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Craven County Schools
3600 Trent Rd.
New Bern, NC 28562

(252) 514-6346

The Craven County School System serves nearly 15,000 city and county students with a free and appropriate public education. The schools are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The system employs about 980 teaching professionals, about 740 support personnel and 80 administrators in the 15 elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth), five middle schools (sixth through eighth) and four high schools. Three of these schools operate on a year-round schedule, three follow the traditional August-to-May calendar and the Craven Early College high school follows the Community College calendar.

The board vision of the school system sees Craven County Schools working toward being the highest performing system of public education in North Carolina, and its mission statement reflects this — "Craven County Schools, united with families and communities, will continuously improve student learning and educational services through a focus on expectations and values which support performance excellence." The school system has adopted the Baldrige Approach for continuous improvement, not just on the students' parts but also the system and schools themselves, leading to performance excellence. The system's average teacher-student ratio is 1:26, enhancing a comprehensive curriculum based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

In addition to the traditional academic courses, the educational program includes music, foreign language, art, dance, theater, athletics, computer classes and advanced placement courses. Optimum Student Achievement is the major strategic direction for the school system.

Elementary education in Craven County encourages children to meet academic objectives through developmentally appropriate activities. Hands-on experiences and problem-solving strategies are designed to harmonize with the natural characteristics of children's developmental stages. Besides the core curriculum of communication skills, science, math and social studies, students and teachers are involved in enrichment programs such as art, physical education, computers, music and drama.

Middle schools emphasize educational experiences that bridge learning between elementary school and high school. All five middle schools operate on a team concept. Two to five teachers collaborate to develop plans and strategies to deal with the instructional, social and emotional needs and interests of students. Along with the core curriculum, students are exposed to critical thinking and problem solving, health and fitness, cooperative learning, and exploratory courses such as foreign languages, vocational education and visual arts.

The high schools focus on the creation of a positive school climate and the identification and prevention of problems that may lead to an unsuccessful high school career. All high schools are on block scheduling, which allows students to take four courses each semester in 90-minute class periods versus the traditional 55-minute classes. Instead of the maximum six courses per year, students are able to take as many as eight courses — four per semester. Among several advantages, block scheduling gives students the flexibility of enrolling in more electives without giving up required academic classes.

To prepare students for the workplace, the Craven County School System has implemented a developmental program that helps students entering high school to choose and focus on a career path. Students may select from four career pathways: engineering, industrial and manufacturing technology; business and marketing; health and human services; and liberal and fine arts. A student's choice of career path is aided by the development of a four-year educational plan and supplemented by career guidance that helps the student make a smooth transition into the work force, or into an associate or bachelor's degree program. ROTC programs also are offered in all three high schools.

The Craven County School System offers many support services: comprehensive testing, programs for exceptional and academically gifted students, dropout prevention and drug education programs, library/media skills programs and the services of school psychologists, social workers and nurses. In addition, numerous services are available for students with visual, hearing, speech, orthopedic and other health impairments as well as for the mentally handicapped, learning disabled and homebound. Contact Exceptional Children's Programs, (252) 514-6355, for more information.

School safety is a major consideration to the school community, as is facility improvement. Each school system operation has a threat condition process, a safe schools plan and a critical incident response plan. The Craven County Board of Education has a long-range facility plan. The construction of three elementary schools and two performing arts centers, major renovations to an existing middle school, plus new roofs for several schools have been completed within the past three years.

The school system encourages requests for information; write or call the Craven County Board of Education, Director of Public Relations, 3600 Trent Road, New Bern, NC 28562; (252) 514-6333.


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