Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kadir Nelson Visits Estes Hills Elementary

Estes Hills Elementary fourth- and fifth-graders were honored to host the award-winning artist and author Kadir Nelson on Monday, January 28. His visit was part of the Random House Teacher of Literacy Award given to Mary Andrews, a teacher at Estes Hills.

Kadir Nelson is an acclaimed author and illustrator who has won Caldecott Honors, Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and the Sibert Medal. 
Kadir Nelson showed the students the evolution of his work from childhood to today, focusing on one of his more recent books, "I Have a Dream." This book just received the prestigious Coretta Scott King Honor for his extraordinary illustrations.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Principals Hired for Elementary Schools

The Board of Education approved the hiring of two new principals at its January 17 meeting.  Patrenia McDowell was named the principal for McDougle Elementary and Lewis "Drew" Ware was named the principal for Estes Hills Elementary.

McDowell has served as the McDougle Elementary's interim principal since September and was the school's assistant principal since 2008.  McDowell holds a both bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education and a master of education degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.  She also holds:  a NC Principals Certificate, Grades K-12; a NC Professional Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education, Grades K-6; a Curriculum Instructional Specialist certification; and Academically Gifted and Talented licensure.  McDowell also earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).  Before joining CHCCS, McDowell was an elementary school teacher in Durham Public Schools and in South Carolina.

"Patrenia McDowell's commitment to creating a rigorous, high functioning learning culture at McDougle Elementary School made her selection an easy one for the interview and selection team," said Superintendent Thomas A. Forcella.  "She has proven during her time as assistant principal and interim principal that she is up to the task of providing the leadership that will bring McDougle Elementary to new levels of student learning," he added.

McDowell begins her tenure as principal at McDougle Elementary immediately.

Ware is currently the principal at Aldert Root STEM Elementary in Wake County, a position he has held since 2009.  He has also been the assistant principal at Vance Year Round Elementary and prior to that a classroom teacher at Underwood Gifted and Talented Elementary from 1999-2007.  Ware earned both a bachelor of arts degree in Elementary Education and a master of education degree in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He also holds:  a NC Principals Certificate, Grades K-12; a NC Professional Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education, Grades K-6.

"The experience that Mr. Ware brings to Estes Hills Elementary will prove to be a significant asset for staff and students.  Specifically, his background in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative will be a great benefit, for not only the school, but the entire district," said Forcella.  "His excitement for improving learning for all students is contagious!"

Susan Pegg will continue to serve as the interim principal at Estes Hills Elementary until Ware starts in March.  She will be supported by Deshera Mack, another retired CHCCS principal.

Patrenia McDowell
Principal, McDougle Elementary
Drew Ware
Principal, Estes Hills Elementary

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

District Teachers Earn National Board Certification

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools had 12 teachers from seven district schools achieve their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification in their fields during the 2011-12 certification cycle.  The recipients were announced last week.

The teachers for the 2012 Class are: Nicole Bolden, Mathematics/Early Adolescence McDougle MS; Karen Eisner, Exceptional Needs Specialist, District; Tijuana Goodwin, Mathematics/Early Adolescence, McDougle MS; Katherine Gulledge, Social Studies-History/Early Adolescence, McDougle MS; Mary Catherine Hunt, English-Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, Carrboro HS; Kimberly Manning, Science, Adolescence and Young Adulthood, East Chapel Hill HS; Abigail Martin, Early Childhood Generalist, FPG Elementary; Mary Grace Miller, Early Childhood Generalist, Morris Grove Elementary; Sandra Scheuermann, Exceptional Needs Specialist, Scroggs Elementary; Danae Shipp, Science/Early Adolescence, McDougle MS; Larisa Smith-Cortes, Middle Childhood Generalist, FPG Elementary; and Candace White, Middle Childhood Generalist, Glenwood Elementary.

In North Carolina, NBPTS certified teachers receive a 12 percent salary increase.  The state of North Carolina loans eligible teachers the $2,500 assessment fee and provides three days of paid release time and renewal credit for completing the portfolio portion of the process.  The loan is to be repaid over three years.  CHCCS teachers can also apply for $1,000 scholarships from the Public School Foundation for the fee.

The district offers a support group each year for teachers who embark on the national certification process.

Since the state process began in 1996, the district teachers has 277 teachers who hold national certification.

North Carolina leads the country with 18 percent of the teachers being certified, due in large part to the support provided by the General Assembly.  There were 636 who achieved their National Boards across the state in 2012.  There are now more than 100,000 National Board certified teachers across the nation since starting 24 years ago.  For more information, visit

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Staff Tour Northside Elementary

The Northside Elementary staff toured their new school for the first time together on January 10.  Steve Nally, the project manager for the school's construction, led the group around the site, first showing them the blueprints and then going through the school.

Northside Elementary's first five staff members are: Cheryl Carnahan, principal; Coretta Sharpless, assistant principal; Alan Brown, technology specialist; Kathryn Cole, media specialist; and Cindy Fernandez, school secretary.

Brick has started to be laid on the outside of the buildings and can be seen on the walls of the three-story building, where windows are also being installed.  The stage area has been poured in the multi-purpose room.  Construction is being done on every floor, as the building begins to take shape.  Outside, the newly added rock wall complements the original rock wall, as well as the original steps that are still there from the OCTS/Northside School.

Once complete, the school will accommodate 585 students and have art, science and music rooms.  Northside Elementary is over 103,000 square feet and will be certified through the US Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System.  Sustainable design include:

  • stormwater management plan to reduce runoff and a rainwater cistern;
  • vegetated roof area, which will also be used for science classes;
  • rooftop solar thermal panels to generate hot water for the building's kitchen and space heating needs; and
  • windows and clerestories to maximize daylight in classrooms.

Northside Elementary opens in August 2013.  For more pictures from this and other construction visits, go to the district's Facebook page.

Northside Staff
Row 1 - Cheryl Carnahan, Coretta Sharpless, Kathryn Cole, Alan Brown
Row 2 - Cindy Fernandez
Northside Elementary
(Media Center on left, Main Entry in middle, Three-Story Building on right)
Media Center 
View of Three-Story Building from the Green Roof off the Science Classroom

View of Cafeteria from the Third Grade Wing in the Three-Story Building

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Be Thinking About Nominations

Mark your calendars! The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation will soon be seeking nominations for two prestigious teaching chair awards. These awards are the Zora Rashkis Chair for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Language Arts and the Upper Elementary Chair for Excellence in Teaching Innovation (Grade 5). Information on the nomination process will be sent out later this month.

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