Grayson School District in Rural Virginia Chooses Pearson as School Turnaround Partner

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Customized School Improvement Plan to Help Students at Fries School

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Grayson Public Schools in southern Virginia has contracted with the education, services and technology company Pearson for comprehensive school turnaround services to improve student performance at Fries School in Fries, Virginia.

Fries School is one of 19 schools that have been selected by the Virginia Department of Education to receive federal school improvement grants. Throughout the country there are more than 5,000 schools identified for this category of funding. Earlier this year, Virginia was awarded nearly $60 million in school improvement grants from the US Department of Education.

Dr. Elizabeth Thomas, Superintendent of Grayson County Public Schools said, "Fries is not a big school, but we have big ambitions, and we know that Pearson has the experience and expertise to help us on our path toward improving student achievement. We are looking to them to help us implement the changes that will ensure that our children are prepared for college and for the challenges they will face in a global economy." Stephen Cornett, Director of Instruction and Assessment added, "We see our school as a Petri dish for success, and look forward to working side-by-side with Pearson to build on the work we have already begun to improve student achievement results and set Fries on a trajectory to become a high performing school."

"Fries School has 262 children in grades Pre-K through seven that deserve a first-rate 21st century education, and we are privileged to have the opportunity to partner with Fries' dedicated educators, parents and community to help make that happen," said Pearson K-12 Solutions president Scott Drossos.

Noting that one-third of America's students attend schools in rural areas, and almost half of U.S. school districts are rural, Drossos referenced US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's remarks just last month at the National Rural Education Summit. Duncan told conference attendees, "…you face unique obstacles in providing students with the world-class education they desperately need and deserve. The urgency of that task is one I feel every day." He continued, "The success of our children in those areas is critical in our work to educate our way to a better economy."

Drossos said, "Pearson understands those exact obstacles of rural schools that Secretary Duncan references, and we have the capacity to help implement comprehensive improvement services to address the challenges that Fries School has asked us to work with them to resolve."

"Our joint goal with the people of Fries is to put every one of these youngsters on the path to success in school and in life -- and that means making sure they have the academic grounding they will need to be prepared for the rigors of high school coursework."

A division of Pearson, the world's leading education services and technology company, Pearson K-12 Solutions engages in multi-year state and district partnerships to foster school improvement, create innovative new models and custom solutions, and to help improve student achievement.

Drossos added, "Our research based School Turnaround Education Partnership (STEP) model helps schools make fundamental changes and sustain improvements for the long term. We have the opportunity to draw from Pearson's vast research based and proven resources -- including curriculum, assessment, technology, and teacher professional development products and services -- to create a customized, coherent improvement plan for Fries School."

Pearson's model includes a combination of core elements that have helped improve low- performing schools for years, and has consistently demonstrated gains in student achievement as well as in school culture and distributed leadership.

Pearson's K-12 Solutions School Turnaround Education Partnership (STEP) model includes ten change elements to help schools:

1.    Systematically Plan for School Improvement
2.    Develop Instructional Leadership
3.    Create Collaborative Education Partnerships
4.    Emphasize School Culture
5.    Embed Achievement Support
6.    Align Curriculum
7.    Optimize Conditions for Teaching & Learning
8.    Foster Knowledge Driven Decision-making
9.    Utilize Technology for Learning
10.    Evaluate for Continuous Improvement

Drossos said that Pearson is making unprecedented levels of investment in new models for education and that the company is committed to providing a broad spectrum of solutions and services to schools to ensure that their teachers and students are successful.

About Pearson
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education, teacher training, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry.

Contact: kate(dot)miller(at)pearson(dot)com - 800-745-8489


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