Two Yadkin Valley schools received visits from representatives with the Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) advocacy organization on Jan. 22 as part of the kick-off for National School Choice Week.
The Yadkin Valley Community School, a Montessori school in downtown Elkin, and Bridges Academy, a charter school in State Road, were visited by Darrell Allison, president of PEFNC, and his staff so they could learn about the schools’ features and present them with some assistance funding. The visits also included a videographer working with PEFNC and a reporter with UNC Public Radio.
Each year, PEFNC visits different schools throughout the week highlighting school choice. This year, Allison said they were excited to get out of Raleigh and into other areas of the state for their visits.
“We’ve heard great things, so we wanted to visit,” he said of the two Yadkin Valley schools.
The visitors observed the learning activities at each of the schools, and Allison took time to talk with the students and staff at each school about the importance of having options for education in addition to the traditional school systems.
“North Carolina we’re very special, because a lot of states in our nation, families like yours don’t have an array of options to be able to choice a school that’s going to work best for you,” Allison told students at YVCS. “So in a lot of ways, schools like this one and other alternatives, they’re doing OK because of some of the policies we were able to pass here to make this a reality.”
He said they were excited to visit with the students, parents, and faculty, because “that’s what school is all about.”
At YVCS, he presented a $200 check toward the school’s talent scholarship, and each of the students got a bright yellow scarf with the National School Choice logo embroidered on it.
“We love the unique approach you guys take here, there’s no one way or path how to educate a child, various models, and what works is what works,” Allison said.
At Bridges, Principal Merry Lowe and Shannon Pruitt, chief operating officer, gave the PEFNC representatives a tour of the historic school, which was Pleasant Ridge School, ending in the gymnasium where all the students were gathered.
Allison presented an oversized ceremonial check for $27,500, which the school already had received for use, during his presentation.
“You all are part of a rich history and powerful story,” said Allison referencing the historic photos on the walls above the gym doors.
“We as an organization didn’t want to come here empty-handed. We look for ways we can help schools … to make education as best as it can be,” he said as he announced the check presentation and that teachers would be throwing into the crowd of students some of the National School Choice scarves.
“We want you to know that you’ve got fans all across the state,” Allison said.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.