bill 105, the 2021 Appropriations Act.
Additionally, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction has suggested allocating $30 million in ESSER funds for literacy tutoring
NCEC’s executive director, John-Paul Smith, provided North State Journal with more information on the progress of the organization.
According to the update, NCEC partnered with “20 NC public school districts to engage 200+ corps members as tutors, mentors, and contact tracers” during the winter of 2020 and into spring of 2021. During that time, NCEC says that their members “directly impacted over 2,500 students.”
Earlier this year, NCEC announced they had secured nonprofit tax status and over $1 million in funds from private philanthropy organizations such as C.D. Spangler, the State Employees Credit Union, and Mebane Charitable Foundation, as well as an “anonymous donor.” The Goodnight Foundation recently also pledge $100,000 to begin sometime after December of this year.
Heading into the new school year, NCEC will be working with up to 25 public school units to “recruit, train, place, and support” over 250 members. For the fall semester, NCEC is already working with 21 districts and one charter school.
According to Smith, NCEC’s 2021-2022 public school unit partners requested 370 corps members for this coming school year but agreed to start with 211.
“We’ll only be able to grow to help more kids faster if we secure more resources,” Smith wrote in his update.
Corps members will serve as literacy tutors for K-3 students during the 2021-2022 school year. Following state Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s focus on literacy, members will train in the science of reading.
Those wishing to apply to be a corps member can do so by Sept. 3 in order to be considered to start by mid or late October. For more information and to apply visit: https://nceducationcorps.org/join-the-corps/.