Confidential Teacher Recommendation Form for the Emily K Pioneer Scholars Program
FAMILIES: Provide your child’s current and/or former classroom teachers with this recommendation form or share the link,, to access the online form. Two (2) teacher recommendations are required for all students from teachers who can speak to your student’s academic performance in math, reading, science, and social studies. For rising first graders, the main classroom teacher and one other member of the school personnel who can speak to the student's conduct and performance can complete the second recommendation.

TEACHERS: In order for a student to be considered for enrollment in the Pioneer Scholars program, we request input from at least two teachers who can speak to the student’s academic performance in the classroom as well as the student’s academic potential. Please answer the following questions thoughtfully and completely, as teacher feedback is an essential portion of our admission decision. Your responses are the best way for us to get to know a potential student from an academic perspective. If you have questions, feel free to contact Nephitearya Bailey, Director of Elementary and Middle School Readiness, by telephone at 919-680-0308 ext. 2002 or email at You may submit this recommendation online by visiting to access our online form.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:  Pioneer Scholars is a free enrollment-based, academic enrichment program serving academically focused elementary and middle school students in Durham County who aspire to attend college after high school. The goal of the program is to establish a strong foundation of academic and leadership skills so that students enter high school ready to excel in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that will put them on the path to admission to a four-year college or university. For additional information and to access the online version of this form, visit our website

Student Admission Criteria
The Center is committed to enrolling students who are the best fit for the support this program provides. We are seeking students who demonstrate the following four characteristics:

Academic Focus
Students must demonstrate that they are academically-capable, motivated, and invested in their success in school. Strong applicants have an intellectual curiosity and are responsible for their own learning, interactions, and conduct. The typical Pioneer Scholars student maintains academic indicators/grades of “4/A” and/or “3/B” in school while working at or above their grade level. In addition, all applicants must submit documentation of consistent and excellent attendance at school.

Leadership Ability
Students must demonstrate they are able to work collaboratively with peers and are involved, positive members of their school community. All applicants must display high levels of ambition and academic curiosity. In addition, all of our students are expected to embody and consistently demonstrate our six leadership and character pillars:
1. Heart: Dream with courage, daring, and passion.
2. High Expectations: Commit to excellence in everything you do.
3. Hard Work: Do your best at every task so that you are a responsible member of your family, team, and community.
4. Integrity: Choose to do the right thing no matter who is watching.
5. Honesty: Make truth the basis of your success so that you are a trustworthy member of your family, team, and community.
6. Respect: Achieve with respect and care for yourself and for the dignity and potential of others.

Financial Need:
Students must reside and attend school in Durham County, NC and demonstrate financial need.  

Family Support
Families must be committed to participating actively in the program and supporting their student in achieving his/her academic goals. This includes arranging transportation to and from the program, ensuring student attend on assigned program days, reinforcing program goals and leadership pillars, attending family conferences and expecting and encouraging academic achievement.
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