Stand Up for Public Schools
Buncombe Schools Receive $1.19 Million Grant
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 4:55:00 pm
The student services program for Buncombe County Schools has received a $1.19 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address “social, emotional and mental health issues” of students and the impact on school performance, according to David Thompson, director of student services for the county school system.
The grant, which will be allocated over three years, will allow county schools to hire five new counselors for county elementary schools, Thompson said.
“Right now, I have seven schools with only a part-time counselor,” Thompson said. “As a result of this grant, there will be at least one full-time counselor in every elementary school.”
Thompson hopes to have the additional counselors on board this fall.
The project is called “Schools with CLASS: Counselor Leaders Advancing School Safety.” Thompson said school officials will be working with local physicians, mental health agencies and others in the community on this effort.
The program should help increase student access to mental health support. School officials hope to see less bullying and disciplinary action and better student performance.
The grant will allow the system to train staff and implement “trauma-focused strategies to address students who are at-risk due to adverse childhood experiences such as, homelessness, abuse, neglect, loss of a parent, etc.” and to put in place a digital accountability system to track bullying reports, according to a news release.
Other aspects of the grant include “a research-based social-emotional curriculum that includes anti-bullying and academic learning strategies” and training counselors and social workers in Triple P Parenting, “a research-based parenting program utilized throughout the community,” according to the release.
The program also provides support for students from military families who may be having issues because of deployment of a parent or family member.
STEM Teacher of the Month Brings CSI into Classroom
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 4:30:00 pm
Crime scene investigations in the classroom are helping Greene Central High School retain students and it's incorporating all the elements of STEM under one subject matter.
With the help of one of the school's teachers, Kristin White, together they've created a program that's getting students ready for a career in forensics. “Forensics is a multi-faceted occupation and there are lots of different avenues in it," White explained.
White has spent her entire teaching career at Greene Central and says teaching Forensics has helped her to become more innovative in the classroom. "I haven't been afraid to just try it and create a crime scene in the middle of school and have the kids photograph it learn about the protocol and the evidence collecting that it takes," she said.
Her students are completing blood analysis, using I Pads to collect and organize evidence and they're learning to collect fingerprints from various surfaces. White tells us her students can learn all aspects of forensics that include bugs, bones, blood and DNA. The class also helps her students learn the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to careers in the field of crime scene investigations. "So much of our reality shows and Hollywood side of what forensics look like have kind of skewed their thinking so they really think these forensics labs have a lot of high tech gadgets and they make lots and lots of money, so we bring them back to reality and we show them that this is really what it is," said White.
With the honor of STEM Teacher of the Month comes a $200 prize. White tells us she will use her winnings to buy cool blue lights and other neat forensic gadgets to help her students in the classroom.
NC Chief Justice Visits Asheboro High School
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 3:55:00 pm
North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, Mark Martin, spoke to an honors history class at Asheboro High School Tuesday.
"In a democracy, we are the government and we have to be informed and we have to take informative steps to learn how our government works," said Martin.
Martin gave students insight into how the justice system works and how judges earn their positions.
"It felt nice meeting him," said student William Aquino. "He told us a lot about the federal government and the state government, how we appoint our judges and how different it is."
"I like that he was able to come, even for a short amount of time and talk to us and take time out of his schedule," said student Meredith Priest. "It's neat."
Martin says he is happy to speak to students because it is important to help educate the youth.
"We can have the finest scientific and mathematics instruction in the world, but if our young people do not understand the rights and the responsibilities that are found in our Constitution and our law, we don't have a great future ahead of us," said Martin.
Prior to his appointment by Gov. Pat McCrory, Martin served as senior associate justice of the court.
Durham Public Schools Breakfast Initiative Wins United Way Grant
Friday, September 19, 2014 at 11:25:00 am
Students in five Durham public schools will receive free breakfast in their classrooms this fall, thanks to a grant from United Way of the Greater Triangle.
Durham Public Schools was selected from among 40 organizations that presented ideas to solve childhood hunger as part of a United Way contest called the Social Innovation Challenge – 100,000 Kids Hungry No More.
The district was awarded $50,000 to expand the “breakfast in the classroom” program, which tries to bring breakfast to more students using kiosks – stand-alone carts containing a cooler for milk and juice, and trays for muffins, breakfast biscuits or cereal bars.
Teachers say that the self-serve breakfast allows students to settle in, socialize and start class on schedule.
Most of all, delivering to classrooms increases the number of students who get a good breakfast, said Jim Keaten, executive director of Child Nutrition Services at Durham Public Schools. Some students, especially high school students, don’t participate in self-serve breakfasts because of stigma or because of transportation difficulties, Keaten said.
“I think there are people not eating who need it,” he said.
The Durham school system now offers free breakfast to all students starting this school year, Keaten said. But Keaten’s budget allows him to add two schools to the “breakfast in the classroom” program; the $50,000 grant will allow him to add five more schools this year.
“By making breakfast free for all students and delivering meals to classrooms, this investment will impact over 2,500 students immediately with expected growth over three years to impact 25,000 students daily,” said Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle.
Wake County, the state’s largest school system, offers free breakfast to students at eight elementary schools and serves an average of about 28,000 free, reduced and paid breakfasts each day.
This fall, Durham Public Schools served 19,107 breakfasts in the first week of school alone. More than 20,000 students are on the free-and-reduced breakfast plan, said Keaten.
Durham Public Schools and three other finalists in the United Way innovation contest – Grocers on Wheels, Pennies 4 Progress and Yes2Fresh – each received help in honing their ideas. United Way of the Greater Triangle hopes to connect all four finalists to funding sources.
The finalists were judged by a panel of business and nutrition experts during the United Way’s CEO Sleep Out on Sept. 11. The CEOs awarded the Durham Public Schools with an additional $5,000.
United Way will continue the Social Innovation Challenge with different topics each year. The goal is to apply the Triangle’s entrepreneurial and research edge to solve social issues and engage the community.
Wake County Wins $9.6 Million Federal Grant for Magnet Schools
Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 2:50:00 pm
Five Raleigh magnet schools will share $9.6 million in federal dollars that will allow them during the next three years to boost programs stressing themes such as the arts, technology, foreign languages and Stephen Covey’s leadership principles.
Wake County school officials announced Wednesday that a new U.S. Department of Education Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant will accelerate the magnet programs begun last school year at Carroll Middle School and Fox Road and Green elementary schools. The money will also help two longtime magnet schools – Moore Square Middle School and Poe Elementary School – that changed their programs last year.
The money will go toward staff training, new equipment and renovations to support the five schools.
“Without the receipt of the grant dollars, we would have been looking in other directions to find the dollars or have had to forgo improvements,” Cathy Moore, Wake’s deputy superintendent for school performance, said at a news conference Wednesday at Poe Elementary School.
Annice Williams, Poe’s principal, said she’s ready to buy instruments to start a strings program, shoes to start a tap dance class, costumes for theater and dance classes, and textbooks for the Mandarin Chinese class.
Williams said she also plans to refurbish the campus, located on Peyton Street near downtown Raleigh. Additions include expanding and renovating the stage, soundproofing the music rooms and setting up a portable outdoor stage.
Making magnet schools physically and academically attractive are keys to luring in students, experience has shown.
Since 1982, the magnet program has been Wake’s main venue for providing choice and promoting diversity. Wake’s 35 magnet schools, many in low-income neighborhoods or at schools with high concentrations of students receiving subsidized lunches, offer unique programs to attract suburban students.
Wake’s magnet schools have won numerous national awards over the past 32 years. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh was named the top magnet school in the nation in May by Magnet Schools of America. The trade organization, which will hold its national conference in Raleigh in April, also gave awards to 23 other Wake magnet schools this year.
Wake has repeatedly turned to the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program, whose goal is to promote diverse schools, to start new programs or overhaul existing magnets. With Wednesday’s announcement, Wake will have received more than $45 million since 1985.
But before Wednesday, Wake had struck out twice in recent years, including requests for $10.3 million in 2010 and $12 million in 2013.
When Wake didn’t win last year, the state’s largest school district turned to local dollars for a scaled-down startup at the five schools. Williams, the Poe principal, said the local dollars allowed the school to begin in a “piecemeal way,” but not enough to really enhance the new focus on performing arts.
“It has a huge impact on the five schools that will be receiving that $9 million over a three-year time span,” said Beth Cochran, Wake’s senior director of magnet programs.
Vance Early College High Earns National Accreditation
Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 9:45:00 am
Vance County Early College High School started classes in August with a national certification and commitment to stellar student performance.
Principal Michael Bullard said the school received its first accreditation in June from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, an organization that assesses schools for high standards and continuous improvement.
The SACS stamp of approval has to be renewed every five years.
Bullard said he and his staff are glad the three-year process of paperwork and self-evaluation has come to an end.
“We are just glad to have it,” he said.
District spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said the milestone is something every school should be proud of.
“Accreditation from this organization is very impressive and something that all of our high schools strive for every time their accreditation comes around,” she said. “It’s a very involved process.”
Vance County Early College High School first opened its doors August 2008. Bullard said administrators have always sought ways to create a better learning environment for students.
“That was just some extra eyes to look at us and tells us, ‘This is what we suggest,’ ” he said. “Now we’ll take it and run with it.”
Bullard said representatives analyzed all facets of the school and its operations during a two-day visit. One issue they found was the need for more teacher communication.
“And we have already done that,” he said. “Every Wednesday they get together now to talk about their issues.”
SACS also found the school needed more use of student data in the classroom and enhanced community involvement, according to Bullard.
To address that, he said more newsletters will be distributed and teachers will incorporate test scores into creation of their lesson plans.
Mark Elgart, CEO of the AdvancED — the parent organization for SACS — said in a statement Monday becoming accredited creates an entire school dedicated to lifelong learning.
“Vance County Early College High School is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement,” he said in the release.
Brewer Recognized as Coach in 2014 Shrine Bowl
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 2:35:00 pm
Avery football head coach Darrell Brewer was recognized during a pregame ceremony at MacDonald Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29, prior to Avery's football game with McDowell.
Accompanying Brewer on the field for the special presentation was Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas Secretary Emeritus John S. Davidson Jr. and Shrine Bowl administrator French Harvey, in addition to AHS athletic director Jay Smith, AHS principal Todd Griffin, Superintendent of Avery County Schools David Burleson, Superintendent of McDowell County Schools and former AHS principal Mark Garrett and wife of one of Brewer's mentors, the late Charles "Babe" Howell, Peggy.
"It's a very humbling experience. There are a lot better coaches than I am out there who never get this kind of an opportunity," Brewer said. "I think it brings a little respect home to Avery County from across the state. I appreciate the Shrine Bowl representatives coming for this ceremony and the folks who were able to share this recognition on the field. It's a great honor and I'm looking forward to the experience."
The Shrine Bowl is played each December to raise funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children, including the hospital located in Greenville, S.C., as well as for state pride. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a healthcare system of 32 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and teaching programs. Children up to 18 years of age with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal-cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for admission and receive all care in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. Shriners has treated more than one million children, including many children in Avery County alone.
This year's 78th Shrine Bowl football game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 20, at Wofford College's Gibbs Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Tickets for the game will be available beginning in mid-October at select locations or by clicking to the Shrine Bowl website at www.shrine-bowl.com.
RSS Students Among State Bus Safety Poster Contest Winners
Friday, August 29, 2014 at 4:30:00 pm
Two Rowan-Salisbury School System students were among four statewide who received top honors in North Carolina’s 2014 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest.
Sydney Steelman, who is in fourth grade at Morgan Elementary School, won the grades 3-5 category, while Grissel Hernandez, a sixth-grader at Southeast Middle School, won the contest for grades 6-8. They join Sara Maw, of Franklinton Elementary in the Franklin County Schools, who won for grades K-2, and Leonard Johnson, of Liberty Middle School in the Burke County Schools, who won in the special education category.
Two other Rowan-Salisbury students also placed highly in the contest. Baydn Sweatt, a third-grader at Morgan Elementary, came in second in the grades 3-5 category, and Victoria Amaro, an eighth-grader at Southeast Middle, took second place in the grades 6-8 category.
The contest theme — “Be Smart — Be Seen, I Wait in a Safe Place!” — emphasizes that students should stay safe at their school bus stop — most importantly, waiting back from the roadway and preparing to board in a single file. If the bus stop is on the opposite side of the road, students should make eye contact with the bus driver before stepping into the roadway.
“The message to students, as reflected in this year’s poster theme, is clear: stay safe by making sure you can be seen by the school bus driver and other motorists,” Derek Graham, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Transportation Services Section chief, said in a news release.
“Because some motorists break the law and do not stop for the school bus stop sign,” Graham continued, “students must be aware and take extra care at the bus stop and especially when crossing the street.”
Graham added that students participating in this year’s contest learned the importance of school bus safety rules as they worked on their posters.
Each of the first place winners will receive a plaque featuring his or her artwork and a school bus safety puzzle, also featuring the student’s winning poster. Winning posters are featured on the state’s School Bus Safety website, www.ncbussafety.org, under “New to Web Site.” First place winners also will compete in the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest.
Foundation Prize Patrol Visits Hall Fletcher
Friday, August 29, 2014 at 2:45:00 pm
The Asheville City Schools Foundation’s “prize patrol” was at Hall Fletcher Elementary Tuesday afternoon delivering news about $16,000 in grants to the teachers at the school.
The foundation provides grants of up to $5,000. Representatives of the organization have visited each city school this year, awarding grants of more than $85,000.
“Some are for arts in education. Some are for technology and science materials in the classroom. And some of them are for teacher learning. That’s a big part of what we do is grant fellowships for teachers so that they can be at the top of their game,” said Kate Pett, foundation executive director.
To acknowledge teachers, representatives of the foundation show up with a large check and balloons. It’s the second year for what they call the “prize patrol.”
“For teachers to get some of the basic materials they need, they need to set aside time and write a grant. It’s an effort worth acknowledging,” Pett said. “That’s why we want to make prize patrol a big deal because for teachers to win a grant it means they had to go above and beyond.”
The grants are especially crucial given funding reductions for supplies and other materials.
“I think about a school like the middle school where it’s so important we get technology in the hands of kids, and with 800 kids to serve this year, that’s really a challenge,” Pett said. “The amount of money that we’re getting from the state to support technology isn’t nearly adequate.”
Pett said the foundation was able to purchase 50 Chromebook laptops for Asheville Middle School students.
College Professors Teach Courses in Lenoir County High Schools
Friday, August 29, 2014 at 12:25:00 pm
High school students earning college credit just got a lot easier to do in Lenoir County.
For the past several years, students could earn college credit through Lenoir Community College online.
This year, LCC professors are inside high school classrooms teaching courses and offering face to face instruction.
Students say while they're only a few days into the year, it's already making a difference.
"It definitely makes my schedule a lot more challenging. It limits my free time after school,” said South Lenoir senior, Erin Jones. “But if I can go ahead right now and learn what it will be like in college, it will make the transition a lot easier when I actually go."
The partnership with the public schools and the community college offers nearly a dozen new face-to-face classes through the North Carolina initiative Career and College Promise program. It's open to juniors and seniors. The courses offered through the high school and college partnership are free. The students don't even need to pay for the cost of books. This year the district paid about $50,000 countywide for text books. Administrators say that money was budgeted using local tax dollars.
Dr. Grimes is the Vice President of Academic and Student Services for Lenoir Community College. She says having professors in the high school gives students an opportunity to take college courses who otherwise might not be interested.
"When you can get a student who feels successful and wants to do more, then you know you've done the right thing,” said Dr. Grimes.
"When you're a senior, you're wondering about next year. You're wondering what your classes will be like, what your teachers will be like,” said Jones. “This helps you get an understanding of it and helps you make the adjustment into college a lot easier. I definitely feel better now that I'm taking them."
Anson Students Flock to Back-to-School Bash
Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 11:55:00 am
More than 2,000 people turned out for the Back to School Bash,held on Aug. 16, prior to the start of the new school year on Aug. 25.
“There were great speakers from different professions, such as school and law officials, politicians, probation officer, educational advisor, youth performers, educational vendors, lots of children and parents and grandparents and more,” said Sarah Burns, program manager with the Caraway Foundation, one of the organizations that put on the event. “Children and parents had a chance to speak and get information about college, medical, law, literacy, children organization, mentoring, safe acts, but most of all children received some school supplies, uniforms, and shoes if they needed them. Families were out spending time together, fellowshipping with friends they had not seen in awhile, children exercising by way of (running, dancing, walking), their mind was challenged with health questions, an estimation game, and learning that people are concerned and care about them and their future.”
Children from all grade levels, as young as 2 years of age to college, were provided with something for their age level and some things from the Anson County School supply list. A team of volunteers and community leaders helped orchestrate this event, including Kesler Chapel AME Zion Church, H.O.L.L.A!, County Commissioner and Faith-Based Center of Hope CEO Vancine Sturdivant, Anson County Sheriff-Elect Landric Reid, The Caraway Foundation and many others.
“We want to thank the great citizens here in Anson County for believing and supporting what this event was planned for: our TODAY, our TOMORROW, our CHILDREN,” Burns said.
The Caraway Foundation plans a Collegiate Preparedness Seminar in the near future. “We hope students will plan to attend to get helpful information about preparing for college,” Burns said.
Top Teacher Takes Trip to Japan
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 2:50:00 pm
Ashley Berdeau often travels with her art and journalism students at Fairmont High School. Last fall, her work at the school earned her the title of the Teacher of the Year for the Public Schools of Robeson County and the journey of a lifetime.
She was awarded a two-week trip to Japan through the Worldview program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This summer, the St. Pauls High School graduate joined 29 other educators from across North Carolina who traveled to the Land of the Rising Sun.
A little bit of Fairmont High School joined her for the journey in the form of paper cranes. Each person in the UNC group brought 35 paper cranes to Japan, but the students at Fairmont High made 1,000 cranes by hand after Berdeau told her students the story of a little girl who died from the radiation.
“After the atomic bomb went off, a lot of children were either killed or suffered from radiation. There was a story about one victim, named Saduka, who believed that for every 1,000 paper cranes you made, you could make a wish to be healed,” she said. “Children from around the world began to make paper cranes in honor of her and other children who were affected from the bombing.”
Berdeau took more than 1,000 paper cranes to the Hiroshima Children’s Memorial. She said each day people donate cranes, which are temporarily hung in a display case before being recycled into T-shirts and paper products that are sold to keep the memorial open.
“It was extremely touching that the story meant so much to my students,” Berdeau said. “I told them I had to make 35. They went on YouTube and learned how to make them. The students packed them up in zip lock bags for me to carry on the plane.”
The World View trip allows educators to see other areas of the world, other education systems and encourages them to make their classroom into a global classroom.
“It was interesting that they take a morals class in Japan. Everyone rides a bike and no one locks them because no one steals. The classes there don’t have smart boards and computers, but many use chalkboards. I told them it was nice to see less technology in the classroom. The educators there said they have all of the technology at home and they don’t need it inside the classroom,” Berdeau said. “They emphasized that students need to learn reading, writing, math and how to become good citizens. So they teach them morals and to be a good person.”
Pamlico HS Football Player Hopes to Honor Departed Mother by Playing in College
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:25:00 am
Arthur Randall has had a passion for the game of football for over a decade.
"I've been loving football since my mother signed me up for football when I was 7 years old," Randall said. "Football has made me a man. It teaches you life lessons."
Randall was a two-sport star at Pamlico County High School last year, playing both football and basketball.
"Arthur wasn't afraid of anything," longtime friend Tarik Davis said. "If somebody was bigger than him on the offensive line, he was like 'I don't care. I'm going to bust through them.'"
As the youngest of five children in a single-parent home, things had never come easy for Randall. But his biggest challenge came on April 7.
Randall's mother, Allison Green, had passed away.
But despite Randall's loss, there was never any doubt about his next step: going on to college.
"That's something that she would want me to do," he said. "She knew I really loved football and hopefully I've got a shot to play college ball. She knew that was something I wanted to do and I was going to pursue it."
"Now she's gone and that motivates me," he said. "Everything I do, it's for her. She's definitely my guardian angel, and every time I strap up that helmet it's for her."
Randall worked hard to get noticed on the field, but the SAT scores proved to be another hurdle.
''It didn't work out," Randall said. "I'm not going to lie, I was crying when I got my scores back."
But when the coaches at Louisburg College got a look at Randall, they gave him the only thing that a young man needs: a shot. Now, Randall's future looks very bright.
"I've just got to go out there and show the coaching staff what I can do and show Division I schools what I can do," Randall said.
Support Shown for New Teachers
Monday, August 25, 2014 at 4:50:00 pm
Inside Sampson Middle School’s media center Friday morning, a group of new teachers worked together as a team, with guidance from other educational professionals.
Close to 30 new or fairly new teachers attended the BT (Beginning Teachers) Matters, a program made possible through the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) and the Institute for Emerging Issues out of Raleigh. The purpose of the grant is to provide a lot of support for beginning teachers in their first, second or third year as educators.
During the session, teachers were assisted by mentors. It’s one of several back-to-school activities hosted by Clinton City Schools prior to Monday’s school opening.
The third-year teacher enjoys interacting with students. “I love children and I love molding minds,” she said. “I love having that relationship and being able to look back. It’s exciting watching them grow.”
For three years, she has attended the beginning teacher program from Clinton City Schools. The Friday gathering was her first time attending a session hosted by UNCW. She said it was focused on the needs of beginning teachers.
“Sometimes there are things that get overlooked,” White said. “As teachers, we just assume there are things we just know how to do. But as a beginning teacher there are things that you don’t know and you want to learn. It’s necessary.”
Another purpose is to make sure educators stay in the profession.
The BT Matters program includes face-to-face interaction and online modules. It’s currently a pilot program with Clinton City Schools.
King believes it’s a way for teachers to receive support from colleagues.
“It gives them the opportunity to come together and receive development specifically designed for challenges, obstacles and things that they’ll continue as beginning teachers,” Kings said.
Nancy Dillman, Clinton City’s assistant superintendent for Human Resources and BT supporter, was one of several professionals who assisted the teachers.
“This is to give our beginning teachers support and to enlist the community to make sure we have teacher retention,” Dillman said.
Kayla Kahn is about to begin her second year of teaching. When school begins Monday, she is going to be teaching sixth-grade science at Sampson Middle School.
Like White, she said she was ready for the year to begin. Her love of children, she said, was the catalyst for the profession she chose.
“They can completely turn your day around,” she said “You never know what to expect or what they’re going to say with their different personalities. I love children — that’s why I’m doing it.”
Helping Homeless Kids Get Ready for School in Forsyth Co.
Monday, August 25, 2014 at 3:25:00 pm
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School officials say, on the first day of school, over 400 of their students won’t have a home to go back to once the last bell rings.
The actual number figure is 435 homeless students. Including their younger siblings, who are not yet old enough to attend school, the total is 568 homeless children in the school system.
That is compared to 507 in the 2013 school year, which is about a 10 percent increase.
Today at the Lake Family YMCA in Winston-Salem, with the help of school officials and NASCAR driver Matt Murphy, about 80 of the homeless students received free haircuts, backpacks and other school supplies to get them ready for the school year.
School officials say of all the homeless students they serve, about two percent of them are what they call “unaccompanied youth.”
“These are young people that are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian,” said Melissa Ledbetter, homeless liaison for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools system.
The good news, Ledbetter says, is that many of the homeless students and their families do find homes during the school year.
For Thomasina Williams, and her son, Terrell Kobe Bryant Williams Bolton, their homelessness began part of the way through the final semester of last year.
Terrell knows he’s not alone in the struggle, and although he’s not ashamed of it, he knows other students are. So, for them, he has a message:
“Don’t look back. [It's] hard. It is hard. But just keep moving forward.”
Iredell-Statesville Schools Expanding Leader in Me Program
Monday, August 25, 2014 at 12:45:00 pm
Iredell-Statesville school leaders are expanding a character-based program in their schools this year.
The district has added a fourth school to its "Leader in Me" program. The training will not only help students but also the teachers.
"This one is a step above anything we've done thus far within our school," said Principal Alisha Cloer.
The training is based on a book that teaches people basic principles to become leaders and succeed in life, and ISS is taking it to the classroom.
"Begin with the end in mind would be one. Always think ahead of where you're going, why you're going there and how you're going to get there," said Cloer.
Iredell-Statesville Schools Superintendent Brady Johnson says they've already seen success from three schools in the district that have the training.
"We've seen attendance go up. We've seen our discipline issues fall. So we feel this is a step in the right direction. We're excited to have the opportunity to add another school," said Johnson.
Rowan-Salisbury Employees Kick Off School Year with Spirit
Friday, August 22, 2014 at 4:55:00 pm
If there’s one thing the Rowan-Salisbury School System isn’t lacking, it’s spirit, and it showed Thursday at the district’s first-ever back-to-school pep rally.
“We cheered and chanted and the big purpose of today was to come together and just celebrate and get excited about a new school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody.
The excitement was so contagious that Chairman of the Board of Education Dr. Richard Miller commended the staff on “the enthusiasm, the joy you’re bringing to this new school year.”
For the first time on record, all 3,000 Rowan-Salisbury School System Staff members gathered in one place at one time.
Busloads of teachers came pouring into the stadium at North Rowan High School right around 8 a.m. They were chanting and cheering, dressed in school colors and armed with signs, pompoms and props.
Each school participated in a spirit contest. As they entered the stadium, they were judged on their spirit, as judged by the staff’s cheers, excitement, props and wardrobe choices.
“We cheered a lot,” Moody said.
Although Salisbury High School won the spirit contest, Moody said each school “did a fabulous job.”
But the pep rally wasn’t just for teachers – custodians, administrators, bus drivers and food service workers were invited, too. The crowd nearly filled all the bleachers in the stadium.
Sponsors and school board members made a grand entrance on a trolley, and Moody was escorted into the stadium in the back of a classic sheriff’s cruiser to the tune of “Hail to the Chief.”
“We’ve been working all summer,” Moody said, as she described a number of conferences and professional development programs teachers and staff completed.
“We just want to have one big pep rally today,” she said.
Moody briefly addressed the district’s new strategic plan, goals and mission to the crowd, including having 90 percent of students reading on grade level and incorporating problem-based learning with digital conversion in a collaborative environment.
“This is our year,” Moody said.
“I felt like it was inspiring, and I thought it was a great way to boost the morale of the district,” said North Rowan Middle School social studies teacher Jennifer Pantell.
Ledra Welchwalker, a first-grade teacher at Hanford Dole, has been a teacher for 12 years.
“This has been a very positive motivator,” she said.
Not only did Rowan-Salisbury staff celebrate and cheer, local businesses donated a wide variety of door prizes, including a new car for a year, a diamond ring, a classroom makeover, attending a national conference of their choice, catered lunch for a school’s staff, a spa day package, tickets to Oprah, gift certificates, a field trip and a fire pit — just to name a few.
“Our community really came out and supported our schools,” Moody said. “We’re grateful to be able to work here.”
We wanted to “tell our teachers how much we appreciate them,” she added.
Havelock High Teacher Wins State Award
Friday, August 22, 2014 at 1:00:00 pm
On the day when teachers returned to school to begin preparations for the 2014-15 school year, Havelock High instructor Tommy Andrews was in for a big surprise.
Before Principal Jeff Murphy started his first faculty meeting of the new school year on Monday, he said he had a “special announcement.” Andrews had been named the N.C. Trades and Industrial Education Teachers Association New Teacher of the Year.
“They kept it a pretty good secret,” Andrews said. “It’s a surprise for sure.”
The award covers teachers throughout the state.
“I feel great. It’s pretty awesome,” Andrews said of the honor. “Anytime you get something like this and it’s a surprise, it’s pretty cool.”
Andrews was hired as the new automotive technology and mechanics instructor in January. The award is for career and technical education teachers with less than five years of experience.
Teams Earn Top Honors From NCHSAA
Friday, August 22, 2014 at 10:05:00 am
High school students in the spring semester earned over 18,000 individual awards for achievements in the classroom as well as on the playing court or athletic field.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association made the awards in its Scholar-Athlete program presented by the North Carolina National Guard, which includes recognition of varsity teams that attain certain grades as well as individual athletes.
A total of 8,232 student-athletes earned the individual Scholar-Athlete award (attained at least a 3.5 grade point average for the semester in which he or she competed).
In the team division, a varsity team earns Scholar-Athlete recognition by attaining a 3.1 aggregate GPA for that designated semester.
“We are extremely proud of the achievements of these outstanding student-athletes,” said Davis Whitfield, NCHSAA commissioner. “Our Scholar-Athlete program demonstrates that we have a tremendous number of athletes who are participating in athletics and succeeding in the classroom.”
The Scholar-Athlete recognition has been a part of the NCHSAA program for over 25 years. Over 1,200 varsity teams were recognized during the 2013-14 academic year and over 37,000 certificates were presented.
Teacher Raises Nearly $80,000 to Feed Ferguson Kids Who Canít Get Meals at Shuttered Schools
Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:30:00 pm
A teacher in North Carolina has raised nearly $80,000 to feed students from low-income families in Ferguson, Mo., who would ordinarily be getting free lunches at public schools in the St. Louis suburb but can’t because the start of the 2014-15 school year has been delayed twice as a result of civil unrest.
The 11,000-student Ferguson-Florissant School District was supposed to start classes Aug. 14 but now is scheduled to open Aug. 25, assuming that the unrest that resulted from the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer has stopped. This year, the high-poverty district was planning to start a federal program that allows all students to receive free lunches, not only those whose family incomes qualify them for free and reduced-price lunches, according to this report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Ferguson-Florissant is considered a high-poverty school district because many of its students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches — 68 percent of them last year, though it is likely that the real percentage is higher but some families never filled out the paperwork, the newspaper said.
Wishing to help the students in Ferguson, Julianna Mendelsohn, a fifth-grade teacher in Bahama, N.C., came up with the idea of starting a fund on the Internet to raise money so that the St. Louis Area Foodbank could feed students and their families, according to takepart.com. She started a fundraising campaign on Fundly.com that has raised nearly $80,000, which had been her goal.
On the fund-raising campaign page, Mendelsohn wrote:
As the world watches the events unfolding in Ferguson, many people have thought “how can I help?”. As a public school teacher, my first thought is always about the children involved in any tragic situation like this. When I found out school had been canceled for several days as a result of the civil unrest, I immediately became worried for the students in households with food instability. Many children in the US eat their only meals of the day, breakfast and lunch, at school. With school out, kids are undoubtedly going hungry.
ALL OF THIS MONEY WILL GO TO FEED KIDS IN FERGUSON. A dollar or a hundred dollars, it doesn’t matter. You will be helping to put food in the mouth of a child who needs it. Regardless of your opinion on the civil unrest in Ferguson, there is no need for innocent children to go hungry because of it.
Lenoir County Teacher Shines as STEM Teacher of the Month
Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:05:00 pm
Elizabeth Jackson's fifth graders are using I Pads to teach their fellow second graders lessons that take time and patience. It's a method called “teaching across grade levels.” According to Jackson having technology in the classroom makes it easy to learn from each other. “For them to go to the second graders and explain to them the newton's 3 laws of motion and have the second graders come back to me and explain them and understand them, then relate it math as week, that's mastery right there," she said.
Jackson is now entering her ninth year as a math and science teacher and with the implementation of technology in the classroom her students have been able to start a YouTube channel to video tape their experiments. She said it's a way to keep her students engaged, "when we were young we would go outside and play the culture was a lot different, now you have to challenge them with technology."
With today's STEM initiatives, incorporating technology is all a part of preparing a future workforce; one that Jackson has helped her students master to prepare them for their future.
With the honor of STEM Teacher of the month comes $200. Jackson gets to keep $100 for her personal use and spend the other half for her classroom. She tells 9 On Your Side she plans to use the money to buy more apps for the students to use on their I Pads and will get supplies for the school's garden.
Cabarrus Students Receive About $34 Million in Scholarships
Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 12:35:00 pm
Almost 470 students from Cabarrus County Schools received 1,074 reported scholarships totaling almost $34 million in 2014.
“It truly is a time of celebration. … I’d like to salute the work of students, parents, school counselors, teachers and funding sources,” said Donna Smith, executive director of student services for the system.
Smith presented the annual scholarship report to the Cabarrus County Board of Education during its work session on Aug. 4. She said the report reflected information counselors had at the time of graduation, adding that because some scholarships are awarded later in the year, the total amount is likely larger.
The majority of the reported scholarships – 1,015 of the 1,074 – were academic ones that totaled around $32.2 million. Forty-four of the scholarships were athletic ones that totaled about $1.8 million; four were military scholarships that totaled $651,500; and 11 were fine arts scholarships that totaled $203,000, according to the report.
“Why do we do what we do? That’s why,” said board member Jeff Phillips. “Because institutions of higher learning value a diploma from Cabarrus County Schools.”
Master Teacher Selected, Principal Receives Dissertation Award
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 9:00:00 am
Caroline Courter, a teacher at Gregory Elementary School of Math, Science and Technology, has selected to participate in the 2014-15 Science Master Teacher Project.
Courter is among 65 science teachers from across the country selected for the program, which will bring together like-minded educators to collaboratively create online, accessible lesson plans, according to a press release from the school district.
Following the success of the Math and English/Language Arts (ELA) phase of the Master Teacher Project, BetterLesson and the National Education Association will provide free access to the richness of Master Teachers’ curriculum and practice to every teacher, according to a release from New Hanover County Schools. By the fall of the 2014-15 school year, the combined efforts of math, ELA and science Master Teachers are slated to produce over 15,000 classroom lessons for use by educators nationwide.
Parsley principal receives dissertation award
Dr. Robin Hamilton, principal of Parsley Elementary School, was recently the Glatthorn Dissertation Award for her comparative case study on kindergarten transition practices, which she completed in 2013 under the direction of Dr. William Rouse.
The Glatthorn Dissertation Award is given to the East Carolina University student who has the most outstanding dissertation in the Department of Educational Leadership, as selected by a committee of department faculty. The award is for a one time amount of $1,000.
It was established by and is now given in memory of Dr. Allan Glatthorn. Barbara Glatthorn was in attendance to congratulate and present the award to Hamilton. Other attendees included faculty and staff from the Department of Educational Leadership and the College of Education and family members of Hamilton and Barbara Glatthorn.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Kicks Off 'Be There Dad' Initiative
Monday, August 18, 2014 at 4:25:00 pm
The Mecklenburg PTA Council held its first “Be There Dad” event Saturday, celebrating the initiative Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders hope will get more fathers actively involved in their children’s lives.
“We are really pushing that effort for men to step up and be leaders” said Harold Dixon, president of the Mecklenburg PTA.
Dads at the event got the chance to take part in games and other fun outdoor activities ahead of the start of the new school year. Leaders said that having parents actively involved in their children’s lives will result in more well-rounded students who perform better academically.
The PTA said the hope is that by getting dads involved at the start of the school year, they'll stay involved all year long.
"Go to all of the activities that the school identifies, build a relationship with the teacher, build a relationship with the principals and hopefully what the community is going to see is a strong presence of dads being involved across the district,” Dixon said.
Dads on hand Saturday were excited to be out spending the day with their children.
“My father, he was always involved in my education and also extracurricular activities. And so he instilled those kinds of values and morals in me. So I'm passing it down to my daughter,” father Ivan Lowe said.
There are 11 designated "Be There Dad" schools in CMS. Leaders of the initiative said for the first day of school, they’re challenging all fathers to be there to take their children to school.
Roberson High Honors Retired Educator
Monday, August 18, 2014 at 2:45:00 pm
Buncombe County school board members agreed Thursday night to name a new access road at Roberson High in honor of Larry McCallum, who retired in 2011 from the county school system.
McCallum spent more than 40 years as an educator including three years as principal of Roberson. He also spent time as principal at Owen High. When he retired, McCallum was an assistant superintendent.
Roberson High Principal Amy Rhoney submitted a letter to school officials asking that the road be named McCallum Drive to honor McCallum for his contributions to the school.
Superintendent Tony Baldwin surprised McCallum with the announcement during Thursday night’s board meeting.
“I had no clue,” McCallum said as he stood to thank the board.
Baldwin said McCallum has stayed busy in his retirement, serving on a number of committees.
“If there’s ever an individual that retirement doesn’t fit, it is Dr. Larry McCallum,” Baldwin said.
Thursday night, school board members also recognized Susan Onley as the system’s bus driver of the year. Onley was honored with the Tracy Lea Calhoun Award.
Joe Hough, director of transportation for Buncombe County Schools, said Onley kept her cool during a close call with a car last winter.
After Onley’s bus came to a stop, the driver of a car behind her slammed on the brakes and slid in a ditch past the door of the bus.
Hough described Onley’s reaction as “textbook.” She made sure a student that was about to get off the bus was OK, checked on the other students and then called for help.
“The reaction that she showed, I was amazed,” Hough said following the meeting.
Also on Thursday, Citizen-Times reporter Casey Blake talked to the board about a series of stories she wrote this year on youth and family homelessness.
David Thompson, director of student services for Buncombe County Schools, told board members that last year, 522 Buncombe County students were homeless.
“I really appreciate what you’ve done,” board member Ann Franklin told Blake. “I hope the spin-off from this is we can find ways to help these families and, in particular, these children.”
Carteret Co. Schools Receives $153K for Improving Energy Efficiency
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 4:35:00 pm
Carteret County schools are saving energy and money with new, more efficient fixtures and lighting.
Duke Energy-Progress awarded the school system an incentive check for more than $153,000 Wednesday.
"Any time you can conserve water and electricity and any kind of natural fuel ... you're doing what's good for the planet," superintendent Dan Novey said. "So we're teaching a good lesson there and at the same time we're going to get an incentive that's really going to help provide better instruction because we'll be able to use it for materials in the classroom."
Carteret County Board of Education members will discuss how to use the money in September as part of their budget resolution.
McDonalds Grant Gets WS/FC Schools Out of a Jam
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 2:55:00 pm
A grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has expanded the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools summer feeding program.
Thanks to funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the school system had offered free breakfast and lunch to students of all ages at several schools from June 23 through today (Aug. 14). But because of limited funds, the meals were only offered Monday through Thursday.
A $32,000 RMHC grant announced Wednesday, Aug. 6 provided a food option on Friday. The Friday meal wasn’t to be dine-in like those offered Monday through Thursday. Parents could pick-up a take-out package – which included juices, fruit and healthy snacks – on Thursday for their children to enjoy at home on Friday. Officials say that up to 2,000 students enjoyed the food packages.
“We were really worried about what we would do (about feeding kids on Fridays), so this has been a life-saver,” said Superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory. “To see no interruption at all to the service that we can provide to children and families is huge. We are grateful because we would not have been able to do it without their support.”
D.J. Britt, who owns and operates the McDonald’s on Reynolda Road, presented the check, calling the donation a perfect example of how a business/community partnership should work.
“My wife Terri and I do quite a bit with the school system, whether it be with the kids or McTeacher’s Night,” he said. “The summer school program was just another way for us to give back and to assist the school system with our children.”
WS/FCS Receives $1.4 million Grant for Learning Centers at 3 Schools
Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 2:20:00 pm
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has won a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant that will bring $1.4 million over four years to pay for expanded tutoring and after-school activities at three schools.
The State Board of Education approved the grant, which will help students at Ashley, Ibraham and Old Town elementary schools.
The district had to compete for the grants, which asked groups to create community-learning centers to provide academic enrichment opportunities for children. In Forsyth County, that means the three schools will offer an array of after-school tutoring, Saturday activities and summer activities.
“This grant will help us work toward one of our top goals – increasing the number of children who can read on grade level in elementary school,” Superintendent Beverly Emory said.
“The big thing for us is that we can serve more students,” Ibraham Principal Lee Koch said. “Before we had limited funds.”
“It’s going to allow us to provide that additional support to students after school,” Ashley Principal Mark Hairston said. “It’s going to allow us to provide that safety net.”
“As we work to make sure our students meet all the goals we set for them, this essentially gives us more hours in our day to provide support for these students,” Old Town Principal Rusty Hall said. “We cannot do this alone and having community partners who are on the front lines with us, working with our students and their families, will help us see the success we work towards each and every day.”
Surry Schools Rank No. 4 in Productivity
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 3:55:00 pm
The Surry County school system ranks fourth in the state in a new study examining how productive educational districts have been with the funding available to each.
County residents are getting a good return on their public school investment, according to the study by the Center for American Progress. It recently updated a similar analysis in 2011, which had arisen from concerns that low productivity was costing school systems billions nationwide and there were few tracking mechanisms to measure how well educational dollars were spent.
In the actual rankings for that, Union County schools lead, ahead of No. 2 Davie County, Mooresville City and Surry County schools at No. 4. Burke County Public Schools round out the top five.
In addition to factors such as per-pupil spending — which was $8,177 in 2011 — the results are based on an “achievement index” that lists the percentages of students designated as proficient or above on state assessments in reading and math in fourth grade, eighth grade and high school.
Surry’s achievement levels exceed the state averages in all six of those categories, according to the latest figures available as reported by the Center for American Progress.
Funding allocations and test scores are one thing, but leaders of the county board of education say the No. 4 productivity ranking comes down to the human factor.
“I just can’t say enough about our teachers and our personnel — that’s what makes a difference in the Surry County Schools,” board Vice Chairman Clark Goings said in reaction to the study. Goings pointed out that Surry has avoided teacher layoffs and other drastic steps undertaken by some systems which have been forced by the bad economy.
While some positions have gone unfilled after retirements or other departures and allowed reductions through natural attrition, the local system has not “had to let anyone go because of a shortage of money,” he said.
Both Goings and Earlie Coe, the school board chairman, also were quick to credit the staff of Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves at the central office in Dobson and other administrators for spending wisely and getting the best results from the resources available.
“We’ve got some very good administrators who take care of our money,” Coe said. “They don’t go out and buy everything that comes down the tracks as far as technology.” Those who manage the day-to-day operations of schools do spend money for certain additions from time to time, but are selective in doing so, the chairman said.
“We really do get a good bang for the buck with some of the programs they’re bringing in,” Coe added.
Goings also credited the efforts of the superintendent and his assistants in the central office, along with the finance officer for county schools, as one of the chief reasons for the ranking.
Coe further believes those who ultimately control the county purse strings are partly responsible for the success.
“I’m going to have to give part of the credit to the commissioners,” the school board chairman said. “They have gone above and beyond in helping us.”
“I’m very proud of the ranking,” added the school board chairman, who appreciates the hard work at all levels which made it possible.
Thousands of Students Received Free Back-to-School Supplies in Lumberton
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 2:00:00 pm
The Public Schools of Robeson County kicked off their Back to School Celebration bright and early Thursday with some eager students.
The event provided students with free book bags, paper, pencils and study guides.
The celebration welcomed more than 20,000 parents, students and volunteers to the Southeastern Agriculture Center in Lumberton.
In addition to free school supplies, the celebration gives students a chance to see their school principal and visit with some school staff, as each school sets up a booth at the event.
The celebration is sponsored by the Parent-Student center.