Stand Up for Public Schools
Taylor Tapped for Superintendent Initiative
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 8:45:00 am
The non-profit group, Strategic Leadership By Design, has announced Mount Airy City Schools will take part in the Aspiring Superintendent Fellows Program, an initiative seeking to increase North Carolina’s pool of qualified top school district leaders.
Assistant Superintendent Bryan Taylor has been chosen as a participant in the program.
A veteran educator with 21 years experience, Taylor has been in his current position of assistant superintendent since 2004. Prior to that, he served in roles including executive director of human resources, director of Exceptional Children, director of Student Services, and as director of federal programs.
“I’m honored to be accepted into this program and look forward to working with Dr. Coble and his group to broaden my base of knowledge and expand my opportunities,” said Taylor.
The two-year fellows program’s goal is to increase the number of well-prepared potential superintendents through experiential learning and executive coaching. The leadership development includes both a year-long series of seminars addressing topics such as cultural change within organizations and development of high-performing teams as well as state-of-the-art assessments that allow fellows to understand their specific development needs. The coaching component extends over both years.
The fellows program has been developed and is delivered by Strategic Leadership By Design, a non-profit led by Janice Davis, a former deputy state superintendent of public instruction and Granville County superintendent. Larry Coble, a former superintendent in four North Carolina school districts and executive director of the 15-district Piedmont Triad Education Consortium, is the fellows’ program seminar leader.
Greensboro SRO Earns State Award For Service
Monday, July 21, 2014 at 12:10:00 pm
A Greensboro school resource officer earned a state award for going above and beyond.
Officer B.L. Harris was awarded the Hank Snyder "Beyond the Call of Duty Award" at the North Carolina Association of School Resource Officers Conference last week.
"Going above and beyond the call of duty is just how Officer Harris is wired," said his supervisor, Sgt. M.J. Harris. "He is about making a positive impact on his students, and meeting the needs of people within his community."
Police say Officer Harris is known for his sincere conversations with troubled youth. He talks with them about their roles as leaders and their future, and he stresses the importance of being good citizens in the community.
He is also quick to intervene when he students get off course – firmly yet fairly resolving discipline and disorder issues in the school. He once mediated differences between rival gang members in the same classroom so that the teacher could present the lesson in safety.
The SRO is also known for his community outreach efforts. He started a program called "Kicks for Kids" to collect new and gently used shoes for children in need. During 2013, he received approximately $8,088 worth of shoes and clothes for students.
He organized a cleanup of Claremont Homes, getting city workers, residents and other police officers to remove unsightly debris and pick up large quantities of trash.
During the summer, Officer Harris solicited local barber shops and beauty salons, obtaining more than 250 vouchers for free services for students who could not afford them
Harris will start the 2014-15 academic year as the SRO for Grimsley High School.
This is the third consecutive year that School Resource Officers from the Greensboro Police Department have earned recognition at the North Carolina Association of School Resource Officers Conference. Last year, Officer O.E.Hudson, Jr. was recognized as the CC McGee School Resource Officer of the Year, the highest state award named in memory of the late former Assistant Sheriff of Forsyth County. In 2012, Officer C. M. Rouhlac earned the same award for being the best SRO in the state.
Rockingham County Schools Graduates Earn Millions in Scholarship Offers
Friday, July 18, 2014 at 11:15:00 am
Rockingham County, NC – The seniors who make up the Classes of 2014 in our district are very talented in academics, the arts, athletics and more. Combined they earned more than $17.8 million in scholarship offers.
Dr. Rodney Shotwell, superintendent of RCS states, “Thanks to the diligent work of our high school counselors and the Carolina Advising Corp Advisors, we are pleased that our high school seniors’ achievements have been recognized through the offering of more than $17.8 million in scholarships from institutions of higher education and the military. Especially, we are grateful for the support of our community, our businesses, industrial and civic groups working to contribute scholarships for our youth. The scope of these awards reflects the capability of our students in competing academically with seniors across the country."
Over the past five years, Rockingham County Schools’ seniors have been offered an impressive total of$86,387,911 in scholarships!
Onslow Students Compete in National Conference
Friday, July 18, 2014 at 9:25:00 am
Five Onslow County students traveled to Kansas City recently to represent the school district and North Carolina during the week long 50th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference.
June 23-27 they joined more than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students, all contest winners at the state level, to compete in 99 different hands-on trade, technical and leadership fields.
Ethan Smith, a 2014 graduate from Richlands High, finished fourth in the Related Technical Math competition. His teacher, Ken Brown, said the competition involved taking a two-hour written test to determine competence of skills required to solve mathematical problems commonly found in the skilled trades and professional and technical occupations. Skills demonstrated include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions and decimals; applied word problems; percentages; ratio proportions; averages; area; volume; metric measures and traditional — Imperial — measures and trigonometry.
John Mercer, Drew Mercer, Keegan McNamara and Evans Morgan, 2014 graduates from Jacksonville High came in 12th in the nation in the TeamWorks competition. Their teacher, Kenny Kellum, said the teams were required to build a construction project over three days that demonstrated their ability to work together using carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry skills per “competition specified” building codes. Each team was required to understand the project elements based on a detailed blue print and special instructions presented at the pre-competition orientation. Each team had to write a project completion “action plan” and each member had to present a part of it as one of the “key” elements of the competition. In addition to judging the presentations, teams were critiqued on their ability to construct the project per “competition specified” building codes; jobsite safety and cleanliness; organized and correct ordering of materials from the competition material depot; proper use and accountability of tools and equipment and the rate of completion of the project for the team.
Drew Mercer attributes the team’s success to Kellum. “He has actually been a huge influence on us,” he said. “He works with you … and he gives you his absolute best.”
School Board Approves Expanding Pre-K Program
Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 2:40:00 pm
The Cabarrus County Board of Education unanimously approved expanding its early childhood programs, with two classrooms serving 36 students next school year, during the board’s combined work session and business meeting on Monday.
Tara Nattrass, director of elementary education for Cabarrus County Schools, presented a proposal to expand the early childhood programs by leasing space at All Saints Episcopal Church in Concord and using dual subsidy funding that Cabarrus Partnership for Children receives and will provide.
“We know early childhood programs have a big impact on students. … We know we have children throughout the county we are unable to reach,” Nattrass said.
The dual subsidy funding is federally funded and comes to the state, said Ann Benfield, executive director for Cabarrus Partnership for Children. The More at Four and Smart Start programs are provided by Cabarrus Partnership for Children, which must spend 30 percent of its funding in childcare subsidies, Benfield said.
Cabarrus County Schools currently has 176 students at Long School that are funded by Head Start and the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program (NC Pre-K); 108 students at Carl A. Furr, W.M. Irvin, Rocky River and Winecoff elementary schools that are funded by NC PreK; and about 200 students at the Mary Frances Wall Center. There are still 300-400 students on the waiting list, though, and Nattrass said the board asked about a year ago how it could expand its early childhood programs.
“I can see it’s very much a win-win for the children and for the school system. … We can only serve so many, but the number on the waiting list keeps going up and up and up. This will provide more services for more children,” Shue said.
Facebook Joins Initiative to Provide Free Wi-Fi to Students in Rutherford County
Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 11:10:00 am
Students in North Carolina’s Rutherford County School District will be part of a pilot program aimed at bringing them free Wi-Fi as the result of a collaboration between Facebook, the Town of Forest City (where the social network has a data center), Rutherford County Schools, and PANGAEA Internet.
The partners announced in a press release that the first phase of their initiative will launch immediately, to 75 to 100 homes in the neighborhood surrounding the Rutherford Opportunity Center in Forest City, adding that the town was chosen due to its high concentration of students and a 2011 initiative by the school district to provide a personal laptop to every middle- and high-school student.
Officials of the school district found that nearly one-half of the students who received laptops did not have Internet access at home, prompting the initiative.
The Town of Forest City is providing the space and power for the Wi-Fi end points, while Facebook is providing the actual end points, and the network signal is coming from PANGAEA.
The parties said future phases will include expanding access to more students, as well as improving network performance.
Keven McCammon, site manager for Facebook’s data center in Forest City, said in the release:
Connectivity can open up new opportunities for everyone, and we’re excited to partner with Forest City, the Rutherford County School District, and PANGAEA Internet to help bring that access to more of Forest City’s students. Facebook has called Forest City home for more than three years now, and we are proud to be able to help the community continue to invest in its future.
Reidsville High Graduates Earn Perfect Attendance All 12 Years
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 2:40:00 pm
Getting an award for perfect school attendance for a year is one thing, but getting it for all twelve years of schooling that's another!
Justin Cunningham, a recent graduate of Reidsville High earned that title. On Monday he received a plaque from the Rockingham County School Board for outstanding attendance for twelve years.
Cunningham says his motivation for not missing any days of school was his parents but he also really likes school.
He plans to attend North Carolina A&T State University in the fall. He also plans to study Secondary Education and Mathematics. He says one day he would like to return to Rockingham County Schools as a teacher.
Joseph William Norman Johnson, a senior from Dalton McMichael High also earned the recognition. But he couldn't make it back from a trip to Florida to receive his award.
New Program Encourages New Hanover County Students to Think
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 10:40:00 am
New Hanover County Schools rolled out a new summer learning program Monday called the Think Lab. It focuses on teaching rising kindergartners and rising sixth graders how to think critically.
During the summer, students lose about two months of knowledge and skills that they have learned in school. More than half of the achievement gap between lower-income students and higher-income students is due to a lack of summer learning opportunities, according to the National Summer Learning Association.
The county is putting an extra focus on Title I schools, which serve a student population below or near the poverty line.
The Think Lab is a free five week program offered to rising kindergarten students registered to attend any of New Hanover County's Title I elementary schools and rising sixth grade students who will attend D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy or Williston Middle School.
D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy Principal Eric Irizarry said the program gives students an extra academic boost.
"We want all students to learn to be 21st century learners. So just getting them to be at Virgo for five weeks during the summer and getting those skills and working with some of our veteran teachers is a real advantage for our students," Irizarry said.
School officials said the program offers students 20 additional days of learning outside the traditional school year. Students participate in activities that build their vocabulary, critical thinking and leadership skills.
D.C. Virgo Instructional Coach Sabrina Hill-Black said the Think Lab is a great chance to get students ready for the new school year.
"A summer camp where there is learning happening, they're mentally engaged, actively engaged. They are getting a fresh start," Hill-Black said.
Rosa Mack is a parent of a student in the Think Lab and she said she is thrilled that her son is getting the opportunity to understand that life is a learning experience.
"It's a joy to know that he's not on the street and he's still learning. He's an A, B Student and I want him to stay on top so being here is helping him keep the skills that he needs to have," Mack explained. "It's really keeping him abreast to let him know that life is always a learning experience."
School officials said 670 students are participating across the county to get a jump start to their school year.
The program is all day, four days a week for five weeks, starting July 14, ending on August 14, 2014.
Interested parents can get more information and register their student at the Title I school they will be attending in the fall. Principals have the registration forms and parent transportation request forms. Transportation, breakfast and lunch will be provided as part of this program.
Wake County Students Return from Ghana Ready to Serve
Monday, July 14, 2014 at 4:15:00 pm
While kicking a soccer ball with dozens of students on a bumpy field in the village of Kitase in Ghana, three Wake County high school students noticed that the two goalies were using gloves that were falling apart.
The following day, the boys bought gloves for them at the market, but realized that the students were also playing in the only shoes they owned – broken flip-flops.
Peyton Cabot and Parker Savage, both 17, and Martin Bell, 18, are back in North Carolina now, with a plan to raise funds at Heritage High School for soccer equipment – cleats, vests and gloves – to send back to Ghana.
For three weeks, 12 Wake County high school students traveled to various regions in Ghana – visiting both cities and villages – with goals of learning and serving. No day was the same, except in the growing realization of the distance between their daily reality at home and their African experiences.
“One of the coolest parts for me was to see the students go from a general state of helplessness to becoming leaders comfortable in any environment,” said Miles Macleod, an English teacher at Heritage High School and co-founder of the service-learning program Project Wisdom.
Each day, the students fulfilled a role on the team: fetching water, preparing meals or cleaning up.
They mastered washing their own laundry – some for the first time – by purchasing bars of soap from the local village and fetching buckets of water.
For about half the trip, the students slept in the village where they volunteered. One night, they stayed in a traditional mud hut covered by a thatched roof and showered with a bucket of rainwater, their heads peeking over a shoulder-height cement wall.
Those days, some students slept on a mattress on the floor or in a bunk bed, dealing with spotty bathroom facilities, no electricity and 100-degree temperatures.
Although they were surprised by the pollution-littered beaches and sheepish about dancing in front of county chieftains, nothing struck them as much as the poverty they encountered.
In the northern regions, the students met tiny children with swollen bellies.
“I see that on TV, but I never thought I’d have a child holding my hand and walking around the village with me,” said Heritage student Victoria Nguyen, 17. “It really hurt.”
One of the main goals of the trip was to create a service-learning project for Heritage High School students in the coming school year.
As well as buying gloves, Cabot, Savage and Bell exchanged contact information with the Dutch coach, a man who has dedicated his life to assisting Ghanaian soccer players.
“Not having that equipment is holding them back from being good,” Savage said. “If they are good players they can go to the best schools.”
Nguyen plans to join with three other students to create a Ghana-themed field day at Heritage after school starts. Participants will earn a spot by donating canned goods or an article of clothing.
She had to step outside during a classroom tour, overwhelmed by the passion students had for learning. Several third-graders pored over homework while sitting on the cement floor.
The students will work for the next year or more to establish their projects. Many desire to return for the next trip in two years as college-age counselors.
Heritage student Emily Orander, 16, found a dramatic difference in Ghanaian students versus her American peers.
“Bullying happens to me all the time,” she said. “We were telling one (Ghanaian) girl about bullying and she didn’t even know what it was. That’s just how kind they are.”
On June 30, the Americans split into groups with students at Challenging Heights – a school and rehabilitation center for more than 700 young people who survived or are at risk for slavery.
One of the Ghanaian students asked about high school break time in America. One of the American students mentioned how he drives off-campus for lunch. The Ghanaian students’ eyes grew wide at the prospect of a student owning a car.
“It’s like saying here, ‘Oh yeah, I drive my helicopter to work,’ ” Macleod said. “The Ghanaian students couldn’t believe it. My students never would have fathomed that an everyday fact of life is such an immense privilege.”
Public School System Searches, Discovers Avenues to Help
Monday, July 14, 2014 at 1:45:00 pm
Vance County Schools will not be dead last in cohort graduation rates another year, according to district administrators.
Superintendent Ronald Gregory said new initiatives are well underway to get students graduating on time. So far, one-on-one coaching and vocational programs have helped.
In May, career and technical education director Willa Clark told the board of education that Vance County students in the program exceeded state goals in reading and math, graduation and secondary school completion.
Across the school system, about 415 seniors graduated and received $2.5 million in scholarships this spring. Graduation cohort rates are expected to be released within the next 30 days.
Gregory said the district should start seeing the results soon of their efforts soon.
“Our graduation rate won’t be in the 60s like it was last year,” he said. “We are looking at a increase of about 9 percent.”
Last year, the district’s rate for students entering ninth grade and graduating after four years was 64.9 percent — a rank of 115 out of 115 school systems in the state. The state average was 82.5 percent.
Vance was 113 of 115 at 68.2 percent in 2013, and 111 of 115 at 68.2 percent in 2012. Its graduation rate has regressed in two of the past six years (59.5 percent in 2007 to 49.3 percent in 2008).
“We were slapped with the graduation rate last year,” Gregory said.
Assistant superintendent Trixie Brooks said they are still finding avenues to help students who are behind.
“We are not relaxing,” she said. “We are spreading our work further.”
Students Learn Native Traditions During Camp
Monday, July 14, 2014 at 12:15:00 pm
Myla Locklear watched closely as art teacher Lezlie Woods-Jacobs demonstrated how to make a beaded medallion during the 20th annual Indian Education Summer Enrichment Camp.
The 8-year-old then placed a native symbol inside the wooden center and strung beads around it.
“I think it is really fun because it is really creative,” Locklear said. “It gives kids a new opportunity to learn new things. We are learning how to do beadwork, painting, pottery, drum and dance.”
Locklear joined about 300 students from the Public Schools of Robeson County who attended the camp. The students are members of various state tribes including Lumbee, Tuscarora, Haliwa-Saponi and Coharie.
“We work with academics as the students go over reading, math and science in the morning with teachers from the county. After lunch, we do cultural activities such as drum and dance, field trips to museums, universities, state parks, P.E. classes in the afternoon, arts and crafts and much more,” said Kenny Clark, IEA Cultural Enrichment Specialist.
Students traveled to several state landmarks during the weeklong camp. The third grade group visited Town Creek Indian Mound. The fourth grade group made stops at Lumber River State Park, Old Main at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and the Robeson County Museum.
The fifth and sixth grade groups traveled to the North Carolina Natural Science and History Museum in Raleigh. The seventh and eighth grade groups went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they received a tour of the campus and talked with a group of American Indian students about their career choices.
“We want to help them academically to try to improve their EOG scores for next year through reading, math and science, but also culturally to teach them where they come from and instill some pride about being Native American,” Locklear said.
The IEA Camp is unique to the region due in part to Robeson County’s large American Indian population. Some students begin the IEA Camp in third grade and continue each year through the eighth grade, before returning to volunteer through the 12th grade.
This summer, older students in the IEA high school clubs will travel across the country to participate in national programs in Oregon and Colorado.
HCAM Forensics Academy Places 7th in National Competition
Friday, July 11, 2014 at 8:45:00 am
Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School (HCAM) participated in the recent 50th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City.
The conference, a showcase of career and technical education students, represented more than 15,000 students, teachers and business partners. More than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students, all state contest winners, competed in 99 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.
Representing HCAM in the national SkillsUSA competition, the Forensics Academy, instructed by Seth Bailey, placed seventh in the national competition. The HCAM student team included Carson Freeman, Noah James and Brandi Jones.
Emily Wright, representing the HCAM Cosmetology Academy, instructed by Kim Ray, was a N.C. state winner, and she also competed on the national level at Kansas City.
Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations including electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting, culinary arts, crime scene investigation and cosmetology.
Contests are run with the help of industry, trade associations, and labor organizations. The test competencies are set by industry.
Five Educators from McDowell Picked for State Program
Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm
Five teachers from McDowell County were recently selected as part of the NC Governor’s Teacher Network.
Out of 1,500 applications, only 450 educators from across the state were chosen to serve for one year developing projects that support key Race to the Top initiatives in their schools and districts.
Network teachers will continue to teach in their districts, but will also design and deliver individual projects that address needs in the classroom, school or local education agency.
Projects will fit into two pathways, professional development and instructional resources.
They will also generate unit plans, lesson plans that seamlessly integrate the formative assessment process in daily practice, at least one benchmark assessment/quiz, and a final classroom summative assessment that can be accessed through the instructional improvement system.
Educators Schooled on Community Service: Learns About Autism During Volunteer Work
Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 10:30:00 am
A district-wide effort has school staff volunteering throughout Guilford County this summer, but principals and other administrators confessed Monday to receiving far more than they are giving.
When Nicole Hill, principal of Frazier Elementary in Greensboro, stopped in Monday morning at The Arc of High Point, a camp through The Independence Place for children with autism spectrum disorder was in full swing.
She and other Guilford County Schools personnel there to complete hours for the system’s “Summer of Service” settled in beside the children to help with story time and painting.
“I don’t think I’m benefitting them in any way,” Hill said. “I think they’re benefitting me.”
“On a daily basis, you meet children with different developmental needs,” Hill said. Experience with the disorder and knowing how best to serve the children are key, especially for educators, she said.
Working with the children at The Arc, 153 E. Bellvue Drive, on Monday heightened the group’s awareness and understanding of autism, according to Traci Morris, a school counselor at Nathanael Greene Elementary.
“What I’ve noticed is that everybody comes in and they feel a sense of duty,” she said, “but then, at the end of the day, there’s just such a passion for what they’ve seen and where they’ve been.”
Stepping out into the community and giving back is important, especially when educators are working to teach character education within the school system, said Johnita Readus, principal at Sumner Elementary in Greensboro.
“We’re connected,” she said. “It’s not just the children. We’re modeling what we expect them to do. It’s not something that’s a requirement, but this creates lifelong learners to be able to give back to their community, to give back to an organization, to be part of society. It’s not just, ‘What can you do for me?’ but ‘What can I do for others?’”
Readus and Hill said it might be their jobs to educate, but, on Monday, they were the students.
“It’s one of those experiences where you realize how blessed we are,” Hill said. “And any time you can work with students that have some type of disability or exceptionality, it really opens your eyes to some of the challenges that are out there, and it opens up your heart for them."
“If anyone is getting anything out of this,” she said, “it’s me.”
Educator Grabbing Attention with Technology
Monday, July 7, 2014 at 11:35:00 pm
She’s being named a STAR Discovery Educator for her commitment to using digital learning to inspire student curiosity.
The recognition is given by Maryland-based Discovery Education, a provider of curriculum-based digital services. It’s a division of Discovery Communications, which owns TV’s Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Being named a STAR Discovery Educator allows her to share resources and teaching methods with other educators across the world. Free webinars are also part of the distinction.
The goal is to improve student achievement. It’s about using technology to engage students.
“We can share lessons, resources and ideas,” she said.
Jenkins works out of the Gaston County Schools central office but travels regularly to eight elementary schools.
Sometimes she co-teaches lessons using technological devices.
Two other instructional technology facilitators with Gaston County Schools are already STAR Discovery Educators.
Teresa Thomassen earned the recognition four years ago.
Lisa Montgomery was named last year and said the online networking helps her open up conversations with teachers about how to use technology in lesson plans.
“When they see all the things you can use, it makes them want to use it,” Montgomery said.
Hoggard Students Win Contest
Monday, July 7, 2014 at 12:30:00 pm
Two Hoggard High School teams recently won first and second place in the Authors on America Contest, sponsored by the N.C. Bar Association's Foundation Law-Related Education Program. A committee of attorneys scored more than 30 submissions based on content accuracy, relevance and creative illustrations. Two Hoggard teams came out on top, led by teacher Cathleen Allman.
First place went to “Elections at the Zoo” by Miguel Chavez and Chris Stojanoff. In second place was “Three Branches of Government” by Lilly Lee and Madeleine Meinhold.
First-place winners receive a bound copy of their book, an 8GB Nook HD Tablet, a school plaque and a certificate.
Second-place winners receive a bound copy of their book, a leather bound journal, a school plaque and certificate.
The winners' books will be published for use in the Lawyers for Literacy Program. The program, which began as a pilot program in New Hanover County last year, is made up of volunteer judges, attorneys, paralegals and law students. It has since been replicated in several cities statewide, including those in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte.
Around the Schools: A Career in School Nutrition Honored
Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 12:30:00 pm
Kathy Oakley, executive director for Child Nutrition Services for Alamance-Burlington Schools, was awarded the Mary Long Beasley Distinguished Service Award by the School Nutrition Association of North Carolina.
Each year the award goes to a director of a school nutrition program whose career shows a dedication to serving children and contributing to the profession.
Oakley’s nomination letters praised her concern for needy children and for keeping the ABSS program financially stable in the face of changing federal directives and rising food costs.
Oakley started her career with Burlington City Schools 38 years ago, working her way up from a cafeteria manager to direct the district’s program. She is a graduate of Alamance Community College and has an associate’s degree in food service.
Chapel Hill Ranked No. 1 Small City for Education
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 3:45:00 pm
Movoto.com has ranked Chapel Hill as the #1 small city in the nation for education.
Executive Director of Community Relations for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Jeff Nash, says that Chapel Hill deserves this recognition because of all the people that make it happen.
“The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are fortunate to be in a very ‘edu-friendly’ community,” says Nash. “Not only the teachers and the school personnel, who do a wonderful job every day working with our children, but it’s also a lot of other groups, including elected officials, like our school board and our county commissioners who are a very big part of the success of the school district. Also, the parents and the community in general always work hard to ensure that we sustain the success of our schools. We’re very fortunate to be in this community, and we look forward to many, many more years of even greater success.”
Nash says he believes that in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community, education comes first.
“The community makes education the top priority,” says Nash. “You see it in the county commissioners to fund the schools at a level higher than many other school districts. You see it in local taxpayers, who are willing to be taxed at a higher rate for the sake of excellent schools. You see it in educators who really want to be here and want to work in our district. You see it in students who have goals, and they work hard to attain those. You see it in parents as they make sure students are prepared and ready for school each day, they come in and volunteer, they help out with school, they support their teachers and principals. So, it’s really a team effort.”
Northern Nash Graduate Receives Golden LEAF Scholarship
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 11:20:00 am
The N.C. State Education Assistance Authority recently selected Quadeshia Batts as a recipient of a $12,000 Golden LEAF Foundation Scholarship.
Batts is a graduate of Northern Nash High School and plans to attend William Peace University.
Batts is one of 215 students selected to receive a $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years of study at a participating North Carolina public university or private non-profit college or university. Recipients are from rural, economically distressed North Carolina counties and are selected based on a number of criteria, including a review of school and community service activities, goals and expressed intent to contribute to rural communities upon graduation from college.
The Golden LEAF Foundation created the Golden LEAF Scholarship program to broaden educational opportunities and provide support to students from rural counties, with the hope that after graduation, recipients will provide leadership in these communities.
“The Golden LEAF Board of Directors has been pleased to assist more than 10,100 students from families in rural communities attend college since 2000,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “The Golden LEAF Scholarship is one of the many tools we have to help fulfill our purpose of growing North Carolina’s rural economy. Our hope is that through this scholarship opportunity, scholars will be able to gain valuable knowledge and skills and come back to their hometowns or another rural area to help our communities prosper.”
Two Buncombe Students Win Morehead-Cain Scholarships
Monday, June 30, 2014 at 4:45:00 pm
Two Buncombe County Schools’ students were recently awarded the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill. Sarah Gilmour, a 2014 graduate of Owen High, and Travis Broadhurst, a 2014 graduate of North Buncombe High School, learned of the honor this spring.
The Morehead-Cain provides full funding for four years at UNC Chapel Hill, including tuition, fees and all living expenses, plus four summers of educational experiences for all recipients.
Gilmour plans to study political science or Peace, War, and Defense, which is a combination of political science, philosophy and history. Broadhurst will study physics with the intent of pursuing graduate studies in astronomy, meteorology or geophysics.
Competition is high for the scholarship.
“At first, I couldn’t believe I had won,” Gilmour said. “I thought I had opened up the wrong letter and was rereading the letter announcing I was a finalist. But then my disbelief turned into pure joy and relief. I had spent so much time on my application and had worked so hard in high school, but now it was all worth it.”
Broadhurst said, “I was with my mother looking at my laptop and as soon as I read that I had received this great honor, I jumped up and ran around the house yelling at the top of my lungs. I was so elated and thankful for this amazing opportunity.”
Both students credited parents and teachers for the role they played in receiving the scholarship.
“I can’t thank my parents and teachers enough for all their encouragement and help over the years,” Gilmour said. “I could not have done this alone.”
UNC Chapel Hill says the Morehead-Cain is the first merit scholarship program established in the United States. It was begun in 1945 and inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.
School Board Says Farewell to Colleagues, Administrator
Monday, June 30, 2014 at 2:35:00 pm
Jim Key, Durham superintendent for high schools, who is retiring at the end of the month, was rendered nearly speechless Thursday after being presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards given by the governor of North Carolina.
“I was in shock, but not quite speechless, but that was a really unbelievable honor and I really appreciate that,” Key said later during the school board’s monthly business meeting.
Key is retiring after 30 years of service to Durham Public Schools. He’s a former principal, teacher and coach.
“One of our legendary leaders is retiring and we could not let him leave without giving him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine,” said Stacey Wilson-Norman, deputy superintendent for academic services, who surprised Key with the award.
Thursday’s meeting also marked the end of service on the school board for Nancy Cox, Omega Curtis Parker and Fredrick Davis.
A trio of new board members – Sendolo Diaminah, Mike Lee and Matt Sears – will be sworn in July 7 during the board’s organizational meeting.
Carter also thanked Interim Superintendent Hugh Osteen for serving in that role since December when former superintendent Eric Becoats resigned amid criticism of his management of school resources.
The board has hired Bert L’Homme, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, to be the next superintendent of Durham Public Schools.
Former NC Attorney General Invests in Watauga Education
Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm
Former North Carolina Attorney General and Secretary of State Rufus Edmisten has donated $5,000 to help families at Mabel Elementary School attend the afterschool program at Mabel. The donation matches Edmisten's contribution last year as the largest single contribution received by any afterschool program in the Watauga County Schools.
In making the donation, Edmisten praised Mabel Principal Mark Hagaman and afterschool site director Patricia Sperry, as well as the quality of Mabel's afterschool program.
"I want to say how much I admire Principal Hagaman and Patricia Sperry. They are an inspiration to all of us," Edmisten said. "I feel that this program is one of the best in the state and I want to do all I can to help those students get the best education possible."
Mabel's afterschool program was the first in Watauga County to attain a rated license from the N.C. Division of Child Development. It achieved a four star license in 2010 and then became the first local program to attain a five star license -- the highest possible rating -- in October 2012.
A Watauga County native, Edmisten said that many organizations request funding from his Foundation for Good Business to help students with educational expenses, but Watauga gets special consideration.
"I always put aside this amount for my home county of Watauga because I owe so much to the great teachers who helped me in my career path," Edmisten said.
In addition to his generous grants to Mabel, Edmisten's foundation also awards funds to help high school students attend college.
The donations have assisted students at Watauga High School and at other high schools in North Carolina.
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Teachers Get Schooled During Career Institute
Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 3:20:00 pm
Dozens of counselors from the Public Schools of Robeson County took part in the first PSRC CTE Career Institute.
The Career Institute kicked off Monday to spotlight the 12 Career and Technical Education programs at the Robeson County Career Center. The high and middle school attendees rotate between the classes over a three-day period.
CTE Director Herman Locklear says the event is designed to help high school and middle school counselors have a better understanding of what the CTE courses are as they work with students on class planning, career choices, career cluster pathways and careers after high school.
“Our hope is to have counselors to be so knowledgeable of the program that as they talk to students, they can instantly say ‘here is your match’ at the Robeson County Career Center, instead of students being placed there and they do not want to be there,” Locklear said. “I think it is best said to have students choose a career and not a job.”
Gina Jacobs, a counselor at Magnolia School, works with students in grades 6 to 8. Jacobs said her school is offering more career information for students in lower grades and that she now has greater knowledge to share with them.
“I did not know a lot about the Career Center. When students would ask me what drafting is in reading the course description, it was hard to articulate what that is into language they can understand,” Jacobs said. “Now, I feel like I can describe using the 3-D Model maker, building bridges or using the computer to draft house plans. So I feel like I can explain it to my kids in a more simplistic way that they can understand and be excited about.”
After the CTE Career Institute wraps up this week, the counselors will take packets back to their schools. Educators like Tyler Locklear say they have so much more to offer students as they help them plan their future.
“In the fall I want to talk to the kids with the detailed program such as how masonry goes beyond just being about laying brick, but there is an art to it,” Locklear said.
Read and Feed Mobile Classroom Coming to Eastern Wake
Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 2:15:00 pm
An after school program that supports literacy while providing meals for low-income students will be coming to eastern Wake County this fall with the help of a $25,000 grant from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
Read and Feed, the program coming to eastern Wake, will outfit an RV to be used as a mobile classroom that students can visit after school. There, they will receive tutoring, eat a meal and collect books to build at-home libraries.
The GSK Foundation grant is only for creating the mobile classroom. The RV was acquired through a different grant Read and Feed received from the Wake Women’s Giving Network.
It will be the third mobile classroom the Cary-based organization operates.
“We go to communities where families are limited in their ability to provide the time, transportation or resources to help their child make gains in reading,” said Jan Frantz, founder and president of Read and Feed.
During the school year, Read and Feed operates about 20 sites. Hood said there will be six sites in eastern Wake County to begin, with several schools feeding into each one.
The new mobile classroom will begin at Hodge Road Elementary in Knightdale and Kingsborough Estates at the border of Knightdale and Raleigh.
In addition to mobile sites, which may change as the organization works with more community partners, there will be four land-based sites that do not use the mobile classroom.
Those sites will be Zebulon Elementary, Knightdale Baptist Church, Knightdale Elementary and the Zebulon Boys and Girls Club.
“The board was looking strategically at (eastern Wake County) because there just seems to be a greater need for those types of services,” said Read and Feed Executive Director Traci Hood. “When you get into more rural areas, you see families who need the types of services we can provide.”
Read and Feed specializes in creating mobile classrooms and working within Wake County public schools in low-income areas to provide tutoring and meals. They have been operating since 2006.
Pitt County VISIONS program
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 9:45:00 am
High school students in Pitt Community College’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program completed a whirlwind tour last week to gain a better understanding of career and educational possibilities available to them locally.
Each June, VISIONS welcomes a group of rising Pitt County seniors to campus for the annual Summer Institute. The four-day program combines visits to local businesses and organizations with on-campus tours and presentations that help the newcomers become familiar with PCC curricula and support services.
“The Summer Institute is an opportunity for us to show our newest participants the importance of a college education and the real possibility for career success right here in Pitt County,” Marianne Cox, director of the VISIONS and HORIZONS program at PCC, said. “It is also a chance for us to let them know the expectations that we have for them in the months ahead and that we’re going to support them along the way.”
Started in 2004 to help reduce Pitt County’s drop-out rate while increasing the number of county students attending college, VISIONS is the result of a partnership between the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, the PCC Foundation, Pitt County Schools and the Greater Greenville Community Foundation.
Cox noted that in the 10 years since VISIONS began, nearly 100 percent of its participants have completed high school. Those who have gone on to enroll at PCC have received scholarships and and academic counseling at the college.
Chatham County to Offer Incentive Program for Teachers
Monday, June 23, 2014 at 10:10:00 am
Chatham County teachers and teacher assistants will be eligible for bonuses of up to $1,000 a year if student test scores rise, making the district the only one in the state with a system-wide teacher incentive program, county leaders say.
The state had an incentive program that gave teachers bonuses up to $1,500 when a school’s test scores improved, but the program ended in 2009 when the money ran out during the recession.
Chatham County Schools’ program, approved as part of the county budget this week, offers $1,000 bonuses to teachers and $500 to teacher assistants if their school exceeds expected growth in test scores, school board Chairwoman Karen Howard said.
If a school meets expected growth, based on targets the state sets before the school year, then teachers will receive $500 bonuses and teacher assistants, $250 bonuses.
“We’re hoping that teachers thinking about leaving the district will change their minds and stay,” Howard said.
County commissioners said increased county sales tax revenue will pay for the program’s projected $575,000 cost.
Four Get Full Ride Through Gates Scholarships
Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 4:10:00 pm
Four students from the Public Schools of Robeson County who were named Gates Millennium Scholars. Jacob Kerns and Jeremy Wesley Lowery are graduates from Lumberton High. Katelynn Jacobs from Purnell Swett and Aaron Epps from Fairmont High are the other recipients. Epps plans to become a lawyer with the United States Air Force. He says news of the scholarship is life changing.
“I screamed and cried. It was the best day of my life,” Epps said.
For Jeremy Lowery, the scholarship will also give him a full ride to East Carolina University as he pursues his dream of being a psychiatrist. Lowery said that one trip to the mailbox was an answer to his prayers.
“I pulled the envelope out to investigate and I saw a Gates Millennium emblem and I was overcome with joy,” Lowery said.
In May, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program announced the 1,000 Class of 2014 Gates Millennium Scholars. Each of the students will be awarded a good-through-graduation scholarship that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate and graduate major at the accredited college or university of his or her choice.
Established in 1999 with the goal of developing leaders for america’s future, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Gates Millennium scholarship is one of hundreds that PSRC students received this year for college. Graduates at Purnell Swett High School and Fairmont High School received almost $1 million in scholarships at each school.
Avery High School Graduate Receives Standing Ovation For Not Missing One Day of School From Grades K-12
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 4:50:00 pm
While it’s rare for a high school student to go to class every single day of a school year (especially in 2014), Avery High School Principal Todd Griffin said it’s “extremely rare” for a student to go to class every single day from the moment one enters kindergarten to the last day of 12th grade.
But Makenzi Hayes, 18, of Elk Park, did just that, and she received a standing ovation from her peers at the AHS graduation ceremony held last Friday evening.
“She was so shocked about the standing ovation,” her mom Romona Hayes said.
Makenzi attended Freedom Trail Elementary, Cranberry Middle School and then, of course, Avery High School. After Makenzi found out that she hadn’t yet missed a day of school into her middle school years, she said she made a goal of trying not to miss one day of her entire grade school career.
Finding Happiness in the Classroom
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 3:50:00 pm
The recent news that an overwhelming majority of Ashe County educators are happy with their work environment is a validation of the steady leadership offered by our schools’ administrators and the Board of Education.
The road to happiness for our teachers has been marked with big potholes over the last five years: no salary increases, attempts to eliminate tenure, continuing attempts to eliminate teacher assistants in kindergarten through third grade, increases in classroom sizes, state-mandated changes in testing and providing less dollars for public education by offering tax dollars to private charter schools.
Through it all, our Board of Education and the school’s administrators have worked tirelessly to create a classroom environment that recognizes teachers’ efforts and have gone on record with their concerns, and letting their teachers know, that the mandates from Raleigh could have an impact on classroom morale.
To put it another way, our teachers know, our Board of Education’s “got their back.”
And it’s working. A whopping 93 percent of teachers in Ashe County believe their school is a good place to work and learn, which is eight percentage points higher than the state average.
Education in North Carolina has always been tossed about like a political football. For years, classroom size was the hot button issue in educational politics. Today, it’s teacher pay and charter schools.
And while the game continues in Raleigh, in Ashe County, our teachers, with the solid support of our Board of Education and administrators, tune out the politics and focus on what’s most important – providing the best environment for our children to learn.
$1.25 Million Awarded to Schools for STEM Labs
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 2:25:00 pm
Fifteen schools across the East will soon be getting new STEM labs. The grant made possible by the Golden LEAF Foundation, awards $1.25 million to schools in Pitt, Edgecombe and Beaufort counties.
The partners in this collaboration made the announcement Monday morning at the Pitt County Government building.
"A lot of people learn better in a hands on way." Dr. Tedd Morris, Associate Vice Chancellor of Engagement, Innovation and Economic Development said. "Our goal is to put facilities into the schools that support that type of learning activity."
Economic developers are pushing educators to prepare students so that when new industries arise, they will have the manpower to fill the needs.
"This starts before we even have a company in hand. We're talking about, how do we make all of our students the best they can be." Pitt County Development Commission Executive Director Wanda Yuhas said.