Wednesday, April 30, 2014

CHCCS Has Lowest Dropout Rates in NC

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), in its latest report of dropout counts and rates, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has the lowest dropout rate among North Carolina’s 115 school districts.

The 2012-13 data shows that, at 0.4 percent, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools had its lowest rate ever. The total number of dropouts was 23. Among those, 19 were male students versus four female, and 13 were Hispanic while all other racial subgroups had less than five.

“We are very pleased that our dropout rate is the lowest in North Carolina,” said Dr. Magda Parvey, assistant superintendent of instructional services. “However, we still had 23 students drop out – and that’s 23 too many.”

The school district has made concentrated efforts not only to ensure students graduate, but to prepare students for all future endeavors. Programs like the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocates, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Institute for Learning, Career Academies, Responsiveness to Instruction (RtI) and the Youth Leadership Institute continue to support students and foster increased achievement.

“The key to a successful educational experience is quality classroom instruction,” said Superintendent Tom Forcella. “We have a long way to go, but we are encouraged by the progress noticed in our student success rates.”

Many in the community are concerned that continued progress may be challenged by the potential impact of a shortfall of state and local funding.

“Success comes at a price,” said Jamezetta Bedford, chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education. “We have full confidence in our elected officials to support the work of our schools and to stand up for our children and teachers at every opportunity.”

The NCDPI report contains data from the 2012-13 school year and reflects another record low for the state as well. Last school year, 2.45 percent of North Carolina high school students dropped out of school, which was an 18.6 percent decrease from the previous year’s record low of 3.01 percent.

Data from the State shows:
  • the annual high school dropout rate decreased from 3.01 percent to 2.45 percent for 2012-13 (18.6percent decrease);
  • a total of 11,049 high school students dropped out in 2012-13 as compared to 13,488 in 2011-12 (18.1 percent decrease);
  • both the number of high school dropouts and the high school dropout rate have been cut in half over the last five years. There were 22,434 North Carolina high school dropouts reported in 2007-08 compared to 11,049 in 2012-13. Also, in 2007-08, the high school dropout rate was 4.97 percent compared to 2.45 percent in 2012-13; 
  • there were dropout count decreases in 77.4 percent (89 of 115) of school districts, which represents a 9 percent improvement from 2011-12 when 81 of 115 school districts reported dropout count decreases;
  • the number of high school students dropping out decreased at all grade levels and for all ethnic groups;
  • males accounted for 61.5 percent of reported dropouts, which was up from the 60.3 percent reported last year; and
  • attendance issues were again the reason most often cited for dropping out, accounting for 45.9 percent of all dropouts. For the third year in a row, there was a decrease in the number of students reporting “Enrollment in a Community College” as the reason for dropping out.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Visions Art Show Slated for April 29, 30 and May 2

The Visions Art Show is an annual showcase of visual art created by district students and teachers.  This year's Visions Art Show will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. on April 29, 30 and May 2 (note date change from May 1) at Lincoln Center.  During the show, student art work fills display boards along the Lincoln Center hallways, and pottery and sculpture fill the building's display cases.  The art work is on display through May.

Specific schools are highlighted on each night.  The schedule is as follows:
  • April 29 - Ephesus Elementary, Estes Hills Elementary, Rashkis Elementary, Phillips Middle and East Chapel Hill High;
  • April 30 - FPG Elementary, Glenwood Elementary, Northside Elementary, Scroggs Elementary, Culbreth Middle and Carrboro High; and
  • May 2 (please note change of date from May 1) -  Carrboro Elementary, McDougle Elementary, Morris Grove Elementary, Seawell Elementary, McDougle Middle, Smith Middle and Chapel Hill High.

Art work displayed from this show ultimately finds its way into the parent calendar in the next school year.  Thanks to District Arts Coordinator Theresa Grywalski, the district's visual arts teachers and our talented students for their contributions.

Pictured are shots of Lincoln Center's hallway with current Visions art work, as well as some student pieces from the 2013 Visions Art Show that appeared in the CHCCS 2013-14 Parent Calendar & Companion.

Art work displayed for the 2014 Visions Art Show

Art work displayed for the 2014 Visions Art Show

Hailey Perez Cadena, Grade 1, FPG Elementary

Hannah Rayala, Grade 8, Smith MS

Jennifer Zou, Grade 9, East Chapel Hill HS

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Friday, April 25, 2014

CHCCS Announces Teachers of the Year for 2014-15

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: Emily Kochy, third grade teacher, Carrboro Elem.; Kristin Ducanis, third grade teacher, Ephesus Elem.; Dawn McClendon, reading/math intervention teacher, Estes Hills Elem.; Ann Harrawood, music teacher, FPG Elem.; Sheryl Finegan, fifth grade teacher, Glenwood Elem.; Mike Sharp, fourth grade teacher, McDougle Elem.; Amanda Woodroffe, fifth grade teacher, Morris Grove Elem.; Kim Fearrington, Kindergarten teacher, Northside Elem.; Ashley Laver, Kindergarten teacher, Rashkis Elem.; Susan Kenny, math/science specialist, Scroggs Elem.; and Molly McLean, LEAP fourth grade teacher, Seawell Elem.

At the middle school level, these teachers were selected:  Megan Taber, social studies teacher, Culbreth MS; Steven Simmons, social studies teacher, McDougle MS; Jennifer Marquis, CTE teacher, Phillips MS; and Regina Baratta, LEAP science teacher, Smith MS.

From the high schools, these teachers have been chosen:  Mary Beth Braker, English teacher, Carrboro HS; Jennifer Ballew, social studies teacher, Chapel Hill HS; Keith Gerdes, English teacher, East Chapel Hill HS; and Alicia Adcock, science teacher, Phoenix Academy HS.

All of the schools' Teachers of the Year will be honored May 30 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 May 1 from the Human Resources Department at Lincoln Center.  Tickets are $5 per person.

Pictured: 2013-14 Teachers of the Year at the
2013 Recognition Reception

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Friday, April 18, 2014

National Achievers Society Induction

Carrboro High hosted the Spring 2014 induction ceremony for the National Achievers Society on Friday, April 18. The purpose of the organization is to encourage, recognize and reinforce academic achievement among minority youth. Fifty-two students, representing Carrboro High, Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High, were inducted. Students, parents and counselors were treated to an inspiring message from special guest speaker Senator Valerie Foushee - a lifelong resident of our community and a graduate of Chapel Hill High.

Congratulations to all of our inductees!

Senator Val Foushee and Superintendent Tom Forcella congratulate 52 students at the National Achiever Society induction ceremony on Friday, April 18.  

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Community Schools Summer Camp and Summer Youth Enrichment Programs

Register now for the Community Schools Summer Camp and Summer Youth Enrichment programs. 
Summer camps are full-day, fun-themed camps for elementary-aged children that run from June 23 -
August 1.

The Summer Youth Enrichment program is for students of all grades and offers more than 30 different camps that range from art to science to reading to sports. 
Click here for more details, and to see what both programs have to offer.  For questions, contact the Community Schools Office at 919-967-8211 x28266.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Finance Office Earns Top Award for Financial Reporting

The Association of School Business Officials International recently announced that Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools has received the Certificate of Excellence award based on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending 2013.

As the only award program specifically designed for school district financial reporting, the Certificate of Excellence represents a significant achievement by the school district and finance department in meeting the highest standards of school financial reporting.  To receive the award, the district must satisfy specific guidelines for effective, high-quality financial reporting recognized by school business officials.

Sponsored by VALIC, the Certificate of Excellence award confirms the school business office’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency.  Recognition through this program can help strengthen a district’s presentation for bond issuance statements and promotes a high level of financial reporting.

Congratulations to Ruby Pittman, Executive Director of Budget and Finance, and her team for a job well done.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Ruth Morgan Wins a 2014 Lara Jane Parker Award for Excellence

Ruth Morgan, a speech-language pathologist at Ephesus Elementary School, has been selected as a winner of a 2014 Lara Jane Parker Award for Excellence by the board of directors of New Voices Foundation.

These awards are given to outstanding individuals, within the public schools of Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties and the Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools, who directly serve or advocate for children with both physical and communication challenges. Individuals selected for this honor have improved the lives of children who use alternate ways of communication and serve as an inspiration to others who work with such children.

Morgan has worked as a speech-language pathologist for CHCCS since 1992. She has special expertise in assistive technology, autism, and language.

Jamezetta Beford, chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, said Morgan helped to pioneer the use of assistive technology at Ephesus Elementary.

“Ruth Morgan has worked with students with disabilities at Ephesus Elementary and during the extended school year since the early 1990s. From as early as 1993, she was into assistive technology,” she said.  “Touch screens were new then, and she immediately began helping non-verbal students and those with low motor skills to use them, so they could learn from educational software.  She was the first user of a MessageMate with my daughter around 1994. We recorded our voices into the machine and overlaid pictures to match the words and phrases. This was the very beginning that would lead to iPads with sophisticated word banks in this decade!” 

Morgan will be honored during the Lara Jane Parker Awards ceremony scheduled for Thursday, April 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill.  She will receive a trophy along with a cash award of $500.

New Voices Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to help children with severe communication and physical challenges maximize their learning potential.

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