FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Winston-Salem State University is getting a nearly $1 million grant to teach educators about cultural awareness.
School leaders said they will use the money to develop curriculum and best practices for students in early childhood education. They hope the benefits will extend throughout the community.
“We have learning sessions, we have an expert panel that will come in and work with these classroom teachers,” said Winston-Salem State University Associate Professor of Education Dr. Beth Day-Hairston.
Day-Hairston said culture plays a big role in the classroom, affecting everything from how kids learn to whether or not they feel included. It's a lesson she says not all teachers in training are taught.
“There wasn't a curriculum that was designed to help early childhood professionals. And we hope as a result of this grant that we will create a curriculum for North Carolina,” said Day-Hairston.
While the nearly $1 million grant is coming here to Winston-Salem State University, leaders say they hope to see a ripple effect of cultural awareness, not only here in the Triad but throughout the state.
“Once you get our college students involved in best practices for teaching cultural competence, they impact the early childhood profession, that impacts parents, that impacts employers and that ultimately impacts a large number of people,” said Day-Hairston.
The grant is part of $70 million the state received from the federal Race To The Top Challenge. North Carolina is one of only nine states to get the first round of funding.