North-Phillips School of Innovation

If you’re here, that means we share an important passion: ensuring that students are engaged, excited about learning and have every tool they need to create a more just, positive future.

At the North Phillips School of Innovation, we combine Edgecombe County Public Schools’ powerful legacy with signature learning experiences, catalytic teaching, learning science and community input. This new way of teaching and learning ensures every student finds the intersection of their passion and purpose--and it’s working. Since our launch, we’ve seen a significant increase in student attendance, excitement about learning, engagement, motivation, and simply put, joy.

Intrigued? To set up a (virtual) tour of the school or to learn more, reach out to Arlane Gordon-Bray at [email protected]

School Wasn’t Built for Our Kids

We firmly believe that all students are born with unbridled potential, however too many American school districts ignore students’ unique gifts, circumstances, traumas, histories, interests and the impact of systemic inequities

As a result, they don’t empower students to follow their dreams, create a more just society and have a positive impact on their community. 

It’s time to do school differently. 

Creating a School by Students, for Students

In 2017, we kicked off our year-long school planning process. To design a school by students, for students, our leaders: 

  • led focus groups,
  • conducted in-depth research, 
  • focused on empathy-centered planning, and 
  • interviewed students, parents, educators, business and faith-based leaders, and other advocates.
We used all of this feedback, combined with cutting-edge learning science and research-backed best practices, to launch our School of Innovation in 2018. As a result, our students come to school energized and excited to learn.

How Our Students Learn

Students come first in every part of our education model. Our students learn through signature learning experiences.

Why Our Students Thrive


Catalytic Teaching Framework

Through our Catalytic Teaching Framework, we have created our own unique framework that quantifies “good teaching” by measuring the embedded presence of our 5 design anchors. This framework provides guidance for teachers in their instructional design, and in a few years, it will become the basis of teachers’ performance assessments by school leaders.


Design Anchors

Combined with our signature learning experiences, our five design anchors shape everything we do. By focusing on the whole child, we ensure that every student feels connected, supported and engaged.


Love First

We lead with love and radical joy. Our personalized, catalytic teaching framework ensures every student experiences connectedness, community and an “each child” approach. We help students develop life skills that will help them succeed in any path they choose.

Rooted Right Here

We design with empathy and community, embracing and learning from our history, people and legacy. Community involvement, and ensuring our students have community support, remains a critical piece of our education model. 

There is No Normal

We operate in wholeness and possibility. When students understand that there is no normal—and when our community, staff and their peers reinforce this value—students can believe in limitless possibilities. 

Everyone Owns Everything

Many hats, many roles, many talents, many gifts—we leverage our collective power. Our education model is driven by our students’ passion, curiosity and our shared value that everyone owns everything. 

Design is Our Activism

What is designed can be redesigned for equity. Through student-designed learning, students are creating projects and learning experiences that meet their interests, the community’s needs and our curriculum—ensuring that our students are both engaged and learning. 

ECPS Graduate Aims

By the time School of Innovation students are 25…

  • Graduates will know their purpose and passion, and be living this out
  • Graduates will possess global awareness and agency
  • Graduates will be making positive contributions to their community
  • Graduates will create or seize opportunities to return to—or stay—in Edgecombe County
  • Graduates will be resilient in the face of challenges

How You Can Help Us Change the World

Our ongoing planning process includes continuous listening, learning and innovating. Whether it’s the first year, the third, or the tenth, we’ll continue updating and developing our program to best meet our students where they are. 


You can help us change the world by:


  • joining our campus as a School of Innovation student,
  • learning more about our funding opportunities
  • supporting student passion exploration through mentoring, providing internships, or sharing your expertise,
  • getting involved as a School of Innovation team member or teacher, or 
  • sharing your feedback with us!  

We Are the Architects of Our Lives

Our students know what it takes to succeed, and they are already changing the world, right from their classrooms—and creating a more just, positive future every day. When North Phillips School of Innovation students walk out our doors, they do so with confidence, a plan and a mantra: I can do this. They depart knowing what they love, and with the right education and skills to pursue their dreams.