Stand Up 4 NC Public Schools
Schools Recognized for Healthier Environments
Friday, July 31, 2015 at 12:15:00 pm
Some New Hanover County Schools were recently recognized with awards for creating and sustaining a healthy and safe environment for students.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is a national initiative founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. The alliance's aim is to help schools improve physical education, health education and nutrition by providing a school health index in which staff can self-access their school’s policies and programs for promoting health and safety.
According to the program’s website, the guide is then used to develop an action plan on improving those policies and programs and is currently used at nearly 29,000 schools around the country -- 788 in North Carolina. Resources offered by the alliance include national experts and online and printable guides to help take steps to develop healthier environments for kids to learn and grow -- including creative ways to get them to eat their fruits and vegetables.
To earn a national award at the bronze, silver or gold levels, schools must meet best practice criteria established by the program’s expert panel in all of the program’s six modules: school safety; health education; physical education; nutrition services; health promotion for staff; and family and community involvement.
In New Hanover County, 11 schools currently participate in the program, and three schools were recognized at the most recent county Board of Education regular meeting for achieving national level status.
NC Students Become Smokies Park Rangers for a Summer
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 2:50:00 pm
Ten North Carolina teenagers spent the summer getting the real-life, hands-on feel of what it's like to be a ranger with the National Park Service. On Thursday, July 23, they "graduated" from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's six-week, paid High School Summer Intern Program, as their families, teachers, park staff, and Smokies Superintendent Cassius Cash looked on.
"We have done so many things in six weeks - wildlife management, resource education, which is my favorite, trail crew and vegetation crew, fisheries, we studied dragonflies and salamanders, we worked in the ozone garden to see how bad the ozone is affecting the plants – we have done tons and tons of stuff," said Kyra Mehaffey, 16, a senior at Pisgah High School.
The Smokies also hold a Teachers in Parks program, as well as a high school internship for students from Tennessee. The park sits on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Participants will complete the programs just before the new school year begins, allowing them to return to the classroom with a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from a summer working with rangers in a national park.
"These programs are mutually beneficial," said Susan Sachs, Education Coordinator for the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center in the Haywood County, North Carolina, section of the park.
"The students and teachers get an in-depth study of resource education techniques, scientific methods, and field research to enhance their skills and talents, and, in turn, the park creates advocates through better understanding of and appreciation for the Smokies. Teachers will bring the knowledge into their classrooms and the interns will share their education and experience with the local community through their friends and family."
During their time in the park, teachers work alongside park rangers in the field assisting with resource management activities and education programs. When not in the field, teachers are working with Resource Educators to develop elementary, middle, and high school curriculum for the popular Parks as Classrooms program.
In partnership with American Conservation Experience, student interns from different local high schools within the surrounding communities, assist scientists and park staff with field research and education programs while exploring possible career opportunities. They get exposed to and gain knowledge about a variety of areas while working in the park, including wildlife biology, fisheries science, botany, forest and stream ecology, preventative search and rescue, archaeology, Appalachian history and park management.
Grants received from Alcoa, Friends of the Smokies license plate funds, Great Smoky Mountains Association and the federally-funded Youth Partnership Program expanded the two successful programs this summer.
Triad School Resource Officer Honored For Saving A Life
Monday, July 27, 2015 at 2:55:00 pm
A school resource officer (SRO) at Southeast High School was honored for saving the life of a school bus driver.
Corporal James O. Strickland was recently awarded the Hank Snyder Beyond the Call of Duty Award from the North Carolina Association of School Resource Officers (NCASRO) for his heroic act. In January, Cpl. Strickland was on-duty at Southeast when a bus driver suffered a cardiac arrest in the parking lot.
Guilford County Schools (GCS) officials said Strickland jumped into action, climbed on the bus, and applied AED pads to the driver. He then administered CPR until EMS arrived. The driver regained a pulse before leaving for the hospital.
A paramedic on scene told school officials that without Strickland's help, the driver would not have survived.
"Cpl. Strickland has made a significant impact on our school," says Assistant Principal Rebecca Draper. "He established a rapport with students and staff quickly and easily and has done a great job of keeping Southeast High safe."
Couple donate $1M to Guilford County's Say Yes initiative
Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 4:00:00 pm
An anonymous couple pledged $1 million to support the $28 million Say Yes to Education initiative in Guilford County, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.
Say Yes to Education is a national nonprofit organization that partners with communities with the goal of graduating all students from high school and then providing funding for college tuition. Guilford County is a top contender among finalists for the partnership. Total pledges have now reached $25.25 million.
"We are delighted to be part of this gigantic effort and wish to remain anonymous, as this is not about us,” the donors said in a statement through the foundation. “It is about giving students the opportunity to pursue a college degree. This program is also about building stable families and encouraging personal responsibility, because without this individual commitment Say Yes to Education runs the risk of becoming just another educational initiative.”
Maurice “Mo” Green, superintendent of Guilford County Schools, said he is grateful to the individuals for their generosity and for their commitment to helping young people succeed.
"Knowing we have this level of support in the community gives added strength to all of us in Guilford County Schools," he said.
NC High School Student Wins Presidential Environmental Award
Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 3:25:00 pm
North Carolina high school junior Sharon Chen earned a President’s Environmental Youth Award for developing a new, green method to recover copper from wood, which was presented at a ceremony at the White House today.
“To solve our future environmental challenges, young people need to understand the science behind the natural world – and create a personal connection to the outdoors,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “These teachers and students are demonstrating the important role of environmental education, and showing how individual actions can help address climate change, protect the air we breathe, and safeguard the water we drink.”
Chen’s project, entitled “A Green and Novel Technology for Recovering Copper and Wood from Treated Wood Waste—Part 1,” stands to serve a dual purpose in environmental stewardship, diverting wood and copper from landfills and reducing the need for sourcing new raw materials from natural resources. Chen, a Durham, North Carolina, resident, completed the project at North Mecklenburg High School, though she now attends North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
Forty-three other students were honored at today’s ceremony, constituting an additional seven projects.
Thousands of Computers Coming to Cabarrus Classrooms
Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 4:50:00 pm
Thousands of new computers will be in the hands of students in Cabarrus County this fall thanks to funding from Cabarrus County commissioners.
Both the Cabarrus Board of Education and Kannapolis City School Board approved lease/purchase agreement that will finance the new computers with the county funding. Both boards expressed thanks for the county funding.
“It gets us a million dollars worth of technology right now,” Crabtree said.
Officials with both school systems said the computers are needed for increasing on-line testing and textbooks and on-line education content.
Kannapolis will be replacing about 1,000 net books, which are seven years old. Those computers will be used by an afternoon program but won’t be repaired or serviced by the school system.
Cabarrus Assistant Superintendent Kelly Propst said the student- to-computer ratio will now be 1.3 to 1 at the high school level, 1.4 to 1 at the middle schools and 1.5 to 1 at elementary schools.
“There will be enough computers for every student in another year if the commissioners fund it. We will get there,” Propst said.
Officials with both school systems said this is the biggest technology financial commitment by Cabarrus County Commissioners in more than a decade.
Knollwood Educators Make a Dynamic Duo at Technology Conference
Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 9:30:00 am
Ann Crilley and Renee Cunningham are Knollwood Elementary’s technology facilitator and media coordinator, but when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom, they like to consider themselves “combined superheroes.”
Cunningham been teaching in the Rowan-Salisbury School System for the past eight years. After her first year of teaching in Cabarrus County, Cunningham was a 21st century classroom teacher at Erwin Middle School for four years. After completing her library science master’s degree at Appalachian State University, Cunningham served as Knox Middle’s media coordinator for three years before transferring to Knollwood.
Crilley has been the technology facilitator at Knollwood for the last four years.
Although this past school year was Cunningham’s first year at Knollwood, the two aren’t strangers. The pair attended Elon University together as college students.
“We’ve reconnected after eight years,” Crilley said.
That reconnection has turned into a sweet partnership that has directly benefited the students at Knollwood Elementary School.
So it’s no surprise that between the two of them, they were asked to present seven different sessions at the International Society of Technology in Education’s (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia this week. Quite a feat, considering only 38 percent of submitted sessions are accepted.
The pair presented four of those sessions together, Crilley presented twice with other Rowan-Salisbury educators, and Cunningham presented with one other group.
Crilley said they submitted a lot of different proposals because they were told how competitive it is to get a presentation approved.
“We never thought they would all get accepted,” she said.
“We picked things we were doing new at school,” Cunningham said, explaining how they chose their different topics.
“We looked at things that were successful in our building,” Crilley added.
Most of those sessions were “poster sessions,” an informal time in which educators set up booths to talk about specific educational or technological concepts from teaching methods to professional development. Other educators then mill around a room to talk with the presenters at the booths that interest them.
“We love sharing and we love talking to people,” Crilley said, adding that she learned a lot from those who came to their booth to learn from them.
She said that all the responses to their presentations were positive, but they varied greatly. Some people had never heard of the different programs they were talking about, while others just wanted to learn how to implement them in unique ways.
“It fosters such different conversations,” she said.
The women added that being teachers allows them to be the ones to take new ideas back to their schools, creating a change from the bottom up.
Area Teachers Chosen for Trip to Singapore, Malaysia
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 8:20:00 am
Seven Triangle area educators have been selected to participate in the Center for International Understanding (CIU)’s 2015 Global Teachers program.
Thirty-six teachers in all will travel to Singapore and Malaysia on July 10.
Global Teachers gain firsthand international experience that helps them bring global awareness and understanding to the classroom.
This year’s program will provide teachers the opportunity to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and urban education through a global lens.
“I would like to learn more about social programming in Singapore including how Singapore teaches its students to be responsible citizens and how Singaporean students deal with academic stress and anxiety,” said Durham School of the Arts’ Graham Smith.
Meanwhile, Mary Johnson of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools said she looks forward to seeing the math curriculum in action.
“A curriculum known as Singapore Math has been popular in the U.S. for the past decade, and I’m interested to see the country that inspired this method,” said the Culbreth Middle teacher.
Each year, CIU’s Global Teachers program brings together teachers from across the state representing grade levels and subject areas across K-12 education to have an international immersion experience that they can bring to their own classrooms.
“Teachers who have had an international, cross-cultural experience are in strong position to help build global competency in their students,” said Meredith Henderson, CIU’s Senior Director of Programs. “We know global knowledge and skills are crucial for success in the global economy.”
Watauga Arts Council Awards Vocal Music Scholarships to Two Local Music Teachers
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 2:55:00 pm
The Watauga County Arts Council presented Vocal Music Scholarship Awards to two Watauga County Schools music teachers at its annual meeting on June 13.
While Chris Watson and Lisa Combs are both public school teachers, their applications and awards were totally different. Chris applied as a teacher representing Valle Crucis Elementary School, where he teaches music and chorus. His scholarship award will fund the licensing, music, and scripts needed for Valle Crucis School’s first full length musical play, “101 Dalmatians Kids”. Chris wrote in his application, “Putting on such a production will bring to life the magic of stage for all students at Valle Crucis School. Participation in this play will be open to students of all ages and is sure to be an amazing experience for it will include singing, dancing, acting, comedy, and fun for all! Such an amazing event, without question, will be a transformative arts experience for the students of Valle Crucis School.”
Lisa Combs has been teaching in Watauga County Schools for 27 years and currently teaches chorus at Watauga High School. The professional association for public school music teachers is called National Association of Music Educators (NAME). While Lisa has been able to attend state conferences for NAME, she has never been able to attend the national conferences. However this fall the national conference is taking place in Nashville, TN and with the scholarship award, Lisa will be able to attend. Lisa’s application read, “The conference will include opportunities for me to listen to amazing choirs, go to reading sessions to pick out new music for my students, learn from nationally known choral conductors, and attend seminars for music educators. I plan to return to my classroom with lots of new curriculum and a renewed spirit.”
The Watauga County Arts Council is very pleased to be able to honor these two educators in this way. Funding for the Vocal Music Scholarship Program comes from an annual event called “Celebrate Singing” each fall. This event, the brainchild of Dr. Roland Moy (a member of the WCAC Advisory Council who himself is a seasoned barbershop singer featured in The Mountainaires Quartet as well as Triad Harmony and several other singing groups) showcases different types of singers and different styles of singing. Music teachers are encouraged to bring their students to perform and to listen to other groups at this event and it is also greatly enjoyed by the public. The event is free, but donations are accepted. The next Celebrate Singing is tentatively planned for Saturday, November 21. Additional funding for the Vocal Music Scholarship Program comes from private donations.
4 Local Students Receive Golden LEAF Scholarship
Monday, June 22, 2015 at 3:20:00 pm
Four recent graduates of Robeson County high schools have each received a $12,000 Golden LEAF Foundation Scholarship from the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.
The recipients are Hillary Faircloth of South Robeson High School; Elizabeth Keenum of Robeson Early College; Kennedy Locklear of Purnell Swett High School; and Franchesca Windley of Lumberton High School.
They are among 215 students who will receive the $3,000 scholarship each year for up to four years at a participating North Carolina public university or private nonprofit college or university.
They are chosen based on such criteria as school and community service, goals and intention of contributing to rural communities after graduating. Typically, the recipient comes from a rural and economically troubled county.
“The Golden LEAF board of directors has been pleased to assist more than 13,700 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.”
The Golden LEAF Foundation, established in 1999, is a nonprofit that attempts to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The Foundation received half of North Carolina’s funds from cigarette manufacturers until 2013.