Archive for December, 2010


Morning Announcements Upgrade

Regular readers of the Morning Announcements will note that it looks different.

Over the winter break, we migrated Morning Announcements from Movable Type to WordPress. This will give us more flexibility going forward as we continue to improve the WCPSS Website.

In addition to the visual changes, you’ll also note that Morning Announcements posts prior to 2009 were not migrated over. This is in keeping with our announced efforts to improve the accuracy of our search engine. The older posts will be available again when our archive server goes live in February.

We’ve done our best to make this as smooth and seamless a transition as possible. However, as with all migrations, there’s a chance some unanticipated problems will crop up. Please bear with us as we iron out any kinks.

New STEM Early College Plans Open House

Families interested in finding out more about Wake NC State STEM Early College High School should attend the open house planned for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6 at the Joyner Visitor Center on the campus of NC State University. You will be able to meet the school’s new principal and learn more about plans for the school due to open for 2011-12.

You can find more information about the school here.

DIRECTIONS: The Wake NC State STEM Early College High School is located at 1210 Varsity Drive at the intersection of Western Blvd. and Varsity Dr., at NC State University.

Apex Athlete Earns Honor as State Volleyball Player of the Year

Kristen Harris of Apex High School has been named the 2010-11 Gatorade North Carolina Volleyball Player of the Year by the Gatorade Company in collaboration with ESPN RISE.

The award recognizes Harris as North Carolina’s best high school volleyball player. She received the honor for outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

The 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker led the Cougars to a 27-0 record and the NCHSAA 4-A state title this past season. Harris recorded 340 kills, 163 digs, 46 service aces and 42 blocks while posting a .587 kill percentage. A two-time first team All-Conference selection and the 2010 Conference Player of the Year, Harris was chosen as the MVP of the 2010 4-A championship.

Harris has maintained a 3.67 GPA in the classroom. A devoted member of her church community, she has participated in multiple community service initiatives in association with her church youth group, and has volunteered locally on behalf of Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.).

“Kristen Harris is an all-around class act and an outstanding leader,” said Apex head volleyball coach Nicole O’Donnell. “She exemplifies such qualities as dedication, determination, drive and ambition that allow her to perform at such a high level. Her ability to motivate her teammates to become better players is extraordinary.”

Harris has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Elon University beginning in the fall of 2011.

Harris is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award,

The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Thanks to Bobby Guthrie for sharing this story.

Holly Ridge Elementary Holds Cultural Arts Night

Holly Ridge Elementary was excited with the turnout for Cultural Arts Night on Dec. 7. In preparing today’s learners for the 21st century, students were encouraged to explore the cultures of different countries. Staff members shared their experiences of traveling the world by sharing a variety of unique displays, food, artifacts and slide shows.

The Cultural Arts Night presentations included Japan, China, Peru, Italy, France, Denmark, Mexico, Argentina and the history of the Native American culture. Families were able to enjoy tasting native food, watching native dances, holding home-made artifacts and viewing some amazing photographs taken by teachers who traveled to the countries. Children enjoyed hands-on activities such as how to use chop sticks and make origami, tasting Gelato donated by Java Divine, as well as sharing in the art of Chinese and Japanese writing.

Special thanks goes to third grade teacher Debra Wuertz for organizing the event and PTA representative Mandy Peele who assisted with coordinating and sponsoring many of the activities. The Vindas family was special guests who wore authentic Costa Rican clothing and Tasha Gomez who dressed in Chinese apparel and danced. Thanks to all the families who made the event so special.

Thanks to Jennifer Proulx for sharing this story with GotNews.

WCPSS Website Improves Functionality of Search Engine

Visitors to will soon have a better search experience.

Outdated content is being removed from the Wake County Public School System’s website,, to help improve the accuracy of the results provided by the site’s search engine.

Staff will begin removing outdated content such as old electronic newsletters, blog posts and press releases that were produced prior to 2009 and have lost their relevancy and videos produced prior to 2010 starting on Dec. 20.

Old content creates problems for the search engine by throwing off the page-ranking algorithm, making the search engine give too much credence to those pages.

Content removed during this process that may be of public interest will be made available through a separate archive website that is scheduled to go live in February.

Athens Drive Choir Performs at Governor’s Mansion

The Athens Drive High Choir, under the direction of Joy Clayton, performed at the Governor’s Mansion on Friday, Dec. 10.

The students were greeted by Governor Perdue.


Register Now for New College Fair

Families with a student considering college can sign up now for a college fair new to our community. The Greater Raleigh National College Fair will be held 4 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22 at the Raleigh Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Students can register for the fair online. This will make navigating the fair and collecting information from multiple colleges and universities easier. By registering, students can print a bar coded confirmation to be used on-site at the fair as an electronic ID. No more filling out information cards! Students can register online at

More information about the Greater Raleigh National College Fair including a list of colleges exhibiting at the fair and tips for preparing for the fair can be found on the NACAC Web site at, by emailing or by calling 800-822-6285.

This is the 39th year the fair has been sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. The Southern Association for College Admission Counseling will host the Raleigh fair.

Snow Make-Up Date Scheduled for Year-Round Schools

Tracks 2, 3 and 4 in our year-round schools will make up the day missed on Dec. 16 due to snow on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011. Generally, the practice for year-round inclement weather make-up days has been to make up the day on the first Saturday following the week day the inclement weather takes place. When inclement weather takes place toward the end of the week, another date is considered to provide sufficient time for staff and families to adjust their schedules. Four-day weeks have been targeted for make-up days.

Due to the complexity of the year-round calendar and the early arrival of inclement weather, Jan. 22 was selected as the make-up day for tracks 2,3 and 4. The decision was based on having the least negative impact on families, students and staff, the opportunity to make up the day on a four-day week as opposed to a five-day week, and the ability to make up the day in the near future in case of additional inclement weather.

On Jan. 22:

Track 1 students and staff will not attend school. Some Track 1 classrooms may need to be utilized for schools operating at or above capacity.

Track 2 students and staff will attend school.

Track 3 students and staff will attend school and will track out on Saturday, Jan. 22 as opposed to Friday, Jan. 21.

Track 4 will track in on Saturday, Jan. 22.

While make-up days can be viewed as an inconvenience, we attempt to minimize the negative impact the make-up day will have on our families, students and staff. As always, our principals and teachers will ensure this make-up day is the best possible opportunity for families, students and staff while maximizing the use of instructional time. Thank you for adhering to the decision on the Dec. 16 make-up day.

Panther Creek Football Coach Wayne Bragg Honored

Congratulations to Wayne Bragg, head football coach at Panther Creek High School, who was recently named Coach of the Year by three different organizations:

2010 Tri-Nine All-Conference Football: Bragg was named Coach of the Year in the Tri-Nine Conference. (13-2, 7-1 Tri-Nine). The Tri-Nine Conference includes Apex, Athens Drive, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Green Hope, Holly Springs, Lee, Middle Creek, and Panther Creek high schools.

2010 All-OT Football Team: In its second year, the All-OT Team recognizes 67 student athletes and one coach from 27 different schools in the Triangle area. Bragg was named the Coach of the Year for the 2010 All-OT Football Team. The finalists were chosen by representatives from, WRAL-TV, 99.9 FM The Fan ESPN Radio and VYPE High School Sports Magazine. 2010 All-State Team: is a website dedicated to high school sports and recruiting in North Carolina. It serves as the online source for information on North Carolina’s high school student-athletes. Bragg was chosen as the Coach of the Year for the site’s 2010 All-State Team.

Longview Students Learn to Prepare BBQ Turkey

Students in teacher Patrick Faulkner’s class at Longview School have been spending time in the kitchen with volunteers from the Interfaith Food Shuttle.

Faulkner, a horticulture teacher, has been helping the students grow fresh fruits and vegetables in gardens and greenhouses at the school. With the help of the Interfaith Food Shuttle, the students have been learning about nutrition and food preparation.

In the final day of their class, Chef Sarig Agasi of the restaurant Zelly and Ritz and Meredith College nutritionist Elizabeth Paiga helped the students prepare a holiday meal of BBQ turkey.

Click to listen to Longview Students Learn to Prepare BBQ Turkey

This is a 9.5 minute mp3 file.

You can view photos of the chef, nutritionist and students at work here.

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