Recent News

CTE is the Map to a Career Path

CTE Firefighter
Matthew Rock extinguishes a fire in the Fire Fighting Technology class at New Bern High School

Choosing a career path is an important step in a student’s path to life after high school.  Even if a student is college or university bound, determining a career path determines the type and length of post-secondary education needed.  Many factors steer that decision, but having current job outlook information and experiential opportunities will help students choose a career path that will be exciting and meaningful to them.  To begin finding the right career, a student can draw from many experiences in Career and Technical Education.

A career interest survey is the easiest way to start narrowing a field of careers to research.  Several websites, such as, offer free surveys that ask questions about likes and dislikes, personality traits, and skill sets to determine types of careers that match those characteristics.  A student can take that information and begin to select certain Career and Technical Education classes that align with those areas of interest.  Because there is such a wide range of courses, a student may choose a few different courses to see which area they develop more interest.

As a student begins to narrow a field of choices, higher levels of CTE courses can help a student earn industry recognized credentials that can be listed on resumes and college applications.  Some credentials are even recognized by some post-secondary institutions to earn articulated college credit.  Knowing that students have multiple points of entry into a career, the earlier a student can earn a credential, the more marketable they become to business and industry.  Over the last six years, Craven County Schools CTE programs have awarded over 5,000 industry recognized credentials to our students such as Microsoft Office Specialist, OSHA Safety Certification, and ServeSafe.

Taking courses and earning credentials is just part of the career path search.  Students should take opportunities to talk with their CTE teacher and Career Development Coordinator (CDC) to arrange job shadowing experiences.  These short one day experiences allow students to step inside a business or industry to see the “real world” of their chosen career field.  Students are able to see careers in action and ask questions of skilled professionals about all the aspects of their jobs.  Job shadowing experiences can be done any time with coordination from the CDC and local businesses.

Career and Technical Education offers two additional opportunities for students wanting true on the job experience in their search for a career path.  A semester long internship is a true on the job experience that immerses students into an industry or business setting.  Internships are developed in partnership between the student, a chosen business, and the school’s CDC.  A student studies and works in as many aspects of a business as possible and develops a portfolio of the overall experience.  Participating in an internship can pay big dividends in the future when applying to college and/or a job.

A deeper experience that involves post-secondary work coupled with on the job training is the apprenticeship.  An apprenticeship is one of the oldest forms of job training in the world.  While not extremely prevalent in the United States, European countries such as Germany, have extremely successful apprenticeship programs.  However, these training experiences are growing amongst many North Carolina industries.  The apprenticeship is a formal training program developed by a business or industry in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Labor.  Students can become involved in pre-apprenticeships as early as age 16 and progress to full apprenticeships at age 18.  B/S/H Home Appliances in New Bern has had a successful apprenticeship program for almost 30 years providing post-secondary education and on the job training to many students in the area.

Choosing a career path can be daunting, but participating in CTE courses, job shadows, internships, and apprenticeships can help students decide the best options for their future.  Business and industry leaders who would be interested in shadowing, internship or apprenticeship experiences for students can contact Chris Bailey, Craven County Schools CTE Director at 252-514-6322.

Author:  Chris Bailey, Director of Career and Technical Education

Share this:


New STEM Lab at Vanceboro Farm Life

STEM Center Ribbon Cutting (2)
Author: Darlene Brown, Executive Director Partners In Education
Photo Caption: Community support of the STEM labs is obvious as The New Bern Chamber of Commerce hosts a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Grover C Fields Middle School last spring


Engaging and Energizing Our Students through STEM Learning

Duke Energy, through a $16,000 grant awarded to Craven Partners In Education (PIE), is continuing to energize and inspire our Craven County Schools students at Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary (VFL) with an investment in a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiative.

Jonathan Tribula, Principal at VFL explains, “The funds awarded through PIE will be used to implement the Pitsco Education Program STEM lab to begin in the 2016-17 school year. It will introduce a student-driven STEM curriculum that emphasizes inquiry-based learning and career content with hands-on activities. Students will learn about weather, energy, ecosystems, matter, and motion and force. Students have the opportunity to apply what they are learning from both a regional and global perspective through exposure to a 21st century learning environment which establishes a foundation that will foster the skill sets for job readiness.  We are very excited at VFL to have this STEM lab, and very grateful to Duke Energy for providing this opportunity.”

“By giving students the chance to connect what they’re learning through STEM labs to the real world, we hope to help foster a lifelong passion for learning,” said Millie Chalk, district manager of Government and Community Relations at Duke Energy. “We’re proud to be a lead supporter of the STEM lab project to make this hands-on educational experience available to students at Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary.”

Each STEM lab has seven content areas (Missions) and includes a permanent curriculum along with teacher resources. Examples of these Missions are: Matter, Crime Lab, Ecosystems, Human Machine, Motion, Microscopes, Magnetism, Air and Water, and Plants.  The students work in groups of four, each assigned a role as Commander, Communications Specialist, Information Specialist, and Materials Specialist.  These roles rotate as the students rotate through the Missions.  The experience in each one of these roles gives our students “real world, real life,” critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as they learn to work in a team environment.  The Missions provide a stimulating learning environment with the objective of integrating technology throughout our students’ learning experience.  The Mission activities promote the development of social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination allowing each student to experience the joy of learning and working in a team environment.

A key factor in the success of the STEM labs is student engagement, participation, and excitement resulting in significantly lowering the dropout rate. The desire for students to stay in school and succeed is challenged when students struggle in their daily course work. The Pitsco Mission labs expose students to the various career opportunities associated with each Mission and pique their desire to learn and stay in school.  Inspiring the next generation of engineers, innovators, and STEM leaders will deliver life-changing experiences.

We know that our future workforce is in our own backyard.  A world of hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering, and math awaits our students at Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary!

Partners In Education is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Local Education Foundation for Craven County Schools.  The mission of Craven County Partners In Education is to support and advance educational experiences within Craven County Schools through collaborative community involvement.  Since 1989, PIE has been changing the lives of students and families in our community by providing our educators with financial resources that enhance and reward innovative approaches to educational excellence. For more information about Partners In Education, visit

This is the second grant that PIE has received funding for STEM Labs from Duke Energy Foundation for Craven County Schools.  The first grant was in 2014 for the lab at James W. Smith Elementary.


Share this:


HJ MacDonald Students compete at TSA Nationals

TSA Nationals

Picture Caption:  Pictured are students who competed at the national TSA conference in June. Front Row (L-R): Kai’leeya Wilson, La’Mya Cole, Riley Haynes Second row (L-R): Austin Ruiz, Julianna Lopez, Morgan Scotten-White Third Row (L-R): Jaheim Webster, Layla McDaniel Fourth Row (L-R): Ian Murphy, Jasmine Cherry


Leadership.  Competition.  Travel.  Scholarships.  Networking.  Recognition.  What do all of these words have in common?  These are just a few of the opportunities available for students who participate in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO’s) while in middle and high school.

Career and Technical Student Organizations offer students opportunities to prove their skills in competitive environments, develop critical leadership skills, and network with students in the state and nation who share similar goals.  Many former students tout networks created through these student organizations as being major connectors to their current careers.  All program areas in Career and Technical Education have correlating CTSO’s.   Seven of these organizations exist today to carry individual above and beyond the classroom curriculum.  Those are as follows:

  • The National FFA Organization – First organized in 1928, FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education
  • Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda – FBLA-PBL is a dynamic organization of young people preparing for success as leaders in our businesses, government, and communities. This organization is for students enrolled Business and IT Education courses.
  • Family, Career and Community Leaders of America – Since 1945, FCCLA members have been making a difference in their families, careers and communities by addressing important personal, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life — planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision-making and interpersonal communication — necessary in the home and workplace.
  • Health Occupations Students of America – HOSA’s two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. HOSA’s goal is to encourage all health occupations instructors and students to join and be actively involved in the HOE-HOSA Partnership.
  • DECA – DECA, a national association of marketing education students, provides teachers and members with educational and leadership development activities to merge with the education classroom instructional program.
  • Technology Student Association – The Technology Student Association (TSA) is the only student organization devoted exclusively to the needs of technology education students who are presently enrolled in, or have completed, technology education courses.
  • SkillsUSA – SkillsUSA is a national organization serving high school and college students and professional members who are enrolled in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations.

Craven County Schools has active chapters of each of these organizations in the middle and high schools.  In fact, the newest chapters to be developed have been very successful this year.  The HJ Macdonald Middle School TSA chapter has been in existence for just over 2 years.  This chapter, led by advisor Michael Haynes, recently won 1st place in several events at the state level and went on to compete at the national level in Nashville, TN.  The chapter won the Chapter Excellence Award as well has had students place in the top 20 in the nation in two competitive events.  The opportunities these students experienced have made an impact that will last their lifetimes.  To become involved in a CTSO, a student should see their Career and Technical Education teacher.





Share this:


Having Fun at Oaks Road Elementary Ready Camp

ORE reading camp


1, 2, 3, 4….Having Fun & Reading More!

Craven County summer reading camp students are doing just that; having fun and reading more! There are three schools hosting the camps in Craven County for students who just finished grades first, second, and third. The three camp locations are Roger Bell Elementary School in Havelock, Oaks Road Elementary in New Bern and Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary in Vanceboro.  This year, the three Reading Camp locations have a combined total of 450 students in attendance. Teachers from schools throughout Craven County have joined together and dedicated their summer to inspire in young children the love of reading.

The camp began on Monday, June 27th and will end on Thursday, July 14. The program is a small group, intensive submersion in reading instruction that includes a focus on writing. The North Carolina Standard Course of Study is being taught through fun, motivating lessons that engage students. Students spend their day in whole group lessons, small group activities, partner work and reading stations. Teachers rotate between groups so the students work with more than one teacher during the day. Each day is packed with reading and writing through a variety of lessons and engagement.

Along with the variety of daily reading and writing learning, each student is provided breakfast, lunch and transportation to and from school. Teachers welcome the students off the bus in the morning with a camp cheer, remembering that motivation and the feeling that “you can do it” is so important to learners! The Reading Camp teachers all agree that the key to success for the camp begins with high expectations and requires enthusiasm to grow the children’s love of learning!

Just ask the kids! These students in the Roger Bell Elementary Camp shared their thoughts about Reading Camp. Charles Prusokowski said, “I like reading camp, because we learn that reading a lot helps you keep it in your brain forever!” Oscar Vega Alvarado explained, “I love everything at camp! There is nothing to do at home and I get bored. Reading is fun here!” Kendrick Kelly told us, “When I come in every morning, I’m excited to do whole-brain. When we do whole-brain, we use our hands and our words to learn new definitions. I like books and using the R.A.C.E. strategy to help me write.” Noah Whiting said, “I love it all! I’ve learned so much, I lost count. Stations are the most fun, because I get to learn while playing fun games!” Nestor Lopez wrapped it up with, “Stations are fun. I get to read and understand new words. I like whole-brain the best. It teaches us words that we need even in high school!”

The educators agree that teaching summer camp is a lot of work, but it’s a very rewarding experience. This opportunity allows the teachers to bond with the students and focus not only on instruction; but also, building self-esteem and respect for others. To be successful in this setting, everyone must work as one team; one team for the success of all children!


Karen Swanner

3rd Reading Camp Teacher at

Roger Bell Elementary in Havelock,NC



Share this:


Havelock High works on community service project

The Havelock High School Health Science II class has been working on a community service project this semester to assist their fellow Rams that are in need. During a class discussion the importance of personal hygiene in relation to infection control was approached. Students expressed concern that some of their fellow students were unable to afford the most basic products for proper personal hygiene and care. From this discussion the RAM CLOSET was born. The 4 person class undertook the task of creating a “free store” and began collecting donations from their HHS family as well as area medical offices. Students in need are able to access the closet discretely at any time and gather the items that they would like. The collections will continue throughout the semester and hopefully there will be enough items donated to last through the 2016 -2017 school year when the next Health Science II class will continue collecting and supporting the project. The products are located in the HHS guidance office in the same are that the leadership food pantry is located.  After speaking with Mr. McCloud and the leadership class representatives, it was decided that these two projects would be joined together in what we now proudly call the RAM CLOSET. The students have worked hard to ensure that the entire Ram Nation is taken care of.
If you are interested in donating, items may be dropped off at Havelock High School or you may email Ms Bell @ to arrange for pick up.



Share this:


James W. Smith 1st Grade Geologists crank up the heat in the Science Lab

First grade geologists cranked up the heat in the science lab with Mrs. B! Armed with starbursts and scissors, they watched in awe as their sweet treats turned into sediment, compacted into sedimentary rock, morphed into metamorphic rock, bubbled as magma and cooled as igneous rock. Way to “rock” the rock cycle first graders!


Share this:


Girls on the Run – W.J. Gurganus completes Spring season

W.J. Gurganus Elementary “Girls on the Run” team celebrated the culmination of a fantastic Spring season by completing their first Super 5K race sponsored by the Twin Rivers YMCA. Girls on the Run is a program that uses running to encourage lifelong health and fitness, and builds confidence through accomplishment. Our inaugural year saw eleven young ladies Alesia, Addison B., Trinity, Melissa, Kate, Shalyn, Mackenzie, Kayala, Madalyn, Chelsea, and Addison D. commit to and complete the season.   Through teamwork and interactive lessons, the girls came to realize how they connect with and shape the world at large, and discovered their potential is limitless.  The team would like to thank their parents, Ms. Hurst and Hobby Lobby for their support in helping make this a successful season.  WJG is very proud of our “Girls on the Run.”

girls on the run  wjg



Share this:


“Trent Park Parents Go Back to School” Written and submitted by:  Jennifer Voliva, Title 1 Teacher

Last month, parents of students at Trent Park Elementary headed back to school, but not just for lunch or parent conferences.  TPE’s second annual Title I-funded “Bring Your Parent to School Day” was held on Thursday, April 14th, with families attending kindergarten through fifth grade classes.  Throughout the day, family members had the opportunity to participate in math lessons, reading workshops, science lab, and resource classes such as art, music, and physical education.  Title I funds also provided each parent with a barbecue lunch, including sides and desserts, which was prepared by the TPE cafeteria staff and served in the Tiger Café.

Students and teachers alike were excited to have family members come for the day.  When asked about her favorite part of the day, first grader Mbali shared that she liked that her mom got to sit with her in the classroom, while her classmate Glenwood was excited that his mom took him to the book fair to buy a new book.  Second grade parents participated in centers and used various technology tools, including OSMO devices, the game-based Kahoot! learning platform, and Lego Education robotics activities.

Parents across grade levels were able to observe how students work together in cooperative groups, and how technology and hands-on activities are used across the curriculum to support learning standards.  “It was nice that parents had the opportunity to see first-hand the instruction of Common Core, and how various skills are taught with a lot of hands-on materials,” shared Tae’jon Owens, who teaches special education students across grade levels.

Two fifth graders shared how they felt about having their parents with them for the day.  “I like that my mom came because it was fun, and it was great for her to know what we do and how we do it, and she got to meet some of my teachers that she hadn’t met,” said Tia.  Taevion added that he was happy both of his parents were able to come, even though his mother had to leave work early to join him at school.  “She said it was very fun and she was happy that she was able to come,” he said.

Staff and students weren’t the only ones to enjoy the day.  Family members enjoyed seeing what their children experience on a daily basis, and gained a greater appreciation for all the work teachers and assistants do.  Several parents were overheard saying “I’m tired already, and it’s only lunchtime!”  Leah Alvarado, mother of kindergarten student Isaac, shared, “We know what our children are learning and some of the activities they have during the day, but I appreciated being able to see how the teacher taught and join the activities.  I was very surprised at how packed the day is.”  Kat Muse, whose children Dylan and Kendall are in second and fifth grade respectively, added, “Not only was it extremely informative, but it was a fun way to spend the day with our children, enjoy Trent Park, and truly see the care that they receive every day.  Thank you for allowing us to become elementary students again!”

In addition to participating in classroom activities, parents had the opportunity to attend information sessions offered by the Title I Reading Interventionist, Jennifer Voliva.  During the sessions, families learned about grade level expectations and how to help their child at home.  Third through fifth grade parents also received information about End-of-Grade testing and tips to help their child prepare for the tests.  Based on feedback from parents, the staff at Trent Park is considering offering quarterly Parent Academies next year.  These grade-level specific sessions would “teach” parents upcoming math standards, and would give them strategies to use when helping their child at home.

Fifth grade teacher Jennifer Carman summed up why Bring Your Parent to School Day is so important:  “It makes the parents more comfortable in a school setting.  It lets them feel invited and welcome, and they get to see what it’s like in a typical school day, and why it’s so important that their child is here every single day.  There’s so much that goes on and so much that the children learn in such a small amount of time.”





Share this:


Math Night is hosted in Food Lion Aisles By: Kathleen Brinson and Lara Nobles

Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary recently partnered with their local Food Lion grocery store to transform the store into a classroom. The busy aisles of a grocery store have never been so fun, or educational. The goal of Math Night is for students to be able to take the math skills they’re learning in the classroom and apply them to grocery shopping. To encourage community involvement, students created posters advertising the event. The posters were colorful, incorporated Food Lion with a math theme, and were displayed at the store. Participating students were entered into a drawing for a basketball goal donated by Utz Quality Foods.

When families arrived, they were directed to the check-in table where their child was given a clipboard and grade specific worksheet. Students, families, and teachers worked together to complete real world math activities throughout the store. Food Lion supplied complimentary snacks, raffle prizes, goodie bags for students and gift card drawings for teachers. Everyone had a great time during the event while developing a deeper understanding of the importance of using math in day-to-day life.





Share this:


James W. Smith Glows Greatness with Science

Armed with a glow stick, flashlight or light saber, James W. Smith families braved the darkness making their way around our illuminated hallways for our annual Title I Science Night. On April 14th, hundreds of students and family members were “glowing with greatness” as they flew a hovercraft, raced night crawlers, plunged in moon sand, launched night rockets, created a working circuit, toured our planetarium, tangled with back light twister, made glow in the dark slime, created a UV bracelet, built a firefly and much more. This was a great night for James W. Smith students and science to shine!

glow with scie

glow with science1


Share this: