Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rydell Harrison Named Interim Assistant Superintendent

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has named Dr. Rydell Harrison as Interim Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services for the 2016-17 school year. His appointment was approved at a special called meeting of the Board of Education on Wednesday, July 13. Harrison will replace Dr. Magda Parvey, who has accepted a position with the City School District of New Rochelle (New York).

“Dr. Harrison is absolutely the right person for this important job,” said James Barrett, Chair of the Board of Education. “He is a skilled leader with proven results in the area of instruction, has great relationships with the principals and teachers, and brings a clear understanding of the challenges we will face in the coming year.”

Harrison began his career as a music teacher in New Jersey, and has 19 years in education. Harrison currently serves as Executive Director of Professional Development and Project ADVANCE. He also served as principal of Phillips Middle School.

Prior to joining Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Harrison served as a principal at both an elementary and middle school, as well as a middle school assistant principal in Guilford County Schools.

Harrison holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Rutgers University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. He also holds a Master of School Administration, Specialist in Education and Doctor of Education in School Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Seeking Community Input

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education is in the process of searching for a new superintendent. The members of the board are seeking your input in this process. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at the link below. All survey responses must be submitted by September 1, 2016. Results and comments are anonymous, but not confidential. In other words, no one will know who submitted a particular comment, but the results will eventually be released to the public, with any references to specific individuals redacted.

Citizens may also sign up to address the board during the public comment period at any of the upcoming regular board meetings, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on July 21, August 18, and September 1. All meetings will be held at the Lincoln Center board room, located at 750 South Merritt Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC. Citizens must sign up to speak before the meeting begins and must otherwise comply with Board Policy 2310, Public Participation at Board Meetings.

Staff and community members are also invited to comment publicly on desired characteristics for the next leader of schools during one of two scheduled public forums. The first forum will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30 at Chapel Hill High School. The second forum will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at Northside Elementary School.

In addition to input received from the surveys, forums, and public comment, written statements from any local groups or organizations may be submitted to Allison Schafer via mail at NCSBA, P.O. Box 97877, Raleigh, NC 27624, via email at, or via fax at 919-841-4020. These statements should be received no later than Thursday, September 1, 2016.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lincoln Center on Summer Hours, June 13-Aug. 12 / Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 13 de junio al 12 de agosto

Lincoln Center Starts Summer Hours
Lincoln Center will operate on Summer Hours from Monday, June 13 through Friday, August 12. During those weeks, Lincoln Center will be open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Horario de verano en Lincoln Center y para inscripción de estudiantes – del 13 de junio al 12 de agosto
Lincoln Center funcionará en horario de verano del lunes 13 de junio al viernes 12 de agosto. Durante estas semanas, Lincoln Center abrirá de lunes a jueves de 7:30 a. m. a 5 p. m. y los viernes de 7:30 a. m. a 1:30 p.m.

read more "Lincoln Center on Summer Hours, June 13-Aug. 12 / Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 13 de junio al 12 de agosto"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Welcome Dr. Jim Causby - Interim Superintendent

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education is pleased to announce the selection and appointment of Dr. Jim Causby as the Interim Superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS). Dr. Causby will take office on August 1, 2016 and will serve until the board selects a permanent superintendent.

After speaking with several potential candidates, the board determined that Dr. Causby’s extensive leadership, experience, and dedication to students would best serve the CHCCS students, staff, and community as the board continues its search for a permanent superintendent. The board is confident that Dr. Causby will continue the district’s efforts and will enable a smooth transition of leadership.

"In considering several people for an interim superintendent, we were pleased to hear how Dr. Causby’s deep understanding of the interim superintendent role and emphasis on working with all staff fit with CHCCS and this board,” said Board of Education Chair James Barrett. “That will allow us to keep what is working in this overall high-performing district while continuing our focus on areas we need to improve.  Having Dr. Causby in place will allow the board to focus more of our time on listening to the school community about what we require in a new superintendent and ensuring that we find the best candidate possible for this district."

A native of McDowell County, Dr. Causby has enjoyed a long and successful career in North Carolina’s public education system, including 27 years as a superintendent in four districts. He is currently semi-retired and works as an education and marketing consultant. Dr. Causby has a wide range of experience from the classroom to the central office, starting out as a teacher and coach before moving up to principal and ultimately superintendent positions. He has had success as a superintendent leading Swain County Schools for 11 years, Polk County Schools for five years, and Johnston County Schools for 10 years. He also served as interim superintendent of Hickory City Schools in 2011. From 2004 to 2013, Dr. Causby led two statewide organizations, serving as Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and the North Carolina School Superintendents Association (NCSSA). His exemplary service and leadership have often been recognized; he was named NC Superintendent of the Year three times and was named to the Order of the Long Leaf Pine – North Carolina’s highest civilian award.

Dr. Causby has an impressive academic background as well. He completed his undergraduate degree and master’s in elementary education at Western Carolina University. He obtained his education specialists degree from Appalachian State University in 1975, and his doctorate in education administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1988.

Dr. Causby looks forward to the opportunity to lead CHCCS through this transitional period. He has issued the following statement: “I am extremely honored and excited that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education has chosen me to serve as Interim Superintendent while they seek a permanent superintendent.  The reputation and success of the school system is widely recognized, and the culture of high expectations and excellence found there is one that I look forward to being a part of.  It is my belief that every student can achieve at very high levels, and I want to help ensure that all 12,000+ students in the school system do that.”

Please join the board in welcoming Dr. Causby as the new Interim Superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
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Monday, June 27, 2016

School and District Offices Closed for July 4 / Escuelas y oficinas del distrito cerradas el 4 de julio

School and District Offices Closed on Monday, July 4
All CHCCS schools and offices are closed on Monday, July 4 in observance of the Independence Day Holiday.

Las escuelas y oficinas del distrito están cerradas el lunes, 4 de julio
Todas las escuelas y oficinas de CHCCS están cerradas el lunes, 4 de julio, en conmemoración del Día de la Independencia.

read more "School and District Offices Closed for July 4 / Escuelas y oficinas del distrito cerradas el 4 de julio"

There's a "Buzz" at Estes Hills Elementary

Estes Hills Elementary recently received a beautiful new mural painted on the brick exterior of the gymnasium. Matthew Willey is the artist, and his goal is to paint 50,000 bees on a series of murals throughout the nation and the world. It is truly spectacular.

The story was recently featured in the Chapel Hill News. You can read it here.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

SNAColades Awarded for 2015-16

The Special Needs Advisory Council (SNAC) created SNAColades to honor Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools staff who, through their hard work and creativity, make our children’s school experience more meaningful.  The following have been selected for this recognition based on the testimonials of the Exceptional Children community.  Below each name is a quote from an appreciative parent or CHCCS administrator (where noted).

Ephesus Elementary
Francheska Terry, EC Teacher Assistant
Francheska has been an EC teaching assistant at Ephesus Elementary School for over 5 years and demonstrates a genuine commitment to her work. She has a positive attitude and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Francheska goes above and beyond our expectations to support students with special needs and makes positive contributions to the Ephesus School community on a daily basis.  (nominated by Danielle Sutton, assistant principal, Ephesus Elementary)

Group Award
All of the teachers, staff and therapists at Ephesus Elementary have been amazing. They all work to help our student stick to his schedule and behave appropriately and learn the most that he can with patience and encouragement.  They are: Casey Symonds, Theresa Kanu, Kim Ellison, Ruth Morgan, Pamela Shiers, Tamika Harris, Natasha Khadka, Alicia Osisek, Jennifer Dykes, Christine Sion, and MANY others that I am leaving out.

Estes Hills Elementary
Claire Rizzo, EC Teacher and the Estes Hills Teacher of the Year for 2016-17
Claire Rizzo is a dedicated and passionate resource teacher at Estes Hills Elementary.  A model of grit and growth mindset, Claire is unwilling to let any child fall through the cracks and will stop at nothing to make sure the needs of every student are met.  Claire Rizzo is a shining example of the attributes all teachers should possess.  Estes Hills is proud to have this loving and compassionate teacher as a staff member! (nominated by Drew Ware, principal, Estes Hills Elementary)

McDougle Elementary
Delia Hudson, Speech-Language Pathologist
Ms. Delia Hudson at McDougle Elementary is our favorite!!!  She is always available and she is always eager to help/explain.  Thank you all EC team!!!  You are all truly amazing people!

Breanna Jansa, EC Teacher Assistant
Ms. Breanna was very instrumental in the successful transition of teachers in our classroom.  She is the most patient and kind teacher.  She will be very missed next year.

Maggie Pearce, EC Teacher
Ms. Pearce is a wonderful teacher.  She has excellent leadership skills.  She has created a warm, relaxed and organized environment for our kids to learn.  She has enormous compassion for our kids and dedication for teaching.  She has demonstrated poise and grace during very difficult circumstances in class.  We are so lucky to have Ms. Pearce as our teacher.

Northside Elementary
Amy Brande, Teacher
Amy is an amazing woman and truly demonstrates caring for "unique" children with a loving and compassionate zeal.  She works humbly and tediously to make sure that each child has the opportunity to participate and learn in a safe and caring setting.  Amy has one of the most challenging roles as a teacher and she excels in that role with grace and purpose.  Amy loves my child and truly cares about him.  We love her for that kind of dedication and authenticity.

Claudette, Karie and Pedro, Teacher Assistants for Amy Brande
We have the highest regard for the support staff for our son's teacher.  They work tirelessly to make sure our son is cared for and monitored throughout his time at school.  Our son needs to have constant oversight and supervision during the day.  These dedicated professionals have shown great kindness, patience and care while working with our son.  They genuinely care about him and he knows that they love him.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Rashkis Elementary
Krista Lee, Teacher
For her unwavering support and advocacy. Best teacher ever!

Scroggs Elementary
Crystal Epps, Principal
Ms. Epps is a remarkable principal who takes the time to listen to parents and to teachers to help them achieve the best for their children.  She has been exceptionally supportive of both of my children with special needs, as we have navigated some difficult situations.  I have also seen her attending SNAC meetings (in the evening, even when she doesn’t “have to” be there) which is further proof of her commitment to those with special needs.

Sarah Newman, First Grade Teacher
Ms. Newman had a tough task of taking over a classroom when the prior excellent teacher - Ms. Norris - had to leave in November 2015 for a different position in the school district.  All of the parents were anxious about who this new, young teacher would be (and we asked how will she handle our special needs child?). Ms. Newman has demonstrated that although she is young, she is exceptional at teaching all children, including our special needs children.  She demonstrates great organization, excitement for teaching as well as compassion and understanding.  Our son, who has had some behavioral challenges this year, is extremely fond of her - she does a wonderful job motivating the students to learn. We’d like her to know she has made a big difference in our lives.

Sandy Scheuermann, EC Teacher
This is the second year that Sandy has been my son’s EC teacher.  She is fantastic to work with, always advocating for what’s best for the student, and incredibly insightful and communicative, as well as highly dedicated to her profession.  We are grateful for her support, and for what she&’s taught us and taught our son.

Hannah Stang, Third Grade Teacher
Ms. Stang has performed remarkably this year teaching my son, who is on the autism spectrum.  She has demonstrated a high level of warmth and acceptance for my son’s disability, which in turn allowed him to excel and perform remarkably well.  Ms. Stang is communicative, utilizing a weekly newsletter as well as an app that sends photos and videos to parents regularly.  While this communication may seem “nice” or “helpful” to parents of neurotypical children, it is enormously, highly appreciated for parents with an autistic child, as these children’s ability to share anything about their day (or any social information) is greatly lacking.  Therefore, Ms. Stang helps us parents to better understand the classroom dynamics so that we can better support our SN child and to help him thrive. We believe it is her exceptional organizational skills as well as her magical personality that makes a huge difference in our children’s lives.

Seawell Elementary
Kate Kennedy, AIG Teacher
Nobody “gets” our twice-exceptional child quite like Kate Kennedy.  She has a tremendous depth of understanding about both gifted children and children with disabilities - and how those facets intersect in a 2e student.  Her guidance and support have been invaluable, starting before our son even entered Kindergarten.  She is truly a gem!

Lisle Pearman, Program Facilitator (PF)
Lisle is everything you would want your PF to be.  As a former EC teacher, she truly understands what our students need to be successful, and is committed to ensuring that the right tools are in place.  She is compassionate, respectful, organized, and a pleasure to work with in an IEP meeting.  We feel very fortunate that she is our son’s PF.

Marny Ruben, Principal
Principal Ruben sets a tone at Seawell where every student “belongs” to every member of the staff, and children are truly valued.  I have been particularly appreciative of how she dove into planning for Disability Awareness Month in October to make the program a great success.  She is always approachable and willing to hear new ideas and requests, and has been an excellent partner for me as both a parent and a SNAC rep.

Culbreth Middle
Jessica Cox, EC Teacher
Ms. Jess has many awesome qualities as an EC teacher but I will touch on one - communication.  We get a short note just about everyday letting us know how the day went and what went on in the class or what might go on the next day.  Ms. Jess also emails, calls and texts whenever necessary, keeping parents updated on the good, as well as the not so good.  The lines of communication are open and I feel like I can contact her at any time as well.  Kudos to Jessica Cox!

Phillips Middle
Jack Pileggi, EC Teacher (long-term substitute)
Jack jumped in to this position mid-year and provided excellent support for my son.  In addition to providing support for my son’s regular education classwork, he also took initiative to provide remedial education for my son that will now be incorporated into his IEP.

Kaleigh Vogan, EC Teacher
Kaleigh continues to strive to provide the best education for the special needs students she serves.  While having her workload increased mid-year, she took on this challenge and provided excellent care for the students under her charge.  She is innovative, organized, and collaborative.  She is an excellent role model for others.

Katherine Whittington, Math Teacher
Ms. Whittington is a mainstream math teacher who goes the extra mile to make sure that all of her students learn to love math.  My son has always feared math and was extremely resistant to any math work.  Ms. Whittington adapted the math curriculum to make it fun and interesting.  She is a very skilled teacher and has had enormous impact on many students.  We are very lucky to have her at Phillips.

Smith Middle
April Ferguson, Social Studies Teacher and the Smith Middle Teacher of the Year for 2016-17
Ms. Ferguson has been exceptionally responsive in working with our special needs child, taking care to reach out and ask us questions, get to know our child, and make suggestions about how he can engage in the classroom in a way that is most comfortable for him.

Marianne Henderson, Teacher and Carmen Liggins, Teacher Assistant
Ms. Henderson and Ms. Liggins always go above and beyond what is required and have survived most of the year without another aide in the class.  They smile and help the kids in the class reach their potential.  They are most always smiling and helping.  They have had aides not work out (i.e. not show up to work for weeks), and many subs throughout the year, currently with a long term aide sub.  They certainly deserve a shout out and so much more.

Phil Holmes, Principal
Phil Holmes has gone the extra mile for our child with special needs in so many ways: He is open to learning about his needs, he is communicative, and he takes a personal interest in his development.  He calls us not just on bad days but on good ones, too.  He is one of our child’s favorite things about his school and his life.  He has so many kids and teachers to be responsible for, and yet he takes time out of his day and his tremendous responsibilities to check in on our kid.  He is an exceptional example of how to work with special needs kids and their families.

Abby Steen, PE Teacher
PE can be a very difficult class for kids with special needs, and Ms. Steen has made it her business to send our family a schedule each week, work with our kid’s particularities, and remain good-humored and flexible.  We so appreciate her!

Chapel Hill High
Janet Willey, Teacher
Janet Willey was so kind and supportive with our 2e son his first year in high school, and seemed to understand dyslexia well, which was such a relief, as it is often rare to find someone who does.  She helped him get his accommodations provided in his one classroom where they were not.  Sadly, she got ill and left early in the year, but we very much appreciated her support for the short time that we had it.
read more "SNAColades Awarded for 2015-16"

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Outdoor Activities Canceled for June 23 / Actividades al aire libre canceladas para el 23 de junio

All Outdoor Activities Canceled for Thursday, June 23
Due to an extremely high heat index forecast for Thursday, June 23, all school related outside activities are suspended until Friday, June 24.  School related activities may occur indoors tomorrow.

Todas las actividades al aire libre del jueves, 23 de junio, están canceladas
Debido al pronóstico de temperaturas extremadamente altas para el jueves, 23 de junio, todas las actividades al aire libre relacionadas con las escuelas serán suspendidas hasta el viernes, 24 de junio.  Las actividades al interior de los edificios pueden ocurrir.

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Carrboro High Wins Wells Fargo Cup For Fifth Consecutive Year

Congratulations to our Carrboro High Jaguars for winning the 2015-16 Wells Fargo Cup. This award recognizes the high schools that achieve the best OVERALL interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state’s four competitive classifications. Carrboro won the 2A championship.

Carrboro excelled once again in the fall and spring seasons, beating runner-up Lake Norman Charter by more than 180 points. The Jaguars finished second in Women’s Cross Country while the Men were third during the fall season. Jaguar Volleyball and Women’s Tennis each reached the regional finals during the season to help Carrboro reach 195 fall season points. Once again the Jaguars claimed the 2A Women’s Soccer State Championship defeating Forbush in overtime during the spring season. Carrboro Men’s Lacrosse was the top 2A finisher in the state as they finished as a runner-up to 3A Marvin Ridge in the 1A/2A/3A Men’s Lacrosse Championship.

Chapel Hill High finished third in the 3A Wells Fargo Cup competition.

Below is a picture of the Carrboro High Women's Soccer champs being recently recogonized by the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

Way to go, Jags!
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Phillips Teacher in South Africa

Congratulations to Miles Chappell. He has been selected to participate in the 2016 Global Teachers program to South Africa. Miles teaches social studies at Guy B. Phillips Middle School.

The 10-day learning journey with Go Global NC (formerly the Center for International Understanding) runs June 18-28 and takes teachers to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. A total of 26 North Carolina teachers from across the state have been chosen through a competitive application process to participate in the global leadership program designed to help them bring the world to their classrooms. Go Global NC has been providing international education programs for
North Carolina teachers since the late 1990s. Global Teachers delegates will visit schools; experience South Africa’s cultural diversity; learn about apartheid, slavery, and human rights; and have the opportunity to visit Robben Island, site of Nelson Mandela’s 18-year imprisonment.

Go Global NC connects North Carolina to the world and the world to North Carolina. Its global education and training programs empower North Carolina leaders with the skills, understanding, connections, and knowledge to succeed in a global community. Go Global NC(formerly the Center for International Understanding) is part of the world-class, 17-campus University of North Carolina system. Learn more at

Generous funding for the 2016 Global Teachers program to South Africa comes from Alamance Area Chamber of Commerce, The Beattie Foundation, The Borchardt Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, The Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust, The James G. K. McClure Fund for Education and Development of the Western North Carolina Community Foundation, The Blanche and Julian Robertson Family Foundation, and The Dan Royster Memorial Fund.
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