Cheryl Shuffler shares the positive, good news from Burke County Public Schools:
Heritage Student Places in Poster Contest
Lyvia Turpin, a seventh grader at Heritage Middle School, placed second in the middle school division of the 2016 NC School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Her winning entry is posted on the School Bus Safety Website at www.ncbussafety.org. The slogan for this year’s contest was #StopOnRed. Lyvia’s colorful poster illustrates this as well as incorporates smiley face emojis and Bus No. 247 with a happy driver and students. The posters were judged by participants from around the state at the NC Pupil Transportation Association Conference in Asheville.
Parents Turn Out for Lights on After School
Families of the 21st Century grant program at WA Young and Glen Alpine elementary schools came together at Glen Alpine to celebrate the 17th annual Lights on After School. This is a nationwide event that celebrates after-school programs and their important role in the lives of students, families and communities, as well as the need for more quality programs for students in the after-school setting. Staff from Me, You, and Some Glue assisted with art stations set up for students to participate in unique art opportunities, including glazing a light bulb ornament to celebrate the cause. Every student received a free pass to Me, You, and Some Glue, and participated in a raffle for a free glow-in-the-dark T-shirt party – all donated by Me, You, and Some Glue. Missionary Ridge donated food for event. Site director of the Burke County Public Schools’ 21st Century program, Cindy Pendleton said, “I appreciate our sponsors for this event and everything they do to support us in making our program the best we can for students and parents.”
Second Graders Make Hats for a Good Cause
Second graders at Forest Hill Elementary School recently completed lessons on the production of goods by designing, making and selling felt hats and bookmarks. They turned their profit into a fundraiser for a fellow student at Forest Hill. All four second-grade classrooms participated in the project, which is becoming an annual event for the grade level. The students sourced felt from a company in Asheville that recycles plastic bottles to make the material. The students also came up with their own pattern for the hats, and Opportunity Threads in Drexel used the pattern to sew the hats together for the students. The students then designed felt embellishments for each hat. The students also designed and crafted felt bookmarks. They sold their wares at the schools’ Spooky Science Night on Oct. 27. Their profit totaled $401, all of which they donated to a first-grade student who has battled cancer.
Former Student is Illustrator of Dr. Seuss Book
Children’s book illustrator Katie Kath, a 2007 graduate of Freedom High School, returned to Morganton in late October to autograph copies of “Come on Over to My House,” a book Dr. Seuss wrote and Kath illustrated. Kath did a presentation at Mull Elementary School for the students, giving them a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to illustrate children’s books. She also talked to the students about the anatomy of a book, how they are printed and gave insight into how she comes up with illustrations for characters in books. Kath’s visit included a live drawing of a giraffephant – a combination of a giraffe and an elephant, which was the students’ choice in what she should draw. Kath has a master’s degree in illustration from Savannah College of Arts and Design and in 2013 won a Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators scholarship. The Dr. Seuss estate liked her work enough to choose her to illustrate the re-release of “Come on Over to My House,” a story about how much kids from all over the world have in common with each other. Kath now makes her home in Winston-Salem.
Garden Club Helps Beautify North Liberty
Quaker Meadow’s Garden Club conducts an annual project with North Liberty School to fill the school’s planters with pansies each fall. Principal Lisa Ervin said they volunteer their time and resources every year to help beautify the school grounds. Quaker Meadows has done this along with other projects for more than 24 years.
Honors Calculus Goes Virtual
Honors Calculus students at Freedom and Draughn high schools have a unique connection this year. Freedom High math teacher Kelly Baker can be at one school and teach students at the other through a virtual classroom. A live camera feed in the classrooms erases the 16 miles between the schools and allows their honors calculus class to be one.
Eleven students from Draughn are in the class and 15 students from Freedom are in the class. And they never know which classroom Baker will pop up in in person. “This is my first time doing a virtual class,” Baker said. “So far I am enjoying it. I work with a website called Padlet that allows all of the students in the class to post a picture and tell a little about themselves. This information will only be accessible to those in the class. It’s definitely a learning curve, but I am excited to be a part of this class.”
Each class is taped and saved for additional students whose schedules do not allow them to meet with Baker at a set time. Students from the four high schools who have taken virtual classes at the STEAM Academy through the NC School of Science and Math are accustomed to this type of learning environment.
Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “Today’s students are digital natives. They learn in different ways than we did and not in desks in rows with a teacher lecturing from the front of the classroom. This is one way to fulfill the need for a different learning environment. Online classes allow students flexibility in when they take the class, especially if it is only offered one time a year or one semester. It allows for flexible schedules for a fifth period class for, say a band student, who has a really tight schedule. It allows students to interact with other students from different high schools and experience a teacher from a different high school. Ms. Baker is one of our best teachers and I love her passion and energy and her love for teaching and that comes through in person and virtually.”
BCPS has offered virtual classes taught by its own teachers previously with an ACT prep course and Personal Finance. Putnam said he hopes to be able to offer more virtual classes soon.
Transportation Department Passes Inspection
The Burke County Public Schools Transportation Department received an 11.8 score on the NC Department of Public Instruction transportation inspection. State transportation officials inspected the school system’s fleet of 101 buses and each year assigns a score to help bus garages track improvement from one year to the next. The low score is an indication of fewer defects found during the inspection. Last year’s BCPS inspection score was 19.60. The average score for the school districts in the Western region last year was 24.09. BCPS Director of Transportation John Cansler said there are 400 items on the state inspection checklist that can park a bus and Burke’s buses passed all checkpoints. “This score is one of the best in the state,” Cansler said. “It is a reflection of our staff at the garage. We have a great staff even though like most departments we are short staffed. Our guys care about the safety of the students and the buses and this score is a reflection of them.” Cansler said Burke’s buses carry 5,500 students 6,500 miles a day. All are equipped with GPS tracking devices, 44 have stop-arm cameras and seven new buses have seatbelts with four more equipped with seatbelts expected for next year.