Global Education, International Teachers, Language Learning

Global Education Case Study: Edgecombe County Schools

Case study last updated October 2016

Facts and figures

  • It is a small, low-wealth, rural school district located in eastern North Carolina.
  • There are 14 schools in the district: five elementary, four middle, one combined elementary and middle, three high, and one early college.
  • It serves approximately 6,200 students.
  • Student demographics are: 58% African American, 31% White, and 9% Hispanic.
  • Approximately three out of every four students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch.

Historical challenges faced

  • It has one of the highest dropout rates in the state.
  • Three of the lowest performing elementary schools in the state are located in the county.
  • Families and community members in the county lack confidence in the school district.
  • Over the course of a few years, at least 700 students left the Edgecombe County system in favor of other options in nearby districts.



Edgecombe County made a district-wide commitment to evidence-based global education approaches in order to achieve the district’s mission to graduate all students ready to achieve success in a rapidly changing world.

New global offerings

The district launched a new globally themed K-8 school, Martin Millennium Academy, to signal its commitment to global education. The school offers a Spanish dual language program, ambassador teachers in every grade level, and integration of global themes and project-based inquiry approaches in every classroom.

Focused professional development

The district established an expectation for all teachers to be global educators. Every teacher in Edgecombe County participates in online professional development to increase levels of global competence and skill in incorporating global concepts into daily instruction.


According to the 2016 Participate Learning end of year survey, a majority of teachers in Edgecombe County “agree” or “strongly agree” that they:

  • Are more open to experimenting and taking risks with new instructional content, strategies, and/or technologies (78%).
  • Better understand the value of global investigations as a means to develop interdisciplinary content expertise (77%).
  • Are more sensitive to the cultures represented by students in their schools (78%).

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