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Dogwood Health Trust Shares Findings from K-12 Landscape Analysis, Announces Webinar

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Scholars from the Education and Policy Initiative at Carolina will present regional findings during an Oct. 26 webinar.

Asheville, N.C. – Dogwood Health Trust announced today the availability of a comprehensive landscape study of K-12 education in Western North Carolina. The research and analysis, conducted by the Education and Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC), highlights the strengths in the region’s K-12 schools and the opportunities for Dogwood and its partners to better promote the wellbeing of students throughout Western North Carolina. The full report is available for free download on Dogwood’s website. Dogwood will host a webinar with the researchers from EPIC on October 26 at 12:00 p.m. to review the findings in more detail. All members of the community are invited to attend and can register using this link.

Dogwood commissioned A Landscape Analysis of K-12 Education Outcomes in Western North Carolina to help inform its future investments in K-12 education. EPIC, a group of quantitative and qualitative scholars at UNC Chapel Hill, conducted this rigorous research by comparing data on the K-12 students, educators and schools in Western North Carolina with those of other parts of the state. EPIC also explored how our region’s students, teachers and schools fared during the COVID pandemic. The report found that students with disabilities, students of color, specifically African American students, and students in our lowest wealth communities had less access and academic success.

“For every student in Western North Carolina to graduate ready for college or career, one of our wisest investments is in the systems and programs that support academic growth and social-emotional health. What happens before the first bell and after that last bell of the school day is so critical to what goes on during the school day,” said Dr. Ereka Williams, Vice President – Education at Dogwood Health Trust. “This study gives us data specific to Western North Carolina and quantifies the opportunities we currently have to better promote the wellbeing of all students in WNC”

To achieve its goal for all WNC students to graduate ready for college or career, Dogwood is bolstering K-12 learning experiences, addressing K-12 workforce challenges, and equipping families of students with resources to support academic growth and social-emotional health. Dogwood is also increasing the capacity of partners throughout the region, so they are able to provide additional support and services. Guided by this recent study, Dogwood will amplify its work around K-12 education by:

  • Collaborating with other Strategic Priority areas to launch the Career and Technical Education Credentialing Effort, in which K-12 public school units and Community College partners in the region support middle, secondary and post-secondary learners with career and college readiness skills and credentials needed to rebuild our WNC economy and community.
  • Initiating the WNC After 3PM Effort with inventory of afterschool, weekend, and summer opportunities that support our K-12 youth across the region, and determine our best path forward for building on the abilities of community partners across the region to collaborate, align and deepen out-of-school opportunities
  • Initiating an Equity and Community Confidence Effort to increase engagement and close gaps in achievement, retention, and graduation rates in K-12 schools across the region  

“Dogwood is continuing to gather key data and commission studies that will better inform our strategies and support the work of partners in the region,” said Dr. Susan Mims, CEO for Dogwood Health Trust. “We hope that our partners and others working with our region’s K12 students will find this comprehensive study to be a valuable resource.”

The study’s authors, Kevin C. Bastian, PhD, Sarah C. Fuller, PhD, and Camille Mikkelsen will present their findings and offer a high-level analysis in addition to answering questions during an informational webinar on Oct. 26, 2022 at 12:00pm. Anyone is welcome to attend and may register here.


About Dogwood Health Trust

Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing, with a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity, and health and wellness. Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit

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