Wednesday, November 27, 2013

District Hosts Focused Dialogue Night on 12/2

Focused parent dialogue is meant to invite a more representative parent voice in the decision-making process and not keep people out. Because of its importance, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) administration is hosting a Focused Dialogue Night on Monday, December 2 at 6 p.m. in the East Chapel Hill High Commons, where select representatives from each school's School Improvement Teams (SIT), PTA and the school community will have focused dialogues on the pilot topic, "Enrollment Levels at Glenwood Elementary School."  These parent dialogues add another layer to the conversation and a way to improve communications with parents and the community.  

This particular topic generated significant input from parents at the November 7, 2013 Board of Education meeting and is not slated to come back to the Board until January. The December 2 focused dialogues should provide sufficient time for the administration to combine the input from this session with other available information in order to make a recommendation to the Board of Education. 

In order to keep the dialogue focused, the PTA Council suggested to keep the number of representatives selected from each school small, with at least one representative from the SIT and one from the PTA. Depending on the issue, a faculty representative may also be included, with other parent representatives selected from the general school community. All parents and community members are welcome to observe and there will be an opportunity for those who are not at the discussion tables to share their input electronically. 

The goals, vision and strategies of the new CHCCS Long Range Plan are rooted in a set of guiding principles which were crafted after significant input from staff, parents, the community and students. One of those principles reads, “We believe in a culture that promotes collaboration, civility, mutual trust and community partnerships.” 

Focused dialogues are in support of that belief and help to engage parents in meaningful conversations on important issues that impact CHCCS schools. The district's intent is to provide parent representatives with accurate information about current initiatives. 

“The focused dialogue model has been used in other school districts with tremendous success,” said Superintendent Tom Forcella. “Parents and community members have an opportunity to discuss issues in greater depth and collaborate on recommendations.”

After this first CHCCS focused dialogue, the district plans to hold more throughout the Long Range Plan that runs through 2018. Parents can still utilize all the existing communication avenues such as email and public comment to voice their opinion. 

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Board Approves School Calendars for 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17

At the November 21 Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education meeting, the Board approved school year calendars for 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese was able to put forward these calendars because the legislative session did not make any changes to the calendar law, which it has done for the past several years.

Under the current calendar laws, schools can start no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11.  Schools must also have either a minimum of 185 days of instruction or 1,025 hours of instruction.  CHCCS has 180 days and meets the 1,025 hours of instruction requirement.  Each school year still includes eight delayed opening dates.

The 2014-15 highlights include:

  • First day of school for grades 1-12, August 25;
  • Winter Break, December 22 through January 2;
  • Spring Break, March 30 through April 3;
  • Last day of school for all grades, June 10, which is also a two-hour early dismissal day.

The 2015-16 highlights include:

  • First day of school for grades 1-12, August 24;
  • Winter Break, December 21 through January 1;
  • Spring Break, March 28 through April 1;
  • Last day of school for all grades, June 8, which is also a two-hour early dismissal day.

The 2016-17 highlights include:
  • First day of school for grades 1-12, August 29;
  • Winter Break, December 23 through January 2, with a two-hour early dismissal on December 22;
  • Spring Break, March 27 through March 31;
  • Last day of school for all grades, June 9, which is also a two-hour early dismissal day.

To see the entire Board Item and all of the calendars, click here.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wildcats Field Hockey - Champs Again!!!

Congratulations to East Chapel Hill High on its sixth consecutive N.C. Field Hockey Association state title and tenth overall in the history in the school.

The Wildcats beat Carrboro High 2-1 in overtime to claim the championship. Congratulations also to Carroboro High for making its first appearance in a state final in the sport. Forsyth Country Day School hosted the state final four.

Chapel Hill High lost 3-2 in the consolation finals to Charlotte Catholic and finished fourth in the state.

Field hockey is certainly thriving in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, with all three of our high schools finishing in North Carolina's top four!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Letter from the Superintendent Regarding Test Results for 2012-13

The State released test results earlier today that may have appeared to be lower than you were anticipating, but please do not be alarmed.  The drop in test proficiency scores throughout North Carolina was expected.  This does not mean that the students have fallen behind.  It simply means the demands of the assessments have changed . . . in fact, they have been raised to a much more demanding level.

I want to assure you that our students did not lose ground in their learning last year.  Students continued to grow academically, however, the tougher achievement standards will show fewer students meeting the proficiency level.  Also, I want to emphasize that in this transition year, these scores will not affect students' grades or current placement.

Change is never easy, but these new assessments, and the increase in rigor, will be advantageous to our students and will give us a clearer picture of how well they are prepared to enter college and the work force.  We are pleased with the progress of our students and expect continued success in the coming months and years.

Please click here for a link to the 2012-13 results by school.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tom Forcella, Superintendent

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Board of Education Meeting Location Has Changed and Agenda Revised

The Board of Education's scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 7 at 7 p.m. has been moved to Smith Middle School (9201 Seawell School Road) in the school's auditorium.  Also, please note, the agenda has also been revised so that the Work Session will now be held prior to Discussion and Action.

The meeting's agenda can be viewed here.

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