ABUS Spotlight – R. N. Harris Integrated Arts/Core Knowledge Magnet School

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R. N. Harris Integrated Arts/Core Knowledge Magnet School

Durham Public Schools

Durham, North Carolina

Grades: PK – 5

2012/2017 America’s Best Urban Schools Award Winner

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R. N. Harris Magnet School in Durham, NC has an innovative approach to instruction. In classrooms, the Core Knowledge Curriculum and A+ Arts Integration are merged together to catapult student achievement. Students can show mastery of content by theatrical displays, tableaux, dance, visual arts, and music, allowing students to use their individual strengths to achieve mastery. Visitors can also see that differentiated instruction is the norm in classrooms. Scaffolding of lessons is done to meet students’ individual needs. This support is most evident when small-group instruction is taking place during intervention periods. Noticeable also are interactive bulletin boards that are question-response driven. These displays facilitate spiraling of the curriculum and student interest in other grade-level content that prompts critical thinking and draws on students’ background knowledge. The school has created an atmosphere of enthusiasm for learning with stimulation in and out of classrooms. R.N. Harris’ theme is “Breaking the Barriers” while “Pushing it to the Limit.”


R. N. Harris Magnet School Website

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Free-Reduced Lunch100%
African American46%
Hispanic 48%
English Learners17%
Students with Disabilities6%


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established in 2005 , NCUST strives to help urban school districts and their partners transform urban schools into places where all students achieve academic proficiency, evidence a love of learning, and graduate well prepared to succeed in post-secondary education, the workplace, and their communities.


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