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Each fall, Craven County Schools surveys students and families with regard to their connection to federal employment and/or housing.  This survey is very important because it helps provide funding to our district through Impact Aid or Title VIII, Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The purpose of Impact Aid is to provide financial assistance to school districts that have a percentage of federally connected children enrolled.  Across the United States there are school districts in communities that are connected to federal properties (military installations, Indian lands, low-rent housing, and other federal properties).  These federally owned properties do not contribute to the local tax base; therefore Impact Aid assists districts in acquiring funds to help offset loss of tax revenue from the federally owned land.

Impact Aid was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1950.  It has been amended many times since its inception but continues to provide financial support to school districts across the nation.  The categories included in Impact Aid are:  children who reside on military bases, have parents in the uniformed services, parents employed on eligible federal property, or children who reside on Indian lands or low-rent housing properties.  To qualify for Impact Aid, school districts must have at least 400 children in average daily attendance or federally connected children must make up 3% of the district’s total population.  Every school in our District has a federally connected student in attendance.  Last year, our total membership on the day of the survey was 14,327 with 22.6% federally connected and 12.1% military connected students enrolled.

The process to apply for Impact Aid begins in the fall with a survey of every student enrolled.  The survey format this year is NEW and will collected on a full sheet of paper with a parent letter explaining the details.  This survey is sent home with students and will be used to collect the data necessary to determine the number and type of federally connected students enrolled for the 2016-2017 school year. The annual Impact Aid Parent-Pupil Survey will be conducted on September 20, 2016.  Surveys are collected at the school level, submitted to the Central Office for compilation of the data, and an application for the aid is then submitted to the Department of Education by January 31, 2017.  All information collected is kept confidential and is required in order to identify federally connected students.  Each year Congress determines the level of funding for Impact Aid and while the amount of reimbursement has decreased annually over the last 10 years, Craven County Schools has received approximately $63.5 million in Impact Aid since 1987.  This much needed revenue helps sustain the education of our children.  Parents can help by completing the survey and returning it to your child’s school on time.  You can find more information about Impact Aid at the National Association for Federally Impacted Schools website,


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School Board Receives Top Honor

Board Members


On September 8th, 2016, the Craven County Board of Education was presented with the prestigious Gold Bell Award from the North Carolina School Board Association.  This special award was presented to school boards in the state who had each board member complete 12 or more hours of professional development training in a year, and Craven County was one of two recipients of this honor.

Legislation requires school boards to complete 12 or more hours of professional development training over a 2 year period and our school board completed more than the minimum in just one year.  This speaks volumes of the commitment, dedication, and excellence that our school board demonstrates as an elected body representing the students and staff of Craven County.

Their heart and determination is also evident by the fact that each board member used their own funds to pay for the training required.

Meghan Doyle, Ed.D., superintendent shares, “The Craven Board of Education sets a high standard for professional learning that represents a historical commitment to good governance and has led to high district performance. We are very fortunate that our Board not only values continual professional growth but models it for our system.”

Craven County Schools is extremely proud of the Craven County Board of Education and is honored to work with a wonderful group of individuals committed to providing the best educational opportunities in this county.


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Building an Advanced Manufacturing Talent Pipeline

A drive on Highway 70 in Craven County will transport you through the Craven County Industrial Park.  There are several large buildings located there which house some of the most advanced operations in manufacturing in Eastern North Carolina.  With the recent return of more manufacturing processes to the United States, opportunities for employment in the manufacturing sector have increased.  Additionally, the employment need increases as more employees reach retirement age than potential new hires with the required skill levels available to take their place.  Also, today’s advanced manufacturing environments are much different than 1950’s era factories.  Advanced processes and technology require employees to have advanced skillsets.

Partners from Craven County Economic Development, Craven 100 Alliance, Craven County Schools, Craven Community College, local industry, NCWorks, and local human resource companies are working together to develop and implement the Advanced Manufacturing Pathway to develop local talent for manufacturing employment needs.  Development of the pathway has already created initiatives to promote careers and manufacturing.

The Craven 100 Alliance produced a video showcasing several local manufacturers.  The video targets middle and high school students in an effort to dispel common myths about working in manufacturing.  In the video, thoughts are shared by area middle school students concerning manufacturing and their future career plans.  Local employees provide insight into their jobs and the reasons for choosing a career in manufacturing.  The entire video can be viewed online at

Through partnerships with BSH Home Appliances and Craven Community College, Craven County Schools implemented an Advanced Manufacturing program at West Craven High School in 2015.  Through a grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation, Career and Technical Education will be able to expand courses within the Advanced Manufacturing program with mechatronics and welding curricula that replicate employer environments.  Mechatronics involves the integration of pneumatics, electronics, robotics, programmable logic circuits, and automation.

The courses being implemented will give students the opportunity to learn those higher level skillsets as well as earn industry recognized credentials such as the Certified Production Technician Certification, Siemens Mechatronics Certification, and the Career Readiness Certificate.  After completing courses, students will have the opportunity to continue their education through the advanced manufacturing program at Craven Community College, apply for future apprenticeship opportunities in the region, and/or enter into the workforce with industry desired skills.

These initiatives are just the beginning to building a skilled sustainable local talent pool.  Partners are constantly in conversation with each other on the next steps to ensure that our manufacturers are well staffed and our county’s citizens are employable.  If you have questions concerning the advanced manufacturing pathway, call Chris Bailey, Craven County Schools CTE Director at 252-514-6322 or Timothy Downs, Craven County Economic Development Director at 252-633-5300.


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Grant Funding Received to Impact 13 Military Connected Schools

August 31, 2016

Grant Funding Received to Impact 13 Military Connected Schools

New Bern, NC- A five-year $1,499,854 grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Partnership will allow Craven County Schools to improve student achievement and address social-emotional behaviors through a multi-tiered support system (MTSS) at thirteen of our military impacted schools.

In North Carolina, the state Department of Public Instruction provides guidance on the MTSS model, which incorporates features of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS). Every school has an MTSS team, composed of school administrators and instructional staff, which in turn provides guidance to the school’s Professional Learning Communities, which in turn guide instructional curriculum and social-emotional interventions with students.

The MTSS model is a three-tiered approach to providing high quality instruction and intervention matched to student needs, using learning rate over time and level of performance to inform instructional decisions. In the MTSS model, instructional practices and resources are matched to student needs at three ‘tiers’ of service delivery.

“Student Success Through Tiered Support” will provide funding to assist in two areas of significant need among military-dependent students: 1) mathematics achievement and 2) social-emotional behaviors. Interventions designed to address these needs will impact all students at the 13 target schools in the case of math and social-emotional needs, with targeted services and resources for military-dependent students at grades 5, 8, and 9.

“These monies will support the professional development of all teachers and increase the effectiveness of educators in the classroom,” stated Dr. Cheryl Wilson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “While the grant targets increasing military student achievement, all students in Craven County Schools will benefit. We are honored to have been chosen for this grant opportunity.”

“This grant will provide essential resources to support our military connected students, allow us to meet their unique needs, and ensure they are successful in our school system and in the future.” Superintendent Dr. Meghan Doyle said.

“The goal of the multi-tiered support system is to identify areas in which we can support students academically and provide those supports as soon as they need them.” Doyle said. “Through professional development, this grant will give our teachers a toolkit of instructional strategies which are not only research-based but also specific to our military connected students and the challenges they face. We are extremely excited to use the resources of this grant to target the needs of these students.”

This is the fourth grant Craven County Schools has received from the Department of Defense Education Partnership Grant Program.


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Digital Citizenship by Sarah Emmerich, Technology Literacy Facilitator

HJM Digital

Students learn about their digital footprint and the impact it can have on their future.


What is digital citizenship?  Your first thought might be that digital citizenship is characterized by respectable online user behavior.  But what does that really mean?  In the 21st century, students are identified as digital natives or referred to as children growing up in a digital world.  They are exposed to devices and digital content that require them to interact with technology on a daily basis.  Educating our children about the risks associated with their online behavior and the need to be safe when using that technology is of vital importance.  As educators, our role is crucial in facilitating that understanding and providing the resources for students and teachers to learn how to be good digital citizens.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) supports the nine basic elements of digital citizenship as outlined by Mike Ribble in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools Second Edition.   He states that these nine elements are intertwined and are not stand-alone issues.  Ribble put them in three categories based on how they relate to the school environment: directly affecting student learning and academic performance (digital access, literacy and communication), affecting the overall school environment and student behavior (digital etiquette, security, and rights & responsibilities), and affecting student life outside the school environment (commerce, law and health & wellness).

These elements build in the North Carolina Information and Technology Essential Standards (NCITES) for grades K-12.  The four Digital Teaching and Learning Coaches for Craven County  conducted a three part professional development series for teachers and staff based on these standards during the 2015-2016 school year. The Digital Teaching and Learning Coaches integrated the ISTE and NCITES standards with the Nine P’s of Digital Citizenship by Vicki Davis, full time teacher, IT director, and author of Reinventing Writing.  The 9 P’s compose a chapter in her book  and include  passwords, privacy, personal information, photographs, property, permission, protection, professionalism, and personal brand.  Two websites, Common Sense Media and NetSmartz were evaluated by teachers during the course of the school year for effective standards based lesson plans, videos, and online interactives to use with students in the district.

Craven County Schools continues to provide digital access for K-12 students.  We have to remember that with this access comes responsibility.  Teachers and coaches are beginning to focus on the importance in educating our students about digital citizenship.  We want our digital natives to become successful in our world and that requires teaching the good and bad of being online.  If we don’t, who will?




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All County High School Production of High School Musical tryouts



Craven County Schools in association with Craven Community College is excited to host an all-county high school production of Disney’s High School Musical this fall. The production is entirely teen run, with a production team derived from the community relationship with Rivertowne Players and their teen director’s camp that occurred this summer. The production team consists of Tevondre Bryant (CEC) and Jaimee Wishon (ECE) as co-directors, Grazie Boccia (NBHS) as musical director, Shannon Whorton (WCHS) and Anna Sharp (NBHS) as co-choreographers, Kelly Rogers (NBHS) and Henry Johnson (CEC) as co-producers, and Adrian Dujmusic (NBHS) as stage manager.

The teens participated in a free teen director camp with Rivertowne Players this summer, a camp Rivertowne plans on offering every summer to support their future all teen productions. The teens learned about the basics of directing from Craven County Schools teachers and local directors and technical designers, who participated as guest speakers at the camp. “We wanted to offer these students the opportunity to hear from the best, learn the basics, and apply what they have learned in a setting where they can reach out to experienced adults for guidance,” Bethany Kenyon said of Rivertowne’s desire to offer this camp to the teens. “Rivertowne’s season was already complete, but we really wanted to offer this group a chance to do something this year, and since we all are Craven County Schools teachers, we decided to merge Bethany Bondurant’s (WCHS theater arts teacher) plan to do High School Musical with the idea of an all-county, teen directed show.” The mentors working with the teens include Bethany Bondurant (WCHS), Siobhan Brewer (ECE), Bethany Kenyon (CEC), and Alexandria Raineri (WCHS).

The all county production is open to all students enrolled in Craven County public schools, aged 13-19. Open auditions will take place on August 31 at 6 pm at Orringer Auditorium. Those interested in auditioning are asked to prepare the song, “We’re All in this Together” from the show for their audition. Rehearsals will begin in September. The show will take place at Craven Community College’s Orringer Auditorium November 11-20, 2016.


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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

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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.


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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.





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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



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