WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – GLOW NC, the nonprofit that supports GLOW Academy, announced Tuesday its plans to open an early childhood/pre-K school in 2023; as a reflection of its broader mission, the Foundation will be known as Beacon Education.
“Our Board spent a couple of years considering data and community need to determine how to make the greatest impact in our community,” said Beacon Education CEO Todd Godbey. “Together with GLOW faculty and community leaders, it became clear that we need to start earlier to address the inequities in education that cause the opportunity and achievement gaps.”
The goal of Beacon Education is to provide earlier and more equitable access to high quality education because data shows that students at GLOW are beginning 6th grade behind their grade level.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Education, a ProPublica Investigative Journalism report found Black students in New Hanover County were academically three grades behind white students.
Also, data from Smart Start New Hanover County shows a critical shortage of high-quality early childhood programs.
“We have lost about 10 percent of the slots for children in childcare programs in our county,” said Executive Director of Smart Start of New Hanover County Jane Morrow. “Programs are facing a shortage of qualified employees which has a tremendous impact on families who rely on quality care to go back to work and on children who rely on quality care for supportive relationships, development of core skills, and a safe and nurturing environment.”
Long-term plans of Beacon Education include opening four or five co-ed, mixed income early childhood education centers, a co-ed elementary school, and later a middle and high school for boys.
The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, GLOW Academy, opened in 2016 with one sixth grade class; now, those students are preparing for high school graduation in 2023. GLOW Wilmington is one of 21 single-gender schools across the country that uses a proven educational model to educate girls from under-served communities.
According to the news release, the new early childhood education schools will serve children age six weeks through pre-kindergarten.
The co-ed, mixed income program will offer sliding scale scholarships for families in need and provide proven, high-quality educational programming to draw families with financial means. Each center will accommodate approximately 150 students. Geographic locations will be targeted for access and appeal, with the first location to be announced later this summer. A community health care clinic will also be on site, and a community farmers market will frequently be offered on weekends. The first of Beacon Education’s early childhood centers will open in July 2023.
Beacon Education’s cradle-to-career education equity program will later include:
- A kindergarten through fifth grade co-ed elementary school with trauma-informed systems and staff, and an onsite community healthcare clinic
- A boys’ middle and high school, with programming similar to GLOW Academy’s focus on college and career readiness, with a robust college bound program, university outreach and alumni support; and a workforce development program with internships and corporate/business partnerships.
- Enhancements to GLOW Academy will include a community healthcare clinic, staffed weekly by a PA and a full-time mental health professional. GLOW already employs a full-time nurse.
Click here for more information about GLOW Academy enrollment and summer leadership camp or call (910) 338-5258.
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