Holly Grove Media Specialist helps students learn about family history

Holly Grove Middle media specialist Kendra Allen participated in a collaboration between Ancestry.com and LEARN NC, an outreach arm of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education. Allen was one of 10 educators who worked to create a multimedia how-to guide for teachers to use family history resources in their classrooms.

Allen used the guide to lead eighth graders in exploring their family histories.

“My hope was that my students would dive and thrive on their own curiosity to know more, find more, learn more,” Allen said. “I wasn’t disappointed. It was the most wholly engaged group of eighth grade students I had ever worked with, even though they were in their last weeks of middle school.” Continue Reading . . .

Wakefield High wins State Farm $100,000 grant

Wakefield High won $100,000 in State Farm’s CELEBRATE My DRIVE online contest.

Wakefield finished in the top five in the nation competing with more than 3,300 U.S. high schools. The school will celebrate with a check presentation ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on December 8 in the school gym.

The Celebrate My Drive contest encourages a school community to come together to compete for a grant while making a commitment to safe driving. Students, parents, faculty, family and friends at Wakefield joined together in mid-October to do something great for the school and support driver safety. The contest required school supporters make a daily commitment to safe driving on a State Farm website in the name of their school. Continue Reading . . .

Fifth-grade winners named for environmental poster contest

More than 200 fifth-graders from 19 WCPSS elementary schools competed in the Wetlands are Wonderful poster contest sponsored by the Wake Soil & Water Conservation District. Continue Reading . . .

WCPSS shares videos in schools for bus conduct and safety campaign

bus-safety1WCPSS elementary students, assistant principals and bus drivers worked together during November to create a Transportation safety campaign to use in WCPSS elementary schools.

The students and bus drivers recorded a series of short videos that focus on two important messages:
1) students should be safe at the bus stop and boarding/leaving the bus
2) students should be good bus riders

These issues were highlighted in September, when one student was killed and another seriously injured in accidents.

In October, the Board of Education heard of the difficulties WCPSS Transportation has in meeting the need for school bus drivers. Exit interviews of departing drivers mention student conduct on the bus as a contributing factor.

In video messages, students share tips for keeping students safe at bus stops and good conduct on the bus. Continue Reading . . .

Combs Elementary Principal Receives Prestigious Friday Medal

ms summers (1)A.B. Combs Leadership Elementary Magnet School Principal Muriel Summers has received one of the highest honors bestowed upon North Carolina educators. Summers has received the Friday Medal from the William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.

The annual award is presented by the North Carolina State University College of Education. It honors distinguished and longlasting contributions to education. Past winners include Gov. James Hunt and former WCPSS Superintendent Bill McNeal.

Summers led the creation of the state’s first leadership elementary school at Combs. The leadership model focuses on building cooperative relationships and nurturing responsibility, kindness and good judgment.

Combs Elementary is a diverse school comprising students from 64 countries. Summers has been principal there since 1998.

For more information visit http://www.fi.ncsu.edu/fi-events/the-2014-friday-medal-award-ceremony.

Career academies expand in WCPSS

More options are coming online for high school students who want to combine a specific career focus with strong academic preparation.

The addition of Career Academies at three high schools each this year and next year will bring the WCPSS total to 20.

Career and Technical Education officials are opening a Public Safety academy at Knightdale High, a Digital Media Academy at Millbrook High and an Information Technology academy at Southeast Raleigh High this year.

Next year, Garner High School plans to add a Fire and Safety Career Academy, and Wakefield High will have Digital Marketing. The new Apex Friendship also will open an academy, with the career area to be announced later.

“This is a really sharp tool in our toolbox that we know works well,” said David Wehbie, Director of Career and Technical Education.

Career academies combine courses that offer preparation for specific career areas with the core subjects necessary for graduation. They are designed to boost college and career readiness, and to help more students graduate.

The 2013-14 graduation rate for Career Academy students was 100 percent.

‘Bring Your Own Device’ Will Increase Student Access to Learning Technology

Before long, when you see certain students on their phones or tablets, they won’t necessarily be texting or gaming.

Students in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program will be encouraged to bring personal devices to school to use for learning activities. Thirteen schools are participating in a pilot that kicks off in January.

“School districts are becoming aware that BYOD serves a great purpose in that it allows students to turn their personal devices into learning devices while freeing up access to school computers,” said Marlo Gaddis, Senior Director of Instructional Technology and Library Media Services.


Wakefield Middle School Principal Jimmy Sposato, right, shares the excitement of his teachers around BYOD during a presentation by Assistant Superintendent for Academics Todd Wirt, left, and Gaddis.

Gaddis presented the BYOD pilot plan to members of the WCPSS Student Achievement Committee in a meeting held this afternoon. She said the program is gaining favor with school districts across the country.

WCPSS is working in partnership with the NC State University Friday Institute to offer professional development for BYOD teachers, as well as to ensure Internet safety and equity issues are addressed.

C’mon, Let Us Hear from You – SpeakUp!

Dear WCPSS Parent, Teacher, Student, Employee or Community Supporter:

Have you filled out the Project Tomorrow SpeakUp survey yet?

A – Of course! I did it the first day you notified me. Now leave me alone; I’m busy changing lives by achieving or supporting educational excellence.

B – No. Everything about my school or schools is perfect. I can’t think of a thing I would ever suggest for improvement.

C – Argh! I meant to do it and forgot. Thanks so much for the reminder, I’ll do it right now.

We are partnering with Project Tomorrow SpeakUp to learn more about what those we serve think about learning in our schools, specifically around how technology supports that learning. SpeakUp is an online survey for teachers, parents, students and community supporters.

WCPSS encourages everyone who cares about their school to take the survey. You can do so by visiting http://www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2014/ and following the directions to select your category (parent, teacher, student, etc.), and then to select your school for the survey.

IMPORTANT: Students must enter a password for access. That password is wake2014.
The survey will close on Dec. 19, but don’t worry! We’ll remind you (like this) … And if you’ve already completed it, Thanks!

WCPSS celebrates GIS Day

IMG_9981WCPSS celebrated GIS Day with a mapping display in the atrium of the Crossroads 1 Building. School administrators displayed a number of maps, some that share information about the school system and others that were for fun.

Maps displayed WCPSS demographic profiles, facility locations and student enrollment growth, as well as maps tracking a friend’s vacation, family birth sites and sites where smoke alarms saved lives.

GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that make a difference in society. Continue Reading . . .

Board of Education approves principal, administrator appointments at November 18 meeting

The Board of Education approved the following staff appointments at its November 18 meeting:

  • Ramey Beavers, Retiree, has been named Interim Principal at Holly Springs High School
  • L. Roy Teel, Retiree, has been named Interim Principal of Timber Drive Elementary School
  • Christopher Coby, Teacher at Heritage Middle School, has been named Assistant Principal at Hodge Road Elementary School
  • Ryan Emelle, Teacher at Bugg Elementary School, has been named Assistant Principal at Wildwood Forest Elementary School
  • David Gaudet, Assistant Principal  at Davis Drive Middle School, has been named Assistant Principal at Davis Drive Middle School
  • Jolene Slonac, Teacher at Wake Forest Elementary School, has been named Assistant Principal at Harris Creek Elementary School
  • Ricky Tarver, Teacher at Barwell Road Elementary School, has been named Assistant Principal at Barwell Road Elementary School
  • Anne Waechter, Magnet School Coordinator at Fox Road Elementary School, has been named Assistant Principal at Leesville Road Middle School
  • Linda Roberson, Retiree, has been named Interim Assistant Principal at Hodge Road Elementary School
  • Patricia Warren, Retiree, has been named Interim Assistant Principal at Garner High School
  • Please note – This list includes new appointments. The board also may have approved contract extensions or modifications to current contracts for employees to continue serving in their current roles.