Monday, April 25, 2016

Project Graduation Needs You! Please click to Volunteer &/or Donate.

What is Project Graduation?
Celebrating its 24th year, Project Graduation is an all-night, substance-free gathering, free of charge to every CHCCS senior and a guest.  This means the almost 900 graduates - and their guests - need the support of generous donors and volunteers.

How to Make a Donation
Project Graduation is about $32.000 short of its goal.  Anyone wishing to make a donation, please click here and then click on the Donate button.  To mail in a donation, please make your check payable to Project Graduation and mail you donation to:  Project Graduation / PO Box 17043 / Chapel Hill, NC / 27516-7043.

How to Volunteer
Project Graduation needs about 200 volunteers from our community and all volunteers must be at least 21-years-old.  Please click here to volunteer and encourage others to volunteer, too!

Thank you for helping make Project Graduation an amazing event for all CHCCS graduates!

read more "Project Graduation Needs You! Please click to Volunteer &/or Donate."

Friday, April 22, 2016

Two CHCCS Schools Recognized by U.S. News & World Report

The U.S. News & World Report just released its 2016 rankings of the nation's "Best High Schools."

They reviewed 28,561 U.S. public high schools. From that group, 153 North Carolina schools made their rankings.

Two CHCCS high schools were awarded gold medals and included in the top ten for North Carolina. Only 15 schools in North Carolina earned gold medals, while 29 were awarded silver medals and 109 earned bronze medals.

East Chapel High ranked #6 in North Carolina and #211 in the nation. Carrboro High ranked #10 in North Carolina and #288 in the nation.

Click here for the U.S. News & World Report story.

Congratulations to the staff and students of both schools on this well-deserved honor.
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Click to Place Order for PSF's Breakfast & Roses for CHCCS Staff

The Public School Foundation (PSF) is hosting its 13th Annual Breakfast & Roses event for Teacher Appreciation Week.

CHCCS families can choose to honor teachers, teacher assistants, or any staff at their schools by placing an order.  Honorees will receive a rose and/or an invitation to the Teachers First Breakfast on April 29 at Squid's Restaurant.

All proceeds from the event go towards PSF's Teachers First Fund.  This fund provides:

  • endowed teaching chairs;
  • awards honoring excellent teachers and staff;
  • classroom grants for student enrichment;
  • support for the Teacher Supply Store;
  • professional development grants;
  • grants to novice teachers;
  • grants for National Board Certification; and
  • ways to support and retain CHCCS teachers.
Families can place their order online.  The deadline has been extended a few days, so please click the link today and help support CHCCS and its staff!

Pictures from the 2015 Event

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Model United Nations

The Seventh Annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro Middle School Model United Nations Conference took place on Friday, April 8, at Smith Middle School and the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence (CCEE).

Approximately 120 students from the four Chapel Hill-Carrboro middle schools came together to participate in a Model UN conference. They spent a school day at the CCEE, researching, learning, and debating together with their peers. The conference simulated debates at the United Nations Security Council. It was organized by the UNC School of Education in cooperation with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District. The committees were chaired by officers of the Model UN clubs at Carrboro High, Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High.

The participating schools and the teachers preparing the students included:

Culbreth Middle School, William Giblin and Elwood Peters
McDougle Middle School, Penny Martin and Nicole Walker
Phillips Middle School, Michael Harris
Smith Middle School, Erin White

Students were assigned one of the countries in the UN Security Council. They researched their country’s geography, history, culture, economy, and politics, especially its position towards the topic, "Combatting the spread of Daesh through military intervention.” During the conference they assumed the role of diplomats, representing their respective countries in the United Nations Security Council, attempting to interject their country’s view on the conflict into a resolution to be adopted by the Council.

Winners in the category of Best Delegation for each of the four Security Councils are listed below:

Security Council A: United States - Bar Caspin and Juanita Roncancio of Culbreth Middle
Security Council B: United States - Anthony DeCesaris and Thea Barrett of Smith Middle
Security Council C: France - Caeden Greene and Joshua Facello of Smith Middle
Security Council D: France - Robin Gao and Stephanie Zhang of Phillips Middle

Congratulations to all our winners and everyone involved. It was a truly amazing event.
read more "Model United Nations"

Monday, April 18, 2016

East Chapel Hill High - National Ethics Bowl Champs!

Please congratulate the East Chapel Hill High Ethics team for earning first place at the National High School Ethics Bowl on Saturday. According to the event host, 2,680 high school students, on 335 teams, representing 218 schools, competed this year in 29 Regionals across 22 states (and Canada), for the chance to be on one of 24 teams to participate in Nationals this past weekend at the UNC Parr Center for Ethics.

In the six years of existence of the North Carolina High School Ethics Bowl, East has earned 1st place five times. Additionally, in the four years of existence of the National competition, East has earned 1st place twice and 3rd place once. The size and rigor of both competitions increase each year.

As finalists, a new award this year has earned the team $4,000.

The students presented exceptionally on both days involving some extremely challenging ethical dilemmas. The actual question which will be asked of the students remains unknown until two minutes before the presentation. Some of the students had to patiently delay their prom preparation for hours and hours as they remained in the competition until the finals round, which took place at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Please congratulate these students, and coach Daniel Murphy, on a job very, very well done.

Congratulations, Wildcats!

read more "East Chapel Hill High - National Ethics Bowl Champs!"

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Board Passes Resolution Urging Repeal of House Bill 2

Regarding the recently passed House Bill 2, it is important to know that Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is in compliance (with the law) by moving forward with providing gender-neutral restrooms for anyone who needs access. HB 2 does not state that these bathrooms are unlawful. Our policies protect, and will continue to protect, all staff from any type of discrimination regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. The district's Director of Equity Leadership will be monitoring continues to monitor the progression of this law and will be partnering with our Senior Executive Director of HR, our Superintendent, and Assistant Superintendents, to make sure our district remains inclusive and accepting of all.

At its April 7 meeting, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education unanimously passed the following resolution.


WHEREAS, on March 23, 2016, North Carolina General Assembly in special session ratified, and Governor Pat McCrory signed, House Bill 2 (Session Law 2016-3), the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act”; that omits sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and other categories from the statewide list of categories protected from discrimination and may diminish the legislative authority of local governments, particularly in the case of counties and municipalities; and

WHEREAS, compliance with HB 2 creates serious legal and fiscal risks for public schools because it conflicts with federal and state laws including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education prohibits discrimination, harassment, or bullying based on any of the following: race, color, religion, atheism, ancestry, national origin, gender, socioeconomic status, academic status, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation, mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, immigration status, or any other classification that is protected by law, regulation or this policy.  The Board further prohibits discrimination against a person perceived to have any of the above characteristics or against a person for associating with someone protected by this policy (see CHCCS Board Policy Code: 1710/4021/7230 Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Bullying); and

WHEREAS, schools are first and foremost places where all students and staff must feel safe, included and protected.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education urges the repeal of House Bill 2 and reaffirms its support for protecting and advancing the rights and equitable treatment of all students and staff.

This the 7th day of April, 2016.
James Barrett, School Board Chair
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Delayed Opening Canceled for 4/21, Normal School Day / de apertura demorada que nos quedan este año escolar, 21 de abril

Delayed Opening Canceled for Remaining Dates
The Board of Education approved a calendar change to make up the instructional time when school was closed on February 15.  The remaining Delayed Openings, scheduled for April 21 and May 19, have now been changed to regular school days.  Students will report to school at the regular times for April 21.

De apertura demorada que nos quedan este año escolar, 21 de abril
El Consejo aprobó un cambio en el calendario para recompensar el tiempo de enseñanza que perdimos 20 de febrero, que las escuelas estuvieron cerradas. Los días de apertura demorada que nos quedan este año escolar, previstos para el 21 de abril y 19 de mayo, serán ahora días regulares de escuela. Una vez más, los tres dos que nos quedan de apertura demorada son ahora días de escuela regulares (completos). Por lo tanto, los estudiantes se deben reportar a la escuela en el horario habitual este jueves 21 de abril.

read more "Delayed Opening Canceled for 4/21, Normal School Day / de apertura demorada que nos quedan este año escolar, 21 de abril"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CHCCS Announces Teachers of the Year for 2016-17

Faculties across the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district have selected their Teachers of the Year to represent the best in teaching at each school.

Elementary teachers who have been elected to the honor are: Brandy Hutchens, gifted education specialist, Carrboro Elem.; Kaitlin Baird, first grade teacher, Ephesus Elem.; Claire Rizzo, special education teacher, Estes Hills Elem.; Denise Feliz, second grade dual language teacher, FPG Billingüe; Robin Franklin, third grade teacher, Glenwood Elem.; Hope Kilgo, Kindergarten teacher, McDougle Elem.; Amy Brazaski, second grade teacher, Morris Grove Elem.; Deandra Hill, Exceptional Children (EC) resource grade teacher, Northside Elem.; Craig Walker, fifth grade teacher, Rashkis Elem.; Jeanette Dixon, third grade teacher, Scroggs Elem.; and Shanice Harrington, fourth grade teacher, Seawell Elem.

At the middle school level, these teachers were selected:  Jessie Grinnell, English/language arts teacher, Culbreth MS; Kate Parrent, visual arts teacher, McDougle MS; Ann Daaleman, orchestra director, Phillips MS; and April Ferguson, social studies teacher, Smith MS.

From the high schools, these teachers have been chosen:  Lisa French, honors and AP world history teacher, Carrboro HS; Randy Trumbower, special education teacher, Chapel Hill HS; and Beth Watson, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, East Chapel Hill HS; Jared Mann, mathematics teacher, Phoenix Academy HS.

All of the schools' Teachers of the Year will be honored May 20 at Carrboro High School at the district's annual Recognition Reception where they will be presented with items donated by local businesses.  The District Teacher of the Year and two honor teachers will be announced that evening.  The district will also recognize Classified Employees of the Year, Exceptional Children & Student Services Employees of the Year, staff members who are retiring, as well as staff awards which include Teaching Chairs and Years of Service.  Tickets to the event must be purchased by April 22 from the Human Resources Department at Lincoln Center.  Tickets are $5 per person.

Pictured: 2015-16 Teachers of the Year at the
2015 Recognition Reception
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Danielle Losos of East Chapel Hill Illustrates Book Written by Former CHCCS Teacher

It is always a cause to celebrate when a student or staff member accomplishes a big much more when a student AND staff member reach their goal together.

Test Day, Team Player was written by Shannon Fitzgerald, former Morris Grove Elementary teacher. The story was written to help Elementary students (and probably even middle school students) with test anxiety. Its a great tool for teachers and currently available on

Danielle Losos, a student at East Chapel Hill High, is the illustrator. Below is a picture of Danielle with the book.

Congratulations to both Danielle and Shannon!

read more "Danielle Losos of East Chapel Hill Illustrates Book Written by Former CHCCS Teacher"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Voices Foundation Recognizes Two CHCCS Staff

New Voices Foundation announces Lara Jane Parker Award Recipients

An estimated 400 children in North Carolina’s Triangle region can’t speak, can’t write, and have trouble walking or even moving through space. Families and public schools struggle to meet their complex medical, technological, and educational needs.

In 2007, nonprofit New Voices Foundation was established to improve educational opportunities for children with severe communication and mobility disabilities to help maximize their learning potential.

“New Voices children have the same needs and aspirations of all children, and a bit more,” said Don Stedman retired Dean of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill and co-founder of New Voices. “There is no reason that their communication and mobility challenges cannot be successfully addressed in a way that will allow full inclusion in our schools and community.”

Over the past decade, with the support of outstanding teachers, therapists, parents, leaders, and education and health professionals, hundreds of lives of New Voices children have been changed, unlocking communication, mobility, inclusion, and possibilities.

When Lara Jane Parker was born in 1971, she did not breathe for fifteen minutes and was not expected to survive. Later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Lara was unable to sit, stand, or talk. Overcoming her limitations with self-determination and with a lot of support from teachers and others, Lara graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, lived independently, and served on committees working with issues involving developmental disabilities.

In memory of Lara, the Lara Jane Parker Awards for Excellence and Advocacy was established in 2013 to recognize and reward individuals who work tirelessly to improve the lives of New Voices Children. This year’s recipients will be honored Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m. at Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The program is free and open to the public.

RSVP by April 15 to:

2016 Award Recipients:

Alecia Osisek, 2016 Lara Jane Parker Award of Excellence
Teacher, Ephesus Elementary School, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School System

With a passion for teaching and a gift for creating a communication rich environment, Alecia’s classroom has successfully transitioned a student into general education and is a model for processes used by Assistive Technology/Augmentative Alternative Communications teams. Alecia received her BA in Elementary Education and Graduate Certification in Special Education from Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

Ashley Robinson, 2016 Lara Jane Parker Advocacy Award
Augmentative Alternative Communication Specialist, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

Ashley inspires others to believe in their students and provides a dynamic approach for them to implement successful communication systems in the classroom. Her motto is “everyone deserves a voice.” Ashley received her Masters of Science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

For more information, contact:

Sandy McMillan, Board Chair
New Voices Foundation
Phone: 919-659-5961

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Finance Office Lauded for Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Two prominent professional associations with ties to school finance have announced awards for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.

The Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability.

The district was recognized for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending 2015.

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) also awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The Certificate of Achievement is this organization’s highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government organization and its management.

The district’s Budget and Finance Department, headed by Ruby Pittman, Senior Executive Director of Budget and Finance, is the group primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR. This marks the department’s twelfth consecutive year earning these awards.

“I would like all members of the Budget and Finance team to know how much I appreciate their commitment to excellence,” said Pittman.  “Every team member has a role in managing district funds in a way that supports the goals of our school district.”

"Year after year, the Budget and Finance team are recognized for excellence in the area of financial reporting," said Todd LoFrese, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services.  "Ms. Pittman and her team are to be commended for a job well done."

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

CHCCS Mourns Loss of Long-Time Educator

R.D. Smith, CHCCS Educator, Passes Away at 98

One of the names held in reverence throughout the hallways in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is R.D. Smith.  Aside from serving the district for 38 years, he continued to make a difference in the community as a whole.

Smith was a secondary agricultural teacher at Orange County Training School (OCTS) and at Lincoln High School (LHS), an industrial arts teacher at LHS and at Chapel Hill High School (CHHS), as well as an auto mechanics teacher at CHHS.  Smith also was a driver's education teacher and served as the district's part-time transportation supervisor.

In 1970, Smith became an assistant principal at CHHS and served a crucial role in assisting the school during the process of integration.  Smith served as a CHHS assistant principal through 1980.  His career as an educator for CHCCS spanned 38 years, but his impact on the CHCCS community was even greater.

Smith was named Teacher of the Year in 1966 by LHS.  He also was a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council for 20 years and served as mayor pro tem for four years.  He was named Father of the Year in 1970 by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Merchants Association; was selected as commencement speaker by the graduating class of 1980; received the Outstanding Service Award from the Orange County Mental Health Association in 1983; received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award from the Orange County Black Caucus in 1988; and was selected for the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Jaycees in 1991.

On August 20, 2001, the district opened its fourth middle school, returning their thanks to Smith and his wife, also a long-time CHCCS educator, by naming the school R.D. & Euzelle P. Smith Middle School.

"Mr. Smith spent decades creating an educational legacy in our community that lives on in our students and staff," said Superintendent Tom Forcella.  "We are forever grateful for the Smith Family and their impact on our schools."

Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2012 with OCTS corner stone at site of Northside Elementary

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State Scrabble Champs!

Congratulations to Javier Contreras and Matias Shundi - the Scrabble Cyclones - of Smith Middle School on their recent 2016 North Carolina School Scrabble state championship. Next, they will represent our state in the 2016 National School Scrabble championship on April 9-10 at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts (home of the New England Patriots).

Cyclone power!

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Visions Art Show, April 11 thru April 13

Visions Art Show Begins April 11
The Visions Art Show is an annual event to showcase visual art created by district students and teachers. Schools are highlighted for three evenings from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Center (see list below). During the show, student artwork fills Lincoln Center hallways and pottery and sculpture fill the building's display cases. The artwork is on display through most of May.

The evening's’ schedules are:

  • April 11 - FPG, Glenwood, Northside, Scroggs, Culbreth, Carrboro HS; 

  • April 12 -Carrboro ES, McDougle ES, Morris Grove, Seawell, McDougle MS, Smith, Chapel Hill HS; and

  • April 13 - Ephesus, Estes Hills, Rashkis, Phillips, East Chapel Hill HS.
Student Artwork from Past Visions Art Shows

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