Stand Up 4 NC Public Schools
Students Put to the Test at NC Science Olympiad
Monday, March 2, 2015 at 4:45:00 pm
The NC Science Olympiad held its regional competitions on Saturday.
Jacqueline Leibman said she looks forward to this day all year long. This is her 7th year competing in the Fayetteville Regional Science Olympiad.
"I liked science, I love science. I love engineering I wanted to be an architect when I was younger and a doctor now so it still connects to both things,” said Leibman.
Leibman was one of 675 participants in Fayetteville on Saturday in the middle and high school divisions. It may seem like fun and games but the events are hard work.
"Kids break in to teams of two, and they have to come in and try to find the best answer for each problem. There's everything from building gliders, to launching projectiles and taking tests on chemistry and physics." said Chris Ruminski, a coach for the competition.
For Leibman and her partner, this is their chance to be on a team. Their high school does not have an athletics program. They say they're exercising, just in a different way.
"It's not athletics where you are doing vigor, but it's mentally athletic. We have people building rockets, trajectory, little cars that have to go a certain distance. No matter what, you may not be using your physical strength but you are using your mental strength,” said Leibman.
Whether the students win or lose, participants say these Olympic games are teaching life long lessons.
"Having good sportsmanship and being able to work with so many people and having to work together, having to have a partner. Getting close to people you didn't necessarily know in school,” said Chandra Butler of Reed Ross Classical High School.
Top finishers from Saturday's event move to the state level where they will have a chance to compete for scholarships.
"I just think it's a great opportunity for students to come out and showcase what they can do based on what they are learning in school,” said Leibman.
Students Help African Peers
Monday, March 2, 2015 at 3:15:00 pm
Three local students have helped some of their peers halfway around the globe.
Roland-Grise Middle School eighth-graders Tyler Glatt, James Hardy and Daniel Morrison have raised enough funds to provide 15 Malawian children with scholarships that pay for a year of education, daily meals, school supplies and a school uniform.
“We have it great here in the United States of America,” Glatt said. “Transportation, housing, food, water and a top-notch education opportunity are just some of the luxuries we enjoy. 7,989 miles to the east sits the country of Malawi, Africa. They don’t have many of the luxuries we enjoy here in the states.”
To raise the needed money, the boys sold “Support Malawian Education” T-shirts. By the end of their fundraising campaign, they had sold 59 shirts and collected a total of $900.
“Working through a school community service project to support education in other schools is a special opportunity,” Glatt said. “It gave us a chance to change the world in a little way, but that’s where it starts. Giving children a chance to go to school changes their lives, and puts a brighter future ahead of them. When people of the world work together, we develop new technologies, friendships and better partnerships that keeps the world as one.”
PSRC Collects 7 Awards
Monday, February 16, 2015 at 2:00:00 pm
School public relations professionals across the state were recognized Friday during the North Carolina School Public Relations Association’s annual Blue Ribbon Awards for Effective Communications celebration at the O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro. Twenty-six school districts received 139 awards in 11 categories.
Award categories included Annual Reports; Calendars; Electronic Media; Writing; Internet Website; Marketing; Newsletters/Newspapers; Special Purpose Publications; Identity/Imaging Packages; Handbooks; and Photography. Entries were judged by the Georgia School Public Relations Association.
Sharon Spence, the North Carolina School Public Relations Association’s president and public information officer for Lee County Schools, said the work of the winners rivaled the best work of public relations practitioners in any field.
“The work of these colleagues was judged to be superior and a credit to the practice of school public relations,” Spence said. “This roster of excellence is tangible evidence that NCSPRA’s public relations professionals are among the nation’s finest and that they are producing cutting edge communications and products that support our schools and school systems.”
Included in the list of winners was Tasha Oxendine, public relations officer for the Public Schools of Robeson County. The district received seven Blue Ribbon awards.
Davis Awarded Top Honor
Monday, February 16, 2015 at 9:50:00 am
Anthony Davis, principal at Elkin Elementary School, was awarded the Young Educator of the Year Award by the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Davis was most recently named the Outstanding Young Educator for North Carolina at the North Carolina ASCD Conference held in Pinehurst. The award is based on an educator who demonstrates exemplary commitment and exceptional contribution to the education profession. Davis was recognized for his leadership impact on students and student learning; creativity and innovation in his school; his leadership and impact on his school and school district and his contribution to the profession of public education.
According to information from Elkin City Schools, “Davis has shown great leadership in our mission to grow a community of leaders through our STEAM infused education system and project based learning initiatives.”
Davis, who is in his second year as principal of the elementary school, “encourages teacher leadership.”
“Each of us are encouraged as educators to become leaders, and this especially true with our STEAM initiative,” one teacher was quoted in the school release. “We have been enabled as teachers and are provided [the tools we need] to move forward with our units for STEAM and PBL. He is always encouraging us and coming by our classrooms to see our projects and gives ideas and thoughts about our problem based learning tasks.”
“Mr. Davis’ impact on student learning is directly related to his enthusiasm for creating a safe, nurturing and caring environment for his staff and students,” said the release. “Leading his staff through well planned and technology driven professional learning communities, his work with teachers in the analysis of student data and data directed decisions have led to many positive results in more focused formative and summative assessments of student learning.”
In addition, he “encourages and empowers his student council and student leaders to initiate various school and community projects to help area citizens, the local food pantry, the United Fund of the Yadkin Valley, community support groups and rally school spirit.”
“Mr. Davis’ use of technology and understanding of data directed decision making through disaggregation of test data has been highly effective,” noted the release. “Working with staff in small group settings, his assistance to teachers have allowed them to better analyze individual student data, group and grade level data, which in turn, has lead to higher levels of individualization and team planning. This willingness to meet with staff during collaborative planning times reflects the instructional leadership model that all principals should reflect in his/her daily events.”
Camden County Board of Education Recognizes Students
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 12:45:00 pm
The Camden County Board of Education recognized several student achievements at their board meeting Thursday, February 12. Board chair Christian Overton recognized Camden Baxter-Baronas, William Brickhouse, and Daniel Nadj for representing Camden County and The Camden County Bands recently at the NC Bandmasters Association Eastern District All District Band Clinic and Concerts on the campus of East Carolina University.
Camden is a 10th grade student at CamTech High School and William Brickhouse and Daniel Nadj are 8th grade students at Camden Middle School. Over the course of the Fall Semester, the students began preparing for the audition and in January they traveled to Greenville to audition for a panel of adjudicators. During the audition process, the students performed a prepared solo, an assortment of scales, and performed a sight reading example. The sight reading was a piece of music the students had never seen and were only given 60 seconds to prepare before playing.
Once selected, the students returned to Greenville last weekend to rehearse with other selected students from other schools on Friday and Saturday and performed a concert at Wright Auditorium on the campus of ECU on Saturday evening.
The Eastern District Band Association is comprised of all schools East of 1-95 and ranges from the Virginia Border to the Wilmington area. While in attendance at the clinic, 'the students were able to work with other directors from the region while preparing for the concert.
Cierra Pettus, an 11th grade student at CamTech High School, was also recognized. Cierra was instrumental in the successful launch of CamTech’s newspaper, the Bruin Times. She has assumed a leadership position among the newspaper staff even though many of the staff are seniors. Cierra pushes the other staff members to meet their deadlines and often picks up their duties when they fall behind. Cierra is the biggest advocate of the newspaper and is constantly working to promote it at both CamTech and Camden County High School. CamTech is very proud of the newspaper and is fully aware that it would not be the success it has been without Cierra. In addition to all of her work on the newspaper, Cierra was named a junior member of the Student Teacher Advisory Council. As one of two Student Teacher Advisory Council members, she, along with a group of faculty members, meet monthly with Superintendent Hawkins.
Currituck, NASCAR Childress Team Up to Promote Reading
Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 4:15:00 pm
Currituck County Schools are getting ready for their second district-wide family reading activity and expect to make it bigger and better than before, thanks to two rising stars in NASCAR.
Jarvisburg Elementary School librarian Mary Simmons and her husband Jackie, vice-chariman of the Currituck County Board of Education, are friends with the owner of two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams.
Through that relationship, they were able to have Austin and Ty Dillon of the famed Richard Childress Racing Team help promote a district-wide reading initiative for the elementary schools called One District, One Book.
As part of the project, every elementary school family, faculty and staff member, school board members, bus drivers, support staff, Central Office staff, and other members of the community will receive a copy of Roald Dahl’s classic James and the Giant Peach.
Starting March 9, participants will follow a schedule of reading the same chapters as a district each night. Parents are asked to read the book aloud to their child as a fun and worthwhile activity.
The goal is to involve the entire community in reading, opening a dialog between students and their teachers, community members, bus drivers and support staff about the characters and events in the shared book.
Through the sponsorship of TowneBank of Currituck and Currituck Kids, each family in the school will receive a free copy of the book during special assemblies kicking off on the same day in March.
Wake County Principals Running in Krispy Kreme Challenge to Promote Literacy
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 2:45:00 pm
With each potentially labored step on Saturday, 20 Wake County principals and district administrators hope to get more books to children who might otherwise lack reading material at home.
The Wake principals will try to down a dozen doughnuts Saturday as they make the five-mile Krispy Kreme Challenge trek in Raleigh. Wearing “principals running for literacy” T-shirts, their goal is to promote the collection of 100,000 new and gently used children’s books for the 2nd annual WAKE Up and Read book drive.
“Kids are excited about bringing in books so their principals can run, eat a dozen doughnuts and hopefully finish in a reasonable time,” said Barry Richburg, the principal of Conn Elementary School in Raleigh. “It’s another fun way to promote literacy.”
Last year, Richburg participated in a dance-off with another principal that raised 2,400 books. Richburg said he wanted to get more principals involved in the book drive.
What was once an idea Richburg tweeted to a handful of his colleagues has expanded into an effort involving principals from across the state’s largest school system.
The challenge has special meaning for Tad Sherman, the principal of Wakelon Elementary School in Zebulon.
Wakelon is one of nine high-poverty elementary schools that will receive books from WAKE Up and Read, a group that promotes childhood literacy in Wake County. Books will also be given to community centers and child-care facilities that serve the same areas as those schools.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity to bond with my colleagues and to do it for a good cause,” Sherman said. “It’s helping kids and it’s helping my kids. I’ve got 500 babies at Wakelon here who need to add to their libraries at home.”
Since Wakelon is receiving books, Sherman asked local businesses instead of his school’s families to donate to the drive. But the other schools whose principals are participating Saturday have found ways to encourage their students to contribute.
Richburg has challenged each student at Conn to donate two books.
At Vance Elementary School in Garner, Principal Sarah Simmons said, a Krispy Kreme doughnut will be given to each student in the grade level that donates the most books.
As race day looms, each principal has found his or her own way to prepare.
Richburg, a self-described runner, said he’s been doing his two-plus mile runs three days a week. But he said several of the principals, including Sherman, are participating in their first race.
Sherman said he’s been looking for a race after having lost 70 pounds over the past 1 1/2 years. But he and his fellow principals are apprehensive about the prospect of eating a dozen doughnuts sandwiched between a pair of two 2 1/2 mile runs between N.C. State University and the Krispy Kreme shop downtown.
Trash cans line the finish area for those who can’t hold down the doughnuts.
Simmons plans to run in the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Florida next weekend. But she admits it’s “a little scary” participating in the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
“I really like doughnuts, but I’m not sure if I could eat a whole dozen,” Simmons said. “I’ve run a full marathon and I think this might be a little more intimidating.”
School, Electric Coop Shows Off Partnership
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 12:25:00 pm
Surry County’s Board of Education heard about “powerful partnerships” during a meeting last week at Dobson Elementary School.
Gentry Middle science teacher Jamie Mosley was selected as a Kenan Fellowship scholar last year. Mosley got a detailed look inside the corporation from ordering electric service to putting the pole in the ground and hanging the lines.
This “look inside” gave her the opportunity to bring what she had learned back to her classroom. Mosley created a classroom activity titled “Generation Transmission and Delivery of Power” and the entire seventh grade will participate in the project next month.
Surry Yadkin has invited the seventh grade on upcoming field trips to their office, the Fairview Solar Farm, and pole top rescue outing so students can see the day-to-day operations and learn about different aspects of the co-op.
A video created by Surry Yadkin and North Carolina Electric Membership cooperatives demonstrating the importance of making the connection between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics was shown to the board. This same video is on the system’s website and will be played before feature movies next month at Creekside Cinemas.
Cooperative Marketing and Economic Development Coordinator Adam Martin and CEO and General Manager and Executive Vice President Greg Puckett were recognized by the board for their efforts supporting the program.
“The holy grail of education is connecting the dots,” said School Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves. “We’re preparing kids for jobs that don’t exist yet. We’re helping children connect their education to our future.”
Director of Teacher Quality and Information Sonia Dickerson told the board overall, student participation in the annual science fairs increased by more than ten percent. She said science fairs provide an opportunity for students, third through twelfth grades, to pursue their personal areas of interest and to display their research.
Students selected as winners in the Surry County School System advance to the NC Science and Engineering Fair regionals. The Northwest Region has the largest regional science fair in the state. Dickerson noted the competitive event takes place a month earlier for Surry County students than the other regions.
Solar Panels Offer Lesson in Determination for Carrboro Middle Schoolers
Monday, February 9, 2015 at 3:20:00 pm
With the sun shining brightly outside McDougle Middle School in Carrboro, it’s a good day to learn about solar energy.
Science teacher Ruben Giral has a big teaching tool in the front yard - a four-panel solar array.
Science teacher Ruben Giral has a big teaching tool in the front yard - a four-panel solar array that gives students more than just a lesson in science. It has also taught them how to get things done.
“It started with a lesson in sustainability,” Giral said. “I was asking the kids, ‘Why don't we have something like this here in Carrboro?’”
The students decided to take action and wrote letters to the Carrboro Town Council. They also helped raise $8,000 through an Indiegogo campaign and a bake sale.
Eighth-grader Megan Zelasky was thrilled when the panels arrived in October.
“It was just the most incredible feeling,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it's finally here in Carrboro.’”
The panels generate electricity that goes directly into the school. Zelasky hopes they also generate a sense of responsibility about the environment.
“We only get one planet, and I think we should work to make it a better place,” she said.
Giral couldn’t be more proud of his students.
“If we're going help this planet continue, we need more kids just like them,” he said. “And they're doing it, they're showing us you can do it.”
Three schools in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools now have solar electricity, and six schools are using solar energy to heat water to use in the kitchen.
Students Participate in MathCounts Competition
Monday, February 9, 2015 at 1:45:00 pm
Eleanor Jenkins is good at math. Really good.
Eleanor, an eighth grade student at Broad Creek Middle School, won first place during Onslow County School’s annual MathCounts competition held Thursday at Clyde Erwin Elementary School.
“It was just really fun for the experience and I want to do it again,” said Eleanor, who participated in the competition for the first time.
The national coaching program is designed to stimulate seventh and eighth grade students’ interest and achievement in mathematics, according to information from Onslow County Schools. On Thursday, nine teams (more than 50 middle school students) from area schools participated in the competition. Each school had teams of four and up to two alternates with teachers and volunteers coaching the team beginning in the fall and continuing throughout the year.
Michelle Wright, a math teacher with Swansboro Middle School coaching for the first time team, said coaches get just as involved in the competition as the kids do.
“I was very antsy when it came to them sitting and doing the work,” Wright said. “I want them to do well. It’s weird how nervous I get even though I’m not the one that’s actually doing the work.”
Students competed in various rounds on Thursday including a sprint round, target round, team round and ciphering round, where each school is represented by one student who then has less than a minute to solve problems.
Onslow County schools will participate in the regional MathCounts competition on Feb. 28 in Wilmington.
Despite the potential size of the competition, Eleanor — the first place winner overall — said she is excited for the next round of competition.
“I am nervous,” she said, “but I cannot wait.”