Travelers at the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern were greeted by the joyful music presented by the AWE Chorus. Thank you to our talented students for spreading holiday cheer!
On December 3, 2014, the Board of Education and Graham A. Barden Elementary School spotlighted an outstanding educator who strives to provide all students with the tools they need to become lifelong learners. She works to create a nurturing environment where all students feel safe to take risks in their learning experiences and think outside the box. With creative lessons, consistent strategies, and hard work she teaches her students the importance of working toward their goals.
As a collaborator, this teacher works closely with staff members to help find the appropriate resources to meet the needs of her students. In addition to her classroom role, she also works as a leader in the school. She serves as grade leader, co-chair of the School Family Community Relationship Goal Team, and is a member of the school cabinet. She has a great attitude and is always very positive with her colleagues.
Her work ethics resonates throughout GAB and the school’s community. She volunteers at many after school activities, she is a reflective practitioner, promotes teamwork, and implements innovative and BEST practice strategies to promote student growth and success. When visiting her class, you will always see high level of student engagement, collaboration, critical thinking skills, technology, and students using problem-solving techniques/skills. It is a pleasure working with such a dedicated professional committed to excellence and who puts students first.
Congratulation to Shara Aubrey for being GAB Craven County Teacher Spotlight for the 2014-2015 School Year!
Many of us grew up with resources that included a pencil and paper. For most of us, computers came later on our educational pathway. With the ever-evolving world of technology, there are now an abundance of digital resources available for students and educators to utilize in the classroom. The use of Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom can be of much assistance. They can increase efficiency, resources, relevance, connection, access, and experience to create 21st century students. At GAB, we have jumped headfirst into utilizing technology in the classroom. We are 1:1 in grades 3, 4, and 5, and continue to work towards creating a 1:1 school wide ratio. Technology is used daily at GAB. Our upper level teachers are avid users of Google Classroom, which allows for a gradual transition to a paperless classroom. Students are able to access their agendas, assignments, links, videos, etc., that allows for an integrated and engaging learning experience, which gives students the greatest opportunity to be successful. Our lower level teachers are using Google Docs, IXL, Raz-Kids, and a plethora of other educational sites to ensure that we are creating technologically comfortable and confident students. Through these technologies, we are able to extend the classroom beyond its physical walls and ensure that our students are 21st century ready.
The first graders at Brinson Memorial Elementary were recently involved in a Project Based Learning experience to explore the concept of force and motion. After learning about simple machines and how objects move, the students were charged with the task of using what they learned in order to invent and create a moving toy.
With a focus on 21st century learning, collaboration is imperative. For this task, students worked in groups with peers from other first grade classrooms, sharing ideas and creating processes and procedures to successfully turn recycled materials into moving toys. The children did all the design work and planning, and once that was done, parent volunteers and 5th grade helpers assisted with the actual production of the toys.
Hands on activities like these prove to be not only educational, but fun. The students learned a vital life lesson; sometimes things don’t work like you think they will. This challenge was met by investigation and research.
One team of students, Rihanna Guthrie and Harmony Berger, created a fishing pole. When it didn’t work properly, they went home and studied an actual fishing pole, in an effort to replicate the use of simple machines on their own design. Rylee Pizana and her partner, Ashton Brinkley, worked on a monster truck that was intended to look like a dragon. One problem there – it looked more like a puppy than a dragon. According to Rylee, they thought it was cute, so they went with it. They struggled to get the wheels to turn, but with a little trial and error and a lot of persistence, they corrected the problem.
Megan Saucier and her partner, Morgan Mason, learned about gravity as they designed a plane. “It didn’t work because it was too heavy” Megan shared. When asked how they solved that problem, she said they took off some things like the little man who was supposed to be jumping out. “Heavy stuff won’t work when you’re working with gravity”.
Another team of students, Caitlin Murphy and Erin Tennant, created a swing set. It proved to be tricky, and resulted in their investigating school playground equipment. After closely observing how real swings operate, they turned to YouTube to find up close demonstrations. They applied their findings to their own design, and were successful in creating a working swing.
Mallory Jarman and her partner, Gavin Watson, created a sailboat. Mallory learned to trust the 5th graders when they had difficulties. “They have more experience” she told me. Gavin was able to clearly explain the concept of force and motion, and shared that his biggest challenge was “getting the sail on”. I bet many sailors can relate to that difficulty!
Andrew Walker and his partner, Landon Parker, wanted to use the “push/pull” principle for their creation — a robot. When asked what was hard about the project, Andrew said, “Sometimes it’s hard to make things.” Despite some setbacks, the construction of the robot was a success, complete with moving wheels.
Upon completion of the toy production, students presented their products to their first grade peers in neighboring classrooms. This presentation required them to plan effectively, articulate their experience with design and production, and to effectively communicate sound reasoning with regards to scientific and design principles.
When asked about this learning experience, the resounding response was, “It was fun!” What a great way to sneak in scientific learning, research, collaboration, cooperation, and persistence!
Front Row: Danae Walker (Student Ambassador), Mattisen Nevels (SGA Historian), Jenna Davis (SGA President), Victoria Suggs (SGA Vice-President), Akshdeep Dhillon (Jr. Civ Vice-President) Back Row: Ashley Mullikin (Jr. Civ President & NHS Secretary), Ryan Merkel (SGA Secretary), Joshua Johnson (SGA Treasurer), Brandon Hunter (Jr. Civ Historian), Kirstie Bobbitt (Jr. Civ Senior Director)
As a STEM school, Havelock’s Early College EAST (Eastern Applied Sciences & Technology) High School has always emphasized science, technology, engineering, and math and students are engaged in learning that explores connections among all four of these disciplines, throughout all curriculum areas. But in addition to the STEM theme, there has always been the early college foundation of rigor, relevance, and relationships. Over the past five years, we have seen that foundation develop student leaders.
Students choose to come to EAST anticipating high academic expectations. Every high school classroom uses essential skills, such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and effective communication to provide students with a rigorous learning experience. “I chose to be an early college student because I want to make a future for me,” says senior Samantha Howe. “I want to go above and beyond what is normally expected of students my age. I want to be challenged, which in return prepares me for college.”
At EAST, the opportunity to go above and beyond takes place in high school honors and community college classrooms and is relevant to our students’ goal to graduate from a university in pursuit of a career. We offer high school students first-hand experience in a college classroom and a much better idea of what to expect academically from universities. Senior Nate Cleaves would agree stating, “Early College has prepared me for college because the classes are similarly challenging to that of college courses, which means it’s easier to transition from a high-school workload to a college workload.”
Every year, EAST admits 50 students to the freshman class. These students become close as they embark upon their early college adventure. “Early college has truly been one of the best experiences and blessings I have ever been a part of,” says senior Danae Walker. “I have met some of my best friends all while getting a two year degree for free. It truly is a wonderful opportunity.”
Our students are making connections between what they are learning in the classrooms and our community. Clubs at EAST have been a vehicle for community service and partnerships across Craven County. “Being a part of Junior Citivians has taught me multiple skills that will help me later on in life, such as leadership and coordinating skills,” says senior Kirstie Bobbitt. “Being in this club is a great way to help out our local communities and gain more experiences.”
Every EAST student is a member of a club and the types of clubs offered every year are student generated, to maximize student interest. “The clubs at Early College EAST give students the opportunity to have some great leadership roles,” says senior Ashley Mullikin. “Early College EAST clubs are largely student run giving us the chance to be more independent and prepared for college. “
“We collaborate with our peers and our teachers to effectively execute our goals to contribute to the school and community through fundraisers, dances, and student services,” agree super-senior Jenna Davis and senior Victoria Suggs. “Our clubs are volunteering at retirement homes, gathering peanut butter for food pantries, ringing the Salvation Army Bell, and volunteering at local festivals.”
EAST students have found their niche and flourished as they give back to their community. “ECE has taught me a variety of things,” says junior Akshdeep Dhillon. “It has taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and have the confidence I need to achieve great things.”
On November 12, 2014, the Board of Education and New Bern High spotlighted Mrs. Gayle Hardy. We are extremely proud to name Mrs. Gayle Hardy as the Spotlight Teacher for New Bern High School for 2014. Gayle has become an integral part of what makes New Bern High a great place.
Mrs. Hardy helps reinforce research-based reading strategies for some of our struggling learners. She creates a bond with these students whereby they will work harder and do more for Gayle than they have ever done before. She is also data-driven and always looking to make adjustments to the pace of instruction to benefit her students.
Gayle was selected this year to serve as the elective teacher for our AVID Program. She works with this group of freshmen to ensure they are working on their study techniques, organizational skills and note-taking, all aimed at getting them ready for success at the college level. The very best way to sum up Gayle’s actions here at New Bern High would be to say she is selfless. She is genuinely more concerned with others well before herself. She embodies the true Bear Spirit and we are all fortunate to have her each and every day.
On November 5, 2014, the Board of Education and Creekside Elementary spotlighted Ms. Danielle Banks. Through her hard work and dedication, she has strengthened her students reading and fanned their love for books. She is a true professional and always strives to learn. She has gone above and beyond her position requirements by seeking and achieving National Board Certification and a Master’s Degree.
Although she has many duties at the school, she maintains high standards for her students. She works hard to maintain powerful instruction by implementing learning centers and finds the time to ensure great programs continue at the school.
She has developed relationships with her students that let each know that they are special to her. She is always willing to help students.
She has shown dedication and flexibility while completing her seemingly endless duties: facilitating the student news show, managing the technology check out, teaching classes, and overseeing the library. She coordinates an annual book fair to raise money to purchase current books for the media center. She also hosts the Battle of the Books. Danielle has always put the needs of her students and fellow teachers first and her dedication can be seen everyday in all that she pours into this school. It is evident that Danielle Banks uses all the strategies available to meet the educational needs of her students. The spotlight should definitely be on Danielle Banks for her dedication to education and Creekside Elementary.
On October 29, 2014, the Board of Education and Early College EAST spotlighted Mrs. Jessica McKittrick. For four years, Mrs. McKittrick has continued to adapt to the ever-changing High School Math curriculum by teaching Algebra 1, Math 2, AFM, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus, while integrating 21st Century Learning Skills throughout her lessons. Meticulously tracking each student and their status based on the current math requirements, she serves as an integral part of a group of teachers who provided valuable information when scheduling students for both high school classes and college courses this summer. Mrs. McKittrick’s expertise allowed us to create a flexible schedule and still benefit the students in order to reduce class size and maximize our limited space. As a team player, she volunteered to be one of our floating teachers in order to create the least disruptive schedule for our students. She continues to serve as an advisor for our counselor and a mentor to the new teachers within the staff. Additionally, Mrs. McKittrick has served as the yearbook coordinator for the past four years.
Mrs. McKittrick was selected by her peers to be spotlighted by the Craven County Board of Education for the 2014-2015 school year. This selection allows her to be considered for the Craven County Teacher Ambassador of the Year Award for 2014-2015.
Henry Adams stated, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” This statement epitomizes one of our very own, Mr. Paul Schwab.
Mr. Schwab serves as a positive role model within the school and the community. Not only does he do a great job of teaching 5th grade curriculum, but he also teaches students values and principles that will last a lifetime. Someone may soon declare him as the “Tie Guy”. His eclectic collection of shirt ties have been worn all around the building by his students that exhibit high standards of character. When it comes to teaching children who are well rounded individuals geared for success, he gets it.
Colleagues recognize his efforts in implementing initiatives that improve education. Mr. Schwab is currently in year 2 of the Craven County Leadership Initiative “Grow”. He is a team player that shares and reinforces the vision, mission, values, and beliefs of Craven County Schools.
His classroom performance is truly commendable. He strives for excellence with each and every student. Something unique about his approach is his outreach to students and families in and outside of school. Mr. Schwab can be found supporting students in and around the community.
For years to come, students will remember wearing the ties, watching him fall to his knees at the thought of a spider, and the fact that he is truly “running the race with them”. It is an honor to recognize Mr. Schwab in front of his peers. His commitment to the values of Craven County Schools and his support of school and district initiatives is worthy of the highest praise. He is truly turning today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders.
Enter into a room where you see seven different crews hard at work with each crew working on a different “assignment” and actively collaborating with everyone on their team. Each crew is composed of a Commander, a Materials Specialist, an Information Specialist, and a Communications Specialist. They each have a task to complete which involves them working collaboratively with one another and utilizing various resources to identify, explain, solve and answer specific questions relative to their topic area.
You may be asking yourself if this “room” is at NASA or some other scientific laboratory that is developing or testing a new product. The answer to your question is a simple “no”. The room where you see this level of engagement and activity from crew members (also known as students) is at the new STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) Lab at James W. Smith Elementary School. Through a grant funded from the Duke Energy Foundation and Craven County Schools, and in collaboration with Pitsco Education, students in grades three through five are now able to experience the opportunity of a lifetime where learning comes alive through more hands-on, integrated Science than ever before. Each grade level spends nine weeks working through seven different “missions” that are student centered. Students have the opportunity to be problem solvers, risk takers, critical thinkers and innovators by taking on real world problems. While their experiences expose the students to different careers in Science and Technology, it also capitalizes on other curricular areas by providing opportunities for them to enhance and practice their Literacy skills as they work through the different missions.
At James W. Smith Elementary School, our fourth grade students are finalizing their nine weeks of missions and our third graders will be beginning their experience in the STEM Lab in the upcoming weeks. Tips that have been given to our third grade students from our fourth grade pioneers include: “You will love it!”, “It is the fastest part of your day!”, “You get to move through different stations where you learn something totally different than what you did the week before!”, and “We are in control of our learning!”.
Do you feel ready to accept the challenge and become a crew member on one of our exciting STEM Lab teams? If so, feel free to pay our site a visit and become a part of our learning crews where students and staff members are modeling our vision of “today’s learners, tomorrow’s leaders”.