Western Carolina University is one of eight University of North Carolina system institutions identified as potential candidates to establish and operate laboratory schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade, as required by a provision in the 2016-17 state budget enacted in July.
UNC President Margaret Spellings submitted the system’s plan to the Legislature’s Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and announced the potential candidates Tuesday, Nov. 1.
The UNC system includes 15 institutions that offer educator-preparation programs. After initial consultations, eight were identified as candidates to establish and operate lab schools. In addition to WCU, the other institutions included on the list of potential lab school sites are Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Pembroke and University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Under the legislation, the lab schools must be located in public school districts where at least 25 percent of schools have been classified as low-performing, based on student achievement data. They will operate as public schools of choice, with a mission to improve student performance in eligible school districts and provide exposure and training for teachers and principals to successfully address challenges existing in high-needs school settings.