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Celebrating our first 100 days

Just 100 days ago

On January 12, EducationNC launched an online platform at EdNC.org, and we invited you — all of you — urban and rural; all ages; all races; Democrats, Republicans, Independents; those who choose traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools, and home schools — to participate in a statewide conversation about all things K-12.

Combining the best of a think tank (think high-quality research) with the distribution of online journalism (think communication in real time), in our first 100 days, our staff of three has traveled more 6,096 miles, publishing 91 different voices, to produce 293 original articles covering 64 of 115 school districts, with 138,916 pageviews to date. Our footprint shows, as we had hoped, that our reach is not Raleigh-centric.

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Thank you.

One lawyer, one web developer, one reporter, and our dedicated columnists, EdNC is journalism with a mission. We are the definition of scrappy. There are no fancy offices because our work happens in schools and communities, in school board meetings and at the legislature.

All of the dollars you invest in EdNC go to producing the trusted, rich, multimedia content about our schools day in and day out that we hope you have come to know us for.

Our goal is to distribute content in the ways you want to consume it. You can visit our website. You can sign up for our daily or weekly digest sent out via email, and we are excited to be closing in on almost 70,000 emails sent out to date. You can follow us on Twitter. With almost 8,500 likes, many of you rely on our Facebook page for updates. Some of you use our maps to visualize data. Others only watch the videos or see us on a monthly in-depth look at education with Rob Boisvert of Time Warner Cable News. Many thanks to our partners, including the Kenan Fellows, Communities In Schools, the NC PTA, and the Farm Bureau, who regularly share our content.

The conversation happens when you contribute content. Or you comment on our website, use Antenna to indicate your opinions, and share your thoughts on social media.

Nothing makes us happier than the fact that our most read article was contributed by a principal. “With dignity, we own our D” was written by Christy Slate of Silver Valley Elementary after the release of the state’s letter grades for schools. She reminds us that her students are Discovering and Delightful, her teachers are Dedicated, and she is Demanding.

Issues

In our first hundred days, EdNC has established principal pay as a priority for North Carolina. Principals should not be incented to leave schools to get a pay raise. How we compensate our principals must change.

For teachers, it is not just about more money. We have to change the culture of teaching.

Our students should not be hungry. Period.

Our students miss too much seat time because of illness. We think telehealth might be the most cost-efficient way to get health care in all of our rural schools. We plan to continue our coverage of mental health and substance abuse in our schools.

We need to learn from the charter school laboratories we have invested in. We need to learn from parents that choose to homeschool what’s not working about public education.

The state’s digital learning plan will put a device in the hands of every student by 2017. This is our future. We need to do it well. 

The debate around education funding is confusing. EdNC is here to cut through the clutter.

EdNC will continue to present important voices on these issues spanning the political spectrum. And we will continue to profile the different needs of the different regions in our state. 

Citizen advocates

Much of our work has been spent trying to make sure people across the state are comfortable and confident walking into the legislature, interacting with the legislators, and participating in state government — it is your government after all. Please continue to use our bill tracker, committee and leadership profiles, and other citizen advocacy tools to use your voice to influence public policy.

Creating community

EdNC strives to give back. We sponsored a trip for students in Hatteras to visit students in Conetoe to explore a food exchange to trade fish for vegetables. We sponsored two teachers and one principal to attend the Triangle Start Up Weekend on Education. We are sponsoring five scholarships for students to attend a coding camp in eastern North Carolina, which we hope will become a statewide model. All of the code for our website is open source and available for your use at Github.

Sustaining our work

Our first fiscal year ends in June, and it will take about $500,000 to sustain EdNC as we have presented it to you. We hope you will support our work financially. 

As a young girl, I saved my pennies and paid my beloved Grandmother to tell me stories. Hers were the very best stories. I know now that she would have told me those stories happily for free. But even then, I knew her stories were worth something. And I treasure them to this day.

EdNC exists to tell the stories of the students, teachers, principals, and schools across our state. We plan to tell the stories that no one else has time to tell. The stories of what is working in our schools. And when things aren’t working, we won’t just identify the problems. We will take the time to find solutions. You get to decide what that is worth.

Thank you for reading EdNC. Thank you for your support. Most importantly, thank you for being open to our bipartisan conversation on education, the most important issue in this state we all love.

It is our privilege to do this work.

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Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.