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School committee recommends extending contract for Opportunity Culture initiative

The goal of the initiative is to extend the reach of excellent teachers, principals and their teams to more students.


The Personnel Committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education on Thursday approved an update on the Opportunity Culture initiative and recommended that the program’s contract be extended with North Carolina-based consultant Public Impact LLC.

The Personnel Committee was one of three school board committees that met for presentations and discussions at the Educational Resource Center on Elementary Drive.

The full board is expected to decide whether to extend the contract with Public Impact for the Opportunity Culture initiative during its next regular monthly meeting set for March 8.

The contract with Public Impact is for $90,000, according to a services agreement contract with Cumberland County Schools.

Public Impact founded the rapidly growing national Opportunity Culture initiative, which assists pre-K through 12th-grade schools in extending the reach of excellent teachers, principals and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring school budgets.

The county has 13 designated Opportunity Culture schools that went through the training, although Westover High School will not implement the program until the 2022-23 school year, according to Ruben Reyes, the school district’s associate superintendent for human resources. 

“It’s been quite a while since I brought information regarding this initiative back to the board,” he said.

At the end of the 2019-20 school year, he said, the board approved the start of planning for the Opportunity Culture initiative for the school system.

Each school develops its own model from the initiative that was first implemented this year.

“This initiative is really focused and (is) overlaying two components of our district’s strategic plan,” Reyes said. “The tenets that Opportunity Culture really touches on is our successful students and our premier professionals.”

For premier professionals, it’s really a recruitment, retention initiative that also is meant to develop career pathways for teachers, he said.

“One of the main focuses of Opportunity Culture,” Reyes said, “is to make sure you reach all students with excellent teachers and their team. With a focus, particularly, on students of color” and students whose needs historically have not been met.

Along with that aim, the program ensures that all educators have career opportunities, not only to earn extra pay but to take on leadership responsibilities that allow them to remain in the schools and classrooms without leaving the profession.

Rather than focusing on a classroom of, say, 25 students, this initiative extends the premier teacher's reach to other students in the schools. It lets those teachers take responsibility for more students. And it gives teachers leaders who share their ideas and experiences with other instructors.

“We want the best and the brightest,” Reyes said.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Cumberland County, Board of Education, Personnel Committee, Opportunity Culture initiative, excellent teachers