Archive for March, 2010


New Reports on High School Grading, Teacher Absenteeism

The WCPSS Department of Evaluation and Research has released two new research reports:

Centennial Magnet Student-Authors Read Across America at Combs

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be a published author? Just ask Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School students Cinthia Garcia, Rafael Perez, Leidy Rascon or Isamar Suastegui. Because they wanted to promote literacy and teach character traits to children, these amazing young authors collaborated with Principal Edye Morris-Bryant, ESL teacher Cindy Linton and artist Tonya Fields on a book entitled Senor Lobo Learns About Honor, Order, Wisdom and Leadership.

After their book was published, Linton’s class participated in Read Across America by reading to first graders at Combs Magnet Elementary School. First graders not only learned about character traits, but they also had the opportunity to ask the authors questions about themselves and Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School. One first grader commented, “I want to be an author like you!” Another first grader exclaimed, “I want to go to Centennial!” So, how does it feel to be an author? According to Isamar, “It’s amazing!”

Thanks to Tamani Anderson Powell for sharing this story with GotNews.

WCPSS Students Pass Legislative Bills at NCYLA

Two students from Wake County Public School System contributed as committee co-chairs to research, create, and sponsor legislative bills at the North Carolina Youth Legislative Assembly (NCYLA) held at the State Capitol in Raleigh during March 19-21.

Neel Mandavilli of Southeast Raleigh Magnet High and Nickolas Ogle of Enloe Magnet High presented their legislative bills for debate and discussion by student delegates. Both legislative bills, which were presented for a vote to the delegates, passed in the mock general assembly. Along with other legislative bills, these bills will be presented to Gov. Bev Perdue and the NC General Assembly.

The three-day conference, which was attended by 260 NC high school students, offered an opportunity for the delegates to participate in mock legislative activities, and to evaluate and vote on legislative bills that are considered to be important for the state by the committee co-chairs. This year’s conference included a total of 10 committees, with each committee headed by two co-chairs that were responsible for researching, creating, presenting, and defending a legislative bill for vote by the delegates. All co-chairs for NCYLA committees were interviewed and appointed last year by a panel of Tri-speakers. Committee co-chairs met throughout the academic year to research data and produce a legislative bill that will benefit North Carolina.

For the upcoming 2010-11 NC Youth Legislative Assembly, Neel Mandavilli was elected as one of the three Tri-Speakers to plan and manage the program activities for the annual NCYLA conference to be held in March 2011. As a Tri-speaker, he will be responsible for interviewing students for co-chair positions, overseeing committees, and reviewing and providing feedback to co-chairs who will prepare legislative bills for NCYLA 2011.

Martin Middle School at the NCTC Middle School Play Festival

The Drama Production and Tech Theatre students at Martin Magnet Middle School received a Superior rating at the North Carolina Theatre Conference Middle School Play Festival held at Mt. Tabor High School in Winston-Salem on Saturday, March 20 for their production of “A Thousand Cranes”. In addition, they earned the following awards:

  • Theatre Arts Award for prop-based choreography
  • Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Acting
  • Outstanding Achievement in Acting, the highest acting award for a female student at the festival – Colleen Sharp
  • Excellence in Directing – Judy Dove

The group is led by Theatre Arts Educators Judy Dove and Kirt Landry.

Thanks to Theatre Arts Educators Judy Dove for sharing her story with GotNews.

Wakefield Schools Launch Saturday Academy

Educators and community leaders of the five Wakefield area schools have held a series of education summit meetings in which they determined students needed additional instructional support.

The five schools are Wakefield High, Wakefield Middle, Wakefield Elementary, Forest Pines Elementary and North Forest Pines Elementary. They have pooled resources to create a Saturday Academy.

Click here to listen to Wakefield Schools Launch Saturday Academy

This is a 17.5 minute mp3 file.

Continue Reading . . .

U.S. Education Leader Visits Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School

Dr. Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, visited students at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School while in Raleigh speaking to a state education organization.

Dr. Melendez directs, coordinates and recommends policy for programs designed to assist state and local education agencies with improving the achievement of elementary and secondary school students. She serves as the principal adviser to the U.S. secretary of education on all matters related to pre-k, elementary and secondary education.

Principal Edye Morris-Bryant introduced Dr. Melendez to teachers and students at the school.

Click here to listen to U.S. Education Leader Visits Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School

This is a 12.5 minute mp3 file.

Continue Reading . . .

Ten Finalists Named for Teacher Assistant of the Year

The Wake County Teacher Assistants Association has named 10 finalists for the 2010 Teacher Assistant of the Year. The finalists and the winner will be honored during a banquet at the McKimmon Center scheduled for May 6 at 6:30 p.m.

The finalists include:

Victoria Alford, Wakefield Elementary

Darlene Barnard, Timber Drive Elementary

Tonja Bauza, East Garner Middle

Barbara Bolam, Holly Ridge Elementary

Vonda Gaskins-Buie, Barwell Road Elementary

Jacqueline Clayton, Forest Pines Elementary

Pamela Dubay, Reedy Creek Elementary

Tricia Seymour, Leesville Road Elementary

Valarie Turner, Conn Elementary

Betty Wicker, Knightdale Elementary

Each year, the teacher assistants at each school vote on a teacher assistant that goes above and beyond their daily duties to be named the teacher assistant of the year for their school. These individuals are then invited to submit a portfolio to the Teacher Assistant of the Year Committee for consideration for the district award. The committee members will interview and observe the 10 finalists in the classroom before selecting one to be honored as the 2010 Wake County Teacher Assistant of the Year.

Wednesday Board Work Session Rescheduled to 5PM

The Wake County Board of Education has moved the start time for its Wednesday, March 31, work session to 5 p.m. The meeting will take place at 3600 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh.

Items on the agenda include reviews of magnet and calendar applications for 2010, the application processes for magnet schools and the Wake Early College of Health and Sciences, applications for federal magnet program grants, the three-year student assignment plan, and the 2010-11 superintendent’s proposed budget.

WCPSS Teams Compete in FIRST Robot Competition in Raleigh

North Carolina will hold its first Regional for the FIRST Robotics Competition on April 1-3 in Dorton Arena at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. Teams with students from WCPSS and across NC are expected to take part in the event. There are WCPSS teams from western Wake County and from Southeast Raleigh High.

The FIRST competition creates a new game each year that teams up high school students and corporations to build robots to compete with and against each other. This year’s game “Breakaway” is loosely based on the game of soccer. Approximately 40-60 teams compete in 3 vs. 3 matches played by robots about the size of a washing machine. Teams will score soccer balls in goals during the 2 minute match with a finale that is a real cliff hanger.

In the NC competition, Thursday will be a practice day for teams to test and tune. Friday and Saturday morning are qualifications with alliance selection and elimination tournament.

Teams will come from many different states and countries with the hopes of qualifying for the World Championship in Atlanta.

You can read more about the North Carolina chapter of FIRST here.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Offers Teacher Training

Applications for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ award-winning Using The Outdoors to Teach Experiential Science (UTOTES) teacher education program are now available for the 2010-2011 school year.

UTOTES helps elementary educators use the outdoors around their school to teach science and many other areas of the curriculum. The goals of UTOTES include:

  • Increase the use of the environment in the teaching of all subjects
  • Positively influence attitudes of teachers and students toward living things
  • Develop site-based science leadership
  • Enhance the value of school grounds as a learning resource through native plantings and the creation of wildlife habitat

All schools in NC with elementary grades are eligible. For more information on the program, including a workshop outline, see the UTOTES brochure and tentative workshop schedule on the NC Museum of Natural Sciences web site at Applications are also available at that link.

To obtain additional information about UTOTES, contact Mike Dunn or Melissa Dowland at 919.733.7450 extensions 620 and 613, or by e-mail at or Application deadline for the 2010-2011 school year is April 16, 2010.

UTOTES Brochure (Adobe Acrobat 2-page brochure)

UTOTES Schedule (Adobe Acrobat 1-page schedule)