New magnet theme has folks buzzing about Bugg
December 11, 2017
Teddy Katanta is looking forward to middle school – but the Bugg Magnet Elementary School fifth-grader has had an awesome time in school already. Especially since the new Center for Design and Computer Sciences theme was put in place last fall.
“Before, it was a good school but when they changed the theme, I think they upgraded it,” said Teddy (pictured below with two of his teachers).
Teddy’s thinking is more than a little correct. Bugg is one of four WCPSS schools sharing a $14 million federal magnet grant. When you visit the school, you can see the positive changes everywhere.
“(The students) are happy and engaged. It’s wonderful!” said Bugg Principal Becky Foote of the newfound energy and transformed culture wrought by the new theme and the many resources it brings.
'Redesigning education in our community'
“We are redesigning education in our community,” said Foote. “We recognize that we are all learners, so our goal is to learn together - the students, teachers and parents - so in the end we’re all designers, we’re all coders, we’re all researchers and problem-solvers.”
Here are just a few of the cool new things going on at Bugg:
- The provision of computer devices for every student. A combination of laptops, iPads and Chromebooks will help to ensure that all students are proficient in using every kind of device.
- An infusion of professional development for teachers from The Friday Institute at North Carolina State University. This gives each teacher multiple opportunities to receive a wealth of training around best practices in education.
- “A.M. Innovation.” Foote says her team recognizes that handing a student a worksheet the minute they walk into the classroom can dampen enthusiasm. Instead they spend the first chunk of time in their day creating. Perhaps they would design a corn maze and program tiny “ozobots” to race the maze. Y’know, elementary stuff.
- All fourth- and fifth-graders are learning to design apps for mobile devices.
- “Lunch and Learn.” If they wish, students can take their lunch into designated classrooms to have more indepth conversations and idea exchanges about topics they are studying.
- Multiple opportunities for business and community partnerships. For example, SAS recently hosted an event during Computer Science Week where volunteers led sessions on coding, robotics and virtual reality for students and families. SAS also is providing professional development for teachers.
Pathway to Martin Middle and Enloe High
In addition, beginning with this school year, Bugg is now part of the “magnet pathway” that includes Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet Middle School and Enloe Gifted and Talented/IB Programme Magnet High School. This means students enrolled at Bugg will be considered as first priority for acceptance into Martin when they reach middle school age. The same applies for Enloe when they complete their years at Martin.
Foote said the energy at Bugg is high, and there is a greater level of interest in the school than in the recent past. Why? The new magnet theme and grant support certainly help. But it’s also the motivation she is seeing in the students, the engagement among teachers and the buzz in the community that have her excited about great things to come for the school.
“Our staff have chosen to be here because they want to be leaders in innovation so they can provide those innovative experiences for all students,” she said. “They’re committed to a new way of education and they’re excited to welcome new families into our school and to meet the needs of our current community.”
As for Teddy, he loves school more than ever. He is conducting a schoolwide survey via QR code to assess the kinds of books, titles and authors students would like to see in the library. And his favorite subject is science. This makes learning fun for him, he says.
“Sometimes we turn our class into a fun experience,” says Teddy. “But it’s still learning.”
Pathway to Martin and Enloe
Beginning with this school year, Bugg is now part of the “magnet pathway” that includes Martin Gifted and Talented Magnet Middle School and Enloe Gifted and Talented/IB Programme Magnet High School.
This means students enrolled at Bugg will be considered as first priority for acceptance into Martin when they reach middle school age. The same applies for Enloe when they complete their years at Martin.
Interested in applying to Bugg or another magnet school? The application period is Jan. 10-Feb. 5, 2018. Find out more by visiting the Magnet Schools website.