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”.
Blended Learning At West Craven Middle
West Craven Middle School serves the largest area of any middle school in Craven County. It brings together students and staff of many different backgrounds and ideas. Our challenge daily is to engage each and every student with ideas that are meaningful and relevant to them. How each teacher reaches their students is singularly dependent on who they are. Still, there are common techniques and ideas that our teachers use. West Craven has put an amazing emphasis on technology over the last four years, placing 21st century learning tools in the hands of every student and teacher. Technology is a tool as are books, pens and papers, all of them geared to helping the students truly learn.
This year in the eighth grade our emphasis has been on blending our study of North Carolina and its diverse history with the literature that we interact with. For instance, as we prepare to start our study of North Carolina’s role in the Civil War, we will also begin a study of Gary Paulsen’s Civil War nove,l Soldier’s Heart. This short novel addresses what it meant to be a soldier in the bloodiest conflict ever engaged in by American forces. But our study will not stop there. Through the use of text sets we will deepen the student’s understanding of both the novel and the war it concerns.
What is a text set exactly? A text set is all the materials that the students will engage with to deepen and broaden their understanding of a subject. A text set is more than just many small pieces of writing used to enhance a larger piece. Each text within the set takes on significant importance. Each text within the set is integral to student understanding. For instance, though our novel is our primary source, the letters we will read, written by a Civil War era soldier stationed at Fort Macon, will be just as important to the student’s overall learning as the novel itself. What better way to understand the Civil War than to read the letters, journals, and words of the soldiers themselves? These first hand resources, these primary sources, will drive our students to interact with the information in a way that is truly meaningful. The idea is that all texts are of equal importance and no one text is of greater relevance than the others. Our students can learn something from anything and everything they read, see, or hear. Even a video on the Civil War can become part of the students learning. No one piece can be the focus and no piece can be left out.
That is the goal always, at West Craven Middle School, not just for me, but for every teacher in the building. The goal is always a meaningful interaction with the information. The goal is creating not students that can endlessly give back information, but instead, creating students who want to learn. The goal is creating students who want to engage with difficult questions and experience ideas on a high level and can transfer what they learn into daily life and future learning. The goal is to utilize technology in a way that helps the students interact with the greater world around them. The goal is to prepare students for whatever comes next for them.
8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Each month, specific character traits are spotlighted throughout the district and students are encouraged to understand and model core ethical values. Integrity is the character trait for the month of February. Todd Fulcher, 9th grade student at Craven Early College High School, shares what integrity means to him.
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and fair ” (Merriam-Webster.com). Integrity is clarified as having good morals, honesty, and honor. Having integrity shows good character. No matter how old you are, integrity is great for an everyday lifestyle. Ranging from the life of a student to the life of an everyday adult, integrity may show an improvement to everyone around you. For example, not taking a personal phone call at work shows great character and could possibly keep you in good favor with your employer. At school, you can show integrity by not plagiarizing other people’s work. Not plagiarizing shows that you know what you have been taught and capable of doing your own work. It’s also dishonest because you are taking other people’s work and making it your own. Even for the kids growing up or high-school students in today’s world, showing any signs of integrity will help you grow up to become a more mature adult. Growing up for a teenager is hard in today’s world; good morals and honesty is a must for teenagers. Building excellent character at a young age is a great thing because it helps you know who you are at a young age. You begin speaking the truth and showing honor. Your actions begin speaking and showing who you are. Your work begins to show good work ethic. Integrity will help you build lasting relationships and give you strong foundations for life. Keeping that in mind, no matter who you are, practicing integrity helps build your character. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” Integrity means being your true self and enjoying a positive life by having good character.
9th Grade Student
Craven Early College High School
We all know how important it is to keep our bodies fit. But, is there a connection between active bodies and increased brain power? At Bridgeton Elementary, students and staff are involved in several projects that build on the body brain connection.
This past fall, several staff members started an afterschool running club. Approximately 50 students met each week to prepare for a 5K run. On December 7th, parents joined their children on the 5K track marked around the school. Over 70 participants took to the course as rain began to fall. Determined, they did not let the rain slow them down. Students and staff had built up their endurance and were able to complete the run. This determination can serve them well when related to building endurance to complete EOG assessments. By practicing each day they will build their stamina to perform well in all areas at school.
The community has been involved in helping the students build body and brain. Through the Bates Foundation, Partners in Education and parent volunteers, new playground equipment has been purchased and erected. Proper equipment givesstudents opportunities to exercise, develop imagination and creativity, and to learn about staying safe. Physical activity has a positive impact on academic performance. Exercise and play help prime the brain for learning.
Community organizations will join us for our Title I Family night on Thursday, Feb. 13th. Our theme will be “Healthy Hearts Love to Read.” The Red Cross, 4-H, and Bridgeton EMS will help families learn about healthy life choices. Amy Spence, our school nurse, and ECU nursing students will conduct activities and dispense information to help families in healthy choices and to make the connection between healthful living and learning.
Students will participate in the “Pint-Size Hero” program through the American Red Cross. They will learn the importance of giving blood. A blood drive is scheduled for February 26th. Students have the opportunity to recruit family members to come out to donate blood. Anyone in the community is also welcome to attend the blood drive.
Students also will be making a difference in the lives of others as they learn how to stay healthy. They have the opportunity to participate in “Jump Rope for Heart” and “Hoops for Heart.” While learning jump rope and basketball skill, they will be raising money for other children who have “special” hearts. Physical Education instructor, Paul Whorton, encourages the participation in these two programs, teaching the children these skills while emphasizing the importance of nutrition and healthy choices to make a better life. Last year, our students raised $2500 for the Heart Association.
With these programs in place and working with the community, students will be healthy and ready to learn. Physical activity has been shown to improve planning, problem-solving, memory, and attention. Our students will not only learn better, but benefit from the lifelong behaviors they have learned. These healthy changes benefit our schools, homes and community. Healthy body, and healthy brain!
By Dr. Jeffrey E. Murphy, HHS Principal
Havelock High School has a seminar period built into the school schedule where students can receive additional assistance from their classroom teachers four days a week. The teachers are not the only ones in the building who provide assistance to students who need help in a subject or class. The National Honor Society (NHS) has a tutoring program that allows NHS students to assist their peers. The National Honor Society is the premiere national organization that recognizes outstanding high school students. To become a member, students must demonstrate excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.
The NHS tutoring program is a way for Havelock students who may be struggling academically to receive free academic assistance. The HHS chapter has seventy students in the club who can earn volunteer credits by tutoring. National Honor Society sponsor, Mrs. Emily Forguites says, “Most of the members of the NHS are very good about volunteering to help their fellow students even though it is not required. We mostly work with math students but are willing to help students in any subject area.”
Senior Aliya Cruz, the president of the Havelock chapter says, “The tutoring program is a success because many students experience a more comfortable vibe when they receive help from a peer. Coming from the same generation helps to establish a connection that is beneficial for students who need help.” According to senior Julie Mares, “Some of the NHS members tutor multiple students because they like to take the initiative. We pitch in and share ideas with each other and we enjoy helping other students during seminar and after school.” Mares tutors students who experience difficulty with math courses. She says, “Math is easy for me. It makes me feel good when students that I tutor score higher on tests and improve their grades.”
NHS members select students who ask for a tutor from a list and many of them assist students twice a week. Senior Kendall Smith believes that it is beneficial for students to communicate with their peers in an informal atmosphere. He says, “Teachers appreciate it when we help their students. The teachers provide assignments and we help the students understand the concepts while assisting them with the assignments.” Tutoring is a win-win situation for the tutor and the student who needs help according to senior Nadia Yurich. She adds, “Tutoring helps me brush up on what I already know. I can review a subject that I already understand and experience satisfaction when I influence one of my fellow students to learn.” Yurich concluded her thoughts by saying, “Students should not be afraid to ask for a NHS peer tutor.”
Webster’s Dictionary defines perseverance as “the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult”. This character word speaks to each and every one of us on a daily basis, though sometimes it appears in many different ways. For third graders at James W. Smith Elementary School, they modeled this character word as they were engaged in a hands-on activity during their unit of study on the human body. They were charged with the task of assembling a leg (inclusive of joints, tendons, muscles) by using small pieces of wood, paper clips and rubber bands. This activity helped demonstrate how all parts of the leg worked together to enable us to be able to walk. Even though there were parts of the task that were difficult, the third grade students persevered and achieved success in the end.
When reflecting on perseverance from a 4th graders perspective, Marcy Dawson writes, “Perseverance is when you keep on trying to do something and you don’t give up. If there is something you try and you don’t get it the first time, don’t give up or you will never succeed in anything. If you want to do something like ride a bike, try hard and don’t give up. You have to have confidence in yourself. You have to believe that you can do what you are trying to do. If you have confidence in yourself you will probably succeed in a lot of things. Then you will be proud of yourself. That is why you should have perseverance.”
Article submitted by
Renee D. Whitford, Principal
Marcy Dawson, 4th Grader
James W. Smith Elementary School
On February 19, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted James Marx as one of our 8th grade social studies teachers and is an example of an educator with a mission to make a great impact on the lives of his students and fellow co-workers. He wants his students to display academic excellence and is willing to go beyond the call of duty to make it happen. He displays a quiet nature; however, he commands the respect of his students, and has earned the respect of his coworkers. He has for the past six years served on cabinet and leads the satisfaction goal team. Mr. Marx has worked with the Satisfaction Goal Team to coordinate fundraising and the purchase of the Wildcat mascot, which now greets our students and guest at the front door. Moreover, he is always willing to lend a helping hand to improve school operations by driving a school bus, cafeteria duty, and dismissing the buses as well as perform his job as a teacher.
Mr. Marx is a team player and understands the need to plan and work collaboratively with his fellow co-workers to produce optimal student achievement. He constantly uses data to improve student performance in his social studies classes. He places his students above himself to ensure they have a positive role model as a teacher.
Many of his co-workers admire his strength, endurance and compassion for his students. He dedicated to the profession and holds high standards as an educator and team member wanting to make West Craven Middle School a place where all students are successful. He also works hard to make West Craven Middle home and a place a family for our teachers.
It is with great pleasure and honor that we spotlight and honor such an outstanding teacher for his devotion to West Craven Middle School’s students, staff, and parents.
On February 5, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted this highly effective 21st century educator with many wonderful qualities as a person. She instills in her students the love of being lifelong learners and the importance of knowing about the world in which they live. She implements real world problem solving in her classroom as part of preparing her students to be globally competitive. By creating a learning environment that includes Kagan strategies and technology, her students are excited about learning. She constantly makes learning relevant for her students by sharing current events and allowing them to have a voice in how they learn best. She continually strives for excellence in her classroom and holds all students to high expectations.
If that’s not enough, she takes on extra duties without complaint such as partnering with our community. She solicited over twenty businesses to help our school move forward in purchasing I Pads for our staff and students. This teacher is constantly thinking outside the box with new innovative ideas to help our school improve. She also serves on our cabinet as the goal team manager for Community and Relations and continues to add value by seeking ways to improve our school and to make a difference in our students’ lives. We are so proud to have Kelly Coward as part of our family at Brinson Memorial Elementary School because she is an educator that wants to make a difference in the lives of her fellow teachers, students, parents, and community!
On February 6, 2014, the Craven County Board of Education spotlighted this educator who is a leader at West Craven High School. She provides support to both young and veteran teachers. Not only is she willing to share strategies and techniques, but she is willing to help in any capacity. She makes every effort to ensure that her students are successful. She also extends her curriculum to make sure her students are given the tools to succeed outside of the classroom. Oftentimes, she will change her schedule to accommodate students that need extra help before school, during planning, lunch and after school. She provides constant attention to improving the atmosphere of, not only her classroom, but West Craven as a whole. If there is a West Craven High School event you will find her there-ballgames, band performances, plays and the list goes on. We are proud to have Denise Smith as a faculty member of West Craven High because you will not find a person with more loyalty and commitment to our students, our school and its community. The spotlight shines bright on Denise Smith. Congratulations Denise!!!