Ramona Powers

Award for Educational Excellence

Award for Educational Excellence

Last month, NCSBA gave its 2019 Award for Excellence in Educational Programs to the Cabarrus County Schools (CCS) Board of Education. The district’s forward-thinking approach to student safety and well-being was celebrated during the Association’s annual awards ceremony.

With the help of a $4 million grant, CCS has spent the last five years developing a multi-tiered system of support that includes a focus on the social-emotional and physical safety needs of students. In 2016 the school system adopted the National Association of School Psychologists’ PREPaRE curriculum, which consists of evidence-based resources and consultation related to school crisis prevention, intervention, response, and recovery. This led to a districtwide shift in its approach to student safety.

CCS restructured its service framework and invested in training and development for its mental health professionals on PREPaRE, Mental Health First Aid, QPR Suicide Prevention training, Resources for Resilience, and Trauma Toolkit, to name a few. The result is a highly skilled and collaborative multi-disciplinary mental health team at every school, comprised of counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and resource officers. These teams assist administrators with conducting threat assessments for students; performing universal screening, providing direct and indirect interventions and progress monitoring to support identified areas of need; and providing training to staff, students, and the community on prevention and intervention around mental health needs.

In addition, the board added a director of student safety and well-being to its leadership team who is responsible for collaborating across departments to ensure the success of this work. CCS board members participate in safety audits, are trained in the PREPaRE curriculum, participate on the CCS Safety Committee, and continuously advocate for the safety of students. The governance team has always emphasized safety as a top priority. When the community and students feel safe in their learning environment, students are able to focus on their studies and excel.

The CCS Safety Committee developed a back-to-school safety video titled, See You Tomorrow, as a helpful tool to spread their message of and interest in creating a positive educational environment for each student.

Ramona PowersAward for Educational Excellence
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2019 Raleigh Dingman Award Winner

2019 Raleigh Dingman Award Winner

Monte Herring of the Columbus County Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. To receive this esteemed award, which is given annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

“The winner of this year’s Raleigh Dingman Award has been instrumental in strengthening accountability measures in his school system, which have resulted in high student achievement despite being a low-wealth district and having been devastated by two hurricanes in the last three years,” said NCSBA Executive Director Ed Dunlap during the announcement. Herring promotes professional learning communities, leading to more open, honest communication among stakeholders, and he challenges all instructional leaders to continuously strive toward innovation. His support has been crucial in securing funds for two new schools, as well as a one-to-one Chromebook initiative for middle school students, and he is dedicated to helping students along their journeys to becoming leaders in a global society.

The Raleigh Dingman Award is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member. The award is named in honor of Dr. Raleigh Dingman, the Association’s first full-time executive director, and was first presented at the 1981 annual conference. In 2002 legislation was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly that provides for the Raleigh Dingman Award winner to serve as an ex officio advisor to the state board of education and to attend meetings and participate in deliberations of the state board. Scott will serve in this capacity.

 

Ramona Powers2019 Raleigh Dingman Award Winner
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2020 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year

2020 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Anthony D. Jackson, Superintendent of Vance County Schools, was named the 2020 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year at an awards presentation and reception held Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The award was given jointly by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA).

Scholastic sponsored the event and provided $5,000 in recognition of Dr. Jackson’s achievements. He was nominated for the state honor after being named the 2020 North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year by the Central Carolina Regional Education Service Alliance.

Dr. Jackson has worked in education for more than 30 years and has served as Superintendent of Vance County Schools (VCS) since 2015. Under his leadership, the district is implementing the Welnspire Digital Transformation initiative, funded by a $200,000 Golden Leaf Grant and the Vance County Board of Commissioners. Several innovative instructional programs have been developed including the Youth Empowerment Academy for at-risk middle school students, the AdVance Academy that provides both credit recovery and credit acceleration opportunities for high school students, and the Vance Evening Academy for at-risk high school students that serves as an alternative to long-term suspension. The graduation rate has increased dramatically, and the dropout rate has fallen to 2.02% from a five-year high of 5.25%. Student achievement has significantly improved, and the district is no longer designated as low-performing.

Read more at the NCASA website.

Ramona Powers2020 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year
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2019 School Board Member Leadership Award

2019 School Board Member Leadership Award

Dorothy “Dot” Guthrie of the Gaston County Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the School Board Member Leadership Award. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

“This year’s School Board Member Leadership Award goes to a board member whose leadership has helped strengthen accountability measures, increase the graduation rate, and enrich the district’s technology curriculum,” said NCSBA Board of Directors member Ed Dennison from Moore County. “She has been on her local board for eight years, has served on the NCSBA Board of Directors. She committed a lot time to deliver supplies to support Hurricane Florence victims in her community.”

The School Board Member Leadership Award honors a school board member for exemplary leadership during the previous school year.

Ramona Powers2019 School Board Member Leadership Award
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2019 School Board Leadership Award

2019 School Board Leadership Award

The Edenton-Chowan Board of Education is the 2019 recipient of the School Board Leadership Award. This award honors a school board for extraordinary leadership during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board must demonstrate excellent governance skills through commitment to the role of the school board.

The board was recognized during the awards ceremony of the Association’s Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 19. During comments to ceremony attendees, presenters remarked that the board is known in the community for its servant leadership. Their achievement of Master Board status shows their commitment to professional growth for the betterment of students. Under their leadership, the high-poverty district saw historic student achievement last school year, including increased proficiency, zero low-performing schools, and a 91.6 percent graduation rate.

In addition, NCSBA proudly recognized the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education as a Level I Master Board. “Master Board is a knowledge- and skills-based training program that provides school boards with the opportunity to develop governance skills as a full board,” according to Ed Dunlap, executive director of NCSBA. What makes Master Board unique from the Association’s other training programs is that all board members and the superintendent commit to the training. School boards can earn two different levels of Master Board status – Master Board Level I requires 20 hours of training and Master Board Level II requires 40 hours of training. Some course topics include Understanding School Boards in a Democracy, Solving Problems and Making Decisions, and Analyzing Ethical Challenges.

The members of the Edenton-Chowan Board of Education are: Board Chair Gene Jordan, Vice Chair Jean Bunch, Debra Brodie, Ricky Browder, Gil Burroughs, Paul Clifton, Maxine Mason, and Joan White. The superintendent is Dr. Rob Jackson, and the Master Board trainer for Edenton-Chowan is Ralph Warren.

Ramona Powers2019 School Board Leadership Award
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2019 County Commissioners of the Year

2019 County Commissioners of the Year

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) presented its prestigious County Commissioners of the Year Award to the Franklin Board of County Commissioners.

The board was recognized during the awards ceremony of the Association’s 2019 Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 19. The Franklin County Board of Education nominated their commissioners for the award and described them as a board that always makes public education a priority. In addition to volunteering in classrooms and attending school events, these county commissioners further demonstrated their commitment to education this year by fully funding the school board’s budget request, which reflected a $3.4 million increase and provided a pay raise for more than 400 classified employees.

The County Commissioners of the Year Award is given to a board of county commissioners that is nominated by the local board of education in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

 

Ramona Powers2019 County Commissioners of the Year
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2019 High School Video Contest

2019 High School Video Contest

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) announced the winners of three statewide student contests held in conjunction with the NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development: an elementary school poster contest, middle school video contest, and high school video contest. Students were asked to create posters and 45- to 60-second videos around the theme, What’s Super about Public Schools? The conference was held in Greensboro November 18-20.

The high school video contest teams placing first, second, and third attended the awards ceremony held in November 19 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Cash prizes were sponsored by LS3P and Fairbanks.

  • First Place and $3,000 – Vance County High School, Vance County
  • Second Place and $2,000 – Caldwell Early College High School, Caldwell County
  • Third Place and $1,000 – James Kenan High School, Duplin County

In addition, judges identified 10 additional videos to receive honorable mention. All finalist and honorable mention videos are available for viewing here.

Vance County High
First Place

Caldwell Early College High
Second Place

James Kenan High School
Third Place

Ramona Powers2019 High School Video Contest
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2019 Middle School Video Contest

2019 Middle School Video Contest

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) announced the winners of three statewide student contests held in conjunction with the NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development: an elementary school poster contest, middle school video contest, and high school video contest. Students were asked to create posters and 45- to 60-second videos around the theme, What’s Super about Public Schools? The conference was held in Greensboro November 18-20.

The middle school video contest winning video group each received a VISA gift card for the class that will be presented during an upcoming local school board meeting. Winners were as follows:

  • First Place – E.B. Frink Middle School, Lenoir County

  • Second Place – Vance County Middle School, Vance County

  • Third Place Tie – Chinquapin Elementary School, Duplin County

  • Third Place Tie – Springfield Middle School, Wilson County

Ramona Powers2019 Middle School Video Contest
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2019 Elementary Poster Contest

2019 Elementary Poster Contest

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) announced the winners of three statewide student contests held in conjunction with the NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development: an elementary school poster contest, middle school video contest, and high school video contest. Students were asked to create posters and 45- to 60-second videos around the theme, What’s Super about Public Schools? The conference was held in Greensboro November 18-20.

NCSBA’s Elementary Poster Contest recognizes first-, second-, and third-place winners in two grade level groups – K-2 and 3-5. Each winner received a certificate and art kit that will be presented during an upcoming local school board meeting. Poster contest winners were as follows:

In the K-2 category

  • First Place – Olivia Rosenberger, 2nd grade, Chicod Elementary, Pitt County
  • Second Place – Anna Paynter, 2nd grade, Vaughan Elementary, Warren County
  • Third Place – The students of Ms. Marshburn’s K-2 Satellite, Self-Contained EC class, Southeast Elementary, Lenoir County

In the Grades 3-5 category

  • First Place – Sophia Elks, 3rd grade, Chicod Elementary, Pitt County
  • Second Place – Emery Rollins, 5th grade, New Hope Elementary School, Wilson County
  • Third Place – Finley Deans, 3rd grade, Rock Ridge Elementary, Wilson County

Included in the gallery below are the winning and honorable mention posters. Enjoy!

Ramona Powers2019 Elementary Poster Contest
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Working Together for School Safety: Students First

Working Together for School Safety: Students First

In designing for school safety, our focus is on “students first.”  For every educational project, we begin by asking ourselves how to design a place where students want to be.  A welcoming environment encourages open communication and relationship building, factors which may help us identify and prevent potential issues long before we reach a crisis point. Schools are successful because of the people who make education special: students, teachers, guidance counselors, administration, custodial staff, and families.  As designers, we are called to protect this educational community through safe buildings. We can also implement design strategies to discourage security events from happening and to minimize impacts if they do.

School safety begins with a clearly defined security plan, and architecture firms can provide significant expertise in developing and implementing this plan. School boards all face the issue of how to create and implement viable security plans for their specific districts, and one size does not fit all. Security needs vary greatly based on the size of the district, relationship with local law enforcement, location in urban or suburban areas, and many other factors. A clear security plan must include coordinated strategies in which the architecture, technology, and operations all work together.  Each of these strategies builds on one another and must be diligently planned and integrated.

In terms of architectural design, LS3P’s experience with the US Department of Defense Educational Activity has taught our firm the importance of strategies such as efficient floor plan layouts, clear sightlines, sustainable building strategies, durability, and 21st Century learning principles. Our DoDEA designs also underscore that it is possible to merge inviting, student-friendly spaces for contemporary learning environments with the highest standards of security. This same level of focus on security and cutting-edge technology can, and should, be implemented among all school districts.

Input from all stakeholders is critical; early engagement and buy-in from administrators, law enforcement, security consultants, and representatives from various constituent groups lead to more effective solutions. LS3P frequently leads teams with experienced security, technology, and telecom consultants who can provide innovative and cost-effective design options.  Our policy is to engage security experts who are professional designers and/or engineers rather than product vendors who may have a vested interest in selling a certain brand. Together, we can implement up-to-the-minute best practices and new product ideas, technology, hardware, communication systems, and research; most importantly, though, we need to hear from educators and school boards on how your knowledge and experiences can help us to design safer schools that best support your student population.

Through a collaborative approach driven by the needs of each school community, we can create clear and effective communication plans, emergency plans, and security plans which work in tandem with architectural designs.  Together, these designs can inspire safe, engaging, student-focused learning environments.

Article contributed by Ginny Magrath, AIA, LS3P

Ramona PowersWorking Together for School Safety: Students First
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