UNC Greensboro and the Rockingham County Schools Board of Education yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Moss Street Partnership School in Rockingham County. The MOU agreement, which governs the operation of the new school, is the final step in the approval process that began last year.

“Today is an important day for education in North Carolina,” said UNCG Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “At UNC Greensboro, we talk often about access and opportunity. With the Moss Street Partnership School, we have a unique opportunity to reinvigorate a school that enables students from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds in our state to achieve greater educational success. This is a partnership designed to help students discover and unleash their potential with the help of cutting-edge, hands-on learning and innovative teaching techniques.”

The Moss Street Partnership School will have about 420 students, approximately the same number currently at Moss Street Elementary, with approximately 24 classrooms in grades Kindergarten-5. To return in the fall, current students must complete a simple, one-page enrollment form. The form, available on Monday, March 5, at the school, enables a family to enroll all eligible children at once. For example, a family with a rising 4th grader, a rising second grader, and a rising Kindergartener currently at Moss Street can put all three children’s names on one form. Once enrolled, children remain enrolled for the duration of their elementary school experience.

The school will develop student skills and interest in the highly desired “STEAM” subjects – science, technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, and math – as well as providing other services including counseling, social work and additional support for students and families. Students will learn the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, including literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. Student learning will be enhanced through active and collaborative learning experiences that include service learning and field trips.

Each classroom will be led by a highly qualified, licensed teacher. All teachers will be UNCG employees. Current Moss Street Elementary faculty and staff will continue in their existing capacity for the entire 2017-18 academic year. Current teachers are encouraged to apply to the new school and have the option to request a transfer to another district school.

The Moss Street Partnership School concept began in 2016 with a law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly. The law, which was modified earlier this year, requires nine UNC System universities with teacher education programs to open laboratory schools in low-performing areas. The UNC System office selected UNCG to run one of the schools, and in May, UNCG officials and Dr. Rodney Shotwell began discussions around the project.