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Carolina First Center for Excellence Print E-mail
Image Carrie Bunnell, a second grade teacher at Taylors Elementary, just completed her first year as a Greenville County public school teacher.

“Looking back over the past year, I can see how my outlook on ‘school life’ changed,” said Bunnell. “One of the most encouraging parts of my experience was implementing Continuous Quality Improvement (Quality) in my own classroom.”

There are approximately 1,200 Upstate teachers, just like Bunnell, who are putting Quality in the classroom due to the Greenville Chamber Foundation’s premiere program, Carolina First Center for Excellence (CFCE), an organization under the Greenville Chamber. CFCE was established in 2002 to train teachers on Continuous Quality Improvement (Quality) strategies. CFCE is in 34 Upstate schools, three area counties and is changing the way teachers teach and students learn.

Quality education is a different approach to education. It is based on principles that many Fortune 500 companies use to train their staff. In CFCE partnered schools, students develop mission statements, set goals and track their personal and classroom progress.

“We use several Quality tools in our classroom everyday,” said Bunnell. “Our mission statement, data notebooks, plus/delta, parking lot and appointment clocks all help set the ‘tone’ of our classroom. Parents are impressed when they see their child’s data notebook with graphs showing how they have done on spelling tests. They are even more thrilled when their child is able to explain what those graphs mean and talk about their plans for future successes.”

Bunnell did not receive any previous training on Quality prior to her first year as a teacher at Taylors. When asked about her reaction to the idea of Quality in the classroom Bunnell said, “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow! This is a really different way of looking at how a classroom can be set up.’ It made me think very carefully about the purpose of every aspect of my classroom.”

In her first year, Bunnell was amazed at how her students were always trying to do better because they knew exactly where they stood. Whenever an issue came about, her students used Quality tools as a reminder of the goals they – the students, not the teachers – set. By using the Quality tools, her students were better able to come up with ways to make improvements and move forward toward reaching goals, rather than taking direction from her or other teachers. Bunnell closed by saying, “I was so proud of my students’ growth throughout my first year of teaching. I am eagerly watching to see how my new students will change and grow!”

To learn more about the Carolina First Center for Excellence, visit There you can learn about its history, partnered schools, how to get involved, and much more. For more information contact CFCE Manager Tami Miller at 864-239-3743 or Chamber Vice President of Workforce and Education Michele Brinn at 864-239-3727. © 2003-2008 All rights reserved.
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