In March, thanks to the effort of our PTA, each Brinson Elementary K-2 class received two iPad minis to complement the full size iPad already in their classrooms. So far, second graders have been giving the new technology a workout and they are loving every minute of it.
The iPads have been used across many levels of learning. They are a great tool to master basic crucial tasks such as memorizing math facts to increase their math fluency, growing their sight word vocabularies to improve their reading, and using the speech to text tool as a way to correct spelling
However, it is in practicing advanced skills where the Brinson second graders have really shined. Using several terrific iPadapps, the students can analyze their own learning and display their knowledge in several amazing ways.
The students have created their own videos summarizing, assessing and evaluating their learning on everything from science units to writing lessons. Similarly, students have enjoyed flexing their creativity muscles by producing movie trailers for books they have read with the iMovie app.
Teams of students have worked together to highlight the main ideas of their texts and to persuade others to read their books. Students made their book trailers complete with illustrations, photos, video and music- all packaged together allowing their teachers to evaluate how well they have understood what they have read.
On April 2, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted Ms. Sheila Magyar. When an individual has a “calling” on their lives to teach….it is evident. Our spotlight teacher is “called” and makes a real difference in the lives of those students who are blessed enough to be in her classroom. She works tirelessly to make adaptations to ensure that all students reach his or her highest potential. Her caring nature for her students shows she understands that learning does not happen without students feeling safe and loved. I always see her explaining and giving her all to her students. She is passionate about early intervention and the importance of developmentally appropriate practices needed in order to help children learn, especially those with special needs. She spends endless hours working to ensure that IEP’s are detailed and relevant. She gives to her community through activities, such as Relay for Life. Our preschool students are fortunate to have her as their teacher, and the GAB family are just as fortunate to have her as a colleague and friend. Ms. Sheila Magyar you are in the Spotlight. Congratulations!
Impact, community, and family are three words that describe the cohesiveness of the staff and students of West Craven High School. On Thursday, February 27, 2014, the staff and students arrived at school to learn that one of our most influential teachers, Mr. Henry “Bud” Rouse had passed away, unexpectedly, the night before. Mr. Rouse was the lead advisor for the Skills USA club at West Craven High School. The Skills USA club members decided that this challenge could be overcome and to honor Mr. Rouse, they pushed forward.
On Monday, March 3rd, 2014, Skills USA students traveled to Lenoir Community College for Regional Competition. Just a few days earlier, on Thursday February 27th, still dazed from the news, Mrs. Eileen Ferree and Mr. Terrill Hardy were pulling Mr. Rouse’s receipt books and records so we could figure out who was even registered to go. Mr. Rouse had everything under control but we didn’t have Mr. Rouse. We thought about cancelling. It was Thursday that the devastating news was uncovered and competition was on Monday. The students were distraught by the news. Some students said they were backing out and were only attending to begin with because Mr. Rouse had talked them into it. As Skills president, Faith Langston had worked with Mr. Rouse and he had taught her well. She came in and took control of the situation. She encouraged the students (and the adults) to make it happen.
The students rallied and went to competition. Due to the impending weather there was no Opening Ceremony but there was a very special tribute to Mr. Rouse and his passion for Skills USA and his students.
Unfortunately due to the weather, we had to leave before the Awards Ceremony. On the bus ride home, we learned that we had the following winners: Tiffany Campbell – 2nd Place – Pledge, Kaleel Bryant – 3rd Place – Computer Tech Applications, Jarrett Barton – 1st Place – Tool ID, Raionna Jones – 1st Place – Job Interview, Brian Dawson – 1st Place – Extemporaneous Poster, Faith Langston – 1st Place – Prepared Speech, Isaiah Dawson – 3rd Place – Poster, Adam Gibbons – 3rd Place – Carpentry, and Cedrick Hardy – 5th Place – Spelling. These winning students along with Bobby Koonce, Jazmine Cannon and Brandon Hardy are now working to get things together for State Leadership Conference in Greensboro on April 9-11.
On March 26, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted Mrs. Jodi Elbing for the tremendous job she is doing within the Grover C. Fields Middle School Arts department as the director of bands. Mrs. Elbing joined the Grover C. Fields Middle School family in 2010. She was hired as the band director. Since becoming a member of the Grizzly family, she has worked extremely hard to make the Grover C. Fields band program a great success. The band’s winter and spring performances draw huge audiences year after year.
To prepare her students for these performances, Mrs. Elbing holds group tutorial sessions after school to get the students where they need to be. This has become the norm for Mrs. Elbing. It would not be uncommon to stop a group of kids after school to inquire about where they are heading and have them reply, “To Mrs. Elbing’s for tutoring.” She has spent countless hours both during and after school preparing students to perform complicated selections in a seemingly effortless manner.
Mrs. Elbing’s dedication to the band students at Grover C. Fields is evident and appreciated. Students, staff, parents, and community members have a great deal of respect for her and rave about the tremendous job she is doing with the band program. She has developed community partnerships that have also been beneficial to the school’s program.
In the classroom, Mrs. Elbing maximizes the use of technology and delivers material to her students with great enthusiasm. She satisfies their hunger for knowledge. She pushes them to grow and improve each and every day. Recently, she was heard commenting on the pride she felt while watching her 8th graders perform in the winter concert as they showed such marked improvement from when she first began teaching them as 6th graders. She stated, “Just think, when I got them as 6th graders, they couldn’t play any music? Look at them now.”
The pride she feels for her students mirrors the pride that this staff feels for Mrs. Elbing and the job she is doing with the Grover C. Fields Middle School Band program. For that reason, and many others, we are very happy to spotlight Mrs. Jodi Elbing here today. Mrs. Elbing is a valued and loved member of our family.
This past year, Craven County Schools received a $2,400,000 Department of Defense grant. Creekside Elementary was one of the eight elementary schools chosen to participate due to the school having a military population greater than 15%.
The STEM Lab incorporates student-centered, age appropriate materials to engage student through hands-on activities and cooperative teamwork. Grades 3-5 spend an hour 5 days a week during a nine week period. During that time, students are set up in teams that complete 7 different interactive missions. They complete Pre- and Post-tests, listen to briefings, and read and complete experiments as a team.
Currently, our 4th grade classes are visiting the STEM lab studying 3-D Dinosaurs, Animals, Changing Earth, Ecology, My Body and Me, Magnetism and Soil and Rock. Students have enjoyed this experience and appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to science in a new way. They look forward to their STEM lab hour each day and are found working diligently in their teams on their topic for the week.
Battle of the Books Competition
New Bern, NC- Craven County Schools is excited to announce this year’s information for the elementary and middle school Battle of the Books Competition. Students have been reading and practicing since the beginning of the school year and this year promises to be an exciting event. Each elementary (grades 4-5) and middle school (grades 6-8) will have 12 students per team representing their school.
The middle schools’ will kick off the competition this Friday, March 21st at HJ MacDonald Middle School. The action will start around 8:45am and should conclude by 2:00pm.
The elementary schools’ competition is on Wednesday, March 26th at Temple Baptist Church from 8:00am-2:00pm. Students will be treated to dessert after lunch catered by our own High Schools Culinary Arts students. Elementary students will be able to vote on the “best” dessert. An award will be given to the winner! We would like to extend a special thank you to Superintendent, Dr. Lane B. Mills and his wife, Melissa for donating the snacks for the students during this event.
In 2000, the North Carolina School Library Media Association (NCSLMA) became a sponsor of Battle of the Books. Students are exposed to quality literature representing a variety of literary styles and viewpoints by prominent authors in the area literature. Through the fun and excitement of the competition, students improve reading skills, mature in their choices of reading materials, and acquire a broader knowledge base.
For the list of this year’s books and additional information please visit:
On Thursday, March 6, second grade students at Oaks Road Elementary School performed before a live audience. Their presentation, entitled “Everybody Smiles in the Same Language”, was upbeat and uplifting. It warmed the heart and creatively expressed respect for the diversity of our school and community. Part of the presentation was a puppet show that was created prior to the live show and streamed electronically. In the electronic version, students used puppets to demonstrate respect, stamp out bullying, and be kind to one another.
On Friday, March 7, fifth grade students performed “Time Warp: A Journey Through History”. Their presentation focused on theater in the 16th and 17th centuries. Students performed melodramas before a captive audience without uttering a word. Scripts were student- created based on their research of the content during drama classes. Even Shakespeare came to life on Friday as students artistically reproduced some Shakespearean theater.
These presentations are a demonstration of our value for the arts in education. As participants in the A+ School Reform Model, our school places a special emphasis on arts integration. We feel very strongly that children grasp concepts more strongly when they are engaged through art, music, dance, drama, and physical activity. These two productions are a part of a 6 part series for this school year. In April, our series will conclude with our kindergarten and first grade presentations.
On March 12, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted Ms. Jennifer Cook for being cooperative, patient, compassionate and engaging when it comes to teaching. Her hard work and dedication is apparent when you observe her. This individual has a wonderful sense of humor and everyone appreciates her laughter.
She is teacher who works diligently to use classroom data such as DIBELS, TRC, formative assessments, and benchmark data along with other resources to align her instruction with the needs of her class.
She has developed relationships with her students that let each know that they are special to her. She is always willing to teach the inclusion class and does a superior job.
She has been teaching for 8 years and is a trailblazer among her peers. This trailblazer continues to facilitate struggling students with her contributions as the chair of our School Assistance Team. She brings a great deal of insight as well as many helpful strategies to the table to assist students. In addition, she is the grade level chair for third grade and has done an outstanding job in supporting and encouraging her fellow team members. She was just recently nominated by her team as the Croc Compliment winner of the month, which is evidence of what a fantastic individual she is. She is also the third grade rep for CES cabinet.
Jennifer has always put the needs of her students and fellow teachers first and the care she feels can be seen every day in all that she does. It is evident that Jennifer Cook uses all the strategies available to meet the educational and social needs of her students. The spotlight should without a doubt be on Mrs. Jennifer Cook for her dedication to education and Creekside Elementary.
On March 6, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted Mr. John Evans as the Craven County Teacher spotlight recipient for William Jesse Gurganus Elementary. John is an asset to every facet of Gurganus Elementary. His willingness to help in any way he can makes him exceptional in the area of education. His humble and gracious attitude is one of his finest attributes along with his ability to connect with students and bring out the best in them. John helps out in the classroom with tutoring, especially in math. He has been a mentor and role model for the past 14 years at WJG for both students and staff.
He is very passionate in his teaching. He teaches the children not only about physical education, but being life-long healthy individuals that take pride in themselves. He is often telling and showing the children the positive and negative effects of healthy and unhealthy habits. He uses technology to show students healthy habits and activities around the world. His global approach to teaching helps students have a better understanding of their role in the world’s efforts to be healthy. In addition, John integrates the use of heart rate monitors in his teaching. This allows the students to be accountable for their activity level.
Mr. Evans is also very active in getting the community behind WJG events. He organizes field day, Jump Rope for Heart, and a special Dance Revolution. All of these events are very popular with his students and their parents. A lot of planning and coordinating is involved to make these events such a success and WJG thanks Mr. Evans for all of his efforts.
Students continue to return to Gurganus just to visit with Mr. Evans. The lessons that he teaches these children affect them long after they have left elementary school. Mr. Evans is a stellar example of a 21st century educator.
On February 26, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted Mr. Pepper as someone who exemplifies a high performing classroom learning. The processes, procedures, and systems in his classroom are well-established and run fluidly to make his room operate like a well-oiled machine.
Upon entering his room, you can see the vision and mission statements clearly posted for all stakeholders. His “I can” statements give focus to the work at hand and are clearly meaningful and relevant to his learners. Classroom expectations and learning goals are written in kid-friendly language that facilitates understanding of the learning targets.
You could find his room “in the dark” by following the joyful sounds as student in his classroom explore and stretch their physical limits. They volley, strike, jump, run, climb, and zig zag their way through physical challenges that build their collaborative skills and self awareness of healthful living. The room is filled with synergy as he is often found participating along with his students and he shares their excitement for learning.
Mr. Pepper has a reflective process in which he analyzes each lesson and he spirals in opportunities for improvements as the class returns to him the following week.
This teacher deserves the spotlight because he values lifelong learning and he sees the connection between personal growth and the growth that he can achieve from his learners. He is innovative and brings new experiences to the children of our school. Mr. Pepper will not be described as the teacher who teaches “one year 30 times”, rather he is paving the way for success in 21st century education.
It is an honor to recognize Mr. Pepper in front of his peers. His service to Craven County Schools epitomizes the district’s vision of “Todays’ learners… Tomorrow’s leaders”.