Stand Up 4 NC Public Schools

Friday, April 17, 2015

Retired Anson Educator Starts Scholarship for Needy Students

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 17, 2015 at 3:55:00 pm
 

For more than 30 years, Fonnie Powell Dinkins was an educator in Anson County Schools. Her career was so close to her heart that upon her death, she bequeathed $60,000 for a scholarship for needy, deserving students at Anson High School.

“Ms. Fonnie” Dinkins, as she was known, was a teacher and former coach at the old Morven High School, and coached a championship basketball team. She was also an assistant principal at Anson Junior High School. She retired in 1980.

“I am so proud of my mother,” said her daughter, Junel Dinkins, in a phone interview. “She passed away last July, and bequeathed a scholarship in her name.”

The scholarship will fund $1,000-1,500 for two African-American AHS students each year.

“Mother asked that the scholarships be provided to African-American students,” Dinkins said.

Fonnie Dinkins also willed that Marilynn Bennett, one of her former students and a current member of the Anson County Board of Education, be a member of the scholarship committee.

“She was my favorite teacher,” Bennett said.

She added that in addition to the requirement that the two students per year be African-American, the scholarship committee will also be looking at grades and community service. “We will look at their school and community activities,” Bennett said. “They will write an essay and tell us why they deserve this scholarship.”

The hope is that the scholarships will go to one male and female each year, she added, but it may not always turn out that way.

Originally posted on the Anson Record

 




Thursday, April 16, 2015

2014 GCS Teacher Of The Year Receives National Award

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 2:50:00 pm
 

The 2014 Guilford County Schools (GCS) Teacher of the Year was a finalist for a national teaching award.

Karyn Collie Dickerson, an academic coach, is the North Carolina finalist for the National Education Association's Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. This award recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession.

Dickerson was honored Tuesday night during a special presentation at the Guilford County Schools board meeting and was presented with the plaque and monetary gift.

Dickerson said teaching and her love for reading began as a well-loved pastime when she was a young girl. She used to be an English teacher at Grimsley High School. During her time there, she taught students to use literature as a vehicle for visiting other eras. Even more importantly, she says she wanted her students to learn to reexamine the world around them and to think critically about the vast information around them.

As an academic coach, she says her classroom is much larger now. She says as she encourages educators to gradually release responsibility so students can find success and take ownership for their work. She wants students to learn to think for themselves, never to be afraid of what is different, and to aspire for the world and not just what is in front of them.

Dickerson also serves as an advisory member on the N.C. State Board of Education, as a member of Governor McCrory's Teacher Advisory Council, as co-chair of the Teacher Recruitment and Training Working Group and as an English Methods Course instructor at Guilford College.

Originally posted on wfmyNews2

 




Monday, April 13, 2015

Dual-Language Programs Prove Successful

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, April 13, 2015 at 12:25:00 pm
 

This scene is commonplace at Carrboro Elementary School, where students can spend half the day learning about everything from rockets to writing skills completely in Spanish.

“I love the culture of our school,” said fourth-grade teacher Kendall Brees, who teaches dual language students during the English half of the school day.

Experiences like this have proved beneficial for young students. In March, VIF International Education, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that develops global education programs, released results from an evaluation by UNC’s Education Policy Initiative at Carolina.

The study found that students participating in VIF’s foreign language immersion program scored higher on state End-of-Grade tests than students not in the program, regardless of economic status, English proficiency or ethnicity.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has a partnership with VIF, allowing them to bring in teachers from other countries to teach their language, said Elaine Watson-Grant, dual language coordinator for the school system.

CHCCS has its own dual language program, and its strategy has had positive results as well. A 2010 report on North Carolina dual language programs by Thomas & Collier research firm showed that students in dual language programs performed better on End-of-Grade reading and math exams than their non-dual language peers. The study included Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

There was still an achievement gap — students with limited English proficiency and African-American students achieved at lower levels than other students, but the gap was smaller for students in the dual language program.

Watson-Grant said CHCCS’ own dual language immersion programs create an atmosphere that promotes achievement for all kinds of students.

“I think the first thing is community,” she said. “There’s a very tight knit community within the school. It’s like they’re on an island and the tool of exchange, the currency, is language.”

She said this bridges the gap between native English speakers and non-native English speakers by letting them rely on and serve as models for one another.

Brees said she noticed this kind of unity among her students.

“I have kids who live in the little trailer park and kids who live in half-million dollar homes, and there’s no difference,” she said. “They work together very well.”

Two other district elementary schools — Glenwood Elementary School and Frank Porter Graham Elementary — offer dual language programs, where students spend at least half of every day learning in Spanish, French, or Chinese.

“I have really enjoyed teaching in the program and think it is a wonderful opportunity for young children to learn a new language and culture,” Glenwood Elementary first-grade dual language teacher Karen Smith said in an email.

Originally posted on the Daily Tarheel

 




Monday, April 13, 2015

Dual-Language Programs Prove Successful

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, April 13, 2015 at 12:25:00 pm
 

This scene is commonplace at Carrboro Elementary School, where students can spend half the day learning about everything from rockets to writing skills completely in Spanish.

“I love the culture of our school,” said fourth-grade teacher Kendall Brees, who teaches dual language students during the English half of the school day.

Experiences like this have proved beneficial for young students. In March, VIF International Education, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that develops global education programs, released results from an evaluation by UNC’s Education Policy Initiative at Carolina.

The study found that students participating in VIF’s foreign language immersion program scored higher on state End-of-Grade tests than students not in the program, regardless of economic status, English proficiency or ethnicity.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has a partnership with VIF, allowing them to bring in teachers from other countries to teach their language, said Elaine Watson-Grant, dual language coordinator for the school system.

CHCCS has its own dual language program, and its strategy has had positive results as well. A 2010 report on North Carolina dual language programs by Thomas & Collier research firm showed that students in dual language programs performed better on End-of-Grade reading and math exams than their non-dual language peers. The study included Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

There was still an achievement gap — students with limited English proficiency and African-American students achieved at lower levels than other students, but the gap was smaller for students in the dual language program.

Watson-Grant said CHCCS’ own dual language immersion programs create an atmosphere that promotes achievement for all kinds of students.

“I think the first thing is community,” she said. “There’s a very tight knit community within the school. It’s like they’re on an island and the tool of exchange, the currency, is language.”

She said this bridges the gap between native English speakers and non-native English speakers by letting them rely on and serve as models for one another.

Brees said she noticed this kind of unity among her students.

“I have kids who live in the little trailer park and kids who live in half-million dollar homes, and there’s no difference,” she said. “They work together very well.”

Two other district elementary schools — Glenwood Elementary School and Frank Porter Graham Elementary — offer dual language programs, where students spend at least half of every day learning in Spanish, French, or Chinese.

“I have really enjoyed teaching in the program and think it is a wonderful opportunity for young children to learn a new language and culture,” Glenwood Elementary first-grade dual language teacher Karen Smith said in an email.

Originally posted on the Daily Tarheel

 




Friday, April 10, 2015

Ashe County teacher named 2015 NC Teacher of the Year

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:25:00 pm
 

Ashe County High School English teacher Keana Triplett was named the 2015 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year on Tuesday, April 7. The Ashe County Public Schools’ teacher succeeds James E. Ford, a World History teacher at Garinger High School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools).

In announcing this year’s recipient, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Triplett finds her teaching rewards in the success of her students.

“Keana wants to be the catalyst for her students’ success in life,” Atkinson said. “By getting to know her students individually, she is able to meet them where they are and lead them to where they want to go.”

Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden said, “I’m proud of Keana and her accomplishments. She is not only an outstanding teacher, but also an amazing person. Every day she puts the needs of her students above everything else and inspires them to reach for the stars. Keana molds her students to believe in themselves, dare to dream, and gives them the tools needed to make those dreams come true.”

Dr. John Burris, president of Burroughs Wellcome Fund, said, “The Burroughs Wellcome Fund remains committed to helping provide the young people of North Carolina with the best possible education. Teachers play the key role in that education, and we are proud to recognize the North Carolina Teacher of the Year and all her dedicated professional colleagues.”

In accepting the award, Triplett said she wants her greatest contribution as an educator to be “showing students they are loved, valued and worthy.” She said, “Outstanding teachers know their students. They understand how each student learns and responds appropriately. They set high expectations then provide challenging, rigorous and relevant learning activities so students are engaged learners – not apathetic learners.”

As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Triplett will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession.

She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will sponsor her enrollment and completion of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

North Carolina has recognized outstanding teachers through its Teacher of the Year program since 1970. This is Ashe County High School’s second NC Teacher of the Year recipient. 

Read full article on the Jefferson Post

 




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ashley Students Win More Than 60 Regional, National Art Awards

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 11:40:00 am
 

Twenty-one Ashley High School students recently one more than 60 awards from the regional Scholastic Art competition. Photo courtesy New Hanover County Schools.

Scholastic Art Awards annually provide students an opportunity to have their work exhibited in well-known galleries and stands as the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for artists and writers, according to a release from New Hanover County Schools.

Recently, 21 students at Ashley High collectively garnered more than 60 regional Scholastic Art awards, including 33 Gold Keys, 20 Silver Keys and eight Honorable Mentions.

Each of the Gold Key entries went on to national judging in New York. Every year, 300,000 regional Gold Key works are submitted across the country, but only the top one-percent are recognized at the national level.

For the second consecutive year, Ashley High had a National Gold Medal winner. This year, Addison Casey won for her piece, “Blue Stripe Tea Pot Form,” which was the only ceramic work chosen from North Carolina.

Her work will be on display in New York City’s Carnegie Hall through April. The entire Scholastic art show will then become a cross-country traveling exhibit. Casey and the other national winners from North Carolina have been invited to a special ceremony on April 28 at the executive mansion in Raleigh to receive a certificate from N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory.

“I am so proud of our talented artists,” Ashley principal Jackson Norvell said. “The students work hard and produce beautiful work, It is nice to have them recognized on the regional level and national level.”

A digital gallery of all the regional winning artwork is available here.

Originally posted on Port City Daily

 




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Through Yale symposium, Wake County School Leaders Hope to Strengthen Strings Programs

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 3:20:00 pm
 

Music teacher Anita Hynus couldn’t stop beaming when 20 of her middle school orchestra students played Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh earlier this year.

For about 30 minutes before professional musicians from the North Carolina Symphony took the stage, all eyes were on the the students from Martin Middle School who filled the lobby with the sounds of Mozart and other composers.

“This is our future, and this is what our kids can do,” Hynus thought.

She said the evening is one of the highlights of her 34-year teaching career and an example of the importance of the partnership between the symphony and Wake County schools.

The two groups have worked together since 1976 and recently won a Yale Distinguished Music Award for their efforts, one of 39 collaborations nationwide to do so.

Each will send a representative to the Yale School of Music Symposium on Music in Schools in June to learn how to further strengthen their partnership, with Hynus representing the school system.

Liz Grimes-Droessler, Wake’s senior administrator for arts education, said the workshop is a chance to bring back new ideas that can strengthen the system’s existing strings programs, with the hope of building it to include more students.

In Wake, 10 magnet elementary schools offer strings programs. At the middle and high school level, 14 non-magnet and nine magnet schools offer strings, compared with 56 that offer band instruction.

Grimes-Droessler said partnerships that help the community understand strings programs could push those numbers higher, strengthening the pipeline from elementary to high school orchestra programs.

While there are issues the school system could address, such as the cost of instruments and repairs, support for the programs also could go a long way, she said.

“We have some barriers we need to look at, but we need the community behind us, too,” Grimes-Droessler said.

Orchestra supporters last year lobbied the school board to add more strings programs to Wake schools, especially outside of magnet programs. School principals make the decision about whether their budgets can support a strings program.

Hynus teaches four levels of strings at Martin Middle, as well as guitar classes. She said the programs matter for students who pursue music and those who don’t.

“They’re not just your future players,” she said. “They’re your future supporters.”

Originally posted on the News & Observer

 




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cabarrus County Students Attend Regional Braille Competition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 4:25:00 pm
 

Noah Davis, left, Jacob Chamness, center, and Hope Bovard – with Hope's guide dog, Hibou – competed in the Braille Challenge this year.

Noah Davis, 16, looks forward every year to the Western North Carolina Braille Challenge, a skills competition for visually impaired students.

Noah was one of three Cabarrus County students who participated in the March 10 Braille Challenge at Camp Dogwood, a North Carolina Lions retreat in Catawba County for the blind and visually impaired. The others were J.N. Fries STEM Magnet seventh-grader Hope Bovard and Jacob Chamness, a first-grader at Harrisburg Elementary.

As of March 24, the three students were waiting to find out if their scores from the Western N.C. regional event were good enough to qualify each of them for the national competition.

It will be held in June in Los Angeles, location of The National Braille Institute, which sponsors and governs the National Braille Challenge. It is a highly competitive contest, and no Cabarrus County student has ever qualified for nationals.

Noah, Hope and Jacob are the only Braille reading students in Cabarrus County schools, according to Terri Bunn, the district’s teacher for the visually impaired and modified textbook coordinator.

All three are mainstreamed into their classes at their respective schools and receive services through the school system. They perform well academically, which, for Noah and Hope, is supported by their enrollment in STEM programs.

Twenty-four students in western North Carolina participated in regional competition. The competition is divided into age groups. Each group is scored in four areas of reading Braille.

For middle and high school students, the competition includes tests in speed and accuracy, charts and graphs, proofreading and reading comprehension. The elementary level competition replaces the charts and graphs section with spelling.

All four sections are timed. Students read through as much content as possible in the 20 minutes allowed and aim to answer questions accurately.

Read full article on The Charlotte Observer

 




Tuesday, March 31, 2015

GCS Unveils Round The Clock Homework Help

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 3:35:00 pm
 

It's now easier for Guilford County School students and parents to get the extra help they need when it comes to school work. Tuesday, Guilford Parent Academy announced two new, online resources parents and students can access for free any time of the day or night.

This morning, Dr. Lindsay Whitley, director of Guilford Parent Academy, joined Jackie Fernandez to talk more about how the resources work.

Brainfuse Help Now offers students tutoring services, designed for a wide range of academic needs. Students can get help with classwork, extra help in difficult subjects or prepare for college preparatory tests including the SAT. These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to accommodate any schedule.

Brainfuse Adult Learners is designed to help parents brush up on their skills to better help their kids at home, as well as prepare for the GED, job search tools, interview practice and much more. Whitley said, "We know that when parents are engaged in the educational process, students achieve at higher levels, have a greater chance of going to college and do better overall in school and in life. When we talk about parent engagement, we want it to count. We want to provide parents with practical and convenient ways that they can support the educational process at home."

Read full article on WFMY News 2

 




Monday, March 30, 2015

Student Recognized for Literacy Program

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Monday, March 30, 2015 at 4:30:00 pm
 

From left, Edgecombe County Public Schools Superintendent John Farrelly, school board Vice Chairwoman Evelyn Wilson and SouthWest Edgecombe history teacher Keith Parker, right, honor SWE student Saquan Revis for his creation of the League of Literacy.

SouthWest Edgecombe High School student Saquan Revis was recognized at a recent meeting of the Edgecombe County Public Schools Board of Education for his “League of Literacy” organization.

The mission of the program is to promote literacy to young people in Edgecombe County.

Driven by his own passion for knowledge, Revis came up with the idea for the literacy program last summer after attending a Leadership Academy Camp at the school, led by history teacher Keith Parker.

“The primary goal of the Southwest Leadership Academy is to equip students with the skills they need to become citizen servants – because ultimately we believe there is joy in helping others,” Parker said. “Saquan is doing this and is a fine example of a citizen servant.”

Revis has worked with Dana Walters, a second-grade teacher at Carver Elementary School, through his program, the League of Literacy. Each month, Revis and several other students visit her classroom to share their love of reading with students.

Additionally, the league provides books, t-shirts and bookmarks all aimed at encouraging students to read.

Currently, Revis is working on collecting book bags for the children he serves.

Revis is appreciative of the support he has received from the community to make his vision a reality.

“I am very thankful for the donations received from the teachers at SouthWest, area churches and other community members,” he said. “The League of Literacy has provided me the opportunity to give back to my community and help students understand the importance of reading.”

Originally posted on the Rocky Mount Telegram