Archive for December, 2009


Herrick Named Regional Teacher of the Year

Rene Herrick, Wake County’s Teacher of the Year, has been named the North Central Regional Teacher of the Year. Herrick received the news in a surprise announcement.

Click here to listen to Herrick Named Regional Teacher of the Year

This is a 10.5 minute mp3 file.

After the celebration, Herrick took a few minutes to reflect on being named Regional Teacher of the Year.

Click here to listen to Herrick Talks About Being Named Finalist for State Teacher of the Year

This is a 6 minute mp3 file.

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Stough students talk about family

At Stough Elementary, the students in teacher Christa Walters’ class put together stories about their families. You can take a look at the students’ work in this voicethread they built.

Teachers collaborate to immerse Martin students in Dickens’ novel

Students at Martin Magnet Middle School spent some time looking at Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this month.

As part of the NC Standard Course of Study, seventh graders were studying Dickens’ novel. Teachers worked together to build an interdisciplinary approach that immersed students in the Victorian tale over the three weeks prior to winter break.

Language Arts Department Chair Chris Iadicicco says the students read the novel, analyzed characters, plot, themes, and archetypes in the book.

Karen Wagoner, the Academically Gifted teacher, led a lesson with all seventh grade language arts classes on archetypes; what is an archetype, what archetypes are found in the novel, how are those archetypes universal throughout literature?

Choral teacher Ramona Jenner had choir members singing Victorian madrigals on Fridays third period, Dec 4, 11, and 18 at the seventh grade ends of the hall.

Band teacher Lou Ellen Wilson had members of the brass band playing Carol of the Bells for 2nd period on Monday, Dec. 14 and Wednesday. Dec. 16.

Seventh graders learned Victorian dances with Dance teacher Joanna Caves and performed them for the entire seventh grade Friday at the end of 5th period lunch.

Orchestra teacher Anita Hynus had the student orchestra strings section playing Victorian pieces throughout the halls.

Drama teacher Judy Dove helped dress carolers and staff in period fashion.

Visual Arts teacher Maggie Bennet’s students created Dickensian door knockers for each language arts teacher’s door.

Visual Arts teacher Lauren Fuller’s students created silhouettes of themselves as Victorian characters. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were prominently displayed on each floor.

Technical Theater teacher Kirt Landry assisted the seventh grade in theatre class viewing the film A Christmas Carol on the afternoon for December 18.

Magnet Program coordinator Lisa Thompson lay out Martin’s first ever Victorian Times newspaper.

The science department created a CSI scene, “Who Killed Scrooge,” in which students analyzed and conducted tests on evidence such as hand writing samples and fingerprints found at the scene and interviewed suspects. Faculty members dressed as characters from the novel and acted as suspects. Students interviewed the ‘characters’ in order to help them deduce the culprit.

During the weeks of study, daily announcements were made that pertained to the Victorian era; science and medical breakthroughs of the time, musicians and artists of the time, as well as literature and social and political happenings relevant to the time.

Iadicicco praised the staff and student body for their participation in The Christmas Carol study.

“To be a part of so many gifts and so much creativity is what makes my job so very wonderful,” said Iadicicco. “I could not have pulled all of these exciting events together without the marvelous ideas from and support of our arts department. What a great place to work.”

Three WCPSS Schools Earn RAMP

School counselors at Davis Drive Middle, Heritage Middle and Middle Creek High have worked to earn the RAMP, or Recognized ASCA Model Program designation for their schools.

The three WCPSS schools are among 35 schools in 16 states that have been recognized by the American School Counselor Association for making an exemplary commitment to comprehensive school counseling programs.

The RAMP designation, awarded to schools that align with the criteria set in the ASCA National Model, recognizes schools that are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment. More than 250 schools have received the RAMP designation since the program’s inception.

You can read more about RAMP here.

Board Names Principal

At its December 15 meeting, the Board of Education named Mary Swann as principal at East Cary Middle School.

Swann has served as principal of Northwoods Elementary since 2006. Prior to that, she was assistant principal at Forestville Road Elementary and Yates Mill Elementary. She worked as a guidance counselor and Community in Schools coordinator at Hunter Elementary.

The board named retired assistant principal Dale Warren as a part time assistant principal at Daniels Middle.

Daniels Middle School wins solar panels through SunSense Program

Daniels Middle School is one of five winning schools that will receive a 2-kilowatt solar PV demonstration system, valued at more than $20,000, as part of a partnership between Progress Energy Carolinas and the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation.

The Progress Energy SunSense schools program is a hands-on educational program for middle school and high school students that encourages them to develop innovative energy solutions. The solar demonstration array will be connected to the school’s electrical system and to Internet monitoring equipment, so students can view the panels’ real-time electricity production. Educational materials will also be provided to teachers to help the school integrate renewable energy learning opportunities into the classroom.

“Daniels Middle School is excited about the opportunity to partner with Progress Energy’s SunSense schools program,” said Elizabeth Battle, principal of Daniels Middle School. “Students have already begun solar debates and inquiry-based experiments that will inspire our students to be future innovators by using applied math and science.”

The winners were chosen from nearly 30 schools that applied to be a part of the program. Finalist schools participated in a professional solar site evaluation and completed an energy project that was judged in regional competitions in December.

“We are proud to partner with the Carolina Hurricanes to provide Daniels Middle School with this unique, powerful tool for learning about the practical applications of solar energy,” said Lloyd Yates, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Carolinas. “The enthusiasm for energy education from teachers and students is encouraging for the future of alternative energy and we thank everyone for participating in this program.”

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Centennial Middle Students Developing Leadership Skills

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, members of Centennial Magnet Middle School’s Youth Chamber of Commerce attended the 2009 Raleigh Business & Technology Center’s Pacesetters Graduation. The Raleigh Business & Technology Center developed the Pacesetters Program to assist individuals interested in owing and operating their own businesses. The 10-month-long program teaches entrepreneurs sound business practices.

The graduating class presented students with a check in the amount of $300 to support their semester-long service learning project, which is a fund-raising campaign for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Students also had the opportunity to hear words of wisdom from community leaders such as Leslie Boney, Associate VP for Economic Development and Engagement; Dr. Prezell Robinson, former Public Ambassador of the United Nations under the leadership of former President George Bush and former President Bill Clinton; Lawrence Wray, City of Raleigh Assistant Manager, and Gerald Gayton, 2004 Pacesetter.

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*NEW* Lifelong Learning Online Registration

Register Online!

You can now register for any Lifelong Learning class online by visiting:

Simply enter your contact information. Returning students will enter their email address and password information.

Registration will allow you to reserve your space and you will be able to pay for the class when you arrive in person.

A new Expand Catalog for the Spring session is available now. Browse through the list of evening classes offered by picking up a copy of the catalog at any WCPSS school, library, the WCPSS Customer Service Center or viewing the online catalog or PDF at

The Lifelong Learning program offers a variety of continuing education classes, from cooking to computer-programming, while students learn and socialize on a WCPSS school campus.

Studying Holidays Around The World

The students in Purabi Dey’s second grade class at Stough Elementary have spent recent weeks in their social studies lessons studying holidays around the world. Ms. Dey has incorporated the study of cultures around the world and their holiday celebrations into song, dance, costume and dramatic readings, culminating in a performance by her children.

The students study winter holiday activities in a number of countries and cultures and examine traditions here in the US.

Click here to listen to Studying Holidays Around the World

This is a 12 minute mp3 file.

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December 1 Board Resolutions Online

This afternoon, Wake County Board of Education Chairman Ron Margiotta and WCPSS Superintendent Del Burns signed the resolutions brought forward at the December 1 school board meeting. Those resolutions have now been posted in PDF format.