Friday, June 28, 2013

East Forsyth Middle Teacher Headed to NASA Space Camp

Corie Maffett

Corie Maffett, a sixth-grade science teacher at East Forsyth Middle School, will attend the NASA Space Camp for Educators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. from July 12 to 18. 

“I have always been interested in space and teaching sixth-grade science gives me an opportunity to tap my ‘inner astronaut,’” Maffett said. “Each year, my students explore the elements of space flight through research, NASA webinars, and hands-on activities.   Their interest in space flight has been contagious and sparked the idea for me to attend the NASA Space Camp for Educators.  

“I am thrilled beyond words to have been award the grant to attend the week long interactive space experience.  I have promised my students that I would take plenty of pictures and bring back exciting information to share about space travel and flight.  The program provides teachers with educational materials that can be shared and taught in their classrooms.”

Benika J. Thompson, the school system’s program manager for science, said, “We are excited and look forward to all the resources and information she will bring back to her colleagues in science as a result of this opportunity.”

Maffett also represented North Carolina in the Duke Energy's Keystone Issues Institute Program last year. Maffett’s trip to Space Camp is being paid for by a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation (The Sam and Anne Booke Trust). 

For more information about the camp, go to Space Camp

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mother-Daughter "Secret Garden" Tea Party at Piney Grove Elementary

On Tuesday, June 25, Piney Grove Elementary School celebrated summer reading with a Mother-Daughter Secret Garden Tea Party. This girls-only, fancy-dress event encouraged shared reading experiences.

Party attendees brought sweet treats to share. At each table, students and their mothers could read and respond to cards with thoughtful questions about the book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Attendees enjoyed hot tea with cream and sugar, raspberry punch, jam sandwiches, and cream puffs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

East Forsyth Middle Students Place Third in National Contests Sponsored by Civil War Trust

Postcard by Fernando Torres

In national contests sponsored by the Civil War Trust, two eighth-graders in Karen Slepp's class at East Forsyth Middle School placed third in different categories.

Fernando Torres placed third in the postcard contest.

Camila Cardenas placed third in the essay contest.  

You can see Fernando's postcard above, and you can find Camila’s essay at Civil War Trust

News Site about STEM Education Runs Story about Wiley Middle School's STEAM program

Student Allie Poovey shows off project

On the website, reporter Hetali Lodaya writes about Wiley Middle School’s STEAM program.

Here is an excerpt:

Ray Hellinger’s sixth grade math class at Wiley Middle School is focused on four choices on a screen.

“If an airplane’s engine cut out in mid-air, which of the forces would decrease: gravity, thrust, weight, or drag? Think about what the engine provides, from the video you just saw.”

As the students input their answer choices into handheld clickers, all of their classmates across the floor are also talking about flight. There is lift and drag in science; Wilbur and Orville Wright in language arts; the history of kites in various cultures in social studies. Students are also designing their own kites that they will fly before the end of the week.

The story goes on to talk about the history of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) and provides more information about Wiley's pilot program. The rest of Lodaya’s story can be found at

STEMwire is digital news service is powered by the Reese News Lab at the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Students at Griffith Elementary Enjoy a Day of Reading at Camp READ-A-Lot

On Friday, June 7, Griffith Elementary School held its 2013 Camp READ A Lot. Local authors, illustrators, musicians and other volunteers came to the school to read stories to the students and to play music.

Those dropping by included Jon Sundell, Nana Vee, Bill Allen, Kendra Davis, J. Edwards and R. Pappas.

With lots of help from others at Griffith, Cynthia Needham, the school’s teacher-librarian & STAR3 literacy liaison, organized the event, which included many other fun activities as well.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders read one-on-one with reading buddies in the lower grades. Teachers and staff members brought in favorite books to read aloud to students.

Students and staff were invited to come dressed in their "camp" attire to enjoy picnic foods, S'mores, bug juice, and TIME to READ! Teachers decorated their classrooms with tents and camp chairs and students bring in sleeping bags, flash lights, blankets and big smiles knowing they would be entertained by stories brought to life all day long!

In addition, students received summer literacy "goodie bags" filled with books and incentives to help keep them engaged in reading and learning over the summer! Students could go to a café where they could fill their paper plates with hot dogs, hamburgers, tater tots and watermelon to back to their classrooms or outside for a picnic.

The school day ended with Principal Debbie Hampton reading a poem about reading over the intercom.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Carver has New Athletic Director and Assistant Athletic Director

Michael Winbush and Danny Piggott

In its Thursday, June 20 issue, The Chronicle has an article about Michael Winbush being named the new athletic director at Carver High School and Danny Piggott being named the new assistant athletic director.

Here is an excerpt: 

Carver High School recently named Michael Winbush as its new athletic director and Danny Piggott as the assistant athletic director. Winbush is currently a physical education and health teacher, and Piggott serves as a math teacher.

“Mr. Winbush and Mr. Piggott are two very conscientious professionals,” said Principal Ronald Travis. “They both have a great deal of pride.  As principal, my primary job is to hire competent, caring teachers and improve the test scores of Carver High School. I needed persons in the athletic department who can take care of business without constant supervision. I feel we have accomplished this with the hiring of these two gentlemen.”

Winbush is stepping into the shoes of Aaron Bailey, who announced earlier this year that he was exiting the AD job at Carver. Travis said he was looking for someone who has the ability to continue the process that Bailey began.

“As athletic director, Mr. Bailey began the process of upgrading our facilities. During his tenure, the athletic facilities at Carver High School have undergone a major facelift. Mr. Bailey also required all coaches to earn their commercial driver’s license, which has resulted in a reduction in transportation bills for Carver High School,” said Travis. “In addition, he revitalized a golf program which had folded prior to his arrival. These improvements have been accomplished with very little resources. I’m very pleased with the job he did.”

For the full story, go to Winston-Salem Chronicle

Friday, June 14, 2013

Director of Instructional Technology Nominated for Bammy Award

Steven Anderson

 Steven W. Anderson, the school system’s Director of Instructional Technology, has been nominated for honors in the 2013 Bammy Awards in the category of School Technologists.

Anderson has been a key part in the kick-off of a district-wide initiative to allow students to bring their own technology from home and use it in the classroom. He and his team are also helping to change the technology teaching culture in schools through their work with teachers throughout the district. He also works with teachers around the country and world with the use of such social media tools as Twitter and Facebook for learning.

Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy Awards recognize the contributions of educators from across the education field.

"Nominees like Steven are making a difference in education every day,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, the executive producer of the Bammy Awards. “It's more important now than ever to publicly honor educators and to show what's right with American education. The positive response to the inaugural Bammy Awards in 2012 was overwhelming. Clearly the notion of collaboratively acknowledging what our nation's educators are doing well is an idea whose time has come.

“It really is an honor to be even nominated,” Anderson said. “The initial selection process is comprised of peer nominations. Then to have the Bammy community vote for you to make it to the final list is something remarkable. So to have your peers select you as one who is deserving of this honor is really special and humbling.”

Honorees will be announced on September 21st at a red-carpet event in Washington. The Bammy Awards are presented by The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, which includes leading educators, education leaders, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates,  activists, visionaries and pioneers. 

Modeled on the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, the Bammy Awards are presented by the Academy’s Council of Peers and Board of Governors. Based on the notion that it takes a village to educate a child, the Academy identifies, recognizes and celebrates the contributions of education professionals, para-professionals and support staff across the entire field -- from teachers, principals and superintendents to school nurses, advocates, researchers, early childhood specialists, education journalists, facilities maintenance staff, special needs professionals, school board members, parents and more.

The Bammy Awards acknowledge that teachers can't educate children alone and don't do it alone. The awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition for the vital role played by every member of the education village, encourage collaboration and respect across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field every day.

For more information, on the academy and the awards, go to Bammy Awards

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whitaker Elementary Teacher Retiring After 42 Years

Carla Humpreys with students (photo by Bruce Chapman)

 In the Wednesday, June 12 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, reporter Arika Herron writes about teacher Carla Humphreys retiring. 

Here is an excerpt:

For the past 42 years, teaching is just about all Carla Humphreys has known.

Starting today, though, the Whitaker Elementary third-grade teacher is going to have to learn something else.
“Now that I’m getting out of school, I’ll guess I really grow up,” she joked.

Humphreys, 65, taught her last day of class Tuesday, as the district’s approximately 55,000 students ended their school year.

Humphreys said she’s learned something every day she has been a teacher, but now she’ll have to learn how not be one. After 42 years in the classroom, it may be her biggest challenge yet.

That’s saying something, considering the challenges public-school teachers have faced over the last four decades. To say things have changed since Humphreys started teaching in 1968 would be an understatement.

“I started teaching before integration,” Humphreys said.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools created its first integrated schools in the second half of Humphreys’ second year teaching. Teachers waited for letters to see if they’d be transferred from a white to a black school, or vice versa, Humphreys said.

Humphreys stayed at her school, but watched as the all-white second grade was swapped with a second grade from an all-black school.

Humphreys has witnessed less dramatic change, as well. Fluctuations in class size and curriculum changes have been frequent. The introduction of technology into the classroom has revolutionized the way learning happens, she said.

On Tuesday, Humphreys stood in front of her active board — a high-tech, touch-screen alternative to the chalk boards she started with — and carried out her lesson, while a microphone projected her voice around the room. Humphreys said that piece of technology was one of her favorites.

“I don’t have to strain my voice,” she laughed.

Some things haven’t changed, though. First and foremost among those is Humphreys’ love for her students and passion for the work. The Reynolds High School graduate said she’s always wanted to be a teacher.

For the full story, go to Winston-Salem Journal

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

East Forsyth High Teacher Featured on Practical Money Skills Website

Jennifer Haymes

Jennifer Haymes, a business and marketing teacher and Finance Academy program coordinator at East Forsyth High School, is featured on a website called Practical Money Skills for Life, a program that Visa created in partnership with consumer advocates, educators and financial institutions.

Here is an excerpt from the article about Haymes:

After obtaining a college degree in business management, she began a career in sales for a year. Soon thereafter, she discovered teaching. She says, "Teaching was not on my radar of things to do. But I've fallen in love with this profession. I can teach what I love learning. I never knew this career was out there. This is what I am meant to do."

This passion and energy is apparent in every aspect of Jennifer's work. When she took over the Finance Academy program at East Forsyth seven years ago, 10-15 students were enrolled. Now, the program has grown to over 180 students. Jennifer explains that since 2010, there has been increasing emphasis in North Carolina on incorporating personal finance in the classroom. Recently, her Finance Academy was recognized as a state "best practice" by the North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell and the State Superintendent June Atkinson.

The Finance Academy is geared towards 10th-12th grade students who have an interest in business and personal finance. Students apply in 9th grade by filling out an application and participating in an interview. In addition to regular classes, participants take certain classes together for the remainder of their high school years to create "a family of students with the same goals and aspirations." The students are required to take classes about the principles of business and finance, civics and economics, accounting, international business and financial planning.

Jennifer says the key to her success is creating "fun and cool" lesson plans for her students that cover a range of topics including saving, investing, budgeting, balancing a checkbook, interest rates, loans, credit cards and scores, student and car loans, economics and retirement planning.

For the full story, go to Practical Money Skills

Monday, June 10, 2013

Three Schools Receive $5,000 from Laura Bush Foundation to Add to Book Collections

Amanda Brasfield

Media coordinators at three Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools are each receiving a $5,000 grant from The Laura Bush Foundation for America ’s Libraries to expand, update and diversify their library book collections.

The three are Amanda Brasfield at Ashley IB Magnet School, Cindy Taylor at Cook Elementary School and Mary Jo Naber at Mineral Springs Middle School.

"We are so excited at Ashley to receive this funding,” Brasfield said. “I wrote the grant to increase our collection of books in Spanish for our Dual Language Immersion Program. This $5,000 will double our current holdings."

Mary Jo Naber

“I want to use the Laura Bush grant to support the teachers in the library with the new Common Core standards, arts-related books, personal reading and books to support our Spanish speaking population,” Naber said. “I know that there will be more when I start meeting with teachers in the fall and discussing their needs further.”

Across the country, 212 school libraries are being awarded a total of $1.06 million grants for 2013.

In 2012, Samra Childers, the media coordinator at Speas Elementary School, received a grant from the foundation.

The grant application process is administered by The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region with guidance from The Laura Bush Foundation’s Advisory Committee. The grants are funded through donations to the endowment from individuals, corporations and foundations.

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries was founded in 2002 as a fund of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Since its inception, the Laura Bush Foundation has awarded more than $10.5 million to schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. In addition to these yearly grants, the Foundation has also awarded more than $6.3 million to school libraries in the Gulf Coast  region to rebuild their library book collections that were lost or destroyed by hurricanes or storms.

The mission of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is to support the education of our nation’s children by providing funds to update, extend and diversify the book and print collections of America’s school libraries.

For more information, go

Friday, June 7, 2013

Southwest students sell lemonade to raise $600 for childhood cancer research

Summer break is just a few days away - so it must be time for some lemonade.

Students in Southwest Elementary School's exceptional children program set up their stand outside the cafeteria yesterday, offering cups of lemonade for 25 cents each. Their classmates drank a lot of lemonade, as about $600 was raised for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research.

The students helped with the all the planning details, making the advertisements, serving the lemonade and keeping it cold, and counting the money. It was a great way for them to learn about running a business and helping others.

Want to make a donation? Click here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Athletic Director at Glenn High Retiring after 34 Years

Marty Stanley (photo by Bruce Chapman)

In the Thursday, June 6, issue of the Winston-Salem Journal, reporter Mason Linker writes about Marty Stanley, who is retiring as athletic director at Glenn High School. Here is an excerpt:

Over the last 20 or so years, athletics directors around the area have found themselves in unfamiliar situations.

Often, the question would arise: WWMD?
What Would Marty Do?

Over the last 34 years at Glenn High School, including the last 24 as AD, Stanley has been far more than an answer man for those in need, although he’s been quite good at that.

Stanley has been a case study in hard work, fairness, and doing things the right way. That job will be passed along to someone new starting July 1. Stanley, 56, filed his retirement papers on Monday and will work at Glenn until June 30.

“Honesty and integrity,” said T.R. Richards, the AD at West Forsyth, when asked why so many leaned on Stanley. “You knew with Marty you would get an honest answer and his integrity was beyond reproach. There was never a doubt of gamesmanship or one-upmanship in the least. You knew he was in it for the kids, which is what we are all supposed to be about.

“It’s a big loss for Glenn and the Kernersville community but it’s a huge loss for athletics in the state of North Carolina. He was a big part. It’s big.”

A little more than a week ago, Stanley said he was fully prepared to work another school year. But a long weekend of introspection and talks with his wife, Monika, led him to his decision.

“She told me it was my decision and she would support me in whatever I decided,” Stanley said, pointing out the many sacrifices she made while he worked days that started early and ended too late.

“It was kind of a quick decision. It was in the back of my mind but I just had a hard time getting ready for another year. The demands of the job are a little more than they used to be. It’s a little harder when you get older. The things I do now that I did 15, 20 years ago, it takes a couple of days to get over rather than a couple of hours.

“But I am perfectly content with my decision. I wouldn’t change anything I have done over the 34 years here at Glenn aside from a few decisions here or there. But if I had to do it all over again, I would take the same path.”

For the complete story, go to Winston-Salem Journal

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Elementary Students Learn Respect, Manners and Social Skills through Ballroom Dance

In the Wednesday, June 5 issue of the Winston-Salem Journal reporter Arika Herron writes about a dance program that students in 15 elementary schools are participating in.

Here’s an excerpt:

At first, Gabe Russell did not enjoy dance class.

“We had to dance with girls,” Gabe lamented Tuesday morning at a four-school dance competition to mark the completion of the Dancing Classrooms program. But after a few lessons, it grew on the Union Cross fifth-grader and his classmates, who spent 10 weeks learning dances including the tango and the fox trot. Fifth-graders from 15 elementary schools across the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County district completed the program, designed to teach students respect, manners and social skills through ballroom dance.

“They learn to respect each other, their teachers, their parents,” said Ann Guill, site director for Dancing Classrooms and executive director of the nonprofit Take the Lead North Carolina. “They learn teamwork.”

A select group of students put their new skills to the test Tuesday, demonstrating proficiency in the meringue, tango, fox trot, swing and rumba dances for a host of judges in the gymnasium at South Fork Elementary.
Students from South Fork, Union Cross, Konnoak and Old Town elementary schools participated in the competition – a new addition to the 4-year-old program. Students were judged on dance form, rhythm and enthusiasm.

“I was looking for a lot of enthusiasm,” said David Hawk, a teaching assistant with Dancing Classrooms and one of the day’s judges. “I want to see them having fun with it.”

For the full story go to  Winston-Salem Journal

Singing Lions' Chorus at Cook Elementary Performs at Carowinds

On Saturday, May 12, the Singing Lions’ Chorus at Cook Elementary School, which is directed by Renee Matthews-Phifer, performed at the 2013 Carowinds Festival of Music  The group received an overall “Excellent” rating. Choruses are judged on: tone, technique, interpretation, intonation, balance, musical effect, diction, stage presence and choral discipline, etc. They earned marks of “Superior” in the categories of Technique, Diction and  Musical Effect and “Excellent” marks in all other categories.

The Carowinds Festival of Music program provides music students an opportunity to perform and play in one unique setting.  Nationally known adjudicators listen, evaluate and comment on each group's performance. Plaques and ribbons are awarded for Superior and Excellent ratings.

The Singing Lions’ Chorus is a mixed (girls and boys) audition-only group composed of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.  The singers must be able to match pitches and pass a sight-singing test.

Phifer said that she is extremely proud of the Singing Lions’ Chorus, in part, because they haven’t had as many opportunities to perform in formal settings as her other choruses. She is also proud because they were able to do a great job on some difficult choral literature.

“I believe in providing a rigorous music program that challenges my students to become all that they can be inside and outside of my classroom,” she said. “I always remind them that if you can handle these hard musical tasks, you can do anything. This group received wonderful remarks from the judges. Some music teachers in the audience came up to me and said they couldn’t believe that an elementary chorus could sound like that.”
This year, Phifer established a Chorus Homework/Behavior Challenge Contract that had to be signed by students and parents.  The stipulations were: Any student with missing homework during the two months before the trip to Carowinds would not be allowed to go. Any student receiving ISS (in-school suspension) or OSS (out-of-school) would not be allowed to go to Carowinds.

Phifer said that she saw her students taking personal responsibility for meeting the standards set.  “If a student was struggling with completing homework, we used parent contact and other ways to help that student get back on track,” she said. “When a student felt like they were in a situation that might lead to an altercation, they came to me or their teacher for help with conflict resolution strategies. The Homework/Behavior Chorus Contract had 98-percent success rate and I believe my students gained valuable experience on how to set, meet and even surpass their goals.”

Monday, June 3, 2013

Student Art in the June 2013 Issue of Forsyth Family Magazine

By Maddie Shelby

By Lucy Romanik
By Maryam French

By Maggie Weiss
In the June 2013 issue of Forsyth Family magazine, you will find art by four students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. The first three pieces were the winners in the student art competition held in conjunction with the Winston-Salem Centennial Celebration.  

Maddie Selby, who is in second grade at Meadowlark Elementary School, won at the elementary level. Her art teacher is Melanie Messick.

Lucy Romanik, who is a junior at Reagan High School, won at the high school level. Her art teacher is Jennifer Willard.

Maryum French, who is in seventh-grade at Wiley Middle School, won at the middle school level. Her art teacher is Laurie Wiesner-Phillips.

The fourth piece was included in the 2013 Artizens competition sponsored by Piedmont Federal Savings Bank The artist is Maggie Weiss. She is a student at Mount Tabor High School, and her art teacher is Alice Morley.