Archive for October, 2014


Reedy Creek MS science teacher receives state honor

Dan Lockwood, an animal science teacher at Reedy Creek Middle School, will receive the Ann Watkins Middle School Award for Distinguished Service from the North Carolina Science Teachers Association.

Lockwood, who had been named outstanding science teacher from Region 3, was notified of the statewide honor earlier this week.

According to the NCSTA, a recipient of this award exhibits leadership in science education and has contributed to improvements in science education beyond his immediate school or district. The honoree also has to have been associated with science education for at least five years and has worked in a position related to the category in which nominated for at least two years; and has excelled in the aspects of science education relative to the category in which nominated.

Lockwood will receive the award on Nov. 6 at the NCSTA conference in Winston-Salem.

A tale of 4 magnets

The Magnet & Early College Fair is Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School.

Representatives from more than 40 magnets will be on hand to tell you more about their schools.

We’ll offer up this teaser by telling you a bit about three magnet schools and one early college school. See you Saturday!

Vernon Malone College and Career Academy

A Vernon Malone student works on an air-conditioning unit, part of the heating/air/refrigeration certificate program.

A Vernon Malone student works on an air-conditioning unit, part of the heating/air/refrigeration certificate program.

Get a jump start on college and/or a high-paying career at this one-of-a-kind school. Students complete courses required for high school graduation while simultaneously receiving hands-on training in one of 10 skilled trades. Credits in those can be applied to a four-year university or a certificate or diploma program at Wake Technical Community College.

Experienced Wake Tech instructors train students in fields such as biopharmaceutical technology, nursing, electrical systems, simulation and game development, collision repair, cosmetology and plumbing.

The site itself is a major draw, as Vernon Malone is housed in the renovated former Coca-Cola factory on South Wilmington Street.

You really have to see it for yourself. There’s an open house on Nov. 4 at 6:30. The window to pre-apply for Vernon Malone and all other Early College programs is Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. Click HERE to learn more about that process.


Poe Magnet Elementary School


At Poe, a new Gifted and Talented/Academically or Intellectually Gifted (G&T/AIG) magnet, “We believe all of our students have gifts and talents, and we provide different opportunities for them to explore and hone in on what their gifts are,” says Poe’s Magnet Coordinator Sebrina Williams.

Teachers help identify particular strengths and seek to nurture them, both in the classroom and via a series of stimulating elective courses. AIG-identified fourth and fifth graders receive instruction in language arts and math from AIG-certified teachers. All students are encouraged to “work at their fullest potential.”

There’s art, dance, music and theater, as well as photography, computer animation and kitchen chemistry, among many others.

Poe is one of 5 magnets to benefit from a $9 million federal grant. Part of the funds will go toward buy new instruments for the school orchestra.

Poe has been recently renovated and boasts a new multipurpose facility. An open house is scheduled for Jan. 7. Weekly tours are limited in size, so RSVP to reserve your space by calling 919-250-4778 or emailing


Fox Road Magnet Elementary

Fifth-grade teacher Peter Damroth works with a group of his students. Yep, those are iPads.

Fifth-grade teacher Peter Damroth works with a group of his students. Yep, those are iPads.

The progress in just one year has been astounding, says Anne Waechter, magnet coordinator at Fox Road Magnet Elementary.

Fox Road transitioned from a traditional elementary to an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme magnet in the 2013-14 school year.

Students are encouraged to be inquisitive, working with their teacher and small groups of their peers to get answers. “The teacher is the facilitator rather than the fountain of knowledge,” Waechter says. “They’re exploring learning rather than memorizing information.”

Students embrace the attributes of an IB learner, something Fox Road students have done with gusto. Students understand the meaning of words like principled, inquirers, and knowledgeable as part of their vocabulary, and they demonstrate these attributes on a daily basis to turn their learning into action to better our world.

Engagement in world related content is seen across the school in large part because they are now an integral part of their own education. One sign of that is the fact that behavioral incidents have decreased sharply since the IB Programme was implemented.  Students develop 21st century skills by problem solving and answering questions using a variety of resources including technology to access a better understanding of concepts and make real world connections.

To schedule a tour or ask questions, contact Waechter at 919-850-8859 or by email at An open house is slated for Jan. 7


Green Magnet Elementary

Green Elementary 1

Spanish teachers Maria Machado and Wendy Bateman.

The young students file down the hall in orderly fashion en route to their next class. But a few have to pop out of line to give Magnet Coordinator Sandy Carter a quick hug.

Green is that kind of place, nurturing and friendly. It’s also a place that’s preparing students to make their way in the globalization era.

Green’s magnet theme is Leadership and World Languages. Each student has one class daily in either Spanish or Mandarin. This has benefits beyond putting students on a path toward being conversant or even fluent in a foreign language, as they advance through school. “Instruction in a second language improves memory, listening ability, creativity and critical thinking,” according to a brochure for prospective Green students. “These skills equip students to be active, productive and successful citizens in a global society.”

Not only do students learn the language, they also study the Chinese, Mexican and Central and South American cultures.

Green Elementary 2

Mandarin teacher Shuang Wu.

The Leadership component is integrated into the core curriculum, everyday language and really everything done at Green. It’s modeled on The Leader in Me, a continuous-improvement process based on Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Students learn the 7 Habits – in two languages – and work to practice them in all they do, Carter says.

“What we do here is provide a World Language to every child, every day, as well as help them to discover the leader in themselves,” Carter says. “Share your child with us, and we’ll return you a leader who speaks a world language.”

Green currently is in a temporary campus off Spring Forest Road. The school system will build a new structure at its permanent location on Six Forks Road that will open in August 2016.

Click HERE to schedule a tour.

WCPSS recognized as national leader in digital learning

Increased use of digital learning resources has again placed the Wake County Public School System among the top districts in the nation.

WCPSS has been recognized as 14th among the top 100 school districts to receive a Digital Learning Award from Knovation. The company cites the district’s use of digital resources to support teaching and learning environments.

WCPSS uses netTrekker, which provides a library of digital resources for personalized learning for all teachers and students districtwide. The resources are aligned with the new standards for learning in WCPSS.

Earlier this month, WCPSS was accepted into the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, one of 11 chosen from across the United States, for leadership in digital learning.

For more information, visit

York Elementary cuts ribbon for new STEM playground

York Elementary School held a playground ribbon cutting on October 28.

Planned by the York PTA and funded by a $219,700 John Rex Endowment grant, this new playground features a paved track, new play equipment and space for students to explore natural learning environments that support the STEM curriculum and link outdoor learning and activity. Continue Reading . . .

New parent’s guide to testing at WCPSS

Testing is just one tool that schools use to measure how well students understand and apply what they learn in class. WCPSS uses a variety of tests and assessments to track student growth, including multiple- choice tests, performance tests and essays. Some are required locally, while others are required by the North Carolina and United States governments.

To help parents better understand what tests are required and how they support student achievement, WCPSS has developed this guide to tests and assessments.

Download the guide >

Positive behavior program spurs student advice for political candidates

carson and cooke

(Left, Vance Elementary 3rd-grade ‘political advisor’ Carson and her teacher, Dana Cooke)

Words of wisdom for political candidates are springing forth from one WCPSS student, thanks to a character education program that supports positive behavior. Continue Reading . . .

Effective Teaching Framework supports better teaching and learning

Katie Ware and KidsETFpic

(Pictured left: Assistant Principal Katie Ware with Wiley students. ETF materials above)

Katie Ware never ran until she learned how to change her mindset. Now she runs half marathons.

Her motivation? A professional development activity, of all things.

Continue Reading . . .

New Apex Friendship High under construction

The new Apex Friendship High is under construction on Humie Olive Road in Apex. The new school design will have a 4-story classroom building to serve more than 2,200 students. Little Diversified Architectural Consulting designed the school that is being built by
Balfour Beatty/Metcon.

Wake Schools Receive Grants for Arts Education

United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County awarded $112,000 to 137 Wake schools to bring in teaching artists during the 2014/15 school year for performances and residencies that integrate the arts with core subjects. For more than 30 years, “Artists in the Schools” program sponsored by United Arts has placed professional artists in public, private and charter schools in Wake County. These artists work with faculty, students and cultural arts representatives to implement curriculum-based arts in education programs throughout the county.

In the 2013/2014 school year, the program supported 157,688 contact hours to 144,059 students. This school year will be no exception. With 311 funded events in 137 Wake schools, the arts will touch many students’ lives.

Wanda Hanley, 4th grade teacher at Turner Creek Elementary, had this to say about writer Tony Peacock:

“The students enjoy his style, learning about NC culture, writing strategies, and listening to him holler. I have seen many writers blossom due to his story telling and writing techniques he uses. We were so happy to have him again this year.”

In return, the artists in the United Arts’ Artist Directory enjoy the program as well.

Writer Tony Peacock returns to Turner Creek Elementary for a two-week residency each year. He says,

“I treasure the relationship that I’ve been able to build with the teachers and students at that school over the years. It’s been incredibly rewarding work!”

Five new magnets in 2015

Two schools will return to magnet status and three more will become magnets next school year, the WCPSS school board decided Tuesday evening.

Broughton High School and Daniels Middle School will be remagnetized. They were made traditional schools in 2008. Hodge Road, Jeffreys Grove and Stough elementary schools will become magnets.

The five schools will create a K-12 language immersion/global studies magnet pathway. Jeffreys Grove now offers a full immersion program in Spanish, Stough offers Chinese full immersion and Hodge Road has a dual-language Spanish immersion program. Making those schools magnets will open those options to students across the district.

The move will cost $180,959.

Learn more about these and all other magnet school options in the district on Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Magnet and Early College Fair, from 9 a.m. to noon at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School.