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East Carolina University has a long standing tradition of preparing educators and engaging in partnership with Pitt County Schools. In 1914, East Carolina Teacher Training School (which later was renamed East Carolina University) opened a laboratory school in collaboration with Greenville Graded Schools (which is now a part of Pitt County Public Schools). The model school was designed to provide an opportunity for school-age students to be exposed to innovative teaching methods from university faculty and teachers in training. The Model School was renamed Wahl-Coates Laboratory School in honor of two educators who had served the school for 30 years. The school expanded and moved to several sites to include the site where Wahl-Coates Elementary is currently located. With the expansion of East Carolina University, the laboratory school was disbanded and Wahl-Coates Elementary was absorbed into the local school system.
The ECU Community School is a new chapter in the partnership between East Carolina University and Pitt County Schools, a venture that will maintain the strengths of the past lab school models and the long-standing relationship of the two organizations while once again coming together to create a spectrum of services for children while providing a space for innovation, practice and research.