Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reagan Band Heading to London

In the Wednesday, Dec. 23 issue of Journal West, reporter Jenny Drabble writes about the trip that members of the Reagan High School band are making to London. Photographer Lauren Carroll took the pictures.
Here is an excerpt:
Ninety high school students, a 10-hour flight and an airplane brimming with passengers cramped in tiny seats. Sounds like a fun way to spend the holidays, right?
When you’re headed to the land of the Beatles and spectacular castles at each turn, you’re willing to put up with just about anything, comfort aside. The chance to direct his band in one of the biggest parades in the world? Reagan band director Andrew Craft can’t imagine anything better.
“This is a pretty big stinking deal. This is their Macy’s (Day Parade),” Craft said. “Actually in terms of number of performers and areas broadcast, this is bigger than Macy’s. It’s certainly our biggest stage yet.”
The band’s 90 students will perform in front of about half a million spectators at the annual 2016 New Year’s Day Parade in London with millions more watching on TV. The parade, featuring nearly 10,000 performers from more than 20 countries, will be aired on BBC.
The Reagan band was selected last fall as one of about 10 in the U.S. to perform in the annual parade.
“It’s really a surreal feeling because the biggest crowd I’ve ever had watching me is at a soccer game and that can’t even compare to what it’s going to be like in London,” junior Jordan Harm said. “It’s really exciting, I never thought I’d get an opportunity like this.”
Though most of the students participating in the London trip, which runs Sunday to Jan. 3, participate in the school’s marching band, some, like Harm, have never been in a parade before. Learning to march and memorizing the music in a month’s time was an added challenge, he said.
The instruments were shipped two weeks before the parade, which cut out practice time, as the students had to practice without instruments, focusing on perfecting the choreography instead.
“We’ve worked really hard as a band, so we’re ready for this,” Harm, who plays the mellophone, said. “I’m super excited. I’ve never been overseas before, so I can’t wait to see the culture and explore a new country with all my friends.”
To read the rest of the story, go to Journal West 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Santa and Mrs. Claus Visit Hall-Woodward Elementary

When Santa visited Hall-Woodward Elementary School this year, Mrs. Claus made a special guest appearance.

Each year, the people at the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce invite Santa to visit Hall-Woodward, and, each year, he accepts. This year, Mrs. Claus, who made the beautiful robe Santa was wearing, joined him.

Before catching up with students in first and second grade, Santa and Mrs. Claus visited the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms accompanied by such elves as Jennifer Cobb, Tina Long and Rodessa Mitchell of the Chamber of Commerce.

After they came into teacher Jeannette Morrison and teacher assistant Keesha Williams’ kindergarten classroom, Morrison said she was delighted to see Mrs. Claus this year.

“That was a wonderful surprise,” Morrison said.

When Santa asked the students whether they had been good, they gave him an enthusiastic “YES!!!”

With the help of Cobb, Long and Mitchell, Santa passed out presents to each of the students. When they unwrapped their gifts, they discovered a book. Some of the students proudly displayed their new book to the nearest adult.

“Thank you, Santa,” the students said.

On to the next class.

As students in teacher Lauren Hayes and teacher assistant Julie Davis’ kindergarten class visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hayes said she was glad to have them there for her students.

“It helps them get in the Christmas spirit,” Hayes said.

In one classroom, student Jonathon Campbell announced, “It’s only seven more days until Christmas.”      

Without being prompted, some students in classrooms along the way let Santa know what they were hoping to receive: a skateboard, a bicycle, a Nintendo.

“I want a dog!” called out a student in teacher Nelly Blanco and teacher assistant Debbie Wolfe’s kindergarten class.

Santa didn’t commit himself.

When all the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students had received their books, Santa visited with the first- and second-graders.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winston-Salem Foundation Annual Report Features Walkertown Middle Teacher Brad Rhew

In its annual report, The Winston-Salem Foundation ran a story about Brad Rhew, a Winston-Salem Middle School teacher who won a 2014 Forsyth County Teacher Grant.

To read the story, go to The Winston-Salem Foundation

Members of Wake Forest Basketball Team Visit with Students at Southeast Middle

Each month, Aaron Bailey, an assistant principal at Southeast Middle School, invites people from the community for Breakfast with Bailey, a time for them to visit with Southeast students.

“On Thursday, Dec. 17, student athletes from the Wake Forest University basketball team visited Southeast Middle School to speak candidly to a group of students on the theme Overcoming Obstacles.” Bailey said.

“Junior Gil McGregor, Sophomore Trent VanHorn, Sophomore Greg McClinton along with Josh Mills, Director of Player Development, elaborated on topics such as the daily schedule of a college student athletes, personal struggles, and triumphs and internal motivations.

“Kernersville businesses such Biscuitville and Harris Teeter contributed towards the breakfast mentoring session by donating biscuits and other breakfast-related items.” 

Pictured from Left to Right: Josh Mills (WFU), Karleigh Ndiaye, Daniel Napper, Jaydn Hoover, Noah Leak, Julius Reece, Issac Cartagena, Gil McGregor (WFU), Caleb Markel, Monae Galloway, Trent VanHorn (WFU), Armani Marshall, Will Rhodes, Greg McClinton (WFU), Addison Pizzino, Cynciir Lyles and Aaron Bailey (Assistant Principal).

Hanes Students Fight Hunger by Filling 40 Barrels of Food and Raising $3,200

“The Hanes Magnet School dragon roared against hunger this holiday season,” said Principal Lisa Duggins. “The students set a new record for their annual food drive which supports the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission’s food bank. 

“They filled 40 barrels with canned goods and raised over $3,200 dollars. Each day the Hanes dragon, who is an anonymous teacher, would make announcements for the latest weekly challenges, which included SMOD free days, a staff/student basketball game, going to a WFU basketball game and some wild teacher challenges.  

“Two teachers had a dance off in front of the entire school to a few popular hip hop songs, while other teachers had to dress in wigs and have their finger nails painted.  All in all, the food drive was a ‘roaring’ success.” 


Philo-Hill Boys Throw Holiday Party for Boys at Konnoak Elementary

On Friday, boys at Philo-Hill Magnet Academy gave boys at Konnoak lunch and a present.

For the story, go to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Here are some more photos:

Glenn High Students Give a Gift to Every Student at Forest Park Elementary

On Thursday, students at Glenn High School took gifts to students at Forest Park Elementary. To read the story, go to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Here are some more more pictures from the visit:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kimmel Farm Students Collect 1,753 Items for People Who Are Homeless

Students in Rebecca Montes de Oca's class at Kimmel Farm Elementary School have been overseeing a school and community project to collect items that will help people who are homeless stay warm.

You can read the story at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

This morning, students presented the items to representatives of the organization that will be distributing them.

 “We ended up with 1,753 items!” Montes de Oca said. “Ms. Janice Ray and Mr. Russell May came to our classroom for the presentation. Mr. May told our class about how we are all a part of community and we are helping build community for the homeless when we give to them.

“We are giving them friendship. Ms. Ray also shared how she was so impressed by their play and their work. She gave the children cookies and a book titled How to Steal a Dog about a homeless girl for our class library. Then they loaded up a van with all of the items.  
“We are honored and proud to be a part of this event. My students were touched as well as the adults. It is so hard for me to conceive of what our community can do for one another when we set our minds to it.  Each hand helping the other – from kindergarten to fifth grade to adults in our school.”  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Exceptional People Serving Exceptional Children: December

Emma Hatfield Sidden, who is a pivotal member of the Assistive Technology Team housed at The Special Services Center, was awarded the Teacher of Excellence at the 65th Conference on Exceptional Children in Greensboro this November. 

Every year the N.C. Department of Public Instruction recognizes a Teacher of Excellence from each of the 115 districts. In order to be considered for this distinction, a teacher should be recognized as a leader in service through an innovative approach to instructional programs or methodologies that have demonstrated positive outcomes for students with disabilities. The characteristics of service, leadership, and dedication to improving the quality of education for exceptional children and youth are cornerstones of a Teacher of Excellence. 

As a N.C. Teaching Fellow, Emma graduated from  Appalachian State University. She began her teaching career in August 2008 at Walkertown Elementary School where she taught autistic students and ID-Moderate students in the CORE/MAP program. In 2011, Emma moved to Wilkes County and taught in a cross categorical middle school classroom.  Her innovative use of technology in her own classroom helped her seamlessly integrate onto the Assistive Technology Team in 2012.
Since moving to the team, she has been instrumental in researching new educational technology for students, developing engaging staff development for our teachers, collaborating with her peers, representing our county as a presenter at numerous educational conferences, and leading the state in implementation of assistive technology to improve the educational experience of her students. Congratulations and thank you for representing our district!

Katie Dowd teaches a 3-5 EC Functional Primary class at the Special Children’s School. She and her team of assistants, Alethea Holmes and Joel Hooks, have created a positive classroom environment that is centered on their students and their abilities. Katie leads her team with energy, warmth, and an enthusiastic attitude that is contagious. Together this group can get anything done. When you walk into their classroom you can tell that they all enjoy their jobs, respect each other, and love the children they work with.
Learning is very busy in Katie’s classroom and it extends beyond the school walls. Not only do they take field trips, community trips, and participate in Special Olympics activities, but they also schedule weekly trips to Old Town Park and to Mount Tabor High School for PE each week. Their partnership with the Honors PE class at Mount Tabor is a very special one. For three years, Katie’s team, our Adaptive PE teachers (Kitty Hunt and Nancy Hoover), and Mount Tabor’s PE staff have worked together to provide the students at both schools a chance to work together on PE activities in the Mt. Tabor gym. It has been a valuable learning experience for everyone involved.
Katie collaborates with her assistants, outside programs, and our school related services to make her classroom and her instruction stronger for her children. This cooperative approach to learning in her classroom is successful because of her leadership and the support of her two assistants. This team is the perfect match!

Lowrance Middle School’s Carrie Adams, Ken Carter and Prudence Timberlake are three amazing examples of what it takes to handle a severe profound class room and make it seem as if you are in a meditation room. 

You walk in and experience a feeling of calmness that makes you feel as if you have walked into a tranquil oasis. You would think that the teacher and her assistants have been working together for years because the flow of the transitions is seamless. 

Carrie Adams is in her first year at Lowrance as a teacher after serving as a personal assistant to one of our students for the past two years, Prudence Timberlake is in her first year as an assistant and Ken Carter has been at Lowrance for many years.  The students have responded to the class room staff very positively. Not only are they keeping the students calm, they are teaching them how to use switches to interact with others. 

There is always something educational going on in the classroom as is evident on the walls that showcase the student work.  The teachers have smiles on their faces and the students love coming to school to spend time with their teachers.

Daya Patton is Carter High School’s guidance counselor. She creates students’ schedules and class assignments like any other counselor in the district, but that is not what makes her such a wonderful addition to the Wildcat team. She facilitates a student services PLT that includes our school nurse, school social worker, and two EC case managers. These experts meet faithfully to discuss student needs and to find creative solutions to overcome them. The creation of this PLT has given Carter a secret weapon to allow us to support students in remarkable ways.

Many of our students have extreme needs that impact their success in the classroom. Some students live in families who struggle with housing and nutrition. Some struggle with challenging behaviors, and a lot of students and families need assistance accessing community resources. If a Carter student is in crisis, Daya doesn't only send information home to parents, she facilitates appointments with experts in the developmental disabilities support community. She makes it easy for parents and families to get the right kind of help from the right people. Parents feel like she partners with them in instead of just giving suggestions to them. Service providers receive a similar level of support and follow through, too. Once a therapeutic relationship has been created it thrives with frequent progress reports.

Being a guidance counselor has its challenges wherever you are.  Being a teenager has its challenges, too. Being a teen with unique, sometimes extreme, needs calls for a very unique set of supports. The students and families at Carter have an exceptional person to create supports for success.

Easton Teacher Leads Drive to Collect Hair to Make Wigs for Women with Cancer

Krista Moroni, a fifth-grade teacher at Easton Elementary School, organized a Ponytail Drive as part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths Program to create real hair wigs for women with cancer.

“I have been waiting to cut my hair to donate,” Moroni said. “While talking about it with some of my students, they wanted to partake in the event. I researched different organizations and Pantene Beautiful Lengths was the only one who made wigs for woman battling cancer for FREE.

“I hope to make this an annual/bi-annual event. The amount of hair we collected should make approximately three wigs. There are still some staff members and students who weren't able to join the event and will still be cutting their hair to donate.  I think it's wonderful.”

The charity campaign created by Pantene in partnership with HairUWear and the American Cancer Society encourages people to grow, cut and donate their healthy hair to create real-hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

Nearly 231,840 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and one in eight women will develop some form of invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. These statistics make it abundantly clear that cancer will affect each one of us in some way. Hair loss, one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment, can be especially traumatic for women fighting cancer. That’s why in support of this campaign, Easton Elementary School volunteered to play an important role in this charity campaign. 

Television station WFMY ran a story about the donations. To see that, go to WFMY

EC Division Fills 50 Shoe Boxes with Items for People in Retirement Homes

Each year, people in the school system’s Exceptional Children (EC) Division take on holiday projects.

One is the Lifeline Shoebox project. The idea is to gather a shoe box worth of everyday items that someone in a nursing home or assisted-living facility needs – toothbrush, Kleenex, shampoo, etc.

In 2014, the EC Division collected enough items to fill 30 shoe boxes. For 2015, they set a goal of filling 50 shoe boxes.

“The EC Division started collecting in February,” said Heather Surratt. “We would focus on collecting two of the 16 items each month. It worked out really well. We met our goal of fifty complete shoe boxes. We even have some extra items. I am really pleased.”

Since Lifeline Shoebox Ministry was established in 2008, it has served 2,653 residents in 45 facilities in Forsyth, Stokes, Yadkin and Surry counties.

More information about the shoe box ministry can be found at Lifeline

Jefferson Elementary Students Sing at Arbor Acres Retirement Community

On Monday, students from Jefferson Elementary School sang at Arbor Acres. To read the story, go to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Here are some more pictures from the story: