REI summer learning exchange promotes community in edPIRATE, CARE Corps

man speaking to crowd

Dr. Dudley E. Flood talks to the participants at the REI summer learning exchange. (Photos by Kristen Martin)

The Rural Education Institute (REI) hosted a summer learning exchange focused how to cultivate change and equity in rural education for members of edPIRATE and CARE Corps.

EdPIRATE is comprised of a cohort of Master of Arts in Teaching students and CARE Corps is ECU’s division of AmeriCorps focused on providing education services for youth in the community host sites.

Participants were joined by Dr. Dudley E. Flood, the keynote speaker for the event. Flood is a pivotal figure in education, especially in eastern North Carolina. Born in Winton, he completed his education at North Carolina Central University, East Carolina University and Duke University. After teaching and serving as an administrator in public schools, Flood began his career at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

During his remarks, Flood shared insights into his history in education and key lessons he learned along the way.

“You have one chance to make a first impression,” he said. “It may take a year for you to unravel that impression if it’s a poor one.”

Flood also remarked that during his tenure as a principal, he didn’t set rules; instead, he set philosophical principles for everyone to live by. He noted that if you have rules, people will want to know what happens when they break them. He chose to create an environment where teachers and students would want to learn and flourish.

“You are not what you think you are,” he said. “You are not what other people think you are. But you will tend to become what you think others think you are.”

Flood was a key figure in desegregating North Carolina public schools. He alluded to this when discussing the need for having a variety of students in the classroom.

“I believe that if you put everyone who is just alike in a group, they will stay just alike,” he said.

After Flood’s address, members of the HYPE Crew, the top step organization in North Carolina, performed for participants.

The main objectives of the summer learning exchange were to build community among cohorts, identify assets in the communities while working on definitions of rural educational justice practices, engage in self-reflection, and participate in co-teaching training.

group of people posing for photo

CARE Corps and edPIRATE participants pose with ECU faculty/staff and members of the HYPE Crew.