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FAYETTEVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WINS GRANT TO EXPAND 'STAR' REFORM EFFORT IN AREA SCHOOL

 WASHINGTON, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A successful program to reduce high drop-out rates developed by educators at Douglas Byrd Elementary School in Fayetteville, N.C., will expand to the Reid Ross Middle School next fall thanks to a $100,000 grant from the RJR Nabisco Foundation's Next Century Schools program and $100,000 in community support, it was announced today.
 RJR Nabisco awarded Douglas Byrd Elementary a $684,958 grant in 1990 to create its STAR (Student Together Achieving Recognition) program. Last fall it challenged educators to find other area schools willing to adopt the successful approach and offered to match local funding for the expansion. The Fayetteville community met the challenge, and now the model program will serve an additional 875 students.
 The STAR program is a school restructuring effort that includes special demonstration projects for promising students. STAR groups students and teachers in "communities of learning," where cooperative learning promotes achievement. The 120 students in six demonstration classes receive personal, family and academic support. As a result of the program, parent involvement has increased significantly. Moreover, Byrd's dropout rate is declining, and 90 percent of the students earned A, B or C during 1991-92.
 "In 1990, RJR Nabisco invested in a dream called STAR. That initial investment is now paying big dividends in the form of dramatically improved academic performance and parent involvement. In partnership with the Fayetteville community, RJR Nabisco now hopes to multiply this success many times over. Ultimately, we hope STAR will take root in schools nationwide and that the dedicated people at Douglas Byrd will be able to say proudly, `It all started here,'" said Roger D. Semerad, president of the RJR Nabisco Foundation.
 Today, RJR Nabisco also awarded grants to schools in Mooresville and Rosman, N.C., to expand Next Century School reforms developed there to other public schools in the state.
 "For the better part of a decade, corporate support for public education has focused on improving individual schools. If we are to make good on our promise to improve the education of all students, the business community must now translate isolated successes into a collective force for change. Solutions to the problems plaguing education exist. We must do more than help develop effective reforms, we must begin sharing programs that already work with those schools still searching for answers," Semerad added.
 The RJR Nabisco Foundation launched the Next Century Schools program in 1989. The program invests in individual schools that have created radically new approaches to educate students.
 -0- 4/15/93
 /CONTACT: David Sandor of Powell Tate, 202-434-8541, for RJR Nabisco, or Heidi Gurian Terens of RJR Nabisco, 212-258-5767/


CO: RJR Nabisco Foundation ST: North Carolina

IN: SU:

DC-KD -- DC006 -- 6104 04/15/93 10:09 EDT
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Date:Apr 15, 1993
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