Stand Up 4 NC Public Schools

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hobbton Student Wins Congressional Art Contest

Posted by: Ramona Miller
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 10:30:00 am

Story from Chase Jordan of the Sampson Independent  

Before a recent pep rally, Hobbton High School student Moriah Pate was ready to support her school’s athletes, but she wasn’t expecting for a lot of people to be cheering and clapping just for her.

Congressman David Rouzer made a trip to honor Moriah for being the winner of the 2016 North Carolina 7th Congressional District High School Art Competition. Following the presentation, Moriah said she was excited about the recognition.

“In my artwork, I wanted to put some faces of my closest friends and some people I’ve grown really close to at Hobbton,” Moriah said about her work titled, “Priceless.”

All high school students in the district were encouraged to participate in the contest. Each congressional district in the state held a competition.

“I want to congratulate Moriah because this is a significant achievement,” Rouzer said.

Along with Rouzer, art teacher Jennifer Jackson made comments about Moriah and the contest with the theme, “What I Love About North Carolina.”

“She included some people from Hobbton High School because she thought so much of you guys,” Jackson said to the audience.

Moriah said the people in the work have been the highlight of returning to Hobbton after being home-schooled.

“It was incredible knowing each one,” Moriah said. “Everyone is different and I got to put it all together and tie it into my work.”

Using graphite pencils, colored pencils and blending techniques, it took Moriah a couple of days to complete the work. The artwork was judged by a three-person panel consisting of an arts history teacher at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW); an art gallery owner; and a magazine editor from Wrightsville Beach.

“We had real quality experts evaluate these art pieces,” Rouzer said.

Now, her artwork will be displayed in the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C. It was referred to as the infamous congressional hallway that connects the house office buildings to the U.S. Capitol.

“We walk down this tunnel every single day,” Rouzer said. “When you walk down this tunnel you see a whole array of artwork on the side, from every single state in the union … every congressional district in the union. The artwork that you see is absolutely remarkable. It shows the amount of talent that we have in this country.”

Pate was awarded with two round trip tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend an exclusive reception inside the U.S. Capitol. She will be one of 13 artists representing North Carolina. During the event Moriah will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the United States.

While standing on stage, Moriah received a certificate of recognition from Rouzer before he spoke to her.

“We’re very proud of you,” Rouzer said to her. “I know your family is proud of you and I absolutely know this school is proud of you.”

Members of Moriah’s family were also present and watched as she received the honor.

“It’s amazing because she’s self-taught for the most part,” said her father Clifford Pate. “She has encouraging friends that have helped her along the way and it’s just super.”

Her mother, Melody Pate, added that she knew something special would happen when Moriah was young.

“She held a pencil in her hand ever since she could (hold one) and she’s been doodling every since,” Melody said.

In the future, Moriah said she would like to be a makeup artist and wants to continue making portraits too. After graduation, the senior plans to become a student at the UNCW for business and Spanish studies.

Col. Tommy Macon, assistant superintendent of Sampson County Schools, alluded to how it’s a special moment for the district.


“We’re so excited and happy that Hobbton High School has one of its own being recognized in D.C.,” Macon said. “It’s a great day.”

The journey to the nation’s capital began after Jackson reviewed a book of Moriah’s sketches and encouraged her to enter the congressional contest. Along with school officials, she’s happy about the accomplishment.

“I’m really proud of her and I hope that she continues to do art,” Jackson said. “I’m sure she will because it’s in her blood. I don’t think she can just drop it.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

East Duplin High Finalist in Samsung Contest

Posted by: Ramona Miller
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 12:00:00 am


Jackie Smith, North Carolina's state winner for Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow contest has made it to the national level.  Smith, along with two students, will travel to New York City to present her project to a live panel of judges and Samsung employees to determine who wins. 
The team is asking the NC community to rally together to help East Duplin High School win a share of $2 million in Samsung technology and have a greater chance to win the Solve for Tomorrow competition.  Online voting has begun at  and will end March 31 at 11:59pm.  Help spread the word by using #SamsungSolveEDHS and #SamsungSolve on social media to help the school in this competition.  Twitter users can tweet:  #SamsungSolveEDHS and #SamsungSolve one time per day to gain a vote for East Duplin.  You may also use Instagram once per day (#SamsungSolveEDHS and #SamsungSolve) to place a vote.  Only original posts will be counted.   Hashtags on Facebook will NOT count as votes, only on Twitter and Instagram hashtags. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Johnston County Schools James Lanier Named NSBA 20 to Watch Leader

Posted by: Ramona Miller
Monday, March 7, 2016 at 3:00:00 pm

The National School Boards Association's (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named James Lanier, Coordinator of Secondary Digital Learning with Johnston County Schools, as one of its “20 to Watch” honorees for 2015-2016. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to explore and embrace innovative technology solutions and instructional strategies that contribute to high-quality learning experiences for all students.

“This year’s '20 to Watch' honorees highlight how formal and informal professional networks help them identify and share the innovative approaches that are truly making a difference,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA, Executive Director. “Showcasing the initiatives of these educators can help other district leaders identify where there might be opportunities for new approaches in their own communities to address the digital-use divide identified in the U.S. Department of Education’s National Education Technology Plan. These teachers and administrators, with support from their school boards, share a vision for learning that will prepare students for future success.”

Colleagues describe James Lanier as having a “contagious excitement for learning,” which explains his success running the annual Student Technology Conference and leading the district’s 2T4E initiative (Transforming Teaching for Engagement). 2T4E delivers professional development to assist teachers in their transition to creating more engaged classrooms that effectively utilize digital tools.

This is the 10th year of NSBA’s “20 to Watch” program, created in 2006 to identify emerging leaders who would be helping to shape the national conversation about education technology for the next 20 years. “As we hoped when this recognition was established, many previous honorees are indeed moving into leadership positions and are redefining traditional notions about learning as a result of their experiences with technology,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology.

This year’s honorees will be recognized during the 2016 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on April 4 in Washington, D.C., and at the TLN-hosted luncheon during NSBA’s 2016 Annual Conference on April 8 in Boston. 

Press release from NSBA



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Green Awarded N.C. A&Ts Human Rights Medal

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 12:05:00 pm

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Maurice O. “Mo” Green received North Carolina A&T State University’s Human Rights Medal for his work to prepare all students for college and their careers.

Green received the medal during N.C. A&T’s annual Sit-In Breakfast marking the anniversary of the N.C. A&T Sit-In Movement. The Human Rights Medal honors individuals with a proven track record of contributing significantly to the uplifting of humanity.

In his letter of nomination, Dr. Anthony Graham, interim dean of the School of Education at N.C. A&T, wrote, “(Green) masterfully and skillfully connected the dots between the business world, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, four-year universities, two-year institutions, communities, families, schools, and students. In a very laser-like way, he has used his message of an equitable education for all children to tap into the very essence of what is good about people, challenging us to look beyond our own personal agendas to see a much larger picture – the well-being, growth, and development of our most precious resource – our children.”

During his acceptance speech, Green said he agreed with those who say the education of our youth is the most important civil rights issue of the day. He accepted the award on behalf of educators, employees and board of education for Guilford County Schools.

“I accept it on their behalf because it validates the infinite amount of time, resources and passion they have poured into and continue to put towards transforming our district’s vision of achieving educational excellence—the successful combination of high academic achievement, strength of character, service to others and excellence in all we do -- into reality each day for our approximately 72,000 remarkable, intelligent students,” said Green.

In the seven-plus years of Green’s leadership, the district has raised its graduation rate and narrowed the graduation gap between students based on race and socioeconomic status. For example, only 4.7 percentage points now separate graduation rates of white and African American students, while graduation rates for Asian and Hispanic/Latino students also continue to climb.

Along with the uptick in high school graduation rates, GCS has also seen increases in the percentage of high school students who are taking more challenging academic courses, and more than one third (about 37 percent) of all GCS grads in 2015 passed college-level courses and exams, meaning they have a greater chance of success as they move from the classroom to college and careers.

GCS’ success in these areas have been recognized nationally by the Council of the Great City Schools with the “Profiles in Courage Award,” and five GCS schools made Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds” list of the nation’s top high schools. The list identifies schools that do an excellent job of preparing students for college while also serving a high percentage of students who live in poverty.

Green has received numerous accolades for his work. Last year, he received the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Welfare Reform Liaison Project for being a “champion of change,” and being committed to building up the city and community. In 2014, he was named the Distinguished Educator by the NCASCD (North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). He was also recognized by two community organizations in 2013, including the Education Award presented by the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the Public Service Award from the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association. 

Press release from Guilford County Schools


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

High School Opens Pantries for Students in Need

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 12:55:00 pm

This article was featured in February 2016 issue of American School Board Journal


The best pantries are stocked to meet unexpected needs. That’s the thinking behind the pantries that operate inside North Carolina’s Washington High School, discreetly providing students in need with resources from nonperishable food and hygienic products to school supplies and clothing.

“We started this because we had some students whose basic needs were not being met,” says Principal Misty Walker. “If we want to help them with their academics, we have to help meet their basic needs.”

Open since September, the closets are stocked by school administrators, the student government organization, and various community partners in Beaufort County.

Students only have to approach an administrator in confidence to privately take what they need from the shelves. Foods like cereal bars and vacuum-sealed meals with pull tabs are popular, Walker says, noting that administrators often have to encourage students to stock up and not be shy. “Especially over a long weekend, you want to make sure they have enough,” she says.

The school does not keep track of students who use the supplies but will help them or a family member connect with community services that can provide greater assistance. Walker adds that there’s never been an announcement about the program’s availability. “Word just gets around,” she says. “When a student has needs, they usually know another student who has needs.”


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Anson Honors Dr. Altheria Smith Patton for Life of Service

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 12:35:00 pm

Civic, educational and religious leaders joined more than 200 former students, colleagues, relatives and friends Jan. 16 at the Lockhart-Taylor Center in Wadesboro to celebrate Dr. Altheria Smith Patton’s recognition from Gov. Pat McCrory.

The governor awarded Patton the Order of the Long Leaf Pine — North Carolina’s highest civilian honor — on Dec. 12 in recognition of the 60-year veteran educator and school administrator’s life devoted to educating Anson County students.

Anson County Schools and alumni associations hosted a countywide celebration this month where the state award, municipal proclamations and other honors were presented.

Wadesboro Mayor William Thacker and mayors of all municipalities in Anson County proclaimed Jan. 16 as Dr. Altheria Smith Patton Day. Town Manager M. Alexander Sewell, a fellow Rotarian, presented the Town of Wadesboro’s proclamation, on behalf of the mayor.

He spoke of Patton’s consistency and loyalty to the town and remarked, “We’re so honored and pleased that she’s a citizen and resident of Wadesboro.”

Sheriff Landric Reid spoke of the importance of his relationship with Patton despite being sheriff for just 14 months. Representing the county, Reid presented the Anson County proclamation and emphasized “what an honor and a privilege it is to acknowledge Dr. Patton, while she could see and hear our appreciation.”

Superintendent Michael Freeman and Board of Education Chairwoman Dr. Bobbie Little spoke on behalf of Anson County Schools and shared personal stories of Patton’s impact on their lives.

“Dr. Patton — Miss Patton at the time — and my mother were the only two people who thought I could do and be more,” Freeman said. “Dr. Patton urged me to apply for and attend college. She had a way of making you feel that you were the only student in the school. She is the reason I am where I am today.”

Little and others shared their experiences with Patton and anecdotes about her “persistence and kindness.”

Dr. Jim Sims was scheduled to present the Order of the Long Leaf Pine but due to illness was unable to attend. However, a former student and the lead organizer of this event and award application, Dr. L. Diane Bennett, a Charlotte entrepreneur, presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine to Patton before an adoring and appreciative crowd.

“What an honor it is to honor the woman that inspired greatness is us when we didn’t see it in ourselves,” Bennett said. “God bless you, Dr. Patton.”

Little, a fellow Long Leaf Pine recipient, affixed the Society of the Long Leaf Pine lapel pin to Patton’s jacket.

Patton’s remarks, befitting her English teacher style, centered on two poems — “Silence” by Edgar Lee Masters and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

“Silence” captured her emotions of the day and “The Road Not Taken” epitomized her life and “the choice that changed my life forever…staying in Anson County, despite numerous other opportunities.”

She ended by thanking everyone, and offered a particularly heartfelt thanks to the men and women of East Polkton Alumni Association, to whom she said: “I fell in love with you and your families; you accepted me in your homes and into your lives…that’s the reason I stayed. Thank you all. God bless you.”

Originally posted on the Anson Record


Friday, January 15, 2016

Students Have a Shot with PBS

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Friday, January 15, 2016 at 2:55:00 pm

From left, seniors Erin Sanders, Cameron Kurtiak (blue shirt center), Seth Denton and Conrad Tolbert film an interview for a PBS story with their TV broadcasting class at Forestview High on Jan. 12, 2016.

Rolling in five, four, three, two, one.

The Forestview High Library became a makeshift television studio Tuesday. Students in the school’s award-winning TV broadcasting class positioned multiple stand lights, steadied video cameras atop tripods and switched on wireless microphones. Then they pressed record and began the interview.

“We’re learning not only how to communicate with people, but how to better use technology and see different experiences and different ways of life,” said class member Seth Denton. “It’s really neat that you’re not just in a classroom using a textbook.”

It’s all in a day’s work for the six seniors in the class. And it’s paying big dividends.

In November, the students claimed second place in a statewide video contest sponsored by the N. C. School Boards Association. They had to create a short video on “What’s Super about Public Schools.” They competed against 24 other schools.

Made with the school’s cameras and video editing equipment, their award-winning submission depicted shots of academic and athletic activities at the school. Propelled by a heart-thumping soundtrack, the video includes a science lab table being lit on fire, a top-down view of the school captured from a drone and a time lapse video of the crowd at a football game.

“We went around Forestview and went to different classes and saw what they had going,” said class member Erin Sanders. “We just recorded what was happening, and we put it all together.”

The victory also earned the class $2,000 to purchase new broadcast equipment. They bought a brand new Canon Rebel camera, upgraded the video editing software and are planning to purchase another computer or two.

“It’s making a big difference because we need the technology,” said Melissa Heilig, a class advisor and school librarian.

Teacher Sally Griffin also advises the class.

They’ll need that technology to produce top-notch content as North Carolina’s only school selected to participate in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program. The nationwide program connects middle and high school students to local PBS stations and news professionals to produce original, student-generated video reports. The best reports are broadcast by PBS or published to the organization’s website.

PBS has assigned a mentor to help students learn skills such as interviewing and videography. Forestview’s class has already completed two videos under the program. Its documentary about fighting stereotypes followed a female student in an almost all-male karate class.

“The big thing that the PBS people are teaching us is, if you’re doing a big story, what are you going to ask those people that people are actually going to care about to make them want to read your story?” said Heilig.

The class filmed its third PBS story Tuesday when they interviewed Forestview High freshman Jasmine Love. Love recently had to leave school to receive treatment for a brain tumor. It also forced her to put off joining the step and basketball teams.

When the step team decided to do a fundraiser for Love, the TV broadcasting students knew it was the perfect opportunity to film her story. They also shot interviews with teammates and footage of the team’s step routines.

Student Jordan Pippins says the class is not only interesting and fun, but it also teaches responsibility.

“We have so much freedom, but we have to meet deadlines,” he said. “When we’re adults, we’re not going to have a teacher come in telling us when stuff is due. So it helps us keep ourselves in check.”

It’s a lesson they’re unlikely to leave on the cutting room floor.

Originally posted by Eric Wildstein on the Gaston Gazette


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Durham County School in the Running for National Competition

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 2:10:00 pm


Riverside High in Durham is North Carolina's Best in State high school winner for the Verizon Foundation's App Challenge.  This is the third time in the four years that the contest has been run that a team from Riverside has taken that prize.  Tim Velegol, the faculty advisor for the team said, “I think the chief advantage that Riverside students have had going for them (and I think they would agree) is being part of a rigorous course of study that starts their freshman year.  Their Introduction to Engineering Design course hammers home the engineering design process, with a heavy emphasis on defining the problem and brainstorming.”

One of the constraints that the Verizon Foundation stipulated is that the app be applicable to solving problems for their age group and community.  The team’s app, Dollar Savvy, aims to use gameplay to prepare teens for financial independence.  Click here  to see a video of the team explaining the app.

Riverside fielded two teams (the other developing a different app).  Both teams ranged from sophomores to seniors and there is nothing co-curricular about the effort – it is a fully independent undertaking.

Sophomore Emily Spero said, "I'm so proud of my team for making it this far!  The creativity, work ethic and ingenuity everyone displayed was inspiring and I am lucky to have been a part of it.  Now I just hope that we will make it far enough in the competition to actually develop our app, because I feel like it can actually make a difference in teens nationwide. Go Dollar Savvy!"

In addition to winning the national competition, the team also has a shot at the Fan Favorite Award.  To win they need to get more texts and tweets than the other 49 state winners.  The team that gets the most votes will receive a $15,000 prize, the opportunity to work with MIT experts to build its concept into a working app, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the TSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee in June 2016.  To vote for Dollar Savvy, text “DOLLARSAVVY1” to 22-333 or tweet “We won Best in State for North Carolina!  Now we’re up for the App Challenge Fan Favorite award. Text DOLLARSAVVY1 to 22-333 #VZAppChallenge”


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Girl Wrestles for N.C. High School and She is Legally Blind

Posted by: Haley Hepburn
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 1:00:00 pm

Liana Mutia just can’t understand what the big fuss is all about.

“I don’t think there’s anything interesting about me,” said Mutia, of Millbrook High School.

However, most would say a female wrestler competing in a male-dominated sport is indeed interesting. But what is even more amazing is she is legally blind.

“I was legally blind for a couple of years, but it’s really this year that the eyes started to get bad,” Mutia said. “I really couldn’t hide it anymore this year.”

Mutia has been losing sight since her sophomore year but that hasn’t stopped her from competing. Judo is her primary sport but Mutia wanted a new challenge – and so she turned to wrestling.

Her parents at first were skeptical.

“I mean, it’s a boys’ game,” said Bern Mutia, Liana’s father. “So I said, ‘OK, let’s try it just don’t take any unnecessary risks and don’t get hurt.”

In practices and matches her opponent is required to always keep contact with her. That’s the only “advantage” Mutia is given. On the mat, there are no special privileges – everyone is equal.

“She’s a good teammate,” said Millbrook wrestling coach Scott Saby. “She works hard and competes and that’s what’s great about her.”

Being visually impaired, believe it or not, does give Mutia one advantage.

“It’s less scary – not knowing what they look like anyway,” Mutia said.

Not that her opponent’s appearance would matter. Mutia is fearless and has had success this season, winning four matches against six defeats.

“A good record for a girl and a blind girl to be in there,” said her father.

But to Liana Mutia, wins and losses are not what’s most important.

“Wrestling kind of distracts me from my eye sight,” she said. “It makes me feel pretty normal.”

But more than anything, she is thankful for her teammates, who look out for her and help her get around.

If she had one wish, she said,  “I’d like to see what they look like.”

Originally posted by Todd Gibson on 8News


Friday, January 8, 2016

New Take on Chicken Coop Earns Raleigh School $3000 Grant

Posted by: Mike Gonzalez
Friday, January 8, 2016 at 12:00:00 am

On Tuesday morning, the WakeEd Partnership and Wake County school and business leaders came  together to help support STEM education.

They did it by challenging schools to produce a great idea that a company can invest in and help students learn at the same time.

The prize: a $3,000 grant to the winning school to help build their idea.

And a group from A.B. Combs magnet middle school came up with a great idea that’s giving chicken coops a boost in technology.

For 5th grader Aiden Beemish, creating a new-age chicken coop meant pitching the idea he and his fellow classmates from A.B. Combs developed in front of more than 100 people – which Aiden called nerve-wracking.

The competition was called an “Idea Crucible”– a “Shark Tank” style competition between teachers and students within Wake County public schools. In the competition, science, technology, engineering and math are all part of the winning equation.

Chelsea Broughton, the STEM coordinator at A.B. Combs, said, “We looked at the different components a chicken coop needed to have and looked at the different grade levels and what the kids we thought developmentally could handle.”

On Tuesday morning, the final four teams out of more than 170 that entered pitched their idea to six judges.

Judge Colleen Dotson, an engineer at host company Biogen, said she was impressed by what she saw in the chicken coop.

“What was really cool is they were implementing all facets of science, engineering, technology and math,” Dotson said. “The fact it would have an automatic opening and using of a door and it would be sustainable.”

The chicken coup designed by A.B. Combs students took the top prize.

“This is awesome – a dream come true,” said Aiden.

This year, 43 businesses in the Triangle were involved with WakeEd to help mentor students and teachers in various areas on business and technology.

Originally posted on WNCN