In 2009, to honor the memory Gail Norcross who passed on January 7, 2007, the 7 Degrees of Change Global Literacy Project was created to provide books to libraries in the Philippines. The name was created by seven rising high school juniors for their International Baccalaureate® Diploma Programme Project. The students received assistance in collecting donated books, raising funds, handling international shipping, working on a website, and in identifying related logistics associated with the Project.
In 2010, the 7 Degrees of Change Foundation partnered with Quintin J.V. Pastrana and joined the Library Renewal Partnership. Together, we have opened over 800 libraries in the Philippines and Bhutan. These facilities have become the center of their communities and have drawn international attention as Quintin, Paul and Kim Norcross were asked to present the library project's success at the Oxford University - Southeast Asia Studies Symposium in 2016.
In 2002, the Norcross family was recognized by the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of North Carolina for being the first school in Guilford County to implement the Critical Incident Response Kit or CIRK program. This was later adopted throughout the district and ultimately statewide.
In 2013, the foundation took over the management of Phoenix Academy, High Point’s oldest and largest charter school, which was founded by the Norcross family in 1997. It is the first school in North Carolina to offer the Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports Program (PBIS), which has now been adopted statewide as Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). This is the first public school of choice in the state to be accredited as an International Baccalaureate or IBO© World School and has recently concluded a USD $31.8M Municipal Bond offering to purchase its current properties and expand additional athletic fields, classrooms and labs.
The children's book series The Phoenix by Matthew J. Norcross focuses on seven character traits. They are Empathy, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Trustworthiness, Caring, and Citizenship. Each one of these traits needs to be learned every day in order for all of us to try and be good people.
The series uses the 7 Degrees of Change curriculum, which focuses on three character traits:
Our goal is to bring this visionary take on Character Education to, not just schools across North Carolina, but across the country as well.
The first school shooting in the Unites States took place at the University of Virginia in 1840. However it was not until 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, that rocked the world of education. Over the past two decades numerous active shooter incidents have occurred across the country.
With approximately fifty seven million students in elementary and secondary schools, there are over fifty seven million unique stories and circumstances involved in students lives. So in addition to addressing campus hardening, and providing the tools for staff and law enforcement to respond to an incident, it is equally critical develop the tools to get out in front of situations that may lead to an incident.
Building on our long history of building safe schools and being the first to implement the Critical Incident Response Kits (CIRK) and the integrated Shooter Detection System local law enforcement, we created the "School Safety Initiative" or "SSI". Working with Local, State, Federal and International parters, we are creating a comprehensive, integrated strategy for campus hardening, systems, programs and training for students, teachers, administrators and law enforcement.
Starting the first public school of choice in High Point: Phoenix Academy in 1998 as a private school then converting to a public school, it has always been recognized as a leader in innovation, primarily as the school that brought PBIS to North Carolina. The methodology is based on Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA. Which was pioneered by Dr. Ivor Lovaas from UCLA as a way to change the lives of children on the autism spectrum. The mission statement of "Treat people as they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming".
Focusing on the individual student, challenging the minds of our youngest students by focusing on their individual needs. With smaller classrooms, students thrive as they build a solid foundation for life. Students practice their skills in small groups and with the one-on-one attention that we feel each and every student deserves. Smaller groups also lend themselves to better communication in the classroom environment. Students are more willing to ask questions and express themselves. At each grade level, our staff guides the students’ growth toward critical and creative thinking, while fostering their emotional and social growth developing compassionate young people.