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Awake58: We heard you. We want the state to hear you.

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

We heard you. We want the state to hear you.

Welcome back to Awake58!

Thank you to everyone who took our user survey from two weeks ago. Your willingness to share your thoughts and perspective on our work meant a lot to us all. You gave us constructive feedback, meaningful compliments, and you shared a number of story ideas for us to consider.

Several community members asked us to cover the connections between businesses and colleges. We’ve shared several of those stories already, but stay tuned for another series in a few weeks. We will also continue to document the work being done to combat worker shortages in areas across the state.

Many of you asked us to continue to document solutions in student support and student services, community partnerships, and enrollment at colleges across the state. Rest assured that content will continue to happen, but I would love to know the success stories and solutions that you all see in your day to day work. has always believed in building out the architecture of participation for our state to join the conversation. We hope that you will stay in touch as we build out the architecture for you to join us. Just reply directly to this email to share your thoughts!

I met with Forsyth Tech President Janet Spriggs recently. President Spriggs told us that she was deeply concerned about one big number: 41 percent. Per President Spriggs, 41 percent of students who have graduated from Forsyth County high schools over the last three years have not attended any postsecondary education. My colleague Rupen traveled to visit Forsyth Tech’s first big push at tapping into this community. Check out his story and let us know if your local college has been trying anything like it!

As always, I appreciate you reading!




EdNC Reads

Take the survey

You still have time to take our survey and let us know how to improve our work. Thank you for your support and advice.

House passes budget plan

The North Carolina House passed their budget plan recently. Alex Granados has the story and he also has additional details on the budget in this earlier piece. I would be curious to know your thoughts on the budget. Reply to this email or text NATION to 73224 to share.

How Forsyth Tech is working to engage thousands of area high school graduates to continue their education

Why is Forsyth Tech bringing high school students to see more of their work? For one thing, 41% of high school graduates in Forsyth County over the last three years are not attending any postsecondary institution. President Spriggs and her team at Forsyth Tech worked with community partners to bring some of those students together to experience what community college might have to offer.

The Student’s Session: Share your solutions for school safety

In the aftermath of the tragic shooting at UNC-Charlotte, we launched the Student’s Session to hear from students across North Carolina regarding their thoughts on violence on our campuses and in our schools. I would encourage you to invite any students you know to participate. We will share the findings soon.

We drive it: Inside the North Phillips School of Innovation

We just released our first documentary on the work of the North Phillips School of Innovation. North Phillips is a micro-school, designed with students for students, and it offers an interesting model for rural schools across the state. I highly recommend watching this powerful story.


Other Reads

EdNC’s award-winning N.C. community college coverage inspired by CISLM program

You may remember our blitz of all 58 community colleges last August. UNC’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media just spotlighted the effort: “EdNC, an independent news source which covers education throughout North Carolina, knew why they wanted to expand their coverage to North Carolina’s community college system… but Knight-Lenfest coaching showed them the how, and reminded them as they planned their ‘Community College Blitz’ that building an audience is just as much about creating engagement as producing content.”

Tuition or dinner? Nearly half of college students surveyed in a new report are going hungry

This New York Times piece generated a ton of attention when it published. People may have been stunned by the number — nearly half of college students are going hungry — but I was particularly shocked by the stories associated with the data. Students taking “poverty naps” to stave off hunger pangs, others taking out student debt simply to feed themselves. Read this piece. If your college is doing something in this space, let me know.

Upstate: Keep up

If you are interested in the legislative process at the North Carolina General Assembly, I would encourage you to check out this new service. I met the team this week, and I was impressed by how quickly the service tracks legislation and legislative action.

From Carolina Demography: 100 students start 9th grade in NC. What happens next?

“Between 2014 and 2026, nearly 1.6 million students will enter the state’s K-12 public school system as ninth graders. Under current graduation rates, more than 213,000 of them are predicted to drop out or delay high school graduation.” Rebecca Tippett from Carolina Demography breaks these numbers down by exploring what happens through the prism of 100 students entering 9th grade in North Carolina.



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.