Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Parent Involvement Bus Hits the Road

The parent-involvement bus has hit the road.

During the 2014-15 school year, people at Philo-Hill Magnet Academy and Konnoak Elementary School started working on refurbishing a yellow school bus that could go out into the community to serve parents.

The project got a big boost from teachers and students at the Career Center, who made the necessary improvements to the bus. The project was made possible by a $5,000 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant and a $4,000 grant from the Winston-Salem Federal Credit Union.
Last weekend, the bus went out into the community to provide back-to-school information for parents.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Teacher at Wiley Magnet Middle School Participates in NASA's Space Camp

Betty Jo Moore, who teaches at Wiley Magnet Middle School, recently participated in Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Moore was part of the Advanced Space Academy for Educators Program, which is designed for teachers who want to advance education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Moore experienced the astronaut simulators, the centrifuge, took part in Underwater Astronaut Training and took virtual tours into space to save the International Space Station. 

Trainees also followed lesson plans based on NASA content (which is correlated to the National Science Education Standards) and received content and knowledge to pass on to their students in the classroom.

Moore is making a movie about the experience that she will share with the Winston-Salem Foundation once she is finished.

The center in Huntsville, Ala., is NASA’s official Visitor Information Center for Marshall Space Flight Center. The educational program promotes STEM while training students and adults with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and decision-making. Educators earn 45 hours of continuing education credit and can potentially earn graduate credit through the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Space Camp and Aviation Challenge crew trainers who lead each 16-member team must have at least a year of college and 67% of the staff are college graduates. Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Alabama, and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Trainees sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA. Nearly 700,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp since its opening in Huntsville in 1982, including STS-131 astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. Last year, children and teachers from all 50 states and 64 international locations attended Space Camp.

For more information go to Space Camp.

Two School Board Members Visit Petree Elementary to Learn More about BELL Summer Program

JULY 20, 2015 – On Thursday, school board members Mark Johnson and Lori Goins Clark dropped by Petree Elementary School to learn more about the BELL summer program.

Velvet McGregor, the curriculum coordinator at South Fork Elementary School who serves as the assistant director of program operations for the BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) program in Winston-Salem, was there to greet them. So were the two Petree women who coordinate the BELL program at the school: Michelle Breen, the assistant principal, and Leslie Gardner, an instructional coach.

Essie McKoy, the principal at Petree, was also on hand.

As McGregor was waiting for the school board members to arrive, she said, “The purpose is to make sure our board is on board with how we are serving our children. I’m excited.”

The summer program works with students who have finished the third grade – and a few who have completed the fourth grade – who would benefit from extra attention to ensure that they are able to read at grade level.

When the school board members arrived, McGregor told them that the first part of the day focuses on literacy. “The other half of the day is enrichment,” she said.

That includes community service project and such classes as drama, Breen said.
Melissa Howell, a friend of Johnson’s who recently earned her master’s degree in education came along to observe. A couple of BELL representatives were there as well.

In the first classroom they visited, Johnson got down to the students’ level and talked to them about reading. “Reading is tough at first,” he said.

As with any skill, practice is important, he said. “The more you do it, the better you get. And once you learn to read, you can teach yourself everything else.”

Clark also visited with individual students.

Along the way, Josue G. Figueredo, the school’s technology coordinator, showed everyone a video about the morning news program and other activities that incorporated technology.

Classes in the program are small enough that students receive a lot of individual attention from the teachers and teacher assistants. Each class of about 20 students has one teacher and one teacher assistant. At Petree, the 105 students in the program are divided into five classes.

In one class, students had read “Jack and the Beanstalk” and were discussing situations that came up in the story. In another classroom, students were listening to a rap song that helped them understand what the word “infer” means. In another classroom, students were looking at a series of clues to determine what something might be. 

It provides shade. It has branches. It has leaves.

Is it a building?


Is it a tree?


As he observed the students, Johnson said, “I love how they are so engaged.” 

East Forsyth High Teacher Receives National Award that Comes with $10,000

JULY 20, 2015 – Julie Riggins, who teaches math at East Forsyth High School, was one of 108 mathematics and science teachers from across the country named by President Obama as a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The honor comes with a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at each recipient’s discretion. To read the story we posted about Riggins when she was nominated for the award, go to Julie Riggins
This year’s awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. 

The educators will receive their awards at an event in Washington later this summer that includes educational and celebratory events and visits with members of the administration.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The awardees named today teach 7th through 12th grade.

"These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Obama said. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.”

President Obama is strengthening education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in order to fully harness the promise our Nation’s students. Investing in exemplary teachers like these awardees is vital to inspiring the next generation of explorers and innovators. That’s why President Obama launched the “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which has garnered more than $1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs. It is also why the President has called for preparing 100,000 excellent science and mathematics teachers over the next decade, leading to the creation of “100kin10,” a coalition of leading corporations, philanthropies, universities, service organizations, and others working to train and retain STEM teachers across the Nation. In addition, the President’s proposed STEM Master Teacher Corps aims to leverage the expertise of some of our nation’s best and brightest teachers in science and mathematics to elevate the teaching of these subjects nationwide. 

East Forsyth High Teacher Spending a Week at Library of Congress Summer Institute

Allyson Buie of East Forsyth High School has been selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute for the week of July 27-31.

Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a carefully chosen group of K-12 educators to attend one of its five teacher institutes in Washington.

During the five-day program, participants work with Library education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the Library’s website.

Educators attending the teacher institutes participate in and develop primary-source-based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom and share with colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical-thinking skills, and construct knowledge. All educators may freely access classroom materials, teaching tools and strategies for teaching with primary sources from the Library’s site for teachers at Library of Congress

Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators, in addition to classroom teachers. Those selected come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.

Primary sources are the raw materials of history—original documents and objects that were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources—accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged learners while building critical-thinking skills and constructing new knowledge. Teachers working in the Library's collections will explore the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staffs. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website at Library of Congress

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Honors Karen McNeil-Miller, President of Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust

On July 1, Dana Caudill Jones, the chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, and Superintendent Beverly Emory were among those honoring Karen McNeil Miller, the president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust at a reception.
Kenneth Simington, the school system’s chief academic officer, and Steve Oates, the assistant superintendent for elementary schools, also spoke.

At its meeting on June 23, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution honoring McNeill-Miller for being “a leading voice in serving the vulnerable, the underserved and the economically disadvantaged of Forsyth County and North Carolina.”

McNeil-Miller, who has been president since 2005, is leaving the trust to become the president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Health Foundation.
 Under McNeil-Miller’s leadership, the trust has been a generous supporter of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.  

In 2012, the trust made a $30-million commitment to improve educational opportunities for young children in Forsyth County. The trust’s initiative, called Great Expectations, focuses on ensuring that Forsyth County’s youngest children, age birth to five, have the support necessary to be successful in school and life by the time they finish kindergarten. One component of the program focuses on kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs in the 21 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools that meet the criteria for Title I, a federally funded program that provides extra assistance to schools with children from low-income families.

When the initiative was announced, McNeil-Miller said: “Great Expectations is about believing that all of Forsyth County’s children can succeed when given the right tools and support. We know that from an early age, children’s development can be influenced by so many people—from mom and dad and daycare providers to grandparents and neighbors. The Great Expectations initiative will work with different organizations across the county to bolster the many people who play a role in a child’s early years. Because we know that classroom teachers can have a huge impact on a child’s life once they enter school, we also wanted to make sure that one of our key partners was the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school district.”