The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

UNC students visit Northside Elementary School

The kids of Northside Elementary School were in for a treat Friday afternoon when eight volunteers from UNC came to join them for a fun afternoon of arts and crafts.

Students For Education Reform partnered with Northside and Carolina Kickoff to make the day a success.

The groups met at the Campus Y before making the short walk to Northside, which is less than 10 minutes from campus.

“For our organization we put a lot of focus on trying to make sure that we are working in the communities that we are trying to affect,” said Students For Education Reform co-chapter leader Michael Welker.

For Carolina Kickoff, the goal was slightly different.

“Our main focus was not on the education. We focused on having college students work with the school students in after-school programs to then possibly motivate those students to go to college,” said Priya Sreenivasan, co-chairwoman of Carolina Kickoff’s community engagement and outreach committee.

“We have been planning this craft day with Northside while partnering with SFER and were very pleased by the event.”

Welker said students need to understand the importance of low-income schools such as Northside in our community.

“I think it’s really important for us to get involved in the community,” said Students For Education Reform member Olivia Perry. “Some of us want to be teachers, others of us want to be policy makers. I think its really important for them to have classroom experience.”

Students For Education Reform is charged with thinking of innovative solutions to help improve education both locally and nationally . Welker said the biggest problem facing the school district is the achievement gap, the performance disparity between students of different socioeconomic statuses.

“I think that when you talk to people in the community about issues facing Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools everyone thinks that every child doesn’t get an equal chance and that there is a significant problem with kids who come from low-income backgrounds in that they don’t receive the same attention that other kids do,” he said.

Welker said the real issue is that everyone is talking about the achievement gap but not collaborating to find solutions.

“Everyone in the district whether they be administrator, teacher or parent needs to get on board to take an actionable step to help solve this problem,” he said.

“We’ve heard a lot of discussion about it but it’s harder to find someone with a concrete approach, but we’re realizing this and starting to move in the right direction.”

Perry said that going forward her group will be trying to do more programs like this to help raise awareness.

“We’re always looking to get involved with other groups, with this event we could only have eight volunteers at a time. We love branching out and working with other groups on these issues,” he said.

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