Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Congratulations Class of 2015!

Nearly 900 students crossed the stage at four recent graduations. Carrboro High, Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High each held ceremonies at the Dean Smith Center on Saturday, June 13. Phoenix Academy High held its ceremony at Extraordinary Ventures on Wednesday, June 10. Photos have been posted to the district's facebook page.

We are very happy for all of our graduates and their families. Please join us in congratulating them on a job well done!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Data Manager of the Year

Congratulations to Geoff Gentry, McDougle Middle School Data Manager, for being awarded Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 2014-15 Data Manager of the Year. This award is given annually to the data manager that has supported the district’s data managers above and beyond the job description.

Besides striving to embrace the full functionality of PowerSchool, and using PowerSchool to meet McDougle Middle School’s information needs, Geoff volunteers to work on district data teams to provide the same functionality to all Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Often used as a resource for his peers, he is willing to assist others with their needs to access and use student and staff information in their decision-making tasks.

A CHCCS Certificate of Appreciation was also granted to Anshu Gupta, Data Manager at Seawell Elementary, for striving to enhance how information is stored, and for achieving change in the use of PowerSchool functionality during 2014-2015 school year.

As a newly hired data manager for the 2014-2015 school year, Anshu challenges traditional and school
procedures. She was successful in improving Seawell’s procedures in managing students with excessive absences, which resulted in Seawell Elementary meeting District and State requirements with great savings in time and effort.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Lincoln Center on Summer Hours, June 15-Aug. 7 / Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 15 de junio al 7 de agosto

Lincoln Center Starts Summer Hours
Lincoln Center will operate on Summer Hours from Monday, June 15 through Friday, August 7. 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.

Registration at Lincoln Center will also operate at limited hours during that period: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. No registrations will be started after these hours.

Horario de verano en Lincoln Center y para inscripción de estudiantes – del 15 de junio al 7 de agosto
Lincoln Center funcionará en horario de verano del lunes 15 de junio al viernes 7 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.

La inscripción de estudiantes en Lincoln Center también estará disponible en un horario limitado durante estas semanas: lunes a jueves, 7:30 a. m. a 4:30 p. m. y viernes, 7:30 a. m. hasta la 1 p. m. No se iniciará el proceso de inscripción de estudiantes después de esas horas.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Dr. Forcella Named Regional Superintendent of the Year

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Tom Forcella was presented with a pleasant surprise at last night’s Board meeting.

Dr. Neil Pedersen, Executive Director of the Central Carolina Regional Educational Service Alliance (RESA) and former superintendent of the same school district, showed up at the meeting and signed up to speak as part of the citizen comment portion of the agenda.

Upon approaching the podium, Dr. Pedersen used the opportunity to announce that Dr. Forcella had been selected as the Central Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year. He is now one of eight finalists for the North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, which will be announced in November. The state Superintendent of the Year then becomes eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year honor, which is announced by the American Association of School Administrators at its annual conference in February.

“We were extremely pleased to learn of Dr. Forcella’s selection as Regional Superintendent of the Year,” said Mike Kelley, Chair of the Board of Education. “His dedication to student success, innovative approach to leadership and determined focus on quality instruction make him an excellent candidate as he moves through the process.”

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Innovative Instruction: The Augmented Reality Sandbox

Would you like a quick glimpse at the kind of innovative lessons taking place in classrooms throughout Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools? Well check out this short video (one minute, twenty-two seconds):

A team of four engineering students from East Chapel Hill High School have constructed an Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) to be used by East science teachers to provide a dynamic interactive 3D color topographic modeling environment. The team's project idea was first suggested by East Chapel Hill science teacher and team's project "client", Dr. Stephen Snyder. This idea was inspired by a similar machine constructed at East Carolina University by colleagues of Dr. Snyder. The team of first-year engineering students, consisting of seniors James Jennings and Victor Ding along with sophomores Sam Castleberry and Ryan Pecaut, constructed their functioning version of the ARS on a slim budget of less than $300. These students creatively financed their project through a combination of teacher directed PTA funds, donations, and CTE instructional funding. They received guidance and encouragement from their client, Dr. Snyder, East engineering instructors, Patrick Pudlo and Bill Vincent, and local and district level support staff including Bill Groves, Anita Benton and Brian Wood. 
This team of four engineering students were part of a total of 134 taking the Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) course at East Chapel Hill High School.  For the course final project, these students self-assembled into more than 60 teams and attempted almost 30 authentic projects. Teams bid on authentic projects submitted by members of the East community including East teachers and the athletic booster club. The person submitting the idea for an engineered solution served as the "client" for the students who operated as engineering firms.  Through the project, the engineering teams were responsible for maintaining communication with their clients, managing overall project time lines and budgets, creating comprehensive design briefs, constructing 3D CAD models and creating physical models of their designs before presenting their final products to their clients. Many of these students will continue their study of engineering next year at East in the second level engineering course, Principles of Engineering (POE).  Learn more about engineering at East by visiting 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Northside Rap Remix

So you think you can dance?

Check out the moves put on display in this video by the Northside Elementary staff.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Duke Energy Foundation Grant

The Duke Energy Foundation has granted the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation $11,000 in 2015 to support initiatives that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as programs and scholarships that will contribute to the success of low-income students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

District Manager of Government and Community Relations for Duke Energy Indira Everett presented the $11,000 check to CHCCS Superintendent Tom Forcella, and Public School Foundation Program Services Manager Lynn Lehmann at Estes Hills Elementary School on June 10, 2015.

School social worker Betsy Booth and some of the students who have participated in one of the projects funded by the grant were also included in the presentation.

STEM related programs that will benefit from the Duke Energy Foundation grant include “Super Science Saturdays” at Estes Hills Elementary which provides field trips to science-related destinations for lower-income students, parents and/or caregivers to experience hands-on engaging science opportunities.

The funding will also provide materials for Ocean Life units in the Morris Grove Elementary fourth-grade in order for students to conduct research and study text types and develop their ability to reason, question, and hypothesize as a means of making meaning as they read.

The grant will also fund two scholarships for each of the district’s high schools for seniors who will be going to college and are currently in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success.

The focus of the Duke Energy support is to help provide opportunities for children who come from families that struggle economically and expose them to opportunities that will contribute to their future success.

“At Duke Energy, we seek to close the achievement gap and end the cycle of poverty that often separates low-income students from their peers,” said Indira Everett, District Manager of Government Affairs and Community Relations at Duke Energy. “Duke Energy is proud to support the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School’s initiatives to increase all students’ ability to succeed.”

“There are stark differences in opportunity and family resources within our district,” said Public School Foundation Executive Director, Kim Hoke. “One of the top two priorities at the Foundation is to increase the learning opportunities for children within and outside of the school day. The other is teacher support. We appreciate Duke Energy Foundation’s recognition of these similar goals and are grateful for their support.”

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Information Session for School Board Candidates

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will hold an information session for anyone interested in running for the Board of Education on Wednesday, June 17 from 6-7:30 p.m. The session will take place at Lincoln Center, the district’s Central Office, located at 750 S. Merritt Mill Road in Chapel Hill.

Four seats will be up for election in November. Potential candidates will meet with district administrators and current Board members to learn about the expectations and responsibilities of serving, as well as some of the large upcoming projects that will require considerable Board attention in the coming years.

The filing period begins Monday, July 6 at 8 a.m.

Anyone planning to attend is asked to contact Jeff Nash, Executive Director of Community Relations, at or by phone at 919-967-8211 (ext. 28227).

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Monday, June 1, 2015

SNAColades 2014-15

The Special Needs Advisory Council (SNAC) created SNAColades to honor CHCCS 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 (EC) community. Below each name is a quote from an appreciative parent.

SNAColade Recipients 2014-15:

Pre-K Intervention Program
Thea Wilson, Heather Miller, Donna Swahlan and Jennifer Howard

“Their incredible efforts in helping our child meet her goals and their commitment to setting her up for success are invaluable. We are eternally thankful to them!”

Ephesus Elementary School
Tracy Kirkland, Carolyn Foushee and Glenda Johnson

“The care and attention that they provide to our child are huge contributions to her success. They are amazing and we are so thankful to have them as her teachers!”

McDougle Elementary School
Taron Parent

Ms. Parent received two SNAColade nominations.

“She has shown a lot of enthusiasm and passion for the job and most especially, for the kids she looks after.  She has gone over and beyond our expectations and makes the time my child spends in school very enjoyable.”

“She is simply the most dedicated and hard working teacher. We introduced a novel communication device this year and Ms. Parent has devoted countless hours outside the classroom to become a skilled communication partner. Her academic excellence is matched with a warm and empathetic personality.”

Breana Jense and Tiyan Peterson
“They make an exceptional team and show a lot of love and compassion towards our children.”

Morris Grove Elementary School
Jordan Lupton

“She consistently expects much from her students. She is an excellent communicator with the family and the team. She uses technology effectively, and she attempts to reach out to children from minority families.”

Northside Elementary School
Carlos Lavin

“Mr. Lavin has provided an extremely professional and supportive environment for my child, challenging him in a fun and mutually respectful manner. His ability to reach the students where they are, and willingness to try new tactics until finding the right one, is exceptional and worthy of recognition.”

Scroggs Elementary School
Tricia Billy, Janet Shaheen and Patricia Thompson

“All deserve lots of praise for their phenomenal work with special needs children.”

Noujoud Ouazzani
“She is fantastic with our special needs child (above and beyond with positivity)!”

Vicky McGlinchey and Sandy Scheuermann
“My child has been successful in navigating a multitude of transitions and responsibilities and these two educators have supported him and us as we adapted to changing needs, behaviors and requirements to help him be successful.”

Seawell Elementary School
Annie Cramer

“Ms. Cramer came to us and asked how she could help our child get the most out of his time in Art. That was more than any specials teacher had ever done! Her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty when she teaches every student in that school and has limited resources was just mind-blowing. Because of her, our son learned to stop hating specials -- and can do electives when he goes to middle school. Her effort on his behalf was just amazing, and so touching to us.”

Julie Halpert
“My child is forever changed because of Julie Halpert. She is the one-in-a-million teacher who knows that "gifted" is not always a blessing, that a diagnosis of Asperger’s is not a curse, and that all kids, especially the ones who have a hard time at school but also hold so much untapped potential just waiting to be unlocked, require nurturing and emotional support in order to thrive. We are so grateful for her.”

Culbreth Middle School
Jessica Gates

“Ms. Jess is calm, creative and perceptive about student behavior. She continually challenges her students without pushing too far. She does an excellent job of keeping us informed and gives me hope for my child’s future and what he can accomplish!”

Rebecca VonHoene, James Econopoly and Matthew Hayes
“These teachers have gone above and beyond to plan together and support our child and provide resources to our family. They are outstanding examples of dedicated professionals who value student success above all else.”

Phillips Middle School
Kayleigh Vogan

“Ms. Vogan is the most outstanding EC teacher I have ever met. She consistently has appropriate, differentiated lessons planned to further each child’s progress and has kept us informed of our child’s progress at least weekly and more often when necessary. She was unphased by behavior issues, but immediately began problem solving, involving parental input, and implementing solutions. She is stellar!”

Smith Middle School
Keith Raitano and Mary Raitano

“Doing a fine job helping an academic wizard navigate social structure and appropriate behaviors.”

"Mamma Stoochie"
“She "gets" my child.”

Team 6A Smith Middle School (Anne Anderson, Noa Stuchiner, Channing Bennett, Katie Lonergan, Don Minnick)
“Go team Go! Whoo Hoooo!!!”

Carrboro High School
Melissa Barry

“She is a good communicator, is constantly looking out for ways for my child’s class to get involved in the community and in the high school at large, and looks for interesting field trips exposing them to new experiences. She has my child’s best interest at heart!”

John Hite
“A continued SNAColade for supporting all students regardless of his 'caseload.'”

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