Learning Lab I Focuses on Literacy and the Achievement Gap

posted 2011.04.05

Learning Laboratory I is an experience designed and implemented by first-year Park Scholars that allows students to better understand the people, history, strengths, and challenges of North Carolina.


Governor Jim Hunt discusses the launching of Smart Start in North Carolina.

This spring, the Class of 2014 explored the topic of education, literacy, and the achievement gap. The group traveled to Winston-Salem to learn first-hand about what leaders are doing to narrow the gap in education and literacy caused by social disadvantages.

By engaging with individuals from former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, responsible for establishing the Smart Start program in the state, to teachers at a child development center, who spend each day developing and implementing curriculum, Park Scholars learned about the complexities connected to the issue.

“Learning Lab I turned out to not only be an exciting learning opportunity for the class but also a great opportunity for the student committee to learn about leadership, collaborative decision making, and event planning,” says Alton Russell ‘14

Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey addresses a group of Park Scholars and NCState alumni.

Although there has been a dramatic rise in literacy in the state over the past century, the progression has been uneven due to factors involving race, gender, ethnicity, and income.

“We designed this opportunity to understand what leaders are doing to address the gap in literacy and achievement,” says Becky Dobosy ‘14. “That is where we come in – the trip is the beginning of learning how to close this gap and apply solutions in Raleigh.”

Students discuss learning strategies with Augustine Project for Literacy Director Henri Brown.


Learning Lab I Speakers:

Dr. John Begeny, Assistant Professor of Psychology, NC State University

Dr. Edwin Bell, Professor of Education, Winston-Salem State University

Henri Brown, Director, Augustine Project for Literacy

Jennifer Cobb, Manager, Education and Business Volunteer Services, Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce

Jim Hunt, Former North Carolina Governor

Chuck Kraft, Executive Director, Smart Start of Forsyth County

Dr. Doris Paez, Executive Director, Forsyth Futures

Ron Spivey, Superior Court Judge

Keith Sutton, Wake County School Board Member and Victim Advocate Liaison, North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission