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Bridge Makeover by Seth Smith

After Before







Caption: The bridge makeover between Roger Bell Elementary and Havelock High will provide a safe route for students and staff for many years.

Jacob Stain, a former student of Roger R. Bell Elementary School, knew just what he wanted to do when it came  time to plan for his senior project last year.  He wanted to rebuild a dilapidated bridge.  This bridge was originally built in 1989 between Roger R. Bell Elementary School and the Havelock Recreation Center for use as an evacuation route. The bridge was also used by the Havelock High School Cross-Country team for many years.  While at  Havelock High School, Jacob ran on the cross country team all four years.  During practices and local meets he would run across the bridge as part of his course.  His mother , a teacher and Head of Safety at Roger R. Bell Elementary School, stopped using the bridge because it was unsafe.  After practice one day his coach spoke with him about getting folks together to rebuild the bridge so they could hold Regional Cross Country meets at Havelock Recreation Center while making the bridge safe again.  He knew Jacob talked about becoming an engineer and thought he might be interested in this project. Shortly after that Jacob met with the Director of the Havelock Recreation Center and the Principal of Roger R. Bell Elementary School and his project was approved.

Jacob began working on this project during his Senior year at Havelock High School.  His project was tearing down a one hundred and forty four feet long and four feet wide bridge and expanding it to eight feet wide and rebuilding it.  This bridge will benefit Roger R. Bell Elementary School,  Havelock High School Cross-Country Team, and the Havelock Recreation Center. The total cost of rebuilding the bridge was approximately ($4000.00).  Jacob got about ($1300.00) in materials donated from local suppliers and the City of Havelock donated the rest.  The bridge was completed in February 2016.



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Forensic Fun Comes to West Craven Middle School

Forensic Fun

Caption- West Craven Middle School students (Left to Right) Chase Hill, Jerod Garcia Marquez, Iyana Bryant, Alisbeth Monroy-Mendoza, Jaunasia Chestnutt-Clark, Nihkel Rush, and Alexandia Higginbotham get an early preview in criminal investigation

During the filming of a new “Spirit Tracker” episode at the haunted Hawthorne Estate, the show’s camera operator, Chelsea Roberts, goes missing. There is speculation Chelsea’s disappearance is a result of paranormal activity in the mansion, while others on the set fear another more Earthly cause…

On October 6th, the seventh grade classrooms at West Craven Middle School (WCMS) will be transformed into super sleuth central where students will work with highly technical equipment and materials to perform analysis of evidence found at the crime scene to solve this mystery. Throughout the day students will navigate a variety of stations, working collaboratively to complete tasks associated with evidence analysis, compile data in a laboratory notebook, and formulate hypotheses regarding the events that took place at the crime scene. The activities at each station were designed to encourage inquiry and reinforce key scientific concepts such as attention to detail, controlled variables, objectivity, and documentation. The forensic testing that the students will perform include: blood typing, tread analysis, blood spatter interpretation, ink chromatography, chemical analysis of unknown white powders, fiber analysis, fingerprinting, and gel electrophoresis.

This day is being conducted as a collaboration project between the WCMS seventh grade faculty and BioNetwork. BioNetwork is a division of the North Carolina Community College System. Their mission is “To provide high-quality economic and workforce development for the biotechnology and life science industries across North Carolina through education, training, and laboratory resources”. BioNetwork is providing teacher instruction, the hands-on activities, supplies, equipment, and WCMS faculty will lead the events for their students. The goal of the project is to provide students with the opportunity to explore STEM career paths as they experience hands-on applications of the North Carolina Essential Standards for learning. This partnership will enable BioNetwork to conduct a pilot test of their newest EASE (Effective & Authentic Science Events) packaged outreach offering. The EASE packaged outreach events have been designed to make it easy for community colleges to engage local middle schools through the hosting of large STEM outreach events on their campus. WCMS has been selected as the only K12 School to host this event in the state. BioNetwork videography and photography specialists will be on hand to document the students’ engagement.  These materials will be used for promotional advertisement for promoting the EASE package to community colleges and will be provided to WCMS administration for use in their own community relation activities.

Article Written by Josh McGhee, WCMS 7th Grade Science Chairperson


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Schools Honored for Highest Graduation Rates

CECCEC was celebrated by State Superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson for being part of the 100% Graduation Club

 Atkinson Cites Efforts by Schools, Districts to Help More Students Finish

North Carolina districts and schools with the highest graduation rates in 2016 were honored today during an awards luncheon celebrating their performance and the state’s 10 years of progress helping more students earn a diploma.

 The state’s 4-year cohort graduation rate has climbed from 68.3 percent in 2006, when North Carolina first adopted the outcome measure, to 85.9 percent in 2016.

 State Superintendent June Atkinson recognized 12 districts and 70 individual high schools during today’s event at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center near Research Triangle Park. The schools and districts are among the state’s largest and smallest and stretch from the Tennessee border to the Outer Banks.

 “Collectively, your efforts and those of many others across the state have helped North Carolina continue to make steady progress on the crucial goal of ensuring that all students graduate from high school – and graduate ready for the changing world that awaits them,” Atkinson told school leaders at the event. “Your schools are demonstrating that our goal can be reached.”

 She stressed that not only are greater percentages of students graduating, but also that students are achieving at higher levels and meeting higher expectations.

 “Thirty-five percent of the graduating class had college credit, and students earned 140,000 business and industry credentials and nearly 139,000 diploma endorsements certifying that they achieved a high level of preparation for career, college or both,” Atkinson said.

 In addition to the schools recognized at today’s event, 73 other schools with 4-year cohort graduation rates of at least 95 percent are receiving a letter and certificate. See a list of those schools here.

 To receive an award, schools must have 10 or more students in their cohort. The full report on the state’s cohort graduation rates, as well as previous years’ reports, is available online.

 The award winners follow, by category:

Top Ten School Districts: 

top ten revised

Districtwide Cooperative Innovative High School


Top School District with Highest Graduation Rate by Cohort Size


Large: Greater than 2000 Students in Cohort
Medium: 1000-1999 Students in Cohort
Small: Less than 1000 Students in Cohort

100 Percent Club

This award is given to schools achieving a 100 percent four-year cohort graduation rate and have 10 or more students in their cohort.

100 percent club

Top Two Schools by Cohort Size

Less than 100 Students (two schools tied)

less than 100

100 to 199 Students

100 to 199 students

200 to 299 Students

200 to 299 studentgs

300 to 399 Students

300 to 399

400 to 499 Students

400 to 499 students

500 Students or More

500 Students or More


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Hurricane Matthew Make-up Days

Yesterday evening the Board of Education took action to make up some of the time that Craven County Schools students lost due to the damage and flooding of Hurricane Matthew.  A revised calendar will be sent out to you tomorrow. However, in the interim I wanted to provide you with the information that was decided tonight.
The following dates will serve as make-ups:
  • Wednesday, November 23, 2016 will now be a student day (Early Release)
  • Monday, March 20, 2017 will now be a student day
The remaining days missed will be covered by the instructional hours built into our calendar.
In addition, the following changes to the calendar will be made:
  • 1st semester will now end on Friday, January 27, 2017.
  • The workday originally scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2017 will be changed to Monday, January 30, 2017 to accommodate changes needed to be made at the secondary level between semesters.
West Craven Middle School and West Craven High School have special considerations for which we need to get some stakeholder input. As a result, the principals of those two schools will collect feedback about options to recover the additional instructional time the students of those schools have lost this week. The Board of Education will consider a plan for that time on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 before their Board of Education Spotlight at JW Smith Elementary School.
I would also like to acknowledge that Board of Education and I are aware that Governor McCrory requested that local school districts consider holding off scheduling make-up days until the General Assembly has an opportunity to come back into session and consider the issues and concerns related to the effects of Hurricane Matthew. It is my understanding that it is the hope of the Governor that the General Assembly would consider providing some flexibility to the ending date of of the school calendar year outside of the limits of the School Calendar Legislation (NCGS: 115C.84.2). Leadership in the General Assembly has indicated that there are no plans to come back into session before our first semester would end. I sincerely respect Governor McCrory’s request and appreciate his care and concern for our teachers, communities, and students. However, we have students, particularly high school seniors, that need us to ensure that they make progress towards graduation and that we work so that they have an appropriate amount of time to receive the important instruction they need to be successful on their final exams and in their courses.  For these students and all high school students, final grades are a part of the official and permanent high school transcript which follows them well after graduation. In addition, all of our students have lost important time with teachers for which we need to recover at least in part. This plan provides a compromise in giving students what they need while being mindful of protecting our long holiday breaks/spring break and using the limited flexibility that we have in the school calendar legislation.
Thank you all for your support of our community during this time. Your work has been another testament of the importance of public education and the vast reach that our schools provide beyond our walls into our communities.

Meghan S. Doyle, EdD
Craven County Schools
3600 Trent Road
New Bern, NC 28562

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Carolina Panthers Announce High School Coach of the Week

coach of the week bryant 2016


The Carolina Panthers are proud to announce the selection of Coach Jim Bob Bryant of Havelock High School (Havelock, NC) as a recipient of the team’s High School Coach of the Week honor for the 2016 season. Coach Jim Bob Bryant is in his ninth season as the Rams’ head football coach.

Coach Bryant has turned the Rams program around since assuming the head coaching position in 2008. Under Bryant’s leadership, he hascoached Havelock to the North Carolina 3A state championship four times in the past five years. “Coach Bryant has an outstanding 104-13 record as head coach for the Rams,” said Havelock High School Athletic Director Mitchell Williams. “Coach Bryant’s hard work does not go unrecognized. He has been named 2011 and 2013 AP NC Football Coach of the year.” Coach Bryant has lead the 2016 Rams’ football program to another fast start posting a 6-0 record.
Off the field, Bryant plays an active role in serving both as a teacher and a mentor to his players. He takes pride in his students and makes a concerted effort to make sure his student – athletes are prepared for school, sports and other needs. “Coach Bryant wanted to be able to showthe importance of giving back to his players, so he created a non-profit organization called the Havelock Touchdown Club,” said Williams. “The club raises funds in order to provide items like cleats to even eye glasses to players with financial needs. The Havelock Touchdown Club arranges for the Ram football team to have a meal before every game. During those team meals, a positive role model in the local community provides an uplifting message to the team before they play.” In addition, the Havelock Touchdown Club recently adopted a local park in which the football team provides regular cleaning and upkeep of the grounds.
In recognition of Coach Bryant’s contributions to his school and community, the Carolina Panthers will donate $1,000 to Havelock High School to support the school’s athletic department. Coach Bryant and the other 2016 Carolina Panthers High School Coach of the Week Honorees will all be recognized during a Panthers home game later this season.
The 2016 High School Coach of the Week program is a joint initiative of the Carolina Panthers and the National Football League. Theprogram is designed to recognize and reward North and South Carolina high school coaches who have created successful programs for teams and players both on and off of the playing field. This includes coaches that champion philosophies which advance and promote player health and safety.

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Hurricane Relief Donations




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Sixth grade students of Grover C. Fields Middle School had an extension of their language arts study, The Girl Who Survived by Brionna Bradman. 



One of the North Carolina State standards for language arts is for students to read informational/non-fiction text and to analyze relationships between the settings, individuals, and events.  Therefore, classroom learning should include Learning Focused activities and goals of high order thinking.  While reading the book, they all worked in collaborative groups to exchange ideas and facts of World War II, analyze individuals’ characteristics, and reveal how the events of the Holocaust affected the Jews during that era. So, students answered questions and used 21st Century skills that enabled them to think, read, respond and discuss facts to problems and challenges of the Jews. The students also analyzed problems and challenges that changed the lives of the Jews and their survival and the loss of the people they loved.

Ms. Furlough, the 6th grade Language Arts teacher, invited the President of the Temple B’nai Sholem, Carla Byrnes to speak and share a celebration dance with the students. Ms. Byrnes, was formally welcomed by the principal, Mrs. Thomasine Hassell on September 28, 2016.  Ms. Byrnes came to Grover C. Fields Middle School and shared the celebration dance and Jewish culture along with fascinating information about her time spent in Israel. She then taught the students the circle dance known as the Horah.   Along with reading the book and experiencing some of the Jewish traditions, students are learning an awareness of how families’ daily life was changed because of the Holocaust.


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Hurricane Matthew Recovery Efforts School Schedule – Monday, October 17, 2016

All Craven County Schools will be open for students and staff at the regularly scheduled time
except the following (due to road closures and continued high water in surrounding areas and
travel routes):

• West Craven Middle School – Closed to students – Workday for Staff –Report to West
Craven Middle School
• West Craven High School – Closed to students – Workday for Staff –Report to West Craven
Middle School
• JW Smith Elementary School – 2 Hour Delay – Staff report at regular time
• Bridgeton Elementary School – 2 Hour Delay – Staff report at regular time
• Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary School – 2 Hour Delay – Staff report at regular time

We recognize that some parents may not be ready to send students to elementary schools in the
West Craven Area (Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary, Bridgeton Elementary, and JW Smith
Elementary) due to flooding of homes, relocation, or displacement. No students will be penalized
for attendance due to the effects of being displaced from homes. However, we want to provide
the option of school for elementary students to assist families to begin the process of recovery
with the knowledge that students are being taken care of in our schools. Schools will be reaching
out to absent students to determine the reasons for absenteeism and to assist in coordinating
support to students/families who may have been displaced as a result of Hurricane Matthew and
the associated flooding of our area.

West Craven Area Bus Drivers: Attention bus drivers in the West Craven area: Please make plans
to meet at West Craven Middle School in the cafeteria at 6:30 a.m. for a meeting to discuss
alternate routes and plans to accommodate displaced students during this time of transition for

Aid to Families in the West Craven Area
In an effort to assist families in the West Craven/Vanceboro area, West Craven Middle School
will provide the following assistance to the community with support from the staff of West
Craven Middle School and West Craven High School:

• Access to the West Craven Middle School Media Center computers so that displaced
persons can gain access to communication with family, insurance companies, etc. School
staff members will be on hand to assist when requested.
• Access to shower facilities will be provided one-at-a-time for students, families,
community members in need. Donated toiletry items will be available until they run out.
• A Spanish language translator will be available to assist with Spanish language translation
if needed.

Hurricane Matthew Recovery Efforts
In addition, JW Smith Elementary School will open its computer lab for access to computers so
that displaced persons can gain access to communication with family, insurance companies, etc.
School staff members will be on hand to assist when requested/needed.

Anyone wishing to make donations to families in the West Craven/Vanceboro area may do so at
West Craven Middle School which will serve as a collection site through this week. Citizens
wishing to donate are encouraged to bring the following:

• Grocery store gift cards
• Gasoline gift cards
• Hardware store gift cards (Lowes, Walmart, etc.)
• Cleaning supplies
• Toiletries
• Detergent

Please DO NOT bring cash donations as we are not equipped or authorized to receive cash

Make-Up Days
Make up days for days missed due to Hurricane Matthew will be announced as quickly as
possible. Craven County Schools will also provide additional support to students in the West
Craven/Vanceboro area who are displaced for an extended time.


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**IMPORTANT NEWS** Plans To Open Schools

The Craven County School System is making plans to open some schools back up after the flooding from Hurricane Matthew. It is very important that the families and citizens of the West Craven area understand that we are going to work with students and families to ensure that no student is adversely affected by this storm now or throughout the year with regard to their education. There may be a few schools in the West Craven Area that may be able to be opened up early next week; others may not be able to open due to blocked transportation routes. Currently, West Craven High School is suffering from water that continues to rise and is essentially isolated. As a result, when the system announces plans for school on Monday, please know that there will be accommodations made for our students who have been affected by this storm and ensure that recovering from this storm is our priority for our students in this area.

We will begin publicizing plans this afternoon and throughout the weekend. Please continue to monitor the Craven County Schools and West Craven High School Facebook pages and websites as well as news sites for further information. The West Craven area, our students and families, and all of the citizens there are in our thoughts and prayers. We will do all we can to support you through this event and the recovery.


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Roger Bell spotlights teacher Courtney Merkel


On October 5, 2016, Craven County Board of Education and Roger Bell Elementary spotlighted an outstanding educator who has consistently served the students in our school.  She is constantly and proactively working to find creative, unique, and cutting edge student-centered methods to enhance the learning experiences for her students. Over the past couple of years, she has written and received numerous grants which have provided iPads, apps for math differentiation, and funding for field trips.  The monetary value of these grants is in the thousands of dollars, but their educational value immeasurable.

Whenever opportunities to help in any capacity present themselves, she is consistently among the first to volunteer. She is unselfish with her time and puts her students’ needs before her own comfort or convenience.  In short, she works every day to make Roger Bell a better place, not just for her own students, but for all members of the Roadrunner community.

She is also a true teacher-leader.  She has served as grade chair, yearbook advisor, and as a member of the cabinet. She has provided training for guided math at the school level, and is now a District guided math trainer. She is a member of the GROW 3 cohort, has been a leader in organizing parent education initiatives, and has lead PIE Bowl and Havelock Chamber of Commerce spelling bee teams for Roger Bell. We are blessed to have Courtney Merkel, and hope that this spotlight serves as a modest way to show her how much she is appreciated and valued at Roger Bell.


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