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October 01
Roll and Read Attracts Parents and Children

P9189330aCatawba County Parents as Teachers (PAT) recently held its first-ever “Roll and Read – Powered by Parents as Teachers.” With a focus on physical well-being and early literacy, the event was held at Southside Park in Newton. Parents and children ran, walked, and strolled for a mile, and enjoyed select children’s books at points along the way.

Guest readers along the route included; Kim Holden, director of Catawba County Partnership for Children; Marilyn McRee, vice-chair of the Catawba County Board of Education; and April Green, Catawba County Youth Services librarian. Representatives from the community provided families with information about Imagination Library, Catawba County Library, Catawba County Public Health, Catawba County Social Services, CVMC Healthfirst Center, Galaxy Foods Kids Club, and the Children’s Resource Center. Food was provided by local businesses in support of the activity. Catawba County PAT has been part of Catawba County Schools for 20 years.

The event was one of several held in communities across the United States in September, as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of PAT. In Catawba County, the program has been serving families since 1994. It is part of a network of more than 2,000 PAT programs worldwide.

For more information about the Parents as Teachers international organization, visit For more information about Catawba County Parents as Teachers, call 828-327-3689.


Marilyn McRee reads with participants.


Kim Holden shares a big book.


September 29
Newcomer Center Is Hosting Parent Meeting On October 4th

2014 Newcomer Center Parent Meeting

September 29
College Night at CVCC A Big Success

The floor level of the CVCC Tarlton Center was jammed recently as high school students and their parents turned out to learn about higher education options.  Registration numbers show that 656 students and 455 parents attended for a total of 1,111 participating.

More than 60 educational institutions were on hand to promote their schools and to distribute information.  While there were long lines at North Carolina’s state-supported schools, private colleges also received a lot of interest.

Pictured below are photos from the evening.

September 29
MHS Facility Named For Betty C. Blackburn

Betty C. Blackburn, one of Catawba County’s veteran educators and supporters of education, was given a surprise honor at September’s Board of Education meeting.  The auditorium at Maiden High School will now be known as the “Betty C. Blackburn Auditorium” in recognition of her life-long service to Catawba County Schools.

Blackburn spent a total of 41 years as an English teacher; 31 of those were in Catawba County Schools.  After retiring, she was elected as a member of the Catawba County Schools Board of Education and served for 18 years.

Board of Education Chair Sherry Butler read the resolution, excerpted below.

WHEREAS, throughout her career and as an English teacher, Betty C. Blackburn was dedicated to educating the whole child through the integration of the arts, the classics and modern literature; and

WHEREAS, Betty C. Blackburn is a grammarian extraordinaire whose leadership has guided the writings of students, school administrators, school board members and attorneys; and

WHEREAS, the Catawba County Board of Education has thoughtfully considered honoring Betty C. Blackburn by naming the auditorium at Maiden High School in recognition of Betty C. Blackburn’s dedication to public education.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, in honor of Betty C. Blackburn’s extraordinary service of over sixty (60) years in public education, the Catawba Board of Education hereby officially names the auditorium at Maiden High School the “Betty C. Blackburn Auditorium” and hereby directs the superintendent to cause such name to be affixed at the entrance of the auditorium.

Pictured below are, left to right, Sherry Butler, Betty Blackburn, husband Asa Blackburn, and children Richard Blackburn, Pamela Nelson, Teresa Peterson, Tim Blackburn.



September 22
Board of Education Highlights for September 22, 2014
September 22
Catawba Elementary “Mustache” Students to Read!

At Catawba Elementary, we “mustache” (must ask) our students to read! A display greets students and visitors as they enter the building that encourages reading by portraying book characters wearing mustaches to capitalize on the popular motif.

Familiar characters including Curious George, The Hungry Caterpillar and Clifford “must ask” students to read this school year to raise achievement in all academic areas. Faculty members donned mustaches to motivate students to read since research shows the importance of night reading to increase a student’s reading ability.

Hanes Industries in Conover partnered with Catawba Elementary to make the display case possible by donating black fabric to serve as a background. Students who completed summer reading enjoyed a variety of outdoor water activities and an opportunity to soak their Principal, Todd Sudderth and Assistant Principal, Keisha Clemons. Other reading initiatives include a variety of monthly prizes for students who meet night reading goals.

Reading is never optional; it is a “must” at Catawba Elementary!



September 22
BHHS’s Isenhour Named to Academic Standards Review Commission

Dr. Jeff IsenhourDr. Jeffrey Isenhour, principal at Bunker Hill High School, has been selected as a final member of the North Carolina Academic Standards Review Commission. He is one of eleven citizens chosen from a cross-section of professionals from across the state.

Appointed in accordance with Senate Bill 812, the Commission members will review classroom standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics and make recommendations regarding the standards to the State Board of Education.

“This Commission has an opportunity to build upon the current standards, which are the highest and most rigorous we’ve ever had, “said Public School Forum President and Executive Director Keith Poston.  “Hopefully, members of the commission will move swiftly beyond critique of the current standards to answer the fundamental questions:  what specifically do they recommend to improve the standards, and how will their recommendations improve academic achievement, increase rigor, and better prepare our students for today’s job market?”

The first meeting of the Commission was set for September 22nd at the Department of Public Instruction.

September 22
Teachers Learn About Latest Literacy Initiatives
CurrCatawba County Schools Title I Literacy Specialists, Instructional Coaches, and Interventionists met recently for the latest updates on state and local literacy initiatives.  Representatives from all 16 elementary schools worked with Mia Johnson, district curriculum specialist and master literacy trainer, on using students’ reading errors to individualize reading instruction and remediation. 
Lora Drum, district curriculum specialist, introduced the specialists to the book Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary by Brenda J. Overturf, Leslie Montgomery, and Margot Holmes Smith.  The book will be the focus of a book study by the group over the next few months. 
September 18
Teachers And Industries Are Forging Partnerships

photo 3Five Catawba County teachers recently had up-close-and-personal experiences with industries in the Claremont community. Thanks to a grant from the North Carolina State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues, the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) West initiative provides teachers with rich, engaging professional development opportunities.

The grant enables teachers to visit local STEM business and then work alongside business professionals to create relevant, real-world curriculum units. These units will also be correlated to the North Carolina Standard Course of study and will span several subject areas.

With Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick serving as tour guide, teachers and other CCS staff members were able to visit CommScope, AdvancePierre Foods, Centro, and Cargo Transporters and view their manufacturing processes.  They talked with personnel about specific job needs in their particular industries.

Participating teachers were Tracy Shanks, Arndt math teacher; Andy Owens, SSHS drafting and robotics teacher; Molly Barlow, Challenger biology teacher; Heather Houston, Bunker Hill biology teacher; and Danny Montgomery, Bunker Hill agricultural teacher.  Also touring were Carol Moore, district science specialist; Jeanine Lynch, district math specialist; Mark Story, CTE director; Sean Brown, Claremont mayor; Gina Barrier, from the Science House at NC State; and Kendall Hageman from the Emerging Issues Institute.

Further information and pictures can be accessed at this link:

September 18
Constitution Day Comes Alive At Mountain View

Mountain View Elementary School celebrated Constitution Day – September 17th – by taking a trip back in time to learn about the establishment of the Constitution of the United States.  The entire student body was treated to a dramatization by the combined fifth-grade classes.

Students learned how, after the Revolutionary War, the individual colonies were loosely governed by the Articles of Confederation.  There were problems with these such as no common currency and no common means of defense.  Representatives from the colonies decided to come together and create a unified constitution consisting of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and establishing two houses of Congress.  The new constitution was signed and adopted on September 17, 1787.

A group of students, representing delegates to the Constitutional Convention, circulated throughout the crowd, asking students and staff to sign petitions, indicating their support of the new constitution and illustrating how the ratification process evolved.

Students performed a variety of patriotic songs:  “Star Spangled Banner,” “This Land is Your Land,” You’re a Grand Old Flag,” Schoolhouse Rock’s “Constitution Song,” and “Mighty United.” 

The program was coordinated by drama teacher Katherine Bryant and music teacher Jeremy Whitener. Fifth-grade teachers assisting were Renee Hughes, Ruth Kiser, Heather Miller, and Linda Wright.

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