More than 90 parents and students turned out for Webb A. Murray Elementary School's Bilingual Parent Night on January 20th . The night was a celebration of the opening of the school's new bilingual section of the media center. The bilingual section was the brain child of Tammy Yount, media coordinator at the school. Thanks to the combined funds of the district's Media Services and Title I, Mrs. Yount was able to purchase 120 books that contained both English and Spanish translations of beloved children's books.
The purpose of the bilingual section is to improve the literacy skills of the school's 170 students whose first language is Spanish. Research shows that second language students develop reading skills in English comparable only to the level of their skills in their first language. Students whose first language is English will also benefit from this new addition to their library as they have the opportunity to work with familiar texts in another language.
Parents and students who attended the event were greeted by Mrs. Mitzi Story, principal, and treated to refreshments. Attendees had a chance to be the first to check out the new books from the library. Pictured are Mrs. Mitzi Story (right), school principal, and Mrs. Tammy Yount, media coordinator. Other pictures show parents and students enjoying refreshments and perusing the Spanish-English trade books in the new section of the media center that opened at Webb A. Murray Elementary.
The Art Club and National Art Honors Society at Maiden High School helped sponsor Project Warmth this year along with Catawba County Schools, the Salvation Army and other local organizations. Coats, scarves, gloves and blankets were collected throughout the duration of the drive which began November 3, 2014 and ran through December 5, 2014. With the help of students, faculty and staff, the club collected 164 coats along with a number of scarves, blankets and pairs of gloves. Many will benefit from the generosity of the Maiden High community this winter. Mrs. Paysour and Mrs. Taylor (art club and NAHS sponsors) would like to thank everyone who helped in any capacity with this endeavor and hope that with your help, we can continue to be involved with the community in this way in the future.
The Beta Club held their Teacher Turkey Event from November 17th-21st, 2014. On Tuesday, November 25th, Mr. Dennis Frye donned the turkey suit and celebrated his victory with the students and Trevor L. After receiving over $300 in votes from students, Mr. Frye handed out candy and spent the day gobbling at students during class changes and lunch. Mrs. Armstrong-Slone and Mrs. Guthrie are the sponsors who wanted to have Beta Club sponsor Trevor L. in his battle against cancer. Trevor is a junior at Bandy's and a former Mill Creek student. "As soon as we heard about Trevor's illness, I knew we had to help him," said Mrs. Armstrong-Slone. "What better way to teach students to lead through service than by helping a peer who is fighting a year-long battle with cancer?" Slone stated. "And Mrs. Ballard was completely supportive and willing to help us with our ongoing fundraising this year to help Trevor," said Mrs. Guthrie. "We were thrilled when Trevor and his mother were able to visit the Beta Club on the day of the event because it meant so much to our Beta Club student officers and members," said Mrs. Guthrie. The Beta Club raised over $500 with this fundraiser, and has at least two more fundraisers scheduled to help support Trevor this year.
Maiden Elementary had their annual Wacky Tacky Teacher Dress Up Day recently. This activity is kept secret from the students so they have no idea when it will occur. The teachers dress up in their craziest Christmas attire and have their photos taken. The students then vote for their favorite "Wacky Tacky Teacher." The winning teacher gets a prize basket. This activity ends up being one of the school's favorite days of the year.
It might be an economics or world cultures unit, a special dress-up day, or a character education lesson, but what these activities at Snow Creek have in common is that they show students how they can help others.
Shelter of Hope
Third grade students have been visiting the Salvation Army Shelter of Hope once a month to serve the evening meal to homeless people in the community. "We feel it's important for children to understand the difference they can make in the lives of those around them," said Amanda Summerlin, third grade teacher. "We are so proud of their efforts, and we feel that they have come away knowing that being a volunteer makes a real difference to the world we live in."
This is the fourth year that Snow Creek students have volunteered at the shelter. About 30 students and their parents visit each month, bringing a special dessert to serve the residents. They work at two separate mealtimes, serving about 90 residents. They have also made scarves and collected warm clothing for the residents, and put together toiletry kits for them.
"We hope that through volunteering they will gain important life skills and experiences that will be beneficial for them later in life," said Summerlin.
Snow Creek's second graders learn money skills and economics with their annual popcorn sale each November, which helps to buy Thanksgiving turkeys and fixings for Snow Creek families in need.
"We teach our students about the differences between wants and needs, how to handle money, and how to work together," said Jennifer McLauchlin, second grade teacher. The students form assembly lines to bag the popcorn, which they sell to other students in the school for 25 cents a bag. Students make posters advertising the sale, and appear on the school broadcast or speak during the morning announcements to promote it. Teams of students work together, taking money and making change when students from various classes come to make their purchases.
This year's sale raised almost $300, which provided turkeys and sides for 13 families.
Kids in Need
Snow Creek's teacher assistants organize school-wide dress-up days once a month to help pay for projects through the Kids in Need fund. Students and staff participate in events such as Twin Day, Tacky Day, Crazy Sock Day, or Team Jersey Day, and bring in optional donations for the fund.
Money is used to help students in need pay for needed medical or dental treatments, eyeglasses, or other needs. It has also been used to provide for other needs in the area. This year almost $370 was raised during Tacky Day to help provide soccer goals and soccer balls for students to use at St. Stephen's Elementary.
Change for a Change
First graders looked to the world community with their recent project. It started when teacher Brandy Carroll, who had been to Ghana, West Africa two times on mission trips, shared photographs with her students. First grade students learn about their own community and compare it with others as part of their social studies curriculum. The students were especially interested in pictures of villagers carrying water in jars on their heads, and learned that the people in this part of the world rarely had running water in their homes.
The students also saw a video about the problems in these communities that were caused by a lack of clean water. The video was on a website for an organization called Feeding the Orphans, which coordinates well drilling in remote villages in Ghana to provide clean water in those communities, among other projects. One project sponsored by the organization, called Change for a Change, asks people to collect spare change to help fund wells.
They decided that they wanted to do chores for people to raise money and to collect change from family members and friends in the community to try to make a difference. The project spread to the other first grade classes, who also wanted to help. s around the school, and made announcements to let the school know what they were doing. By the end of the project they had raised $350 to build wells.
"These are but a few of the many ways in which our staff and students continue to echo the sentiment of being the change we wish to see in the world," said Snow Creek principal Nichole Ijames. "Having a spirit of excellence transcends what we do in the classroom, and is reflected in our efforts to do even small things in great ways."
Catawba County Schools was once again honored to be a recipient of one of Corning's education grants. At a reception on December 17th, the system received $5000 to pilot the LEGO Story Starter program. The STEM grant entitled "Engineer Me a Story" will provide 2 class sets of LEGO Story Starters and teacher training. These resources will allow 2nd-5th grade students to engineer and build the beginning, middle, and the end of stories. They can also build science processes to demonstrate their conceptual understanding. As students work in small groups, these activities will provide a venue for them to talk and write to learn! Another aspect of this program is the ability to upload photos of their buildings to provide additional motivation to write their stories on the computer. This grant will provide a great stepping stone for young elementary students to integrate all subjects areas while they "engineer their stories"!
The Catawba County Schools Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on December 1st in the Center for Administrative Services. The Board recognized outgoing Chairperson Sherry E. Butler for her 17 years of service on the Catawba County Schools Board of Education. In honoring Butler, Dr. Brigman cited her "candid, precise feedback" and her "commitment and service to the children of this district." Butler thanked the Board for the recognition and promised that she would not be going far. Butler begins her term on the Catawba County Board of Commissioners this month.
As part of the Superintendent's Report, Dr. Dan Brigman recognized Kara Osborne as the North Carolina Secondary Counselor of the Year for 2014-2015. Dr. Brigman recognized Osborne who is a counselor at Challenger Early College High School and her contribution to the school's 100% graduation rate. On hand for Osborne's recognition were her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Barry Redmond; husband Marcus Osborne; and children, Mack and Carson. Challenger Principal Heather Benfield and Assistant Principal Fred Whalen were also in attendance with several Challenger staff members.
Bunker Hill High School's Agricultural Sciences classes under the direction of teacher Danny Montgomery presented members of the Board of Education with poinsettias grown in the school's greenhouse. Joining Montgomery for the presentation were Future Farmer of America members Nathan Schronce, Daniel Schronce, Cole Travis, and Breyer Holden. Pictured below are Board of Education members, Bunker Hill FFA members and Montgomery.
In other Board action, members unanimously voted in Marilyn McRee as Board Chair and David Brittain as Vice-Chair. The Board developed its meeting calendar for 2015 and finalized assignments to various district level committees.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Kincaid issued the oath of office to four incoming Board members at the December 1st Catawba County Schools Board of Education meeting. Returning Board of Education members include David Brittain, shown with wife Lisa and Judge Kincaid.
and Glenn Fulbright, shown with wife Nancy, and Granddaughter Meredith Fulbright.
Newly-elected Board of Education members include Don Brown. Pictured with Brown are his wife Jenny, and son Grayeson.
Judge Kincaid also issued the oath of office to Tommy Luckadoo. Pictured with Luckadoo are his wife Mary, and his daughter Emma.
At their December 1, 2014 meeting, the Catawba County Schools Board of Education recognized outgoing Board of Education Member Charlie Wyant for service on the Board and to the children of Catawba County. The Catawba County Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to name the future field house at Fred T. Foard High School the "Charlie C. Wyant Field House" in honor of Wyant's service to the school system. Construction of the field house is scheduled for June 2015.
Wyant's service to Catawba County Schools includes thirty-three years as a science teacher and high school principal. The majority of his tenure in education was at Fred T. Foard High School. In reading the official resolution, Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman remarked, "Throughout his administrative career, Charlie C. Wyant, was dedicated to providing every student with myriad opportunities for success whether it be through challenging Workforce Development (now CTE) courses, robust core curricular courses, or top quality athletic programs." Wyant's contributions to the Board of Education include serving on the district spelling bee, attending a week-long STEM camp to promote science and technology education throughout the district, and assisting in the development of every District Strategic Plan during his tenure.
Wyant's family surprised him by attending the recognition. From left to right: Denise Wyant, Andrew Wyant, Joshua Wyant, Dana Wyant, Charlie Wyant, Jonathan Wyant, Rhylee Wyant, Michael Wyant, and Greg Wyant.
On Wednesday, November 19 the "Bears" team at Jacobs Fork had a guest speaker, Ms. Jackie Kiser from Samaritan's Purse, come to their team to inform them about the process of sending gift-filled Shoe Boxes all over the world. The "Bears" team is participating in a Problem Based Learning project entitled, "How Can I Make an Impact on My Community?" Students learned how the Shoe Boxes travel through an "assembly line" in the process of packing, sorting, and flying to other countries to be distributed. The "Bears" are collecting items for the Shoe Boxes while the school's Future Business Leaders of America Club and Fellowship of Christian Students will travel to the Charlotte distribution center on December 10th to sort through boxes and prepare them for their journey.