Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

 

Middle Creek engineering teacher best in state!

A bevy of future engineers from Middle Creek High School will have a very special teacher to thank for their success.

Middle Creek engineering teacher Erik Schettig has received the High School Teacher Excellence Award from the North Carolina Technology Engineering and Design Educators.

Candidates for the Teacher Excellence Award are characterized as providing technology and engineering education instruction of high quality, learner centered and relevant to a study of technological literacy.

Schettig has taught a total of two years at Middle Creek and a total of four years in WCPSS.

The Teacher Excellence Award is one of the highest honors given to Technology and Engineering Education classroom teachers and is presented in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the profession and to their students.

Board of Education approves principal, administrator positions at December 16 meeting

The Board of Education approved the following staff appointments at its December 16 meeting:

  • Brian Pittman, Senior Director for Middle School Programs, has been appointed Principal of Holly Springs High School
  • Cynthia Yaeger, Teacher at Holly Grove Middle School, has been appointed Assistant Principal at Davis Drive Middle School
  • Jena Wojdylo-Kehler, Teacher at Wildwood Forest Elementary School, has been appointed Assistant Principal at Cedar Fork Elementary School
  • Cathy Williams, Retiree, has been appointed Interim Assistant Principal at Enloe High School
  • Charles Langley, Retiree, has been appointed Interim Principal at Salem Middle School
  • John R. Umstead, Jr., Retiree, has been appointed Interim Principal at Yates Mill Elementary School
  • Thomas Dixon, Retiree, has been named Interim Principal at Apex High School
  • Vicki Perry, Retiree, has been named Interim Principal at Harris Creek Elementary School
  • Mary K. Warren, Retiree, has been appointed Interim Assistant Principal at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School
  • R. Gregory Welsh, Retiree, has been named Interim Assistant Principal at Panther Creek High School
  • Wiladean Thomas, Retiree, has been appointed Interim Assistant Principal at Banks Road Elementary 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.

Student suspensions down 45% over past 5 years

There was a 29% reduction in out-of-school suspensions between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, the continuation of a five-year downward trend.

There were 11,205 suspensions in 2013-14, compared to 15,723 the previous year. That’s a 29 percent drop, and a 45% reduction since the 2009-10 school year, when there were 20,244 suspensions. It’s important to note that the actual number of suspensions has gone down – not just the percentage – even as the student population has continued to grow steadily.

Short-term suspensions dropped from 15,378 in 2012-13 to 10,938 in 2013-14, a 29% reduction. That’s down 44% from the 19,396 short-term suspensions in 2009-10.

There was also a marked decrease in long-term suspensions, 267 last year compared to 345 the year before. That marked a 23% reduction year to year, and a 69% reduction from the 848 long-term suspensions in 2009-10.

Big picture: 95.5% of the district’s 150,000+ students were NOT suspended last year.

WCPSS figures compare favorably with other North Carolina school districts. Wake County had a suspension rate of 16.18 suspensions per 100 students, compared to a 39.95 per 100 rate in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, 20.66 in Guilford and 30.76 in Cumberland.

District and school leaders have engaged a number of strategies to reduce suspensions, aimed at both preventing misbehavior and intervening more effectively.

On the prevention front, for example, more than 100 schools use the Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) framework. This is a school-wide effort to demonstrate to students what good behavior does and doesn’t look like. It rewards students who perform well.

On the intervention front, schools in the district also have been making more and better use of Alternative Learning Centers (ALCs), designed for students who temporarily need to work outside the regular classroom, either because of behavior problems or because they are behind academically. ALC teachers have received more training on helping students stay on track academically while also addressing behavioral issues.

WCPSS revised its student code of conduct five years ago to encourage school leaders to avoid using out-of-school suspension for minor, non-violent infractions.

“We understand that if kids aren’t in school, they’re not learning,” says Brenda Elliott, assistant superintendent for student support services.
  
“However, if their behavior is disruptive to the school environment, then we have to address it. And our goal is to address the behavior in a way that is instructive and limits the chance that the student will fall behind academically.”

Going forward, district officials want to work closely with parents, community leaders including police and student leadership to continue to improve prevention and intervention.

District and school leaders will look to address the disproportionate numbers of African-American students who are suspended. They make up 25% of the total student body but 62% of students suspended.

WCPSS has enacted a district action plan that includes community and family outreach and guidelines to support equitable discipline practices.

“Our top priority this year will be examining our data to better understand why we have disparities between subgroups and implementing strategies to address those disparities,” Elliott says.

Click here to find the full report.

TV stars: Vernon Malone College & Career Academy students featured on MSNBC

Vernon Malone students Nick Mazzeo and Kayla Turner

Vernon Malone students Nick Mazzeo and Kayla Turner

Vernon Malone College and Career Academy was featured on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe show today in a piece that highlighted the high demand for skilled workers.

Welding student Nick Mazzeo and nursing assistant student Kayla Turner appeared in the segment, which aired at 8:30 on Friday morning.

“I know when I get out of school, I’ll be job-ready, ready to join a career field and start making money,” Mazzeo said.

“It’s not a walk in the park,” Turner said of Vernon Malone’s challenging, hands-on curriculum that helps students earn college credits as they simultaneously complete their high school requirements.

Vernon Malone, a joint partnership between the Wake County Public School System, Wake Technical Community College and Wake County Government, opened this year to students in 10th-12th grade. Ninth graders can attend the school starting next year.

The Morning Joe video can be viewed below.

2 Title I Schools Cited for High Achievement

Reedy Creek and Yates Mill Elementary Schools are two of 78 Title I schools recently recognized as North Carolina Title I Reward Schools for 2014-15.

A Reward School is a Title I school that ranks among the highest 10 percent of all Title I schools, according to several student performance criteria.

Schools were selected for recognition based on assessment data from the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Reedy Creek Elementary has been recognized for two consecutive years.

Title I is the largest federal education funding program for schools. Its aim is to help students who are behind academically or at risk of falling behind. School funding is based generally on the number of students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program.

Board Approves 2015-16 Student Enrollment Plan

After months of public discussion and extensive revisions, the Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday approved a student enrollment plan for the 2015-2016 school year.

No more than 2,734 students would be affected by the plan – less than 2 percent of the system’s overall student enrollment.

Click here to type in your address and find out if you are impacted by the plan. A link to the final plan can be found here.

At a Tuesday work session, board members asked staff to look into the possibility of providing transportation to a select group of rising fourth and fifth graders who are eligible to grandfather at their current school. A final decision on this will be made once the board has had a chance to review the transportation implications.

Slightly less than half of students affected by the enrollment plan would attend one of three new schools opening next year: Abbotts Creek ElementaryScotts Ridge Elementary and Apex Friendship High School.

The remaining students – less than 1,600 – were included in the plan to help align school calendars across grade spans, reduce the assignment of neighborhoods to multiple schools or reduce overcrowding. These students can choose to remain at their current schools if they provide their own transportation.

The finalized plan reflects dozens of changes made in response to parent concerns shared online at envisionwake.mindmixer.com and in a series of public meetings. The site has drawn more than 20,000 visitors and nearly 2,700 comments since launching in August.

Kushner and Benton re-elected to leadership positions

At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Wake County Board of Education voted to re-elect school board member Christine Kushner, who has been school board chair for the past year, to a second one-year term as chair.

Tom Benton, who has been school board vice-chair for the past year, was re-elected to a second one-year term as vice-chair.

Mayor fields tough/adorable questions at Fox Road Elementary

One of the characteristics of an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme student is inquisitiveness.

That was on full display Friday morning at Fox Road IB Magnet School, as more than 100 second-graders peppered Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane with questions about everything from her salary to what her office looks like.

What follows is an abridged transcript of the spirited press conference:

Lots of hands raised meant lots of questions for Mayor Nancy McFarlane at Fox Road Magnet Elementary.

Lots of hands raised meant lots of questions for Mayor Nancy McFarlane at Fox Road Magnet Elementary.

Q: Do you like being the mayor?

A: I like it most of the time. There are some times I don’t like it.

Q: How smart do you have to be to be mayor?

A: Well, that’s up for debate. [grown-up laughter] It helps to be smart. But it’s hard to know everything about everything. I try to learn as much as I can. For the things I don’t know, I go ask the people who do.

Q: Do you have to be focused?

A: Yes, you do. I have to focus not only on how things are today, but also how they will be in 10 years or 20 years. I want to make sure that when you grow up, you will want to live here and that you will think Raleigh is still a nice place to live.

Q: How many laws can you make in a day?

A: Well, we have meetings at 1 o’clock and then another one at 7 o’clock. How many can we pass in that time? There’s no limit. We can pass as many as we want.

Q: Do you run the stores?

A: No, I don’t. The city has inspectors that make sure, when a store opens, that it’s safe. And sometimes we work with stores to try to bring them to Raleigh.

McKenzie Cotterman (foreground) listens as classmate Janaiah Anderson asks Mayor McFarlane a question.

McKenzie Cotterman (foreground) listens as classmate Janaiah Anderson asks Mayor McFarlane a question.

Q: What time do you have to get up?

A: It’s different every day. Today I woke up at 6:30.

Q: Have you ever gotten mad?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: What does your office look like?

A: Well I have a desk, and a big table for meetings. And I have a big picture of a counselor at the YMCA laughing and playing with a bunch of kids. That’s my daughter.

Q: What happens if you don’t do your job?

A: Then things at the city don’t run very well.

Q: Are you the president’s boss?

A: No, but I have met him a few times.

Q: Is anyone the boss of you?

A: Yes, the 420,000 people in Raleigh are the boss of me.

Q: How much money do you make?

A: Well, I just got a raise, so I now make $15,000 a year.

Students, in their only break from press-scrum objectivity: Whoaaa!

Mayor McFarlane with Fox Road teachers and staff.

Mayor McFarlane with Fox Road teachers and staff.


 

About Fox Road Magnet Elementary School

Fox Road transitioned from a traditional elementary to an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme magnet in the 2013-14 school year.

In the IB Programme, students are encouraged to be inquisitive, working with their teacher and their peers to get answers. “The teacher is the facilitator rather than the fountain of knowledge,” says Anne Waechter, magnet coordinator at Fox Road. “They’re exploring learning rather than memorizing information.” (Click here to learn more about the IB Learner Profile.)

Walk into a Fox Road classroom and you’re likely to find students huddled in small groups, often with iPads at the ready, working on a project that ties in with both IB themes and core subjects.

Fox Road students have embraced the attributes of an IB learner with gusto. They understand the meaning of words like principled, inquirer and knowledgeable, and they demonstrate these attributes on a daily basis to turn their learning into action to better our world. “They’ve mastered and become a part of their own learning,” Waechter says. “They’re in the driver’s seat, and therefore more engaged.”

One sign of that is the fact that behavioral incidents have decreased sharply since the IB Programme was implemented, Waechter says.

There are six transdisciplinary themes in IB:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we organize ourselves
  • How we express ourselves
  • Sharing the planet
  • How the world works

Those themes shape how core subjects such as math, science, language, social studies and the arts are taught.

Mayor McFarlane’s visit jibed with several of those themes, as she met with second-graders engaged in a government services unit.

Parents who wish to schedule a tour or ask questions can contact Waechter at 919-850-8859 or by email at awaechter@wcpss.net. An open house is slated for Jan. 7.

 

 

Mark your calendars: Magnet mini-fairs coming in December

If you missed Saturday’s magnet fair, you have two more opportunities to learn about all magnet elementary schools.
Magnet Mini-Fairs for rising Kindergarten families will be held on Dec. 2 at Millbrook Magnet Elementary and on Dec. 9 at Farmington Woods Magnet Elementary.
Both sessions are from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Each magnet elementary program will be represented by parents and staff from the school.
Click HERE to learn more about all magnet programs and other recruitment events.
P.S. A reminder to parents of prospective Early College school applicants: The application period lasts only until Dec. 1 and requires an essay. Click HERE for more information about those programs and how to apply.

 

Board appoints new principals, administrators at November 4 meeting

The Board of Education approved the following staff appointments at its November 4 meeting:

  • Paula DeLucca, New WCPSS Applicant, has been named Senior Director for Child Nutrition Services
  • Carter Hillman, Principal of East Wake School of Health Science, has been named Principal of Garner High School
  • Anne Marie Adkins, Principal of Yates Mill Elementary School, has been named Principal of West Lake Middle School
  • Thomas Dixon, Retiree,  has been named Interim Principal of Apex Middle School through December
  • H. Allen Ellzey, Principal of Salem Middle School, has been named Principal of Apex Middle School, effective January 2015
  • Vicki Perry, Retiree, has been named Interim Principal at Timber Drive Elementary School
  • Amanda Boshoff, Teacher at Cary High School, has been named Assistant Principal at Cary High School
  • Craig T. Matthews, Retiree, has been named Interim Assistant Principal at Leesville Road Middle School
  • Laura Brown, Assistant Principal at Davis Drive Middle School, has been named Assistant Principal at Green Hope High School
  • Monte Moss, Teacher at Baucom Elementary School, has been named Assistant Principal at Barwell Road Elementary 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.