Quality Partnerships | Beaufort County Now | ECU Community School students benefit from university, regional partners

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Kristen Martin.

J.H. Rose senior Carter Lamson works with students at the ECU Community School on a LEGO League program. (Photo by Rhett Butler)

    Not long after its founding as a laboratory school in 2017, the ECU Community School changed its name to better reflect its focus on the children and families it serves.

    The school's growing list of partnerships - both university affiliated and regional - showcase how it has become a part of the community.

    "Whether partners volunteer within the school, provide materials and supplies or contribute financially, their efforts help to strengthen our school's academic program and enable us to provide quality learning experiences for all children," Community School Principal Tracy Cole said.

    One recent partnership is with STEM-CORPS East, which is housed in the College of Education and provided four volunteers to the Community School. These volunteers supported the creation of a Science Olympiad team, formed a Discover LEGO League and worked in the after-school tutorial program.

    During a trip to donate supplies to the school, J.H. Rose High School senior Carter Lamson got the idea for starting the LEGO League from his robotics coach.

    Lamson worked with the Community School to get the program approved before searching for funding to cover the costs of supplies, T-shirts and more.

    "I asked local sponsors who either sponsor the robotics team that I'm on or that I know support STEM," he said.

    In December, the students decided to name their team the Pirate LEGO League and helped design the logo for the team that was printed on the T-shirts. The program officially began during the spring semester.

    "This program has been a great introduction to STEM concepts and how these concepts can be applied to our everyday lives," Cole said. "By participating in the Pirate LEGO League, our scholars are developing a love for STEM, learning the value of teamwork and establishing strong communication skills."

    As he helps students build various objects, Lamson introduces new words to the students, such as transportation and destination.

    "I hope to grow all of their abilities from their vocabulary to their hands-on STEM experiences," he said.

    The program will continue next year as a high school-led experience with members of the Pitt Pirates Robotics team.

    "My hope is to pass this down to the next kid and say, 'Hey you're a great leader and you're great with kids. I want you to do this program if you have time,'" he said. "Once they graduate, they can pass it down and it can keep going."

    Another thriving partnership is with the ECU Honors College and EC Scholars program, which began in 2020 with the Books that Embrace Race fundraiser. Since then, they have expanded their volunteering to include donating canned goods for the food pantry, serving as reading buddies for the children and hosting art sessions.

    "I had so much fun working with the children, and it was one of the highlights of my week," senior engineering student Grace Krell said. "As a STEM major, I don't have much time to experience arts. Teaching art classes at the Community School was a great way for me to foster my love of the arts and share that passion with others."

    Throughout the last two years, the Community School has partnered with approximately 20 university and community organizations. University partners include:

  • College of Education - STEM-CORPS East; Living and Learning Community; Office of Assessment, Data Management and Digital Learning; Library Sciences division
  • College of Allied Health Sciences - Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Department of Occupational Therapy
  • School of Theatre and Dance
  • Black Faculty Organization
  • Staff Senate
  • Honors College and EC Scholars program
  • Student Affairs division
  • Brody School of Medicine TEDI BEAR Children's Advocacy Center
  • Student Health Services
  • Nutrition Science education students

    The community-based partnerships include:

  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Pitt County Bookmobile
  • Greater Glory AME Zion Church
  • Pitt County Health Department
  • Food Bank of Central & Eastern Carolina
  • Beast Philanthropy

    To learn more about the ECU Community School, visit education.ecu.edu/ecucs.
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ECU Community School students benefit from university, regional partners


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