Archive for October, 2010


Enloe Students Named Siemens Regional Semi-Finalists

Enloe Magnet High seniors Arjun Bhattacharya and Karthik Ardhanareeswaran have been named regional semi-finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The nation’s leading original research competition in math, science and technology for high school students, the Siemens Competition is administered annually by the College Board, and awards college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 in individual and team categories. A record number of 1,372 projects were received this year for the Siemens Competition. Bhattacharya and Ardhanareeswaran will present their work at the regional competition at Georgia Tech on November 12 and 13.

Thanks to teacher Celia Rowland for sharing this news.

Animal Planet Star Honors Hunter EcoHeroes

Animal Planet Host Dave Salmoni spent the day with Hunter Magnet Elementary students, honoring a team of students who earned second place in the national Siemens “We Can Change the World” Elementary School Challenge. As a reward, Salmoni displayed a variety of animals and talked to the students about the importance of conversation and sustainability.

Salmoni talked at two student assemblies on Oct. 26. He praised the students for their recycling efforts and talked about finding his passion in caring for animals and pursuing ways to learn more about large African cats like lions. The students were excited.

Click to listen to Animal Planet Star Honors Hunter EcoHeroes

This is a 6 minute mp3 file.

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Enloe Quiz Bowl Teams Earn Honors in Greensboro

Both Enloe Quiz Bowl teams competed in the Quaker Bowl, a NAQT qualified quiz bowl sponsored by the Early College of Guilford at Guilford College on Saturday. The A team took 1st place honors with a perfect 10-0 record for the day. The team earned a qualifying bid to attend the Nationals in Atlanta in June. Natan Holtzman took honors again as the top scorer at the competition and Alex You took 6th place overall. Mark Greenfield and Jay Zhang rounded out the A team. Enloe A beat Raleigh Charter A by a score of 270 to 205 and also defeated a very tough Dorman (SC) A team in championship play. Dorman A was the #3 team at Nationals last year and plans to be a very tough competitor this year.

The Enloe B team did very well, taking 5th place overall at the competition in their first-ever meet. Justin Luo was the top scorer for the B team, earning 12th place overall. Rachel Hoelzle placed 30th in scoring. Rounding out the B team were Kimberly Yao and Charles Cao.

Thanks to teacher Celia A. Rowland for sharing this story.

11 WCPSS Employees recognized with Employee Excellence Awards

Eleven Wake County Public School System employees were recognized by the Board of Education with the Employee Excellence Awards at the board’s Oct. 19 meeting.

The October 2010 Employee Excellence Awards were presented to Susan Coats, Middle Creek High School Special Education Teacher; WCPSS Transportation Department Bus Driver Brenda Gail Denton; WCPSS Transportation Department Bus Driver Sylvia Fleming; Mills Park Elementary Kindergarten Teacher Charlene Hassler; WCPSS General Services Department Facilities Maintenance Technician Mark Heinlein; WCPSS Transportation Department Operations Manager Martin Horton; WCPSS General Services Department Area Facilities Manager John Jackson; WCPSS General Services Department Area Facilities Manager Robert Kendrick; WCPSS Public Information Department Graphic Designer Joni Mitchell; WCPSS Evaluation and Research Department Testing Technician Barbara Williams; and WCPSS Intervention & Prevention Department Extended Learning/Outreach Services Director Judy Williams.

The Employee Excellence Awards were created to recognize Wake County school employees for their hard work, and providing one of the country’s top-performing school districts. Employees are nominated for the honor and selected by a committee.

Dr. Donna Hargens presented the employees to the board. Hargens awarded the employees a plaque as Assistant Superintendent Stephen Gainey described the employee’s achievements.

Following is a brief description of the October Employee Excellence Award winners:

Susan Coats works with some of the most challenging students at Middle Creek High School. She has been a mentor and role model for teachers at the school who have had difficulty in classroom management. In addition, she is an active participant in one of Middle Creek High School’s science classes, helping to ensure students earn their credits and master classroom content.

Brenda Gail Denton is a dedicated employee who has an admirable gift at managing behavior on her school bus and ensuring that all students are safely transported. The parents of Forest Pines Drive Elementary love and appreciate her, and she has even been included in joint conferences with parents, teachers, and administrators to work out accommodations for a special needs student.

Sylvia Fleming is a very active bus driver and manages students very well by demonstrating the balance between being a fair and consistent disciplinarian while still being the nurturing mother figure. She is a good listener and is able to distribute her attention equally among the students. Fleming has worked successfully with many special needs students in her role as a bus driver.

Charlene Hassler is an amazing kindergarten teacher who goes above and beyond every day in the classroom. Her positive energy is so contagious and infectious that every child in her classroom thrives in this environment. The Wake County Public School System is fortunate to have such a caring educator.

Mark Heinlein is a sharp-eyed troubleshooter, often fixing things before a teacher has the time to fill out a work order. His enthusiasm, sense of responsibility, and technical expertise are a real bonus for Rolesville Elementary School. Heinlein is one of the bright shining stars of the Wake County Public School System, and his professionalism and easy-going manner is truly appreciated.

Martin Horton is an outstanding example of what a leader and team player should be. He knows the physical area his buses serve and interacts well with his parents, drivers, students, and school staff members. Horton is the consummate problem-solver whether he has to deny a request, offer an alternative, or work with drivers and team leaders to make sure bus routes are as efficient and effective as they should be. He is pleasant, positive, and a good communicator.

John Jackson has assembled a dynamic team that has made a positive difference at Brooks Elementary. He, or members of his team, are often in the school building taking notes on needed repairs or potential issues. Jackson and his team have developed a strong, positive rapport with the staff of Brooks Elementary and don’t hesitate to respond to the school’s maintenance needs.

Robert Kendrick took charge and assisted repair crews at every turn when Wakefield Middle School experienced a major mechanical failure which caused the building to flood in November 2009. With the work completed, the staff and students of Wakefield Middle School were able to return to their classrooms days earlier than first estimated.

To say that Joni Mitchell’s designs and skillful layouts are attractive does not tell the whole story. Regardless of the school or department utilizing her skills, Mitchell recognizes she is a part of the team. Thanks to her creativity and good-humored patience, WCPSS brochures, flyers, booklets and other print products are professional, user-friendly, and a source of pride for the school system.

Barbara Williams is a high-performing employee who consistently provides outstanding customer service to our school test coordinators, our schools, and all of our stakeholders. Whether answering questions via e-mail or phone, collecting test data, disseminating test materials, or matching numerous test scores for students, her reputation for excellence and providing a calm demeanor, especially during stressful testing sessions, is well-known across the school system.

Judy Williams has worked steadfastly to develop a new program called Second Chance Online Resource for Education (SCORE), providing academic courses for suspended students to continue their education in a media-rich, online learning environment. Williams’ vision, leadership, and determined work ethic have been instrumental in making this initiative a reality and providing another alternative to ensure that all students have access to quality instruction and another opportunity to graduate on time.

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Assistance League Delivers New Clothes to Triangle Children

Assistance League Triangle area has provided new clothing, shoes and supplies to children in need in the Triangle for the past 12 years through one of the organization’s philanthropic projects, Operation School Bell. This year 800 children will benefit from this growing program.

More than 70 volunteer members of the organization and other volunteers will assemble customized bags of new clothing and shoes for children at 10 elementary schools in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Hillsborough. New clothing and shoes are truly a necessity for some of the neediest. Increased self esteem and improved attendance result in better academic performance by the children participating in this program.

Assistance League chapter president Karen Schindler says the number of schools and children that can be helped is directly related to successful fundraising and membership growth.

“Our success is easy to monitor by the smiles on the children’s faces when they see their new clothes and shoes,” said Schindler. “We are constantly seeking creative ways, with an all volunteer organization, to raise additional funds and continue to need community help. There are so many more children and families in need of our help. Our newest program, “Community Volunteers” allows non members of our organization to help with this labor intensive program. With hard work and generous contributions from the community, we will be able to continue to put smiles on the faces of underprivileged children in our communities.”

Dr. Hargens Visits Dillard Third-Grade Teachers

Interim Superintendent Donna Hargens spent some time in four third-grade classrooms at Dillard Drive Elementary last week. For Hargens, it’s one of a series of visits she plans to make to schools with Tama Bouncer of Wake NCAE to connect with teachers and get a firsthand look into the classroom. In the coming weeks, she plans to visit classrooms from kindergarten through high school.

The Dillard Drive third-grade team includes Alex Daniels, Lauren Keske, Michael O’Connor, Sarah Upchurch and Susan Dickerson. The day of the visit, Dickerson was out.

At Dillard Drive, Dr. Hargens visited the classrooms of the third-grade teaching team and then went to the classrooms in the schools modular classroom building where teachers were working on addition and subtraction with three digit numbers.

Click to listen to Dr. Hargens Visits Dillard Third-Grade Teachers

This is a 13 minute mp3 file.

You can see photos of Dillard Drive third graders working on math here.


Dr. Donna Hargens observes Dillard Drive Elementary students using math mountains to solve addition and subtraction problems.

Hunter Students Celebrate with Chuck Davis Dancers and Ligon High Graduates

After a week of studying with the Chuck Davis Dancers, the students of Hunter Magnet Elementary School put on a show in the auditorium of Ligon Magnet Middle School on Oct. 21. From Davis and his team, students learned to appreciate African drumming, dancing and singing, as well as important cultural lessons about respect for elders. The show featured students jumping rope in a skit that discussed bullying, as well as a dance to honor Hunter Elementary Principal David Newkirk and Ligon Middle Principal Gretta Dula and other school leaders.

Click to listen to Hunter Students Celebrate with Chuck Davis Dancers and Ligon High Graduates

This is a 4.5 minute mp3 file.

Vickie Adamson of the Hunter PTA says Davis mesmerized the Hunter children during the entire week of his residency at the school. The event was the culmination of Davis’s work with the Hunter students.

WCPSS Arts Education Senior Administrator Elizabeth Grimes Droessler said she was in awe of the performance.

‘This work is exemplary,” said Grimes Droessler. “You facilitated an experience for your students that will go with them throughout their lifetimes.”

She pointed to the incredible role modeling from adults who were willing to engage in artistic and educational risks, lovely visuals including scenery/costumes/flying birds and beautifully implemented with focused, talented, committed young artists.

The program marked Davis’ return to Ligon for his 55 year high school reunion where he shared the moment with fellow graduates of Ligon High School, members of the Class of 1955.

Click to listen to Ligon High Class of 55 Returns for Chuck Davis Performance

This is a 6.5 minute mp3 file.

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Vandora Springs Teacher-Librarian Holds Book Signing

Vandora Springs Elementary teacher-librarian Ellen Poppe and her dog will hold a book signing on Saturday, November 6 at the Southeast Regional Library for her newly released children’s book, “Tank: An Ugly Dog’s Adventure.” Poppe’s 10-year-old basset hound wandered away from home while her family was away for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Wondering what “Tank” must have experienced, Poppe decided to write about his adventure.

The book signing will be held during an activity at the library titled “It’s a Dog’s Life.” Children, ages 6-10 need to register at the library to participate in the activities. To learn more about Poppe and her book, visit

Thanks to Ellen Poppe for sharing her story with GotNews.

Make A Difference Day for Literacy

The Wake County Public School System participated in Make a Difference Day by collecting literacy kits for students.

School system volunteers collected Early Literacy Kits at Central Services offices on October 23.

The kits include:

  • One two-gallon plastic zip top bag
  • New or gently used picture book for read aloud (Suggested titles )
  • Notebook – spiral-bound or composition book
  • 8-pack of crayons
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Blunt scissors
  • Pack of 100 3×5 index cards

Nearly 5,000 students in Wake County elementary schools have been identified for being at risk of not being on reading level this year. WCPSS has set a goal of collecting 5,000 literacy kits, so each of these students will have the resources they need to practice their literacy skills at home.

Click to listen to Make A Difference Day for Literacy

This is a 3 minute mp3 file.

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Chuck Davis Dancers Celebrate with Hunter Students at Ligon Auditorium

Chuck Davis and The African American Dance Ensemble will lead Hunter Magnet Elementary students in a one-of-a-kind performance at 7 p.m. on October 21st at the Ligon Magnet Middle School Auditorium. Davis and his ensemble have been working as Artist-in-Residence since October 15th at Hunter thanks to the support of the Hunter Elementary PTA. During his visit, Davis has worked to engage the Hunter community in the Urban Sacred Forest, a dance ensemble he has specially designed to include Hunter students and parents while honoring ALL our community elders.

Vickie Adamson of the Hunter PTA says Davis has mesmerized the Hunter children this week. The event tonight culminates Davis’s work with the Hunter students. It will also mark his return to Ligon for his 55 year high school reunion where he is expected to honor and meet with fellow Ligon graduates.