PIE: Where is the largest slice of funds going to local schools? – New Bern Sun Journal

Craven County schools with low-income students are receiving strong financial backing from local education grants.
Out of 28 Craven County Partners in Education (PIE) grants awarded during the 2020-21 school year totaling $37,000, 22 went to Title 1 schools. PIE is the local nonprofit for Craven County Schools that support teachers and the educational system. 
Title I is a federal education program that gives additional aid to school with higher concentrations of low-income students throughout the nation. Funds are distributed to high-poverty schools, as determined by the number of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
While PIE does not focus specifically on Title 1 schools while giving grants, its mission to provide resources to educators and data shows PIE grants closely aligns with the needs of those schools serving low-income students.
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While those schools received the lion’s share of PIE grants last school year, West Craven High School, which is not Title 1, was granted the largest total of any single school, at $7,424. Havelock High, another non-Title 1 school, received around $1,400.
Of the Title 1 schools that were awarded PIE grants, H.J. MacDonald Middle ($5,982), A.H. Bangert Elementary ($5,163), and J.T. Barber Elementary ($4,717), were the top three recipients.
Other Title 1 schools also benefitted significantly. W.J. Gurganus Elementary received just over $4,000 in PIE grants, while Oaks Road Academy and Tucker Creek Middle were awarded just under $3,000 each. Brinson Memorial Elementary ($1,394) and Arthur W. Edwards Elementary ($960) were each awarded one PIE grant last year. 
Many schools receive multiple grants throughout the year. Bangert was awarded five grants, the most of any Title 1 school in 2020-21. H.J. MacDonald, and J.T. Barber received four each and W.J. Gurganus earned three. 
One PIE grant for $1,481.83 was awarded to teacher Meredith Pait. The grant was used to provide a fine motor skills kit for special needs students for use during virtual learning. 
“Many students with special needs struggle with handwriting due to fine motor difficulties and require hands-on materials for fine motor work,” Pait. “During virtual learning, many students have had few or no materials to work on fine motor development.”
Formed in 1988, the PIE board of directors is made up of local business professionals, community leaders, educators, and individuals that work to support and advance education within Craven County Schools.
PIE grants are cash awards offered to all teachers, at all grade levels and departments, to “encourage innovative and creative educational projects.” 
Teachers can apply for PIE grants twice per year to receive up to $1,500. Activities awarded included materials for technology, science, music, and art projects.  
PIE has also funded a Project Based Learning Grant through a private donor for $500. Project-based learning is an instructional method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an “authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.” Last year the grant was awarded to Oaks Road Academy, a Title 1 school.
To advance and support programs for science, PIE also offered the Super Science Grant to increase science achievement through direct services to students. Both grants went to Title 1 schools last year.
A number of other businesses and organizations contribute to supporting Craven County’s Title 1 schools as well. Out of a total of 42 education grants offered by groups other than PIE last year, 28 went to Title 1 schools. 
With PIE’s help, more than $400,000 was awarded during the 2020-21 school year through a variety of grants and programs designed to bring resources to teachers who need to purchase new equipment and supplies for their classrooms.
Those grants include:
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Teachers new to Craven County Schools have also received help through the Beginning Teachers’ Store, which was funded by the Harold H. Bate Foundation and private donors in the amount of $38,000 last year. The store provides needed resources for new teachers and assists CCS in recruiting and retaining teachers in their first three years of teaching. The store is stocked with technology, teaching aids, and professional development resources. 


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