Thursday, May 31, 2018

Culbreth Greenhouse Becomes a Classroom

Mohammad tended to the plants with the quiet, serene focus of a natural gardener, while Arnaud claimed, “All you need to say is it puts a smile on my face to be in the greenhouse.” They are two of the six 8th grade students in Billy Giblin’s reading class at Culbreth Middle School who have participated in an informal pilot experience that could be titled, “Learning in the Greenhouse.” Once or twice a week, they leave their traditional classroom and enter a zone of plants and light.
     
The building was installed at Culbreth in 2014 as part of the Alice Gordon Science Wing, a 14,700 square foot addition which included Solatube skylights and bamboo flooring in classrooms. The new greenhouse was advertised as being available to all Culbreth staff, but there have been relatively few teachers who have used the space since it opened.

Giblin noted that many of his students learn more efficiently and enthusiastically if they are not asked to “sit, sit, sit all the time.” The greenhouse became a focus of his re-direction toward more hands-on learning, even though, he said, “I didn’t know how to grow anything.” But the vision took shape for Giblin, and he, like his students, has learned as a novice, week by week.
     
CHCCS Sustainability Director, Dan Schnitzer, agreed to pitch in to develop ideas for greenhouse instruction, though he claimed to know little more than Giblin, who said, “Having Dan collaborate...there’s always strength in numbers.” 
He admitted that he kept asking himself, "What if nothing grows?" Fortunately, he was inspired by Superintendent Baldwin’s Convocation challenge to staff to take risks and have fun in their work with students.
     
Giblin explored various options for funding; his proposal for greenhouse learning won a competitive Whole Kids grant for $2,000. As the class jumped into gardening last fall, planting a range of greens and other vegetables, Giblin and Schnitzer chose creative additions, like an aeroponic Tower Garden, which holds up to 20 different plants in less than three square feet of space. 
     
The instructional goals covered both reading and math. Students researched and chose what plants to grow; they studied manuals to understand how equipment worked, and they calculated and measured nutrients for hydroponic and soil plantings skills. “They read seed packets,” Schnitzer said. “They read about how to price their packs of seedlings. A big goal - and I think success - was having them learn and read while doing something new, fun and productive.” 
The spring yield provided enough tomato, herb and marigold seedlings that the class was able to sell the "fruits of their labor" to staff at Lincoln Center, earning over $300. 
     
Perhaps more exciting to the Culbreth gardeners was the end-of-year opportunity to divide up seedlings and larger plants among themselves. Briana said that her mother kept asking for more cilantro, and Mohammad said that his father already gardens near their home, so he’s looking forward to integrating his own raised-from-seed vegetable plants into the family plot.
     
These 8th grade students will move on to Carrboro and Chapel Hill High next year, but Giblin already has new ideas for expanding his use of greenhouse learning, and hopefully, more students will catch the “gardening bug.”

 


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

TSA Chapters Excel in STEM

Leaders of the Technology Student Association (TSA) chapters at five of our schools recently took nearly 80 students to Greensboro for two days to participate in the 39th annual NCTSA State Conference. They engaged in STEM- (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and leadership-based competitions, and learned much in the process. They did an amazing job of representing our district's Career and Technical Education (CTE) department.

TSA chapters take the study of STEM beyond the classroom and give students the chance to pursue academic challenges among friends with similar goals and interests. 

CTE teachers serve as chapter advisors, but the student members govern the organization through chapter, state and national level officers. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' TSA students hold a legacy of leadership with 12 students holding an NCTSA state officer positions since 2003, with four of those as state presidents. 

Along with incubating the leaders of tomorrow, TSA is nurturing tomorrow's scientists, engineers, journalists, trades people and educators. This is evident when one looks at the awards our TSA chapters brought home from the conference. Below you will find a section for each of the five chapters in our district. Students from four of the schools are already making plans to attend the National TSA Conference in Atlanta, June 22-26, and will no doubt continue to represent our district with their talent, integrity and STEM skills on full display. 

In fact, both McDougle Middle and East Chapel Hill High TSAs will receive the Chapter Excellence Award in NCTSA for their respective school levels. The awards will be announced and received at the upcoming National TSA Conference. The advisors for both schools are extremely proud of all of their chapter members. 
_____ 

Culbreth Middle School TSA - Mike Sharp, Advisor

The Culbreth TSA chapter was new this year, and the level of involvement was amazing. They had 30 members join the team, and 13 were able to compete at the state conference. Under the guidance and leadership of officers, Yash Gupta, Xavier Van Raay, and Sebastian Malhotra, students performed at their personal best and succeeded in bringing home a total of 5 trophies.

The following students won trophies in their events:

1st place in Coding: Sebastian Malhotra and Ben Shoenbill
2nd place in Community Service Video: Sarah Stephens and Xavier Van Raay
2nd place in Promotional Marketing: Daniel Estevez
3rd place in STEM Animation: Daniel Estevez, Miles Prenda, and Yuta Tsuboi
3rd place in Tech Bowl: Xavier Van Raay, Yash Gupta, and Srinivas Iyengar
_____

Phillips Middle School TSA - Ryan Barnes, Advisor

Phillips Middle School TSA placed in a number of events and represented their school, district and chapter in outstanding fashion.

1st Place Structural Engineering: Kabir Grewal, Raymond Zhao
2nd Place Microcontroller Design: Ethan Bartlett, Kabir Grewal, Hanqi Xiao, Jake Boggs, Graham Troy
2nd Place Website Design: Jake Boggs, Anna Finklestein, Meilin Weathington
3nd Place Electrical Applications: Ethan Bartlett
_____ 

McDougle Middle School TSA - Redmond Grigg and Kate Major, Advisors

These young men and women worked hard, smart ,and with so much heart this year as they prepared for competition. The trophies they earned are but symbols of their consistent and forthright efforts. They resurrected and helped beautify their school's outdoor classroom. They also ran a successful campaign to raise over $1,000 for the American Cancer Society through the Relay For Life at UNC. What an amazing feat for a group that only had three returning members. 

1st Place Community Service Video: Amelia Brinson, Lula Caress, Lucas Gutierrez-Arnold, Mateo La Serna, Vincent Paquet, Sophie Ussery Intintolo
1st Place Junior Solar Sprint: Nivas Kolli, Alexis Mead
1st Place Mechanical Engineering: Nora Daley, Nivas Kolli, Katie Randolph, Noah Wegner
1st Place American Cancer Society Fundraising: Raised $1,095 through Relay For Life
2nd Place Essays on Technology: Erin Gottschalk
2nd Place Flight: Ani Yu
2nd Place Inventions & Innovations: Lars Kahn, Gabo Ochoa Samoff, Noah Wegner
2nd Place Leadership Strategies: Amelia Brinson, Lucas Gutierrez-Arnold, Lars Kahn
2nd Place Problem Solving: Diogo Gomes, Noah Wegner
3rd Place Biotechnology: Ryan Atack, Alexis Mead, Gabo Ochoa Samoff, Guillermo Vizuette
3rd Place Career Prep: Nora Daley
3rd Place Forensic Technology: Amelia Brinson, Katie Randolph
3rd Place Technical Design: Daniel Furberg, Ani Yu
_____ 

Chapel Hill High School TSA - Redmond Grigg, Advisor

While no Chapel Hill High student placed in their competitive events at the state conference, they still did an incredible job representing their chapter, school and district. All of the state officers from our district were Chapel Hill High students, including the previously mentioned four state presidents.

Kyle Halstater first joined TSA as a 6th grader at McDougle Middle School. This was Kyle's third year holding a state office as he just finished his tenure as the 2017-2018 NCTSA State President. 

Angel Koshy will carry on the tradition of leadership as the 2018-2019 NCTSA State Reporter. She's held chapter officer positions during middle and high school, frequently serving as a mentor to younger newer members. 

Jillian Breithaupt served two years as a state officer, and as the 2016-2017 NCTSA State President, she helped to revive the NCTSA Fall Leadership Rally as a means of cultivating future state officers and leaders in TSA. 
_____ 

East Chapel Hill High School TSA - Pat Pudlo, Advisor

East Chapel Hill's TSA had semifinalists (top 12) in 13 events, and for the first time in this chapter's history, two students, Gabe Valera and Mike Pudlo, ran for state officer positions.

2nd Place Coding: Andy Farkas, Ravi Pitelka, Joseph Ahrendsen
2nd Place CAD 3D: Tarun Goyal
3rd Place Video Game Design: Andy Farkas, Ravi Pitelka
_____ 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools TSA wishes to thank CTE DIrector Kathi Breweur for her staunch and unwavering support for TSA in our district! Our TSA chapters grow and flourish as a direct result of Kathi's support and guidance for CTE teachers and students alike. Kathi's belief in the power and opportunities student organizations like TSA provide CTE students, makes her an exemplary leader.
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District Staff Receive SNAColade Awards

SNAColades 2017/18

Note from SNAC: The Special Needs Advisory Council (SNAC) created SNAColades to honor Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' teachers, staff and administrators who, through their hard work and creativity, make our children's school experience more meaningful.  The following have been selected for this recognition based on the testimonials of the Exceptional Children community.  Below each name is a quote from an appreciative parent or CHCCS administrator.

Estes Hills Elementary School

  • Ryan Grimm - Mr. Grimm has great insight into his students' needs and motivations.  He challenges them to reach their potential while recognizing the supports needed to get them to that point.  He is also a diligent communicator with parents and responsive to their concerns.


Frank Porter Graham Elementary 

  • Emily Bivens - Although a Principal’s job entails a range of tasks, Dr. Bivens has gone above and beyond by supporting my daughter and our family through a rough transition into Kindergarten.  She’s met with her regularly to work on developing better friendships and social skills.  She’s given us a glimmer of hope for the future grades.
  • June Pacheco - Ms. Pacheco recently relocated to CHCCS, and hit the ground running. She brought decades of experience to the EC department at FPG, and the results I've seen in my child are stunning. And I don't just mean grades or test scores.  Ms. Pacheco handles the children in the EC department with respect and holds them accountable for their actions by rewarding them with accolades.  The children are learning to deal with their emotions better through a recently adopted second-step program and Ms. Pacheco is implementing this program in the EC department.  The children have fewer outbursts and emotional meltdowns as a result.  It's a pleasure to have Ms. Pacheco at FPG, and I highly recommend her for a SNAColade. 

Northside Elementary

  • Mary Naylor - Mary has been involved with my son since second grade, either as his EC teacher directly or facilitating with another EC teacher.  My son is now in 5th grade.  I can not say enough good things about her dedication and hard work.  She has gone above and beyond in so many ways and made a such a positive difference in our lives.  A huge thank you from our whole family.

Northside Pre-K

  • Sarah Michels - Sarah has been working with my son for three years and the language that he has acquired over this time has been extraordinary.  He went in not speaking but only having about 15 words total and now he is one of the most talkative kids in the class.  Her hard work with him has really made a huge difference and I thank her for that.
  • Ronetta Walker - She is amazingly patient.  She pushes my child to his fullest potential so that he can succeed.  She is in constant communication with me and lets me know if something is going on, if something needs to be changed.  She has been a lifesaver and making sure that he is fully ready for kindergarten this upcoming year.
  • Pre-K Intervention Team - Thankful for this entire team.  They have helped me and explained everything in detail if needed.  Thanks to Ms. Wilson, Ms. Moore, and all others that have played a part in my son's educational experience.  He had made so much growth in being in the Pre-K class.  Thank you all.

Scroggs Elementary

  • Crystal Epps - Ms. Epps is a world- class principal who strives to include children and families with special needs.  She listens to families, students and teachers and helps to resolve problems in a warm, logical and timely manner.  It is critical for students with special needs to have such a professional and caring leader.  She is intelligent, warm, empathetic, fun, and we are grateful each and every day that our children and others with special needs benefit from her leadership.  She listens and problem-solves and educates herself on matters big and small.  With regard to the special needs population, I've seen her attend SNAC meetings after-hours (non-mandatory and clearly indicative of her commitment).  I see her call the names of our children and others with special needs,  on a daily basis.  She greets them with warmth as they enter the building.  She knows them well and supports the teachers when they face challenges.  We are inspired by Ms. Epps and would like her to receive the recognition she deserves.  Lastly,  and importantly Ms. Epps doesn't shy away from difficult moments.  We as parents of SN children will sometimes be anxious or "freak out" about particular situations.  Ms. Epps picks up the phone and calls and reassures us in such situations and we are forever grateful for this.  Thank you Ms. Epps!!!
  • Gina Pellegrini - I am giving Gina a SNAColade for her time, patience and understanding she has given my child this year.  His continued growth throughout this grade level wouldn't be possible without Ms. Pellegrini's guidance.  Thank YOU!
  • Dottie Small - Ms. Small has been exemplary in the practice of inclusion, when it comes to teaching our son (who has autism) in a mainstream classroom.  She sees his progress and praises him for social improvements, which may go unrecognized by others.  We are deeply grateful for her structured teaching approach and importantly warmth and acceptance of our son.  Our son's fifth grade year has been wonderful both academically as well as socially and we believe Ms. Small plays a major role.  Ms. Small helps him to engage with his peers and to provide him positive reinforcement needed for improvement.  She recognizes his abilities and judges his success based on where he started (not where others are currently at!).  She additionally helps other children to understand our son and to provide him with needed social support.  In this age group,  it is important to also help a special needs child when they struggle with classmates or challenging peer situations.  Ms. Small has demonstrated a clear ability to go above and beyond to support such children.  We feel very lucky to have you as a teacher and appreciate all of the hard work. 

Seawell Elementary
  • Julie Halpert - Ms. Halpert has several Twice Exceptional children in her classroom, and she teaches, supports, and encourages them with incredible skill, kindness, and patience.  She seems to care deeply for each individual child, and she ensures that they are thriving!
McDougle Middle School
  • Kate Major - As a TA In the AC classroom Ms. Major stepped up to provide leadership and stability while the teacher is away on maternity leave.  She has worked hard to keep up communication with us and continued to provide continuity in our daughter's experience at school.  Losing a teacher is a stressful event for a special needs student, but Ms. Major has gone over and above to keep things as stable as possible.
Phillips Middle School 
  • Danielle Riley - Ms. Riley is the "kid whisperer."  She has a magical touch with children in crisis, which stems from her great empathy and patience.  She is entirely non-judgemental with students and puts them at ease, which allows her to get to heart of an issue and start working on solutions.  I am forever grateful to her for the times she has helped my son work through a difficult time.  Yay, Ms. Riley!
  • Sydney Ryals - Ms. Ryals is steadfast in her kindness and patience and is the rock that my son has relied upon all year.  In IEP meetings, she looks at challenges from a variety of perspectives and is a creative problem-solver.  Many of her ideas on how to help my son cope and engage have been helpful this year, and we are tremendously grateful to her for being so dedicated to his success.  Yay, Ms. Ryals!
  • Kaleigh Vogan - Moving from elementary school to middle school is a big transition for any child, but can be even more difficult for a child with special needs.  From the moment Ms. Vogan reached out to us last summer for a school tour, I had a good feeling about 6th grade.  Having Ms. Vogan as part of my son’s team  has made such a positive impact.  When he needs her, she is there for him.  For our son, knowing that he has her support has been a huge comfort for him and for us.  Thank you. 

Smith Middle School 
  • Gina Chapman - Ms. Chapman started at Smith in Jan 2018.  She is very patient, caring and kind to all the students and staff in the AC classroom.  She communicates well with parents and makes herself accessible.
  • Danka Kulikowski - Thank you Ms. Kulikowski for encouraging our granddaughter this year. She has blossomed under your direction.  She can be shy, but to see her on stage with a speaking part, brought such joy to my heart.  Thank you!
  • Chris Glasco - Mr. Glasco joined the Smith EC team in Sept 2017.  He cares deeply about the students' well being and participation in the classroom, as well as in their specials outside of the AC classroom.  His youthful demeanor and winning smile are a hit as he navigates the hallways and cafeteria with our students.
  • Fred Feely - We don’t know what we would have done without your daily support of Violet.  You helped to keep her and us on track.  You are a dedicated professional! Thank you.
  • Margaret Maternowski - Ms. Maternowski, we appreciate your understanding and flexibility in designing a program for our granddaughter.  We couldn’t have done it without your support!  Thank you.
  • Irene Slydel - Thank you for all your help with our granddaughter this year.  It has been a stressful year, and your assistance really helped.
Carrboro High School
  • Brittany Deeds - We are thankful for Ms. Deeds for providing us with the opportunity to complete real, valuable work within our school.  We are grateful that she relinquished control of the school supply closet to our students so they can gain skills with reading, counting and vocational work endurance while filling teacher supply orders.  Ms. Deeds is flexible, cheerful and gives us opportunities to be valued members of the community.
  • Kelly Furr - We are grateful that Ms. Furr joined the CHS team!  She volunteered as a chaperone on multiple occasions to make our Community Based Instructional opportunities possible.  We are thankful for her positivity and interest in our activities.
  • Lorrie Marro
    • Ms. Marro, the transition facilitator at CHS, made a point to connect with my son from the beginning of his freshman year as an OCS student at Carrboro High.  She spent time getting to know him, beyond the assessments and evaluations. Ms. Marro identified him as a good candidate for Appalachian State University's Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP).  By his junior year Ms. Marro had made sure we (his parents) understood the requirements of the application process, and the goals he needed to meet in order to be a competitive candidate.  She, along with the whole EC department, helped him work on self-advocacy, self-management, independence, and a raft of academic goals.  During this, his senior year, Ms. Marro worked closely with him and us to get all the pieces in place for his application to SDAP - many, many documents, assessments, evaluations, interviews, work samples, transcripts... We all were glad to have that submitted in November!  By January we knew that he was on the short list. And in late March we learned that he had gotten a spot in the program--one of five students to be accepted, as we understand it.  He is the first CHS student to achieve place in the SDAP. He and we are thrilled!  He has worked very hard - and of all his excellent school support, it is the support of Lorrie Marro that made the biggest difference.  Our son has attended CHCCS schools from K-12 grade.  We are happy that he is ready to move on - and we are profoundly grateful to Ms. Marro, and to the dozens of other teachers and staff that have been part of his education!
    • Ms. Marro is a phenomenal Transition Facilitator and going above and beyond for every student regardless of what type of transition needs they have.  Ms. Marro is incredibly creative has unbelievable energy and does not stop until she thinks the student is on the right path for a successful exit from high school.  Thanks, Ms. Marro!
  • Donna McMillan - Ms. McMillan has a never ending supply of patience for our students.  She extends herself after school and on weekends to support our students' interests and activities.  Her warm smile, gentle style, and attentiveness help our students express their interests and increase their confidence with interactions.
  • Katie Moorehead - Ms. Moorehead goes above and beyond to make sure that our students are embraced by their community.  She volunteers her time, makes materials for us, supports us in activities and continually brightens our day!
  • Brett Stegall - Ms. Stegall creates an inclusive class environment and structures activities and lessons so students of all abilities experience success.  Because of her structures and positive attitude, students are comfortable to try new things and find true friendships in our school.
  • Quianna Phillips - We appreciate Ms. Phillips for her energy, enthusiasm and support of our skills and interests.  We are thankful that Ms. Phillips volunteered her time to serve as a chaperone this year to make our Community Based Instructional opportunities possible.
  • Martha Phipps - Ms. Phipps serves as our CHS bookkeeper and is one of the ultimate "Yes, and..." supporters of our students.  Always behind the scenes, Ms. Phipps helps manage funds from our grants, orders supplies, and makes it possible for magic to happen in the classroom.
  • April Ross - Ms. Ross serves as the Athletic Director at Carrboro HS.  She is unwavering in her support of our students and their rights to be on the fields, courts, track and true members of our teams. 
Chapel Hill High School
  • Kate Kennedy - I am so thankful that the school has supported the role of a twice exceptional expert, and I couldn't think of anyone better for the position than Kate Kennedy.  She is fantastic at bringing the perspective of both giftedness and disabilities to the table, and she has provided much guidance for our son over the years.
  • Ryan McGraw - Mr. McGraw has gone out of his way to help guide our son in choosing appropriate courses each year taking his disabilities into consideration.  He truly goes above and beyond.  Thank you!
TRAC/PATHSS/PATHSS Bridge
  • Su Wanamaker - For persevering with coordinating the TRAC, PATHSS and PATHSS Bridge program.  We are looking forward to her leadership next year and hope that she will stick with it!

read more "District Staff Receive SNAColade Awards"

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Chapel Hill Tigers - 3A State Girls Soccer Champs!

Congratulations to the Chapel Hill Tigers for clinching the 3A state girls soccer championship on Saturday night. It was a long, hard fought battle against a very strong opponent, coupled with a delayed start and a 35-minute in-game delay due to lightning. When the final whistle blew, the Tigers beat Cox Mill 1-0 in a game that took over three hours to complete. The lone goal was scored in the 16th minute by sophomore Maddie Reiter off a perfect corner kick from Isabel Leinenweber.

The momentous victory ended a terrific season that featured historic defense. The Tigers finished the season 19-1-1, only surrendering two goals the entire season! This feat has only been done twice previously - Carrboro and Hickory each accomplished it in 2015.

Head Coach Jason Curtis, also coach of the boys soccer team (which also won the state championship in the fall), spoke of his girls team following the game. "The work they put in...they totally buy in. They play for each other. They work hard...They just play. It's amazing."

With only one senior on the team, the future of girls soccer in Chapel Hill looks extremely promising.

Way to go, Tigers!
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Last Day of School, June 8 & 2-Hour Early Release / Último día de escuela, 8 de junio, y salida temprana de 2 horas

Last Day of School Has 2-Hour Early Release for Students
The last day of school for CHCCS students is Friday, June 8.  Students will be released from school two hours early that day.  Have a safe, restful summer!

Último día de escuela, 8 de junio, y salida temprana de 2 horas
Los estudiantes salen 2 horas más temprano el último día de escuela
El último día de escuela para los estudiantes de CHCCS es el viernes, 8 de junio. Los estudiantes salen 2 horas más temprano ese día.  ¡Esperamos que tengan un verano seguro y tranquilo!


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Friday, May 25, 2018

Smith Team Wins C-SPAN Video Award

Thursday was a big day at Smith Middle School. Jenae Green of C-SPAN stopped by to present three very special students with a StudentCam certificate of merit.

Eighth-graders Caroline Chen, Calvin Hinkle and Olivia Xiao finished in third place nationally in C-SPAN's annual student video documentary competition, StudentCam. A ceremony was held in the auditorium where classmates, teachers and family members could recognize this wonderful achievement and view the prized video, "Protection For All: The 14th Amendment.
" The video team also won $750.

“Congratulations to all of our local prize winners in C-SPAN's national StudentCam documentary competition – it’s a terrific recognition,” said Adam Falk, Senior Vice President, State Government Affairs, Charter Communications. “This year, C-SPAN's StudentCam contest gave students the opportunity to learn more about and deeply appreciate the U.S. Constitution and its impact on our local community. We are proud to partner with them on this important initiative.”

When you get a minute, be sure to check out the award-winning video.


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Now Is the Time to Reflect on Our Year

As the school year comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back and see whether CHCCS educators took up my charge from our August Convocation: Did you make your classroom fun? Did you take risks?  Did you encourage others - and yourself?

From what I’ve seen as I walk through the schools every week, I see a lot of teachers integrating those principles into their classrooms and into their lives.  Seeing teachers take on this challenge head-on inspires me and the other educators around them.  Most importantly, by making classrooms fun, having educators that take risks and encourage others, it affects our students in a positive way.

We are in the business of learning.  My expectation is for staff to ensure students are learning each and every day, while also continuing their own learning.  That being said, our business of learning is also fun.  We get to sit on the floor and read to a child.  We get to sing with children.  We get to see students make connections in their learning.  We get to introduce students to the world around them, the world outside their community.  We are not sitting in a cubicle for eight hours.  Our days run the gamut of emotions.  We have happy and sad moments, a constant ride of ups and downs.  As educators, we love every minute of every emotion, although admittedly, we may not always love it in that very moment.

I ask that you take some time and reflect back on your 2017-18 . . . now I want you to look back, not as a teacher, but as a student.  Was your classroom fun?  Did you take risks in your learning?  Were you encouraged?

My final challenge to you this year is to encourage you to continue to bring fun into your classroom, as well as take risks.  Hopefully, these have become a natural part of your personal and professional life.

I would also like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate the CHCCS community.  Our teachers are some of the most passionate I’ve ever met.  Teaching isn’t just an employment opportunity in CHCCS - it’s a fierce opportunity.  Our support staff wear so many hats throughout their day, they keep the schools running smoothly and always find the necessary solutions.  Our bus drivers take on the responsibility of getting our students to and from school, which is a logistical feat every day, twice a day.  Our school and district administrators are incredibly dedicated.  They work long and hard, putting in way over 40 hours a week to ensure that CHCCS is the best district in North Carolina.  Our families and community are so supportive, doing whatever they can to fill in monetary gaps, volunteer, serve on committees and many other things.  Our students are so dedicated.  They take their learning journey seriously and understand they help make their learning experience what it is.

Thank you to all of you.  I have been so inspired by you this year.  You have encouraged me.  You have shown me what fun looks like in our district.  You have helped me learn to take bigger and bigger risks.  You have helped make my first year here more than I could have expected and I cannot wait for my second year . . . I know it only gets better in CHCCS.


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East Chapel Hill High Names Brian Nunn Head Football Coach

The Wildcats have a new head football coach. Brian Nunn comes to East Chapel Hill High from Covington, Georgia where he most recently served as wide receiver coach, head JV coach and head track and field coach. He also has experience as an offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Additionally, Nunn was a middle school head football coach for ten years.

"Coach Nunn brings excitement and experience to our program," said Athletic Director Randy Trumbower. "He will be a great teacher and mentor for our student-athletes."

Nunn played football at Virginia State University. He will also serve the school as an exceptional education teacher.

Please join us in welcoming Coach Nunn.
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

CHCCS Hosts First Family Engagement Summit

The planning began in June 2017, led by Roslyn Moffitt, Director of Title I/ Family and Community Engagement, and developed by a team of CHCCS staff from across departments and schools. The vision was to present a free educational and community- building summit for all families associated with the district. On Saturday, April 14, at Culbreth Middle School, the vision became a triumphant reality. More than 100 adult participants attended the summit.

“The Family Engagement Summit was a true testimony to the fact that we are in this together,” said Dr. Misti Williams, Executive Director of Leadership and Federal Programs. “The energy that morning at Culbreth was incredible as our staff, community partners and families came together to discuss our most important asset, our children. No matter what the topic, there was an obvious commitment to conversation and understanding around information shared, learning acquired and just plain fellowship with others.”     

The summit’s theme, “Building Student Self-Confidence,” was chosen to align with the district’s increased emphasis on the whole child, so the workshop topics went far beyond academic issues.     

The mission of the summit was to create opportunities for families to connect - and to learn more about their children’s needs and how to address them, both at home and at school. One of the first committee goals was to develop a communication strategy to inform all CHCCS families about the summit. From the earliest planning meetings, the team was mindful and vocal about how too many parents “fall through the cracks” with the traditional communication tools. Helen Atkins, Coordinator of English Language Learners, called upon her entire staff to assist with publicizing and registering non-English speaking families, and translators were on hand for the workshops.

As parents and others arrived to coffee, juice and pastries, they browsed a hallway filled with vendor tables from district and community organizations, including El Centro Hispano, Triangle Bikeworks and Book Harvest, who donated books for the families. The program opened in the Culbreth Auditorium, with Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin welcoming participants. A local girls’ choral group, Sisters’ Voices, provided a musical interlude of traditional and popular songs. 

The featured speaker was Mary Andrews, long-time family literacy advocate in the community (and former reading specialist with CHCCS). Andrews talked about the tremendous importance of reading and speaking with children from infancy, in everyday conversations, as well as while sharing the magic of books. She punctuated her talk with a demonstration of how many books she keeps in her handbag, at the ready for her grandchildren, or her own reading appetite.     

Participants chose from 14 workshops, led by a variety of district staff and community experts. The topics ranged from “Everyday Math at Home” to “Helping Your Child Find Resilience” and “Mastering Complex Tasks,” and the content was carefully designed to address different stages of development and grade levels, from Pre-K to high school. Sessions also specifically targeted Exceptional Children and English language learners.    

One popular choice was a workshop on understanding “Cyber Security,” presented by Hugh Harris of the Public Protection Section of the North Carolina Department of Justice. “The event was fantastic. I loved the enthusiasm of the attendees and organizers of the event. I really enjoyed meeting everyone involved,” Harris said. “Because the internet is a major part of our daily lives, it’s important for families to understand there are online risks to our personal information and safety. It’s valuable for parents to have honest, open conversations with their kids to help them stay safe online.” Harris recommended visiting www.ncdoj.gov/internetsafety to learn detailed information about internet safety.    

A mother who attended Harris’ workshop praised the value of his presentation. “Now I know how to back up my mom-cop rules. Now we can talk about it and explain the reasons (for cyber safety). It helped me understand the why.”  

Another workshop that drew many participants was “Summer Reading for K-5,” co-led by Carolyn Sirera and Alma Berg, both Title I interventionists. Their session was filled with hands-on activities and introductions to websites with self-guided reading supports.     

Stefanie Mazva-Cohen, social worker at Culbreth and a core member of the planning team, said, “I always like the expression, ‘Life is made of moments, not milestones.’ What I loved was going into sessions and seeing parents accessing the information in their native language with the support of our CHCCS translators. Community and district folks were getting to know us as parents and families - and we were benefiting from their wealth of knowledge.”    


When the workshops wrapped up, most participants stayed for a taco bar lunch, provided by Chartwells School Dining Services. Because the summit offered free childcare, nearly 75 children also spent the morning at Culbreth, and after board games, activities in the gym and a movie selection, many of them joined their parents in the cafeteria. High school volunteers pitched in with various stations and tasks. They were key in providing childcare. 

Families nearly filled the cafeteria, mingling with both friends and new acquaintances. Dr. Williams called out numbers for the Walmart gift card raffle, with five families receiving $50 cards (provided by Public School Foundation) - and plenty of excitement was generated among the participants.    

“At the end of the sessions, families lingered over lunch, to continue conversations and to connect. Those moments made the summit priceless,” said Mazva-Cohen.   

Janet Cherry, CHCCS Director of  System of Care, said the event was "a refreshing day with parents and students, full of excitement and camaraderie. Looking forward to next year!"
     
Moffitt said, "The Family Engagement Summit was a wonderful vision that came to life. A cross section of individuals worked extremely hard to ensure that parents and families would have a meaningful day of workshops geared toward student success. It is important for families and educational staff to work together for the benefit of our students! We’re looking forward to the next summit to be held in October of 2018. ‘We  love our families’ is not just a catchy saying. It is one of our core beliefs!”

Click here to see more pictures from the summit.

A huge shoutout to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation for creating and providing magnets, pens, t-shirts and Walmart giftcards. Thank you team!
read more "CHCCS Hosts First Family Engagement Summit"

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Morris Grove Elementary Dedicates a Month to Wellness

For the fourth year in a row, April was Wellness Month at Morris Grove Elementary, and the focus was on health lessons and activities for both students and staff. In the hallways, posters outlining the Road to Better Health reminded Geckos about the most important steps to building healthy bodies and minds.
   
One of the favorite activities was the Wellness Month Bingo that allowed students the full month of April to complete and color in each square for a successful bingo card. Squares shared tips like No screen time for an hour before bed; No fast food for a whole day; and, Take a “mindful” walk and pay attention to what you see, hear and smell. A 5th grader said, “The bingo board gave me things I could tell my family to help them stay healthy.”
   
Morris Grove nurse Lara Statile leads a team of teachers, staff and parents that meets regularly. “The mission of the Morris Grove Wellness Team is to  support the entire school community - students, staff and families - to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle by creating a culture that encourages positive relationships with health and wellness throughout the school year,” she said. “The focus on health culminates during Wellness Month in April. Our hope is that the various activities that occur during Wellness Month help to educate students and staff on the importance of maintaining good health and how they can achieve that goal in fun ways.”
   
Starting with the first week of April, everyone learned about Mindfulness and explored ways to practice basic mindful activities. Lucie House, the director of Minded, came to the school and led a staff workshop. Nicole Bohlen, 1st grade teacher, said, “Wellness month gave us an opportunity to bring up so many important topics within the classroom. The kids loved learning how to be mindful and practice breathing with techniques like ‘helicopter breathing’ and putting their hands on their bellies to feel their breaths! The more we surround kids with information regarding their health, the more they will apply it to their everyday lives.”
   
Week Two focused on Physical Activity, which perhaps came more naturally than mindfulness for some Geckos. For the staff, ESL teacher Molly Crawford taught a barre class at the school.
   
During Week Three, attention turned to nutrition and hydration. One of the high points of that week was when the Chartwell’s team set up in the cafeteria during lunch, behind a large table of fresh North Carolina strawberries. One 1st grade student said, “I really loved the strawberries that we got to try in the cafeteria!”
   
On the final Wednesday of April, a group of students, parents and staff represented Morris Grove at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. They set up activities for market-goers to enjoy, including a scavenger hunt. They offered tastes of kale and sweet potato wedges and asked tasters to vote on their favorites. The attention-grabbing activity that afternoon was a Smoothie Station where people could pedal an exercise bicycle with a blender attached - whir, whir, whir - until a delicious fruit smoothie materialized, cold and refreshing.
     
The last week’s focus was, appropriately enough, sleep! A third grade student shared, “I learned that it's important for me to get 10-11 hours of sleep. I didn't know that before, and now, I try to get that much.” The Wellness team composed a list of sleep tips to share with staff, under the heading, Why all this fuss about sleep? “Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to be truly rested,” was an observation that probably resonated with the entire staff at this time of year.
   
Adaptive Curriculum teacher assistant, Alexa Payne, said, “I really liked all of the practical tips each day on the MGE morning news.”
   
And another 1st grader said, “Wellness Month helped teach people how to stay healthy.” Well-expressed, Geckos! And a big shout out to Lara Statile and the Wellness Team who created such a comprehensive exploration of pathways to better health.

read more "Morris Grove Elementary Dedicates a Month to Wellness"

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Signing Day

Student-Athletes at East Chapel Hill High made their college intentions known on Monday, May 14 at their signing day. The list below shows the name of each student, the college s/he will attend and the sport in which the student will participate.

Basketball
Justin Tucker - Swathmore College in Pennsylvania

Lacrosse
Maya Levin - Mary Washington
Kyndra Miller-Greene-  Transylvania University

Baseball
Jeb Byerley - Roanoke College
Justin Wernoski - Denison University
Ryan Fajack - Erskine College 

Softball
Katie Agatucci - College of Wooster (Ohio)

Swimming 
Chris Chao - Davison college

Tennis
Isabel Green - Grinnell College (Iowa)
Victoria Jones - Oxford College of Emory

Volleyball
Caroline Baldwin - Haverford College

Track & Field 
Kayla Carson - Appalachian State
Sykai Tolbert - Mount Olive

__________ 

Chapel Hill High had its signing day on May 22. Here are their student-athletes, college choices and sports.

Basketball
Aniya Taylor - Catawba Valley Community College

Lacrosse
Anne Crabill - Duke University
Shannon Wulff - Wofford College
Katherine DeHart - US Coast Guard Academy

Baseball
Jake Smith - UNC-Wilmington
Ryan Lonegan - Sewanee

Soccer
Austin Shuping - Appalachian State University

Golf
Gina Kim - Duke University

Cross Country/Track & Field
Katherine Dokholyan - Brown University
Madeleine Mount-Cors - Pomona College
Nat Romaine - East Carolina University
Anna Stouffer - John Hopkins University
Grace Tate - John Hopkins University
Dylan Blankenship - Appalachian State University
Julia McAfee - UNC-Asheville
Greta Travaglia - Oberlin College


Swimming 
Thomas Bretzman - University of North Carolina
Beau Brauer - Occidental College
Jordan Ren - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Field Hockey
Ines Yofre - Appalachian State University
Bryn Davis - Wake Forest University

Volleyball
Bailey Rose - Belmont Abbey


The following student-athletes are from Carrboro High.


Soccer
Gabby Adams - Carlow University

Volleyball
Destiny Cox - UNC-Chapel Hill
Penny Newall - Bryn Mawr University

Softball
Jadin Dewith - Florida Southern

Wrestling
Quincy Monday - Princeton University

Golf
Jacob Steinert - Lewis University


Congratulations to all of our student-athletes!

read more "Signing Day"

Friday, May 18, 2018

Middle School 101

Middle School 101 is a program offered by Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools to ease the transition from 5th to 6th grade by providing students the opportunity to navigate their new schools and learn some of the procedures of Middle School. Middle School 101 is open to all incoming 6th graders. The program operates as a middle school transition camp for all rising 6th graders in the district. There are two sessions of Middle School 101. Session 1 will be held from July 24-July 26. Session 2 will be held from July 31- August 2. Camper hours are from 10-2 daily. Each camper can only attend one session. 

Transportation is offered for campers, as well as lunch. There will be 70 spots offered per school per week. If you are interested in your rising 6th grader attending Middle School 101, please complete the Registration Form as soon as possible to reserve your spot. 

If you have any additional questions about the Middle School 101 program, please contact Aaron Acome or Sarah O’Shea, Assistant Principals at Smith Middle School (919) 918-2145. Thank you.




read more "Middle School 101"

CHCCS High Schools Earn High Rankings

U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2018 edition of Best High Schools. The rankings evaluate more than 20,500 public high schools nationwide to identify schools that best serve all of their students – including historically underserved populations – and assess the degree to which students are prepared for college-level coursework.

East Chapel Hill High, Chapel Hill High and Carrboro High finished as the top three traditional high schools in North Carolina. Of the 582 North Carolina high schools that were eligible, only 17 were awarded gold medals. Our three schools each earned a gold medal.

"Top-ranked schools succeed in three main areas: exceeding expectations on state proficiency tests, offering challenging coursework and graduating their students," said Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News.

The Best High Schools rankings feature data on a number of factors, including enrollment, graduation rates, diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs and the results of state assessments, as well as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data.

“I'm proud of our students and our team of educators,” said Superintendent Pam Baldwin. “They are committed to ensuring every child has an excellent school experience. It is a privilege to work with them as we pursue this goal together. "

U.S. News worked with RTI International, a global research firm, to implement the comprehensive rankings methodology.

To see the full list of North Carolina High Schools, click here.
read more "CHCCS High Schools Earn High Rankings"

A Fun Classroom Can Happen at All Levels

Having fun in the classroom sounds like a simple thing to do, but don’t let that fool you.  It can be difficult finding ways to make a lesson fun that don’t take away from a student’s learning.  Know this: it can be done and at all levels of education - elementary, middle and high school.  A fun day of learning doesn’t necessarily have to include glitter and glue (although it can!).  It can be holding a class outside, having a student-led discussion, or even using a special piece of technology.  When educators make an effort to bring fun into their classrooms, everyone learns.


read more "A Fun Classroom Can Happen at All Levels"

Budget and Finance Office Awarded Highest Form of Recognition

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award was presented to the school district's Finance Office for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government agency and its management.

An Award of Financial Reporting Achievement has been awarded to Ruby Pittman, Senior Executive Director of Budget and Finance, as her department is primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR.

"We are very fortunate to have Ms. Ruby Pittman heading up our Budget and Finance Office," said Superintendent Pam Baldwin. "Her team does a great job overseeing all financial operations. They are well-experienced and extremely helpful."

The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.


Government Finance Officers Association is a major professional association servicing the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. It provides top quality publications, training programs, services, and products designed to enhance the skills and performance of those responsible for government finance policy and management. The association is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with offices in Washington, D.C. 
read more "Budget and Finance Office Awarded Highest Form of Recognition"

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Northside Teacher Goes NASA

Sandy Athey, a teacher at Northside Elementary, was recently invited by NASA to attend a behind-the-scenes tour of Kennedy Space Center and the launch of TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and Falcon 9 Rocket as a social media correspondent. The Public School Foundation generously provided a grant to cover expenses.

The News & Observer selected Sandy as their Tar Heel of the Week, and published a terrific article utilizing a question/answer format for Sandy to describe her experience. You can read the article here.

Congratulations, Sandy!
read more "Northside Teacher Goes NASA"

Memorial Day Holiday, May 28 / Día festivo de Conmemoración, 28 de mayo

School and District Offices Closed for Memorial Day
Monday, May 28, CHCCS schools and district offices are closed in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday.  School will resume as usual and district offices will be open on Tuesday, May 29.

Las escuelas y oficinas del distrito están cerradas para el Día de Conmemoración
El lunes, 28 de mayo, las escuelas y oficinas del distrito de CHCCS están cerradas en observancia del Día de Conmemoración.  Las escuelas y oficinas del distrito estarán abiertas en su horario normal el martes, 29 de mayo.


read more "Memorial Day Holiday, May 28 / Día festivo de Conmemoración, 28 de mayo"

Two Carrboro High DECA Students Compete at Internationals

In April, for the first time ever, two district students competed at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Kirby Thornton and Leanne Joyce of Carrboro High School traveled to Atlanta for the three-day 2018 competition. DECA advisor and Marketing Education teacher, Julie Francis, traveled with them. When they returned, Francis reported with pride the accomplishments of her students; Joyce placed in the Top 10 of the Business Growth Plan competition in Entrepreneurship, while Thornton received honors in Food Marketing. Joyce established her 501c3 non-profit, Positive Impact for Kids, when she was in middle school, after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
   
DECA is an international Business and Marketing organization, whose mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management around the world. The annual ICDC is open to two separate divisions: High School, with 200,00 members in 3,500 schools, and a smaller Collegiate division with more than 15,000 students in 275 colleges and universities. This year’s conference hosted 19,000 DECA members, so Thornton and Joyce found themselves in the midst of more business-oriented youth than they could have imagined.
   
“DECA is one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of because of the networking ability you have at a conference,” said Thornton. “It’s commonplace at ICDC to walk up to anyone and ask them where they’re from, what event they’re doing, or any other random question you may have. Our hotel had open areas, and kids from all different states would congregate and play cards together. It was really awesome to have that kind of community.” Thornton said it was especially a privilege to be the only two students representing CHCCS.
   
The whirlwind experience in Atlanta was the culmination of months of preparation and competitions at the local and state levels. Joyce placed second in the North Carolina competition for Business Growth Plan with her 30-page growth plan. Before traveling to internationals, she revised it once more and also prepared for an onstage interview by judges of the event. Thornton needed to prepare for both a test and role play scenarios for her Food Marketing competition.
   
For students who commit to DECA throughout their high school years, the pay off and increased confidence can be substantial. “My involvement in DECA has taught me so much about myself and about other people,” said Thornton. “I’m always so proud when I get to see members of my chapter improving at every competition. I’m especially proud of the younger kids. It always seems to be the young, quiet freshman that shows the most improvement. Most importantly, I’ve learned that everyone has leadership capabilities. Anyone that takes the initiative to join has the qualities they need to be successful in DECA.”
   
“Carrboro High DECA is an amazing opportunity for students who are interested in Business and Marketing,” said Francis. “This organization prepares students to get first hand knowledge about Business and Marketing as they enter the next phase of their education and career.”
read more "Two Carrboro High DECA Students Compete at Internationals"

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Chapel Hill High and the National Spanish Exams

CHAPEL HILL HIGH SPANISH STUDENTS SCORE WELL

Congratulations to the many, many Spanish students from Chapel Hill High who attained national recognition for excellent performance on the 2018 National Spanish Examinations.

In all, 378 students took the exams, which assesses reading, listening, vocabulary and grammar comprehension. Students from Chapel Hill High earned a total of 20 gold, 40 silver and 33 bronze medals along with 110 honorable mentions.

Exams across the nation are given and then compared. Students who scored in the 95th percentile and above are gold, 85-94% are silver, 75-84% are bronze and 50-74% are honorable mention.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 150,000 students participating in 2018.” 

Students from Chapel Hill High have a long history of high achievement on these exams, and were taught by Spanish teachers David Boyle, Susan Stites, Braden Walsh, Maite Lamberri, and Thomas Soth. 

The National Spanish Examinations are administered each year in grades 6 through 12, and are sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

More information about the exams can be found at:

https://www.nationalspanishexam.org/index.php/about-us/what-is-nse
read more "Chapel Hill High and the National Spanish Exams"

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Scroggs Art Teacher Receives Fulbright Award

A huge congratulations goes out to Sarah Cornette, the art teacher at Scroggs Elementary, who has received a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant to Greece from the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Sarah is one of approximately 35 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program in 2018-2019. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations in foreign countries and the United States also provide direct and indirect support to the program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 59 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 84 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program sends U.S. teachers abroad and brings international teachers to the United States for a semester of independent study and professional development focused on sharing international best practices and developing students’ global competence. Based at university-level schools of education or other educational institutions in the host country, participants complete an inquiry project, take courses, share their expertise with local teachers and students, and engage in action planning to implement what they learn on the program when they return home.

We are so proud to have one of our very own Scroggs Frogs representing our school district - and our nation - in this amazing program. Way to go, Sarah!
read more "Scroggs Art Teacher Receives Fulbright Award"

Monday, May 14, 2018

Northside's Amy Brande Named 2018 Lara Jane Parker Award Recipient

Congratulations to Amy Brande, a K-2 Adapted Curriculum Teacher at Northside Elementary, for being named a 2018 Lara Jane Parker Award recipient.

A graduate of East Carolina University, Amy is a talented teacher who applies evidence-based practice to her classroom instruction. She pursues additional training, and shares what she learns with colleagues. Amy also meets with parents and other professionals outside of school to ensure consistency for her students across different environments. Amy was nominated by her colleague Rena Dadolf.

The Lara Jane Parker Awards program was established to provide both reward and recognition to those outstanding teachers, therapists, parents, education and health professionals, and leaders who work daily to improve the lives of New Voices children. These individuals help improve their schools and their communities in ways that will allow these children to be fully included in all aspects of their daily lives.

Winners were honored at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 25 at The Friday Center in Chapel Hill. A $500 cash award, a special trophy, and a letter of commendation was bestowed upon the recipients at this prestigious event attended by family, peers, leaders, and the community.

Way to go, Amy!
read more "Northside's Amy Brande Named 2018 Lara Jane Parker Award Recipient"

Mustang Math

McDougle Middle School knows how to have a great time! Recently, 119 of teacher Mary Patricia Peres-da-Silva's Compacted Math students held a Math Fair complete with food trucks and cool STEM activities.

 There were 115 different projects set up all over the school. Here is a sampling of the amazing work being demonstrated:

 - Carlos Merida created a robotic arm from scratch that moved and lifted objects.
 - Andrew Herring and his sister, Ava, programmed spheros to go over truss bridges that they built.
 - Sydney Lin programmed a machine to play tunes from Mobius strips.
 - Jane Rydin and Madden Rutherford coded their Makey Makey kits and used bananas to turn it into a piano board.
 - Mia Oliaro created photon flowers that lit up when the circuit was complete with lemon juice.
 - Cogan McMichael flew his drone and showed the audience how they could find missing people using a coordinate mat and the drone camera.
 - Ana Payst made a Rube Goldberg machine that used a marble to trigger other components that ultimately led to a plant getting watered.
 - Alair Rojas constructed a truss bridge with straws and popsicles, and engineered it to hold more than 70 pounds of weight.
 - Rishi Patel created his maze with tunnels and learned how to program his sphero to go through it.

 Many thanks to Mrs. Peres-da-Silva and the entire Mustang team who made this event possible.



read more "Mustang Math"