Friday, February 23, 2018

Strategic Plan Update

One of the many opportunities bestowed upon the new superintendent as she opened the 2017-18 school year was the creation of a new strategic plan. The current five-year plan, launched in 2013-14, was entering its final year.
Because strategic planning is a lengthy and detailed process, Dr. Baldwin knew our school district would need to simultaneously finish the current plan while preparing the next…and that it would take nearly a full year. The rest of this story is divided into three sections: Past, Present and Future.
The first step was to identify a small internal team that would drive the process. Three staff members were tabbed: Jeff Nash (Executive Director of Community Relations), Diane Villwock (Executive Director of Assessment and Research), and Misti Williams (Executive Director of Leadership and Federal Programs).
Next, a committee would need to be established. It was crucial that this committee resemble a cross section of our community. Seventeen people were selected, representing parents, community groups, students, teachers, principals and our local university. To date, the committee has met four times with another meeting scheduled in April. 
In order to create a plan that will guide our work for the next three years, it was important to collect data – specifically regarding the definition of student success, what is currently working and what needs changing. We also wanted to know what our community wants to see in the new plan.
Data was collected in a variety of ways. This fall, we sent a survey out to all families and all staff members. It was available in a variety of languages. The survey also went out on social media and was placed on the district website. We were pleased to receive nearly 1,100 responses.
Additionally, we asked each School Improvement Team to host a table top discussion – an event in which parents and community members could come in person and talk through their thoughts about what is currently working and what needs changing. Twenty of these events took place in a five-week span during October and November.
Dr. Baldwin and Jeff Nash also traveled to all schools between September and January, hosting 19 student focus groups and 20 staff focus groups. Separate focus groups were also conducted for business partners, principals, assistant principals, the Instructional Services Division and the High School Student Advisory Council. Altogether, 44 focus groups took place, with a combined participation of approximately 475 people.
The feedback collected from the survey, table top conversations and focus groups was massive – in fact, it was approximately 500 pages of input.
K-12 Insight, a company that assisted with the survey, also helped us sort the data into categories of comments that were mentioned by a “strong majority of participants”, “several participants” and “some participants.”
From there, the Strategic Planning Committee helped sort the feedback into four main categories. While the names may eventually change, they are currently being referenced as the following: Whole Child; Family and Community Engagement; Human Capital; and Organizational Structure.
These groupings give structure to the new plan.
The four categories were presented to the Cabinet in early February, and a captain was assigned to each. Those assignments are listed below.
            Whole Child – Rydell Harrison (Assistant Superintendent – Instructional Services)
            Family and Community Engagement – Jeff Nash (Executive Director – Community Relations)
            Human Capital – Erika Newkirk (Senior Executive Director – Human Resources)
            Organizational Structure – Todd LoFrese (Assistant Superintendent – Support Services)
Each captain has been tasked with drafting a set of goals for his/her area based on the data collected this fall. These draft goals are in the process of being written and will be collected soon. 
This will give shape to the new plan.
The next step is to move the goals from draft to final. They will be vetted by the Strategic Planning Committee to ensure they match the data provided by our community. They will also be previewed by the school principals to make sure that what makes it to the final plan will be both accomplishable and beneficial for students and families. 
The plan will then be brought to the Board for final approval. Once approved, it will be distributed electronically to our community and to staff. This will happen before the end of the current school year. Printed versions of the plan will be produced during the summer and available upon the opening of the 2018-19 school year. 
This new plan is indeed a huge project. However, our work will result in a compass that will surely keep us headed in the right direction for children. The planning process requires the participation of our entire community…but so does the implementation. Once we share the plan in June, know that the real work is just beginning. 
Thank you to everyone who has contributed feedback and expertise, and to everyone who will help us move forward. Your continued support of our students and schools is greatly appreciated.  

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Smith and Phillips Middle Schools Qualify for MathCounts State Finals

On Friday, February 16, the Smith Middle School MathCounts Team competed against 20 other schools and 160 students in the Orange-Durham Chapter MathCounts Competition. The event was held at the Carolina Student Union and hosted by the UNC Department of Mathematics.

Smith won the overall competition, taking eight of the top 10 spots. All 10 Smith students finished in the top 18. Ben Li was named the individual champion. The team qualified for the MathCounts State Finals held in one month at the NC School of Science and Math.

Phillips Middle School came in second place as a team, and Jeffrey Zhu of Phillips came in second place individually. The Phillips team also qualified for the State Finals.

Please join us congratulating the following students:

(Perfect score is 46)
Ben Li - 45 
Jeffrey Zhu - 44
Leo DeJong - 43
Michael Dai - 43
Bo Chi - 42
Kevin Ji - 40
Amanda Zhang - 39
Sophia Benjamin - 39
Thomas Shundi - 38
Tyler Yang - 38
Ben Knight - 37
Kevin Li - 37
Rama Varanasi - 36
Jiwon Kim - 35
Luke Chen - 35
Tyler Tan - 34 
The Smith team is coached by Boyd Blackburn and Rachel Haber. The Phillips team is coached by Angela Short. 

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Counselors Visit Firefighting Training Center

The day started unlike any previous Friday for several Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools counselors as they checked into the firefighting lab at Chapel Hill High and received their “gear” for the morning: overalls, jackets, helmets, gloves and goggles - along with light refreshments. The inaugural class of eight firefighting cadets helped oversee the suiting up of those somewhat bewildered counselors, showing them how to loop their suspenders and fix their masks and oxygen tanks. Kathi Breweur, Director of Career and Technical Education, joined the guests and suited up as well. Public Safety Academies instructor Perry Hall guided everyone out into the sunshine, and then the well-padded group piled into an activity bus and set out for the Chapel Hill Fire Department Training Center on Weaver Dairy Road.
At the center, the group was welcomed by a large contingent from the fire department, including Fire Chief Keith Porterfield. Penny Rich, Orange County Commissioner, also spent the morning with the district team, and she energetically embraced the full experience like a new recruit. The fire academy cadets have already spent numerous sessions at the center, and they often took the lead in helping the guests learn the ropes (and the hoses). Commissioner Rich said, “I was pleasantly surprised, after I put on my fire gear, to see that the class was going to be led by some of the students who have already gone through some training. They were enthusiastic and eager to teach me what they have learned…and they did an awesome job!" 
The participants were divided into three groups, and during the next two hours, they learned the correct use of fire extinguishers, how to operate the fire hoses and then haul the hoses through the burn building (it’s not lightweight!) With academy cadets as their scouts and teachers, the guests crawled up, down and through the pitch dark of the brick tower maze, even as they wrestled with all of the extra pounds and bulk of their gear. Ken Lathan, school counselor and football coach at Carrboro High, said, “I was really impressed by the students’ knowledge of the course, and I have a newfound respect for the hard work that our firefighters and EMT workers endure on a daily basis.”
Clearly, one of the of the most enjoyable activities was learning to control and maneuver the biggest hoses, which often required two people to hold on from the sheer velocity and power of the water. On a very warm, sunny day, it appeared that a few of the guests could have happily spent the rest of the morning, practicing their “extinguishing moves” as the fine spray cooled them off.
“After participating in some of the exercises with the students, I now have a renewed respect for firefighters and first responders,” said Julia Royal, school counselor at Chapel Hill High. “I was impressed with our EMT and firefighting students. They were confident, helpful and knowledgeable.”
The session at the center wrapped up with an examination of the 110 pound dummy that’s used in rescue trainings. Lathan was the only counselor who undertook the exercise of learning correct carry of dead weight. The student cadets called out encouragement as the CHS football coach grappled with the dummy, and one of them called out, “You should try the one that’s 185 pounds!” 
When the students and counselors returned to the fire lab at CHHS, there was still time for the EMT students to present a skills demonstration. They showed different ways to clear a victim’s airways, as well as how to apply a tourniquet to stop bleeding.
“The public safety academies at Chapel Hill High School are amazing!” said Keneisha Jones, counselor at McDougle Middle School. “It was incredible to see young adults fully engaged with hands on life skills that translate far beyond the classroom. These programs provide incredible career options for students who are ready to engage in life, and want to use their skills to serve our community!  The reality of students graduating from high school with the potential to automatically earn $35,000 a year with vast promotional opportunities is inspirational, especially for students who may not be fully interested in the more traditional four-year college route. These programs provide students with opportunities to find their niche and capitalize on them.”
Director Breweur expressed her gratitude to everyone who dedicated the morning to the training experience. “A big thank you to Chief Porterfield and his staff, as well as our Public Safety teacher, Perry Hall and his students for putting together a GREAT morning of hands-on activities for us on Friday. Thanks to our brave counselors and county commissioner, Penny Rich, for participating and learning more about the firefighting and EMT programs offered at CHHS.”
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Bus Drivers Needed for CHCCS / CHCCS necesita conductores de autobús escolar

Community Outreach for Transportation Department
Like many of the other elementary schools in the district, Glenwood celebrated African-American History Month by hosting a Read-In with guest readers, who all shared storybooks, poems and biographies of and by African-Americans. Glenwood’s event took place February 8th and 9th in classrooms and the media center. Nearly every student, K-5th, experienced the gifts offered by more than two dozen readers who included Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin, CHCCS district staff members, School Board members, UNC athletes and a variety of Orange County commissioners and others.

Anyone interested in driving for CHCCS, please contact the Human Resources Office at 919-967-8211, ext. 28230.  CHCCS is working to seek assistance from the Board of Education for signing bonuses, attendance bonuses and authority to “over staff.”  For any CHCCS employees who are licensed to drive a bus and are willing to help out during this shortage, please see the email sent to all staff on Friday, February 16.

In the meantime the Transportation Department is doing all it can to keep the buses rolling.  Routes have been combined when feasible and all Transportation staff are driving buses.  Please be patient when waiting for buses and when calling the Transportation Office, as everyone is out driving, making it challenging to answer calls and respond as quickly as usual.  This issue is not just affecting CHCCS, as school districts across North Carolina are experiencing this driver shortage.

CHCCS thanks its community for its patience and support as the district works through this difficult time.

Compromiso de la comunidad para el Departamento de Transporte
El Departamento de Transporte de CHCCS está experimentando una escasez severa en los conductores de autobús escolar. Muchos factores contribuyen a esto, incluidos el bajo desempleo, la enfermedad y los requisitos estatales nuevos para la concesión de licencias. Desafortunadamente, esto significa que CHCCS tiene más vacantes de las que el distrito puede cubrir con el personal existente, por lo que CHCCS está buscando ayuda en la comunidad.

Cualquier persona interesada en conducir para CHCCS debe contactar a la Oficina de Recursos Humanos al 919-967-8211, ext. 28230.  CHCCS está trabajando para buscar ayuda del Consejo de Administración del distrito para firmar bonificaciones, bonos de asistencia y autoridad para "prestar servicio con personal excedente". Para cualquier empleado de CHCCS que tenga licencia para conducir un autobús y esté dispuesto a ayudar durante esta escasez, consulte el correo electrónico enviado a todo el personal el viernes, 16 de febrero.

Mientras tanto, el Departamento de Transporte está haciendo todo lo posible para mantener los autobuses en marcha. Las rutas se han cambiado cuando ha sido posible y todo el personal de transporte ha estado conduciendo los autobuses. Tenga paciencia al esperar los autobuses y cuando llame a la Oficina de Transporte, ya que todos están conduciendo, por lo que es difícil responder llamadas y responder tan rápido como de costumbre. Este problema no solo afecta a CHCCS, ya que los distritos escolares de Carolina del Norte están experimentando esta escasez de conductores de autobús.

CHCCS agradece a su comunidad por su paciencia y apoyo mientras el distrito trabaja en este momento difícil.

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Carrboro ES Dismissing at 11 a.m. & No After-School on Feb. 21 / Los estudiantes de la Escuela de Primaria Carrboro salen a las 11 a.m. & No hay programa de después de la escuela el 21/ febrero

Power Outage Closes CES Early on Feb. 21
Power is out at Carrboro ES today due to an issue with an underground line. Duke Energy indicated the repair will take the duration of the day and will require the school to be without power.

Students are being dismissed at 11 a.m. and there is no after-school programs today.

Thank you for your flexibility.

La Escuela de Primaria Carrboro cierra temprano por falta de energía el 21/ febrero
La Escuela de Primaria Carrboro no tiene energía hoy debido a un problema con una línea que se encuentra bajo tierra. Duke Energy indicó que la reparación tomará todo el día y necesita quitarle la energía a la escuela.

read more "Carrboro ES Dismissing at 11 a.m. & No After-School on Feb. 21 / Los estudiantes de la Escuela de Primaria Carrboro salen a las 11 a.m. & No hay programa de después de la escuela el 21/ febrero"

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Glenwood Hosts African-American Read-In

History Month by hosting a Read-In with guest readers, who all shared storybooks, poems and biographies of and by African-Americans. Glenwood’s event took place February 8th and 9th in classrooms and the media center. Nearly every student, K-5th, experienced the gifts offered by more than two dozen readers who included Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin, CHCCS district staff members, School Board members, UNC athletes and a variety of Orange County commissioners and others.

"I always enjoy my time reading with our students," said Board Member James Barrett. "Their natural curiosity and passion for learning is inspiring." Board Vice-Chair Margaret Samuels and Board Member Amy Fowler also took their turns in the reader’s seat.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners was also well represented in the slate of readers. Chair Mark Dorosin shared a quote that really inspired the 5th graders: "The struggle is the victory." That simple statement prompted much circle discussion among the 5th grade students. They shared their own struggles and talked about how working through struggles is a victory in itself.

Commissioner Renee Price first spoke about her educational background, as well as her professional journey. She mentioned that, as a graduate student, she had spent most of a weekend accompanying Rosa Parks to events. Students were fascinated by that revelation, and they had plenty of questions for Price. She then read a number of Langston Hughes poems to 4th grade students, and she sought their responses and interpretations.

“The readers inspired students to learn more about African-American history, leaders, and authors, as well as inspiring them to continue working hard in their educational paths,” said Katherine Whittington, Glenwood, Principal Intern and co-organizer of the read-in.

A small group of 5th grade female students enjoyed a Lunch-and-Listen when their guest readers appeared in the classroom. JoJo Jones, a UNC freshman basketball player, and Ru Mucherera, a soccer player, took turns reading, asking the girls questions and sharing their own thoughts about education, stories, and sports. 

Jones read Despite the Height, a book by former UNC star point guard, Ivory Latta; the picture book captures the WNBA player’s experience learning to play basketball against her older, bigger brothers. Both women encouraged the girls to remember how important it is to focus on academics, even when sports are a primary passion. “Do the best you can in school,” Jones said. “Just because you play the sport well doesn’t mean you automatically get to go to any school you want.” She went on to say that she’d like to play professional ball, but not for long; she hopes to return to law school and become a sports lawyer. Jones provided an off-the-cuff, brief overview of Title IX, and she urged them to think about why it matters in so many areas of women’s lives.

“Discussions about the books, authors, and lives of those that they read about continued to be discussed throughout the week,” Whittington said. “We loved seeing our young scholars interact with community volunteers who inspire them and challenge them.”
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Friday, February 16, 2018

CHCCS Student Artists Exhibit at FRANK Outreach Gallery

Ori and Valen Moore, brothers who attend Seawell and Rashkis Elementary Schools, are veteran prize-winners in past Reflections competitions, but they had never had the opportunity to greet the public and discuss their creations in a gallery space, until last week.
The annual PTA Reflections Art competition rose to a more visible and celebrated stage on Friday, February 9 when the FRANK Community Outreach Gallery hosted a reception and show of CHCCS artwork, at the same time the main FRANK Gallery welcomed hundreds of friends and patrons to its recently opened location at University Place. The inaugural event was a crowded and joyful success.
Each year, the district selects 30 works of student art to compete at the state level of the Reflections Program. This year’s winners came from eleven CHCCS schools, and they embraced all of the eligible art forms: dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts. Additionally, all students who entered Reflections this year were invited to display their art in the gallery, so there were over 100 pieces to enjoy. In the large gallery space, student artists, their friends and families mingled with community patrons.
The PTA Reflections Art Show brought families from schools throughout the district together and created a great community feeling,” said Lisa Kaylie, PTA Council President. “We are so grateful to the FRANK for allowing us to host the PTA Reflections Art Show in their new community space in University Place.  People enjoyed walking back and forth between the two FRANK spaces and everyone was so proud of the work of our student artists.  I heard one woman marvel, ‘Is this art from the students in our local CHCCS schools?’”  
Kaylie praised the intensive commitment from Carrboro Elementary PTA parent and visual artist Heather Lewis who organized the district Reflections contest for the first time. Most observers hope it won’t be her last. “I wanted to be involved to help promote the arts for the students,” Lewis said. “Once the entries from the schools started coming in, I was really touched by all who wanted to participate and thought it would be great to provide a platform to highlight the talent in the area.  I reached out to University Place, and that is where I learned about the opportunity with the FRANK. The show is really touching,” she added. “You can see the variety of interpretations on the theme ‘Within Reach,’ from a giraffe reaching for a beautifully colored red apple, to music compositions about the sea, and wonderfully choreographed dances. What has inspired these children has inspired me, and I hope the community feels the same.”
During the reception, the Moore brothers stood near their complex art pieces and quietly took questions and explained their process and sources of inspiration. Ori, a fifth-grade student at Seawell, had explored the experience of spending “a day on a river” with an original musical composition, photographs and a lyrical artist’s statement. Rashkis third-grader Valen used an original composition for saxophone, a poem and two photographs to capture his feelings about spending time on a boat in the ocean. The past two years, Ori has placed second in the state Reflections competitions, and in 2016, as a first-grader, Valen received a first place North Carolina award and went on to receive an honorable mention at the national level.
Another sibling pair, April and Kevin Guo from Morris Grove, also will move on to the state level. Their paintings hung side by side, similar in their compelling use of color and the sophistication of their concepts and execution, but very different in other ways.
Many of the art pieces drew a steady flow of admirers throughout the evening. A favored spot in the gallery was where tables were set up along a wall with laptops showing dance performances and original videos on continuous loop.
Near the front of the gallery hung the largest piece on display, a brilliantly detailed painting of animals, both extinct and endangered. Abby Welch, a student at Carrboro High School, talked patiently and graciously to a constant stream of viewers, from beginning to end of the reception. “Having my art up in the FRANK Gallery and getting to talk to so many people about it has been a truly unique and wonderful experience,” Welch said. “I was astonished by how many people were interested in my piece, and I enjoyed hearing their interpretations and questions. It was also amazing to have the opportunity to spread awareness of the challenges facing wildlife and the environment, which was the main focus of my art, and have it be seen by so many people. I am very thankful for the school, the PTA, the Reflections contest, and the FRANK Gallery for this incredible opportunity.” Welch won a third place award in film production at the state level in 2016.
Welch is one of six Carrboro High School students whose work will progress to the state level, an impressive feat, since only 30 CHCCS artists can claim that distinction. Art teacher Candacie Schrader said, “I cannot think of a better group of young artists to work with and be proud to call my students. My students absorb so much of what is taught to them, and the level of understanding and interpretation of everything expected is very well-rounded and mature in their visual representations.”             
FRANK Gallery allowed the show to hang from January 28 until the end of the reception on February 9, so the number of people who viewed the art numbered in the many hundreds. Jean LeCluyse, Artist Membership Chair of FRANK said, “We are delighted that the exhibits and the receptions went so well! Partnering with CHCCS is perfect for our inaugural event at the Michael & Laura Brader-Araje Community Outreach Gallery. As artists in the community we are thrilled to have the opportunity to encourage our young artists and creatives! We look forward to future collaborations. Thanks also to University Place for their support.”
“The Reflections art show was a tremendous event,” said Board Chair Rani Dasi. “We have amazingly talented students, and it is always a treat see their talents on display.”

View slide show from reception:

                                  CHCCS Reflections PTA Winners:

Carrboro Elementary:
Griffin Kalavsky
Juliette Elia
Lucy Safir
Tova Ohlrich
McDougle Elementary:
Katarina Rosario-Soto
Morris Grove:
Leah Johnson
Kevin Guo
April Guo
Becca Clarke
Ariya Jensen
Victoria Schmidt
Jovie Forrest
Marin Lissy
Valen Moore
Ori Moore

Estes Hills:
Mena Boggs
Nico Sye
Poppy DeAlmeida
Valentina Podolyanskaya

Frank Porter Graham:
Emmanuel Bastides
Michael Penaskovic

East Chapel Hill High:
Esther Bach
Yushentong Fang
Jabria Oliver
Carrboro High:
Riley Erwin
Amelia Mack
Luisa Marin
Wah Oo
Mia Parent
Abby Welch

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

School in Session on Feb. 19 - NO Holiday / Escuelas en sesión el 19 feb. - NO es un día festivo

February Holiday Canceled
The holiday scheduled on Monday, February 19, has been canceled and this day is now a regular school day. This is to make up for the snow day on January 5.

Día festivo de febrero ha sido cancelado
El día festivo programado para el lunes, 19 de febrero, ha sido cancelado y es ahora un día de escuela regular. Esto es para reponer el día de no escuela por causa de la nieve el 5 de enero.

read more "School in Session on Feb. 19 - NO Holiday / Escuelas en sesión el 19 feb. - NO es un día festivo"

Friday, February 9, 2018

Chapel Hill High CTE Student Advances in National Competition

Nadiya Farrington loved art and math as a young child, but it wasn’t until she took a class on Career Explorations at McDougle Middle School that she discovered architecture as a path to blending her two passions. “The fire in her didn’t start at Chapel Hill High,” said Mary Jones, Career and Technical Education Special Populations Coordinator. “She arrived with it already strong.” Now, as a senior at CHHS, Farrington already has more experience and accolades in her budding architecture career than many college seniors. Among her numerous accomplishments is her recent nomination as one of five North Carolina CTE (Career and Technical Education) students to advance to the semifinalist level in the national Presidential Scholars Program for 2018. She is the only young woman of the five candidates from our state.
Bound for Cornell University’s top-ranked undergraduate Architecture Program this fall, Farrington has balanced academics, club and varsity volleyball and countless hours of service during her four years at CHHS. Her resume shines with all the highlights. But architecture drives most of what she has chosen for summer experiences and volunteering, both locally with Habitat for Humanity, and construction projects in Mexico and Guatemala. It all comes back to building and design for her.
“I love that it’s a permanent art form, and yet it impacts people in their everyday lives,” Farrington said. “It exists for such a long time, and the buildings stand as visual representations of cultural backgrounds and values that you as an architect have - and also as reflections of the community you build them in.”
Her formal study began in ninth grade, in William McSwain’s Drafting I class at CHHS. Then she took Drafting-Architectural II and III, and she excelled in each course. "Nadiya's passion for Architecture has honestly made me a better teacher. Her drive and natural curiosity have challenged me as a teacher to challenge her to perform to her potential, and I am a better teacher because of it," McSwain said.
Although Farrington participated in summer enrichment programs at the University of Tennessee and at NC State, it wasn’t until she won a scholarship to Cornell’s Introduction to Architecture 2017 summer program that she realized her entire frame of reference had changed. “I spent six weeks at Cornell, and I took on a new perspective. I learned to look at and appreciate experiences differently, to look at the world through an architect’s point of view, noticing how you enter a room, walk through a building or what you see when you drive through a city.”
At Cornell last summer, she earned six hours of college credit by completing both Introduction to Architecture and Design Studio. While there, she connected with her first female mentor, and she knows it’s important to keep seeking out women architects to learn from, in a field that is still dominated by white males. As one of only seven underrepresented minorities of the 100 participants at Cornell, Farrington said she recognized how important it will be to mentor other young women of color, once she advances in her career.
In addition to the pre-professional experience she has gained through the summer programs, she has undertaken much more strenuous and rudimentary building projects during her service trips to Guatemala and Mexico. “On both trips, I was helping build houses for families in need. In Guatemala, we first had to clear out their old living environment of corn stalks and dirt floors. It was really eye-opening that four sturdy walls represented so much to them,” Farrington said.
The trip to Mexico was organized by her church, and the main project was the construction of a church and parsonage which were on top of a hill. “They were visible for miles around,” Farrington said, noting that the experience taught her to consider how your work impacts not only the people who physically interact with the buildings but also from a distance, when people look up to those spaces for hope and inspiration.
When Farrington isn’t playing volleyball, studying physics or calculus or volunteering at Habitat, she still needs to find time to work on weekends, both as a cashier in a grocery store, and as an amanuensis for a visually impaired client. At home, she helps out as she can, cooking dinner and spending time with her younger sister. Yet she insists that she does sleep every night! “Because I’ve been passionate about everything I wanted to do, it wasn’t like I was being forced. I’m always driving myself.”
As Farrington’s nomination moves through the levels of judging, criteria for evaluation will prioritize involvement and service, leadership and character, heavy workload and obstacles overcome, in addition to academic achievement. Sixty CTE semi-finalists for this prestigious award will be announced in March, and the twenty winners will be selected in April.
“Although we had several outstanding nominations this year for the US Presidential Scholars program for CTE, Nadiya's overall experience and how she overcame personal barriers while maintaining academic excellence impressed our interview team the most,” said Kathi Breweur, Director of Career and Technical Education with CHCCS.  “Nadiya's passion for architecture, coupled with her strong desire to help others, is inspirational.  This is a young woman who is a natural leader and a solid role model for her peers. We wish her the best of luck in the next phase of the selection process.”
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CHCCS Announces 17 Candidates for U.S. Presidential Scholars

Last month the candidates for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program were announced, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools can claim 16 students in the general category, as well as Nadiya Farrington as the only CTE (Career and Technical Education) Scholars candidate for a total of 17 students. In 2017, the district produced six candidates, and in 2016, nine candidates progressed to the semi-final round, with Jay Pande from East Chapel Hill High winning one of the two North Carolina awards that year. This year, only Wake County has more candidates in the running from our state.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program of the Department of Education was established by executive order of the President in 1964, with a mission of honoring some of the country’s highest achieving high school seniors. The program expanded in 1979 to include a category for students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the arts, and in 2015, a further expansion recognized students who demonstrate strong ability and accomplishment in CTE fields. As many as 161 students are named Presidential Scholars each year.
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

The candidates from Carrboro High are:
Jackson Asaro
        Benjamin Gerhardt
        Andre Javan
        Jonathan Moul
        Arjun Shankar
From Chapel Hill High, the candidates are:

        Anne Crabill
        Douglas Heine
        Jerry Ji
        Maggie Weber
        Nadiya Farrington (CTE)
And East Chapel Hill High’s candidates are:

        Natalie Troy
        Mian Qin
        Yixuan Cao
        Matthew Dai
        Vincent Du
        Martin Hito
        Alexander Hito
The 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars will be comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.
For the general category of the program, candidates must score exceptionally well on either the SAT or the ACT, based on tests taken between September, 2015 through October, 2017. All candidates are nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO) or by one of the Department of Education’s partner recognition organizations based on outstanding scholarship. Application for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is by invitation only.
Semi-finalists will be announced in late March, with Scholars announced in April. In June, the Presidential Scholars will be invited to Washington D.C. for recognition ceremonies, including a probable visit to the White House.

Good luck to all CHCCS candidates-- and congratulations!

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