Friday, June 22, 2018

Our Community Is Unique

The CHCCS community is not your usual school community. We may have the usual stakeholders - staff, students and families - but we also have a long-standing tradition of including others who don’t have specific ties to our schools. We have retirees and university students who volunteer in our schools. We have active grandparents who move to the area to be close to their families. We have business owners who want to financially support classrooms. We have some big universities who collaborate with us. So it was with this diverse tapestry in mind, we included our Community in the 2018-21 Strategic Plan. Our community is more than the usual - it is unique to us and helps to make CHCCS an amazing place to teach and learn.


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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lincoln Center on Summer Hours, June 11-Aug. 10 / Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 11 de junio al 10 de agosto

Lincoln Center Starts Summer Hours
Lincoln Center will operate on Summer Hours from Monday, June 11 through Friday, August 10. 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.

The week of July 4th, Lincoln Center will be open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Wednesday for the holiday; and open Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 11 de junio al 10 de agosto
Horario de verano en Lincoln Center y para inscripción de estudiantes – del 11 de junio al 10 de agosto.  Lincoln Center funcionará en horario de verano del lunes 11 de junio al viernes 10 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.


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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Outdoor Activities Canceled for June 20 / Prohibidas todas las actividades al aire libre después de las 10 a.m. el 20 junio

All Outdoor Activities Canceled for Wednesday, July 20
Due to an extremely high heat index forecast for today, Wednesday, June 20, all school related outside activities after 10 a.m. are prohibited. Summer camps will take place indoors. Regarding athletic teams, please contact the team’s coach to find out if practices will be held indoors or are canceled. Please stay safe during this extreme weather.

Por las condiciones de calor se cancelan las actividades al aire libre
Debido a las condiciones de calor peligrosas, el miércoles, 20 de junio, después de las 10:00 a.m.  están prohibidas todas las actividades al aire libre. Los campamentos de verano tendrán lugar al interior de las instalaciones. Con respecto a los equipos deportivos, comuníquese con el entrenador del equipo para averiguar si las prácticas se realizarán en el interior o si se cancelarán.


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Outdoor Activities Canceled for June 19 / Prohibidas todas las actividades al aire libre después de las 10 a.m. el 19 junio

All Outdoor Activities Canceled for Tuesday, July 19
Due to an extremely high heat index forecast for today, Tuesday, June 19, all school related outside activities after 10 a.m. are prohibited. Summer camps will take place indoors. Regarding athletic teams, please contact the team’s coach to find out if practices will be held indoors or are canceled. Please stay safe during this extreme weather.

Por las condiciones de calor se cancelan las actividades al aire libre
Debido a las condiciones de calor peligrosas, el martes, 19 de junio, después de las 10:00 a.m.  están prohibidas todas las actividades al aire libre. Los campamentos de verano tendrán lugar al interior de las instalaciones. Con respecto a los equipos deportivos, comuníquese con el entrenador del equipo para averiguar si las prácticas se realizarán en el interior o si se cancelarán.


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Friday, June 15, 2018

Second Grade Students at Northside are Global Change Makers

Economics instruction for second grade students? At Northside Elementary School, they learned the concepts of supply and demand, scarcity and sustainability, and during that unit, they became interested in exploring how economic factors impact access to water around our world. Among other crucial facts, they learned that worldwide, a child dies every 90 seconds from lack of clean water.
   
If it sounds advanced for second graders, think again. This unit became a rich integration of science, social studies and environmental justice. Through stories, virtual reality experiences and Google Earth explorations, students examined water access around the world. When they met Godi Godar of the Democratic Republic of Congo, founder of Go Conscious Earth, students decided they wanted to impact change in the world in a real way. Godar’s nonprofit funds the building of freshwater wells in villages around Lake Tumba in the DRC. By 2016 the group had provided clean water to more than 10,000 people, and the number has grown significantly since then.
   
After Godar’s initial visit with all of the second grade students at Northside, the children brainstormed ways to support Go Conscious Earth. The outcome of those discussions was a plan to collect coins in every classroom at the school by providing “change jugs,” with accompanying information about the plight of limited water access across so much of the DRC. In addition to their coin drive, the students hosted a second grade market in which they used the school’s library makerspace to create items to sell in various stores they would run.  From stress balls to beaded jewelry, the market  allowed students to use the economic principles studied to earn additional money towards this initiative. Parents and staff were invited to visit the market and purchase items that were crafted by the students.
   
On June 5, the jugs were collected, the coins counted, and when Godar returned to visit with the second grade students in the library media center, the contribution to Go Conscious Earth totaled nearly $700. The children seemed delighted to watch the smiling Godar receive the envelope, and several asked questions and made brief speeches about the importance of the fundraising they had spearheaded. This project has started what will be a lasting partnership between the students of Northside and an organization that allows students to give back in substantial and relevant ways.
   
Kathryn Cole, School Library Media Coordinator, helped shape the entire water access curriculum, and she created the publicity to share in the Northside school community, as well as organized Godar’s visits. She produced a Spark Adobe video called “Water Access: How We Can Help,” available for viewing here:   https://spark.adobe.com/video/kLT0Y0gwQdpHL
   
Before Godar said goodbye to the children, he emphasized the degree of lifesaving support their coins would provide. “We will be able to drill a well for one village, and you guys will be the heroes. We will share pictures of you guys. The people in the village will say, ‘These kids in the U.S. have raised these funds, only for you.’”
   
His final words offered inspiration and encouragement. “Plant a little seed, and it grows bigger and bigger. Don’t dream little tiny dreams - always dream big!”

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Our Focus Is Student Success

Educating children is what brings us together every day. In our 2018-21 Strategic Plan, we are focusing not just on the student, but on Student Success. We understand each child is different and has his/her own way of learning. We want to help students learn who they are as people and as learners. We want to engage them for every moment they’re in CHCCS classrooms. We want to help all students take the reins of their education because that’s the best way to make sure they’re lifelong learners and accomplish all the goals throughout their lives.


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chapel Hill High School Breaks Ground for Major Reconstruction

There were more than a dozen shovels and matching hard hats, numerous yellow tee shirts that read, “Please excuse our progress,” and under the breezeway, rows of chairs that were soon filled with Chapel Hill High School teachers, students, parents, CHCCS administrators, school board members and county commissioners, among others. Not bad for a drizzly Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock.

June 12 was the official groundbreaking ceremony for the major reconstruction of Chapel Hill High School, which has been anticipated for years - and the commitment to the expense and undertaking has been debated in countless forums and meetings. So the physical reality of turning the earth with all those shovels carried a powerful symbolism.

The speakers at the event were: outgoing Principal Sulura Jackson; Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin; veteran History Teacher Bill Melega; CHCCS Board Chair Rani Dasi; CHHS PTSA President, Kirsten Barker; President of the Lincoln High School-Northside Alumni Association David Mason; Board of County Commissioners Chair Mark Dorosin; Aaron Nelson, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce; and Jessica Schinsky, a rising junior at CHHS .

Jackson reminded the audience that she still has 17 more days as principal before she takes on a new role as CHHS Construction Manager. She said, “I’m looking forward to moving into the twenty-first century.”

Melega, who has taught students for more than 20 years at CHHS, said, “Goodbye to D building - you were a great ship. Like the Six Million Dollar Man, we hope our new school will be bigger, faster and stronger.”

Barker reminded the teachers and students that the two years ahead will present new challenges of upheaval and transition, but she encouraged everyone to consider the time at CHHS a “resilience learning lab,” to grow and strengthen from the experience.

Mason also called for the CHHS family and local residents to rise to the occasion. “Treat every student as if they have the potential to change the world. It is my prayer that we work together as a community and never forget from where we came.”

Schinsky enumerated some of the aspects of the old buildings that she won’t miss, like the “weird smells.” But she spoke with affection of her experience at the school. “It’s the place where I’ve discovered who I want to be.”

Construction on the new CHHS campus will be complete in 2020. For details about all the new features CHHS will have, please visit the CHHS Construction website and be sure to check in often, as the committee will have updates throughout the building process.





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Monday, June 11, 2018

Duke Energy Foundation $40,000 Grant Supports STEM Instruction

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and the Public School Foundation are pleased to announce a $40,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation. The funds will go toward the development and teacher training for an Inquiry and Nature-Based STEM Program to serve elementary school students in grades 3-5, beginning with a pilot at Northside Elementary School.
   
The grant was submitted by Dan Schnitzer, CHCCS Sustainability Director, in collaboration with a team from the CHCCS Instructional Services Department, in order to raise both the level of rigor and engagement in science instruction. The Institute for the Environment at UNC will design the training and curriculum in collaboration with CHCCS teachers, ensuring that the content is aligned with College and Career Readiness standards.
   
“The vision for delivering this nature-based STEM instruction capitalizes on the natural curiosity of children, combined with their immediate environment,” said Schnitzer. “Above all, the inquiry-based approach will be more successful in engaging all students in STEM. The anticipated result is deeper student interest and excitement in STEM education and the environment, leading to increased proficiency in mastering 3rd-5th grade science concepts and a closer relationship with their environment.”
   
The measurable goal of the Inquiry and Nature-Based STEM Program is to reduce non-proficiency on the Grade 5 Science Test by half over a period of five years. Dr. Elaine Watson-Grant, Director of Elementary Education, explained how the approach of this new program will better reach every student. “One key factor in meeting the needs of all students, and in particular, students from traditionally underserved groups, is participation in immersive, interdisciplinary learning experiences that build their background knowledge, develop and deepen their interests, and connect them to life outside of school. An inquiry-based approach will lead to greater student engagement, understanding and transfer of knowledge.”

“We are proud to partner with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and the Public School Foundation to expand access to STEM programming for students and educators,” said Indira Everett, Duke Energy district manager. “Programs that foster a growing interest in STEM fields help our communities continue to grow and produce skilled workers who bring new thinking and ideas to the table.”

With an overarching goal of decreasing the achievement gap in the district, the program designers noted that there are statistically significant gains in achievement on challenging tasks among students who were taught with inquiry-based practices. Research on culturally relevant teaching practices supports the premise that hands-¬on, real-world learning activities are particularly critical for the achievement of students of color as well as students from economically disadvantaged households.
   
“We are grateful to Duke Energy Foundation for recognizing this need in our district and supporting our students with increased opportunities for STEM-based learning,” said Dr. Pam Baldwin, Superintendent of CHCCS. “We look forward to the enthusiasm and energy for science that will develop from this grant.”

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Strategic Goals Will Guide District's Work for Next Three Years

On behalf of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, I am honored to introduce our three-year strategic goals (please see below).
There are many throughout our state and nation who point to our school district as a model for educational excellence. From the outside, it is easy to see why that would be the case. Our measurables – test scores, graduation rates, SAT results, etc. – compare favorably with the best school districts anywhere.
However, a deeper look reveals many areas desperately needing improvement. Our children deserve an excellent education – all of our children. That is where we miss the mark. Our success, however defined, varies greatly from child to child. Some leave our district entirely unprepared for life after high school.
These new goals are designed to keep, and build upon, those things we do well. They also address those areas that need to be improved.
Our amazing community contributed significantly to the design of these goals. Without the help of our stakeholders, we could not have created this roadmap that will guide our work for the next three years. Our community-wide survey included over 1,000 responses. We also conducted 44 focus groups with students, staff and community partners. We met with principals, assistant principals and local business leaders. Every School Improvement Team hosted a public table top conversation. We collected specific feedback from representatives of the Teacher Advisory Council, Student Advisory Council, NAACP, and the UNC Education Policy Initiative. The amount of data from these efforts was massive. Altogether, we collected approximately 600 pages of input.
All of these meetings, along with the survey, were designed to seek out answers to four important questions:
1. How do we define student success?
2. What is working well in our schools/district?
3. What needs to be changed?
4. What goals we should include in the new plan?
A strategic planning committee made up of a cross-section of our school district and community was assembled to assist in the gathering and analysis of the data. Their meetings began in September and concluded in April. We greatly appreciate their dedication to the project and attention to detail.
I commit to you that we will use these goals to elevate the education we provide to ALL students. I invite you to hold us accountable to this work. Our success is entirely dependent upon the investment of our whole team – staff, students, parents, business leaders, elected officials and all of Carrboro and Chapel Hill.
Thank you for entrusting us with your children’s education. It is an honor to serve as your superintendent.

Pam Baldwin



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Continue to Be More, Class of 2018

Tomorrow CHCCS will celebrate the graduation of our high school seniors. Our graduates have worked hard to reach this milestone - the moment when they hear their name called and then walk across the stage to receive a piece of paper that will change their life. There is no need to quote numbers, everyone knows the importance of staying in school and how having a high school diploma will enable someone to earn more, give more, help more, be more.

It is important to honor these seniors for their achievements.  Whether they are top of their class or not, putting the diploma in their hand gives them a boost for the rest of their lives. Today’s high school journey is not easy and CHCCS seniors know this - there is an understanding that they will graduate. In addition to classwork, students have extracurriculars, sports, arts, work, volunteering, all while squeezing in some moments for fun. Our students live in this pressure cooker of expectations.

To our Seniors: The reward for all your hard work, all of the years of studying, all the times you took a class that stretched your mind and abilities is the knowledge you gained. You are in control of your educational journey. You are. You get what you put into your education. This can also be applied to your life. When you work hard, have fun, take risks and encourage others, your life will be momentous. Never stop learning. Never stop looking for solutions. Never stop taking what you learn in your years here and apply it to where you are.

Your parents, teachers and I are all very proud of everything you have accomplished and cannot wait to see what you will do next. Your decisions will shape not only your future, but all of ours. While you continue to learn more, give more, help more and be more, we will continue to watch and learn from you.

Congratulations Class of 2018!





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