Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Super 16” Walk for Education Set for Oct. 13

Thousands of students, parents, staff and community members will walk from McCorkle Place on the UNC campus to Lincoln Center, Merritt Mill Road, the school district’s central office.

Organized by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, the walk is in its 16th year of supporting the schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district for their top needs this year. Each school has designated specific projects for walk funds.

Students from each school will show in costumes or signs why their school and/or teachers and staff are “super.” The foundation awards a cash prize to the school with the best representation of their super features.

The walk concludes with a carnival on the grounds of Lincoln Center, the district’s offices. The walk and race are designed to demonstrate community support for education, engage participants in physical activity and raise funds for the individual schools, said Ashley Wilson, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, organizer of the walk.

Last year, more than 6,000 walkers participated, and students raised more than $100,000 for their schools. Since this is the 16th year of the Walk, special “Super 16” t-shirts are awarded to students who raise $25 or more for their schools.

In addition, carnival activities at Lincoln Center include huge inflatable rides, super slides, an obstacle course, baseball toss, bounce house, bean bag toss, and a range of additional activities organized by school groups to raise funds for their programs. Families can plan to purchase dinner with the
number of ethnic foods that will be available at the carnival.

In fact, school organizations will have booths that will spread out into the main parking lot at Lincoln Center. Recognizing that funds have been cut for teams and clubs, the groups are working especially hard to raise funds to support their operations this year, said Kim Hoke, foundation director.

The walk festivities begin at 1:30 p.m. and the walkers start at 2 p.m. from McCorkle Place on the UNC campus. There is no registration for the walk; everyone is welcome, and the walk continues rain or shine. However, dogs are prohibited on school property.

Shuttles will run from both Chapel Hill High and Carrboro High and then back from Lincoln Center to those schools and McCorkle Place. Parking is not available at Lincoln Center, and participants are encouraged to ride the shuttles. Parking on Merritt Mill Road will be prohibited.

Premiere sponsors of the event are the Wells Fargo Foundation, Wells Fargo Private Bank, Jim Kitchen and UNC Health Care.

Super 16 Logo
2011 Walk: families gather at McCorkle Place

2011 Walk: Superintendent Tom Forcella participates in his first Walk

2011 Walk: families walk down Franklin Street to Merritt Mill

2011 Walk:  families have fun at the carnival at Lincoln Center

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Board to Meet in Closed Session on Sept. 26

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education will meet in closed session regarding personnel matters on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln Center.

The Board will go into closed session pursuant to 143-318.11(a)(1) to consider confidential personnel information protected by N.C.G.S. 115C-321.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

District Holds College & Career Night

The 2012 Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools College Fair was held at the UNC - Dean Smith Center on September 19.  This year, 104 colleges and universities were represented and 1,200 students and parents walked the concourse of the Smith Center.

"The goal of the fair is to bring together representatives of educational institutions with students and parents from the two school districts," said Jeff Reilly, CHCCS student services coordinator.  "The fair offered students the opportunity to speak directly with college and university representatives about their programs."

This annual event is sponsored and planned by both school districts. 

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District Earns Graduation Achievement Awards

State Superintendent June Atkinson was joined by State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison in recognizing districts with the highest four-year cohort graduation rates in North Carolina in 2011-12.  This was the fifth year that Atkinson has held the special awards ceremony to highlight the importance of the high school graduation rate for all students and to congratulate districts and schools with high rates.  The event was held September 19 in Durham.

CHCC was recognized for two awards.  Representing the district were Thomas Forcella, superintendent, Todd LoFrese, assistant superintendent for support services, and Eileen Tully, principal of East Chapel Hill High School.

CHCCS was recognized for being among the top 10 school districts in the state with the highest graduation rate.  CHCCS had 90.0 percent of its 847 students in the 2011-12 cohort graduate, ranking it at number five.  Less than five percentage points separated all of the top 10 schools.

"Our achievement as a school district with a 90 percent graduation rate is a credit to the dedication of our teachers and administrators who work in our classrooms every day," said Forcella.  "As we move forward, our ultimate goal is to achieve an even higher rate of graduation."

East Chapel Hill HS was also recognized for having the second highest graduation rate, 94.6 percent, in schools having 200-299 in its cohort size in 2011-12.

"Making sure that students graduate is a job that begins on the very first day of a student's freshman year," said Tully.  "I am so proud of our students for their hard work and commitment to themselves and their education.  I am also extremely proud of the teachers and staff at East Chapel Hill High, who consistently refuse to let any student slip through the cracks," she added.

Also recognized were 28 high schools whose graduation rate is 100 percent.

Eileen Tully, Tom Forcella and Todd LoFrese wait for awards ceremony to begin

State Superintendent June Atkinson delivers welcoming remarks

State Board of Education Chair Bill Harrison addresses attendees

Tom Forcella, Eileen Tully, June Atkinson and Todd LoFrese pose with the ECHHS award

Tom Forcella, June Atkinson, Eileen Tully and Todd LoFrese pose with the CHCCS award

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Fifty-one students named National Merit Semifinalists

The names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program were announced by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).  These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $34 million, that will be offered next spring.  To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.  About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Fifty-one Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools high school students were named 2013 National Merit Semifinalists.

Students from Carrboro High are:  Etienne Bovet, Audrey Copeland, Camilla Dohlman, Melaina Dyck, Kristen Lee and Colleen McCarthy.

Students from Chapel Hill High are:  Hannah Blackburn, Laurence Cecil, Willa Chen, Samuela Fernandes, Elizabeth Fox, Arun Ganesh, Thomas Greer, Wesley Guo, Michael Huang, Michelle Jin, Shiyi Li, Chiara Salemi, Caleb Stern, Kiera Turner and Charles Woldorff.

Students from East Chapel Hill High are:  Bernard Amaldoss, Eric Chiou, Nathan Cho, Quinlan Cullen, Mingming Dong, Bridget Dou, Mitchell Gelpi, Zhen Hu, Kelly Jiang, Sung-Hoon Kim, Diana Lamaute, Hannah Lee, Austin Liu, Amanda Lohmann, Sandhya Mahadevan, William McEntee, Troy Mitchell, Loreanne Oh, Nina Pande, Jacob Reed, Casey Smith, Tyler Tran, Joyce Wang, Alexandra Willcox, Lena Wilson, Maggie Xing, Alice Yu, Cissy Yu, Allen Zhou and Zhongshan Zhu.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC's goal of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.  The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of US high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.  The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.  The Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's essay and information about the Semifinalist's participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 15,000 Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen.  Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious practice.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Hartness Selected as Learning and Intervention Services Director

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has named Dr. Amanda Hartness as its director of Learning and Intervention Services (LIS).  She is currently the principal at McDougle Elementary.

As part of the Instructional Services Division (ISD), this position includes the district’s Responsiveness to Instruction (RtI) initiative whose former coordinator, Dr. Caryn Sabourin Ward, stepped down in June.

Hartness has worked as McDougle Elementary’s principal since 2008.  She joined the district in 2006 as the assistant principal at Carrboro Elementary.  Hartness has been recognized nationally for her leadership at McDougle Elementary in the area of wellness.  McDougle Elementary was a national finalist in the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge and won a Bronze Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for the school’s efforts at improving meal service and fitness activities.  In addition, Hartness is the current Principal of the Year for CHCCS.

Prior to working at CHCCS, Hartness served as the technology director in Cherokee County. She also was a technology facilitator, a technology specialist and a third grade teacher in Alamance County.

Hartness holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee.  She also recently earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University.

“Amanda has been an outstanding leader in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools since her arrival in 2006.  She is highly organized, innovative and passionate about her work.  Above all else, she is a true advocate for children,” said Superintendent Thomas A. Forcella.

Forcella went on to add, “We feel fortunate that she is willing to take on this important leadership position focused on instruction and learning.”

Patrenia McDowell, the current assistant principal at McDougle Elementary, has been selected as the interim principal at the school.  McDowell has served as the assistant principal since 2007.

Mary Parrish, a former assistant principal at McDougle MS, has been approved as the interim assistant principal at McDougle Elementary.

Amanda Hartness

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Carnahan Named Principal for Elementary #11

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has selected Cheryl Carnahan as the principal for Elementary #11.  She is currently the principal at Estes Hills Elementary.

Carnahan has been the principal at Estes Hills Elementary since 2007.  She had served as the school’s assistant principal for a year before that.

Before joining CHCCS, Carnahan was the director of professional and organizational development for the Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, MD.  She also served as their staff development facilitator, as a resource teacher, speech-language pathologist and as an elementary classroom teacher.

Carnahan holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Towson University in Towson, MD.  She also holds a certification from North Carolina in Administration and Supervision.

“Cheryl brings not only her experience as a successful elementary principal, but her background in district level educational change will benefit the new school and the entire district,” said Superintendent Thomas A. Forcella.  “She will be sorely missed at Estes Hills Elementary, as the school has experienced positive academic and professional growth under her leadership,” he added.

Susan Pegg has been approved as the interim principal at Estes Hills.  Pegg was the former principal at Seawell Elementary and an interim principal at FPG Elementary.

Elementary #11 will open in Fall 2013.  When completed, it will meet gold-level LEED certification as a result of its environmental features and sustainable construction practices.  Architectural elements from the surrounding community have been incorporated into the school’s design, as well as keeping the granite walls.  The new school is being built on the historic Northside site located between Caldwell and McMasters Streets.

Principal Cheryl Carnahan

Elementary #11
Library Entry

Elementary #11
Gym and Classroom Entry

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

District Hosts Focus Groups for Upcoming Long-Range Plan

CHCCS is planning several focus groups to provide parents and community members an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the “Shared Beliefs” generated by the 250 participants at the Greenhouse Project last spring.

The belief statements will serve as the foundation of the district's new long-range plan.  Input from staff and parents is critical during the early steps of the long-range planning initiative.  Last year, Superintendent Tom Forcella visited faculty meetings to receive input with regard to the school district's strengths, weaknesses and critical issues.  The information generated by staff members and other community groups and organizations served as important information in generating the shared beliefs.

A number of focus group meetings have been scheduled for anyone in the community who would like additional information about the long-range planning initiative or would like to offer feedback with regard to the district's shared beliefs.  Focus groups for school staff have also been scheduled.

Below are the focus group meetings and the current draft of the belief statements.
  • Parent/Community Focus Group:   September 18, 2012 from  6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  in the Carrboro HS Commons
  • EC Focus Group:  September 27, 2012 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  in the Carrboro HS Commons

Shared Beliefs
(April 2012 Draft)
The items listed are the areas cited most often by the participants at the 2012 Green House Project.  The exact belief  statements will be crafted as part of the next phase of long-range planning.  These statements are to be considered a “work in progress."
  • Belief in a “Growth Mindset” in a 21st Century Learning Environment. The fact that all students can increase their intelligence given the appropriate instruction, effort and time is critical for increased student learning and the reduction of the achievement gap.
  • Belief in the importance of an equity focus in all schools and programs. In all cases an emphasis on the “whole child” should be evident; social, emotional and academic well being.
  • Belief that professional development and training should be valued and embedded into the culture of the organization. New and innovative models should be examined and implemented.
  • Belief that a culture of collaboration and mutual trust as well as the existence of a collective commitment to do  whatever it takes to improve the learning environment is critical to our success. Communication that is open and honest is critical to improvement and supports positive change in our schools.
  • Belief that accountability and more importantly responsibility for implementation at multiple levels is critical to our success as a school system. Principals acting as instructional leaders are key to the improvement of instruction and student achievement.

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