The Craven Early College Geek Squad is a novel club pursuing a novel idea at our school, one in which students take on the responsibilities of technology care for their own devices and those of their peers. Through a careful application process, student representatives were selected from each grade level to be members of our Geek Squad. These students are held to high expectations both in their academics and the treatment of personal technological devices. Geek Squad members must maintain a C or above average not only in all high school courses but also in their college courses. Squad members are also expected to uphold the same computer ethics for which they hold their peers accountable. They must also attend at least one technology-related professional development session with their teachers each semester.
The duties and responsibilities of CEC Geek Squad members run throughout the week but are specifically highlighted on Tuesday mornings. During Campfire (a curriculum-driven “homeroom,” of sorts), Squad reps do a quick sweep of each student’s computer, checking hardware components (such as missing keys, cracked screens, or loose hinges) and software components. Software checks are a little more in-depth, requiring an ability to recognize unauthorized coding and operating systems present on the computers, as well as the presence of viruses and the downloading of additional programs, music, pictures, etc. If a student’s computer is found to have any issues, it is documented on a shared Google Sheet that can be seen by teachers and office staff. Squad reps have the authority to fix the computer themselves if possible, but if not the computer is sent to a qualified teacher or Ms. Johnson, our Workforce Development Coordinator who doubles as a tech consultant, for further analysis. Squad reps also fulfill a weekly lunch “on-call” rotation which gives students the opportunity to have their computer examined for issues outside of the Technology Tuesday setting.
Squad members meet bi-monthly before school with their teacher advisors. These meeting times are used to discuss concerns or common issues found on student computers, as well as share ideas and advice on handling some of the concerns that are found. As the club progresses, teacher advisors will take more of a backseat role and let students develop their leadership skills by running their own club, with teacher input and help only where needed or necessary.
At CEC, we are very excited about this new club and the direction that we hope it takes. Thus far, it has helped our staff members by alleviating time away from a Campfire lesson to check computers and to fix menial problems that could be easily handled by a computer-savvy student. We hope this club will continue to grow and be successful in years to come.
Dozens of kids in need were given the opportunity to get a brand new pair of shoes at no cost to them or their families.
For the 16th year in a row the New Bbern Breakfast Rotary Club hosted their “Kicks 4 Kids” campaign where they bring in kids from all over Craven County and fit them with a new pair of shoes of their choice.
This morning at the Athletes Foot in New Bern volunteers along with store associates helped kids of all ages in the Craven County school district find their favorite pair of shoes.
“This is by far the most rewarding project that we do all year,” said Rotary member Tom Gingrich, “the kids come in and there is not one student that doesn’t leave with a smile on their face and there’s not one rotarian, not one Athlete’s Foot employee and not one Craven County employee that doesn’t leave with a smile on their face.”
Over the past 16 years the Breakfast Rotary Club has given out more than 5 thousand pairs of shoes, all through the help of their year long fundraising events.
The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) has named Craven County Board of Education member David E. Hale to the honorary All-State School Board.
Hale was recognized during the Awards Ceremony of the Association’s 46th Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 17. During his introduction, conference attendees learned that leadership is perhaps Hale’s most noteworthy character trait. He oversees his board’s stakeholder concerns and feedback, serves as board liaison to the county commissioners and on the county workforce development committee. His leadership, communication skills, and concerns for students are vital and instrumental to his board’s success.
The All-State School Board is comprised of board members selected throughout the state. These individuals have made significant contributions to their school systems during their tenure on the local board of education. The members of the All-State School Board were peer-nominated for NCSBA’s Raleigh Dingman Award or the School Board Member Leadership Award. Dr. Christine Fitch of Wilson County was named the Raleigh Dingman award winner, and Worley T. Edwards of Columbus County was named the School Board Member Leadership award winner. Other members of the honorary All-State Board are Amanda Bell, Rockingham County; Randy Burns, Burke County; June B. Dailey, Caswell County; Lisa Davis, Anson County; Gary Farmer, Wilson County; and Barbara Yates, Columbus County.
NCSBA was established in 1937 as an advocate for public school education. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership association that represents all 115 local boards of education in the state and the Board of Education of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. NCSBA’s mission is to provide leadership and services that enable local boards of education to govern effectively.
Congratulations to David Hale, CCS Board Member(pictured left), for being named to the All-State Board last night at the NCSBA State Conference. You will be a valuable asset to this Board!
VANCEBORO, NC – (WNCT) WNCT’s STEM Teacher of the Month is from West Craven High School and he has an interesting background of building and designing custom puppets for professional puppeteers and television programs.
Jay Tyson teaches scientific visualization and game design. His students are currently creating board games.
After industry layoffs Tyson wanted to relocate closer to his roots, he was born aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Tyson still makes puppets and creates short films and it’s that experience that intrigues his students.
Having highly qualified instructional leaders in all twenty five of our schools is a goal directly aligned with the strategic direction of recruiting and retaining 21st Century Professionals for the district. This strategic direction, adopted by the Craven County Board of Education, is no easy feat with the obstacles currently surrounding public education and the K-12 teaching profession.
One factor contributing to the lack of highly qualified candidates is that North Carolina is currently ranked 47th in the nation for teacher pay for the 2013-2014 school year, as reported by National Education Association (NEA). While the current legislators have attempted to make adjustments to beginning teacher salaries, the state continues to be at the bottom. North Carolina ranks 51st in percentage change in teacher salaries between 2003-04 and 2013-14 (source: NEA Rankings Estimates & Rankings of the States 2014 and Estimates of School Statistics 2015). Many of our teachers, not just those beginning in the profession, have to work a second job just to make ends meet. When this information is communicated through media and multiple social media sites, students entering college are not ambitious about majoring in Education. East Carolina University recently discontinued its degree program in Special Education-Intellectual Disabilities due to low enrollment and reports an overall decline in the School of Education. The graph below shows the decline in enrollment in Teacher Education programs in the UNC system by Institution:
These data points are disheartening as teachers continue to retire and resign from the profession for multiple reasons. The selection pool for future highly qualified candidates is declining and hard to fill positions in special education, science, and math remain vacant.
In 2007, after the school district went through the SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) Accreditation process one of the recommendations made by the Quality Assurance Review Team was to expand efforts to recruit minority staff members and highly qualified teachers. This did not entail just increasing the ethnicity of our classroom teachers but also the number of males too. The leadership aspect was equally as important so our students would have the possibility of working with diverse role models since many principals at the time were female and close to retirement. Based on this recommendation, the school system adopted a key strategy to create and implement a comprehensive plan to develop, recruit and employ teachers and leaders to reflect the diversity of the student population.
When the school district completed the update to the SACS Accreditation in 2012, the Quality Assurance Review Team recognized the district’s efforts to increase diversity in our schools. As of November 2015, the employee ethnicity breakdown for classified personnel, teachers, and administrators are as follows:
While increasing diversity continues to be a goal for our school system, there are still challenges that we as a state and nation must find a way to overcome. One challenge is the state of North Carolina no longer offers a pay incentive for teachers when they complete an advanced degree. Most of the time when teachers complete an advanced degree in Administration they are compensated for the degree while they are still in the classroom exploring the possibilities of entering administration or waiting until a position becomes available. This is no longer the case. Another challenge mentioned briefly is not only are freshman college students not declaring Education as their major, there is also a sharp decline at historically black colleges and universities across the state. N.C. Central saw some of the steepest declines in enrollment. In 2010, 420 undergraduate students were enrolled in the school’s education program. That dropped by a third to 282 this past fall. The master’s program dropped by 65 percent from 2013 to 2014. The state public university system’s other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) – Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, N.C. A&T and Winston-Salem State University – also saw significant declines in their education enrollment, with some accounting for the biggest drops in the UNC systems. (Source: NC Policy Watch)
In 2011 the General Assembly passed legislation that phased out the N.C. Teaching Fellows program, a competitive four year scholarship program established in 1986 for undergraduate students who pledged to teach in North Carolina’s public schools for a minimum of four years. Last spring’s class of nearly 500 students was the final class. This program aimed at increasing the pipeline of candidates for teaching positions by offering this incentive to the best of the best of graduating high school seniors. North Carolina’s 2011 cuts to its Teaching Fellows program with its focus on recruiting minorities, was detrimental to the recruitment of African-American teachers. Once one of the best opportunities for black college graduates, teaching has become less attractive to minorities as job opportunities have widened and the status and pay of teaching has diminished, according to the Center for American Progress. The Craven County Board of Education does offer a S.E.E.D (Students Entering EDucation) loan to graduating seniors that is very similar to the Teaching Fellows program, but recipients must come back to teach in Craven County Schools for a minimum of four years for the loan to be forgiven. Unfortunately, this scholarship opportunity is rarely taken advantage of by our qualified students.
All of these factors contribute to the lack of highly qualified candidates available for hire. Each year the number of teacher vacancies continues to increase and for this reason teacher recruitment and retention are a top priority for our Board of Education, Superintendent, Assistant Superintendents, and school administrators. It is critical that we not only recruit but that we recruit the best! Our students deserve it! But if these issues are not addressed in the near future, will we have highly qualified candidates to teach in our classrooms or lead our schools? To ensure Craven County Schools has future, potential leaders, under the direction of Superintendent, Dr. Lane B. Mills, the school system has also implemented an effective and highly sought after teacher leadership program called, GROW. GROW is an acronym that stands for “Gain skills, Realize your potential, Optimize impact on others, Work satisfaction.” The purpose of this program is to develop leaders for school administration and to enhance the effectiveness of administrators in school based roles. The program is a component of a larger strategic plan of the school district to develop leaders to guide the future direction of the school system. Consultants come in on a monthly basis to conduct these invaluable trainings for the district. District data reveals that 42% of program participants have transitioned to assistant principal positions and 32% are now in teacher leadership roles. One participant passionately stated, “The GROW program says to us, ‘You are important. You are important enough for us to empower you to do something different.’ That made the program really special!”
Even with all the challenges, Craven County Schools will continue to seek the most qualified and diverse teaching force. Our students and communities deserve nothing less!
November 18, 2015
New Bern, NC- This morning at approximately 10:10 a.m. New Bern High School went into lockdown due to a tip that was communicated regarding a potential weapon on campus. Authorities and Administration acted quickly and the student was found off campus and taken into the police department for questioning.
The school came out of lockdown at approximately 10:45 a.m.
Student & staff safety is of utmost importance to the school system and the presence of any weapons or weapon-like items will not be tolerated. We ask parents to please talk to your child about this situation and remind them that any type of weapon and/or weapon-like item is prohibited on school property. Students are always encouraged to take the time to communicate any information they may be of aware of to their teachers and administration that can be helpful in keeping their school safe.
Thank you to the New Bern Police Department for their quick actions in helping us resolve this situation as quickly as possible. The New Bern Police Department has confirmed based on the investigation there was no weapon on campus.
Kaylee Dorn and Melanie Pledger from Rankin & Fiume Orthodontics in New Bern & Eastern NC stopped by AH Bangert Elementary School‘s second grade to talk about Orthodontic Health Month in October. The second graders thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and learned ways to keep their teeth healthy. They especially enjoyed the space wire demonstration. Thank you Kaylee, Melanie, Dr. Rankin and Dr. Fiume for spending time with us!
Congrats to Amber Mirise, 5th grade teacher at Havelock Elementary School for being recognized this month at the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) State Conference as the 2015 Outstanding Elem Math Teacher.
WE ARE SO PROUD~KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!
Fall Visual Arts Reception highlighting each school’s most talented art students. Each school had an opportunity to spotlight two very deserving art students, by hanging their work in the halls of the Board of Education. Each student and their parents were invited for a floating reception to view all of the artwork and fellowship. A certificate of excellence was presented to each student for their high quality of achievement, talent, and participation, The work will be on display until the spring so stop by and visit GALLERY 3600.
Over the past week Arthur Edwards Elementary has been recognizing our Veterans. Last Wednesday the fifth grade students gave a concert for our Veterans. On Monday, the 9th, Veterans joined our students walking during the 100 Mile Club. On Monday and Tuesday, almost 200 Veterans joined students for lunch and a visit to classrooms. We are grateful for our Veterans and we salute them for their service.