Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Summer Adventure to the Galapagos Islands

On June 27, Sean Bennett, who teaches biology at the Career Center and his wife, Colleen, will be take a group of 11 students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County high schools to the Galapagos Islands.

“To my knowledge,” Bennett said, “this is the first time a group from our school system has traveled to the place where Charles Darwin gathered the resources to form his theory of evolution.”  

Bennett has never been to the Galapagos Islands and has always wanted to go. He became intrigued about the possibility of making the trip real after listening to Annie Knudsen, who teaches environment science at the Career Center, talking about a trip she had made to Costa Rica with students.

Bennett arranged the trip through EF Education First, an international company that organizes educational trips. Other WS/FC schools had already made trips through the company and had good experiences.

On the trip, the Career Center students – whose home high schools include Mount Tabor, Reynolds, East and Glenn – will be joined by high school students from Los Angeles, Seattle and Pittsburgh.

The trip will last until July 5. 

The people in the photo are:

Front row: Matthew Arcuri (on the phone), Emily Allen (holding the phone), Maddie Galbreath, Tori Elliott, Cathy Delano, Sheridan Lee, Kaili Griffin, Emily Madison-Cooper, Colleen Bennett

Back row: Daniel Faircloth, Sean Bennett, Evan Muday, Paige Watts

West Forsyth to Name Performing Arts Center After Jim Anderson

On Sunday May 1, West Forsyth High School will name its performing arts center after retired teacher Jim Anderson.
Here is an excerpt for a Journal Now story by reporter Lisa O’Donnell:
Jim Anderson’s legacy as a teacher lives on in the memories of his students at West Forsyth High School.
On May 1, that legacy will become more permanent when the school’s performing arts center is named in his honor.
Anderson’s imprint was all over the school. He taught English and chorus, sponsored the senior class, directed musicals and organized talent shows from 1978 to 1997. He is also associated with the phrase: “We are not amused,” something he would write on students’ papers that failed to meet his high standards or say aloud in a British accent, peering over the top of his glasses.
One of his former students, Terry Hicks, told Journal West in 2013, “Mr. A helped us find our place in the world. He led us to think higher, broader.”
For the full story, go to Winston-Salem Journal

Learning the Ukulele at Southwest Elementary

In the April 27 issue of Journal West, reporter Lisa O’Donnell writes about students at Southwest Elementary learning to play the ukulele.
Here is an excerpt:
Their tiny fingers pressed down on the third fret of the tiny instrument to make a C chord.
Amy Goldwine, the music teacher at Southwest Elementary School, cradled her own ukulele. She wore bright-patterned skirt to reflect the instrument’s Hawaiian heritage.
She showed them a strumming motion.
“We can play a whole song,” Goldwine said.
Soon, 12 third-grade students, with ukuleles resting on their laps were making music, the bright, crisp sound of the strings filling the classroom.
“Frosty weather, snowy weather, when the wind blows, we all go together,” they sang, their fingers gliding over the ukulele strings.
By outfitting her music classes at Southwest with ukuleles, Goldwine is introducing her students to an instrument that is experiencing a revival, after years of being viewed as a toy, something less serious than, say, a guitar or violin.
“It’s lately been on the rise,” Goldwine said.
She said she got the idea to bring ukuleles into her classroom after attending a national conference for music educators that included a few sessions on ukuleles.
For the rest of the story, go to Winston-Salem Journal
The photographs are by Journal photographer Bruce Chapman.

Peace Run at Moore Elementary

On Tuesday, participants in a run to promote peace stopped at Moore Elementary School.

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

Here are more pictures:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Compassion Corner at Vienna Elementary

On April 20, a Compassion Corner bench was dedicated at Vienna Elementary School. 

Vienna is one of a number of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools that now have a Compassion Corner. The ongoing project is sponsored by Compassion Winston-Salem.

Here’s what a press release from the organization had to say:

“In these times of religious conflict, it is important to recognize and respect not only the diversity between faiths, but also to appreciate commonalities in belief and practice.  One such shared ideal is the importance of compassion in human relationships.  Nearly every faith has some version of the golden rule:  “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” 

“In July, 2013, with encouragement from Interfaith Winston-Salem, our City Council approved the Charter of Compassion, making Winston-Salem the first City of Compassion in North Carolina and thereby joining an international network of over 300 Cities of Compassion. 

“Working to increase the practice of compassion in our city requires concrete strategies in every sector:  education, business, health, and others.  Recognizing the link between teaching compassion and reducing bullying, the Compassion Winston-Salem Education task force decided to begin placing Compassion Corner benches on elementary school playgrounds, accompanied by integrated learning activities promoting kindness.  Students are taught that these benches are a safe place for anyone having a hard day and are encouraged to show kindness to anyone sitting on the Compassion Corner.  In each school students decorate the benches with unique designs; guidance lessons are offered; students learn songs with themes related to compassion.  Activities related to the Compassion Corner vary from school to school.  A dedication is held following installation.

“In 2014-15, benches were installed at Bolton, Moore, Old Town, and Petree Schools.  In the 2015-16 school year, the following schools have received Compassion Corners:  Diggs-Latham, Ibraham, Sedge Garden, Vienna, and the Montessori School in Clemmons.  The cost of materials has been covered in most cases by congregational partners with each school, as well as grants from the Adams Foundation and individual contributions.  After using several volunteer groups to build the first few benches, a construction team from Epiphany Lutheran Church has taken responsibility for building all of the benches during the current school year.  Each school has students decorate their benches under the supervision of staff and adapts the activities associated with their Compassion Corner to their individual school’s goals and values."

A Day of Having Fun and Making Connections

On Friday, students with hearing or visual impairments from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and six other counties headed to BB&T Field for a field day.

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

Here are more pictures:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Supporting and Recognizing First-Year Teachers

On Monday night, the Forsyth Education Partnership recognized four first-year teachers as Teachers of Promise.

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

Here are more pictures:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reagan Students Compete in FCCLA State Leadership Conference

Michelle Derouin, Alondra Ramirez, Mattilyn Maltba, Lauren Snarski, Sarah Culpepper, Carly Player, Olivia Shutt, Amy Sheldon, Esmeralda Ramirez, Melissa Maltba,

By Michelle Derouin
FACS/CTE Educator
Reagan High School

The following students from Reagan High School were among more than 1,100 members from Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) in Greensboro who competed and participated at the NC FCCLA State Leadership Conference:

Career Investigation – Senior: Alondra Ramirez, Sophomore
Entrepreneurship – Occupational: Sarah Culpepper, Senior; Lauren Snarski, Junior;
Entrepreneurship – Senior: Esmeralda Ramirez, Senior
Job Interview – Senior: Mattilynn Maltba, Senior
Interior Design – Occupational: Carly Player, Senior; Amy Sheldon, Sophmore; Olivia Shutt, Junior

The conference focused on the theme, “Ignite and Empower Your Inner Flame.” During this three-day meeting, participants examined many of the issues facing youth, and worked toward gaining the life skills they need to meet those challenges through leadership workshops and competitive events.

Earning Gold Medals in their competitions: Esmeralda Ramirez, Mattilynn Maltba, Carly Player, Amy Sheldon, and Olivia Shutt.

Earning Silver Medals in their competitions: Alondra Ramirez, Sarah Culpepper, and Lauren Snarski.

Sarah Culpepper & Lauren Snarski placed first in their division and Esmeralda Ramirez placed second in her division. Both teams will be representing North Carolina and competing against other state competitors at the National Leadership Conference in San Diego, California! Members from Reagan’s FCCLA work with Legends Hospitality at the Dash Stadium to help fundraise and secure monies towards group activities and trips.

Michelle Derouin, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and one of the FCCLA Advisers was recognized as an Adviser Mentor at the State Leadership Conference as well. Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s Adviser Recognition Program rewards outstanding local Family and Consumer Sciences teachers who make significant contributions to the organization.
The Adviser Mentor program recognizes the skills of experienced Family and Consumer Sciences teachers who help orient and train new FCCLA advisers. Adviser Mentors must achieve Master Adviser recognition, devote at least two years to new adviser assistance, assume adult leadership roles in FCCLA, conduct adviser workshops, attend training workshops, and use national and state FCCLA resources.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA has 200,000 members and more than 5,500 chapters from 49 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The organization has involved more than ten million youth since its founding in 1945.

FCCLA: The Ultimate Leadership Experience is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members.  It is the only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus.  Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers, and communities.

Student Quotes:
“FCCLA SLC has helped shape me into the person I am today and will have an everlasting influence in my life” Esmeralda Ramirez

“Competing at States was exciting because I learned so much and got the opportunity to experience many different business situations.” Lauren Snarkski

“The State Leadership Conference was an enlightening experience that I will never forget. I learned how to be a better leader and met people I would’ve never has the chances to have met!” Alondra Ramirez

“Getting the opportunity to compete at States was an experience like no other. I learned so much, and getting to meet people with a higher level of experience helped me understand better where and who I might be after college. Sarah Culpepper

The Power of K Kindergarten Teacher Leaders

By Eva C. Phillips
Ready Schools Coordinator

The WS/FCS Power of K Kindergarten Teacher Leaders held our fourth and final full-day Seasonal Professional Development Meeting of this school year on Thursday, April 14 at Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons.  The meeting space, snacks, lunch and gift cards were all generously donated by the church. 

After a morning spent with Dr. Sharon Ritchie, Director of FirstSchool from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at UNC-CH exploring, discussing, reflecting and planning based on the teachers' data from the EduSnap Observation Tool, the main event during this meeting was the afternoon the teachers spent together with all their principals. To share about and articulate their learning and changes made as a result over the last year.   The principals were invited to join us first for lunch and then the agenda was as follows: 
    • Eva provided an update related to the work over the past year
    • Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Administration, Steve Oates shared thoughts about the importance of this work, his support of this initiative and the pride he feels about the changes he is seeing in these kindergarten classrooms. 
    • a Gallery Walk of Teachers' Self-Reflection, Documentation and Articulation of their own professional growth and learning as well as the impact on children's growth, development and learning as a result of this initiative 
    • Eva provided further updates related to:
      • Year 2 (and beyond) of the Power of K
      • the district's plan for Kindergarten 
    • an opportunity for questions and answers
    • an opportunity for  self-reflection and evaluation of the initiative

A bit more detail about the Gallery Walk...each teacher created a display (including slide shows, videos, tri-fold display boards, posters, and an interactive presentation) to document the professional growth they have experienced this year as a part of this initiative AND to document the impact this experience has had on their students experiences in their classrooms.  The photos show just some of the teachers, principals and projects that were on display during the Gallery Walk.  These displays will be shared in a variety of venues throughout the district and potentially at the NC Association for the Education of Young Children's Annual Conference in Raleigh in September. 

As the leader of this initiative, I am so proud of the hard work these teachers have been doing as a part of this initiative and I was thrilled that all of our POK Principals were able  to devote a few hours of their time to learning about what's happening in these teachers' classrooms and celebrating this important first year of work together with their amazing teacher leaders.

What is the Kindergarten Teacher Leader Initiative?

It is a philosophy/framework for working with kindergarten age is not a specific program that someone does with fidelity.

It is about balancing what we know about how young children grow, develop and learn (the how) with standards and other expectations of teachers and children (the what). There is not one POK is is based not only on children's needs and interests, but also reflects each teacher's unique is about implementing the ideals behind developmentally appropriate is about keeping children at the forefront of your teaching and making sure that each and every child's needs are met in the most effective and appropriate way.

It is utilizing a variety of effective instructional tools and contexts, including but not limited to play-based experiences and learning centers, to scaffold and support children's learning and development. It is about taking children from where they are to where they can go...all the while knowing the learning standards and other curricular goals and embedding them into meaningful experiences in engaging ways for the particular children in your classroom.

Elevator Speech:  I’m participating in a long-term, comprehensive professional development initiative that is being funded through a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to develop a network of kindergarten teacher leaders for the district.

As a result of this work, I will receive professional development related to effectively balancing what is known about how kindergarten children develop and learn best with state and local learning standards, curricula, and assessment expectations. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Green and Clean at Gibson Elementary School

On Saturday, more than 100 people spent the morning sprucing up the grounds of Gibson Elementary School.

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

Here are more pictures: