Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Finance Awards

Ruby Pittman
Ruby Pittman, Senior Executive Director of Budget and Finance, has garnered awards for excellence in financial reporting for the 13th consecutive year. The awards from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) represent the highest forms of recognition in financial reporting.
In the letter of notification, the GFOA applauded Ms. Pittman’s achievement. “Congratulations for having satisfied the high standards of the program. We hope that your example will encourage others in their efforts to achieve and maintain an appropriate standard of excellence in financial reporting.”
The ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award also signifies exemplary fiscal accountability and transparency. Their website states that the certificate, “Shows your community that your district is credible and committed to fiscal integrity.”

"Ms. Pittman and the Finance team do a great job managing all of our school district budgets," said Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese. "They bring an extraordinary amount of experience and expertise to their work."
Congratulations to Ms. Pittman for once again upholding the highest standards in financial reporting!
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Monday, June 19, 2017

McDougle Middle School BOOKS on BREAK

A free book distribution may not be the first activity that comes to mind when considering ways to excite middle school students. Yet the recent Books on Break giveaway at McDougle Middle School generated plenty of enthusiasm from the 101 students who chose books from a Book Harvest collection.

The event was hosted by Jennifer Parks, the media specialist at MMS, but she worked initially with Nancy Zeman, super-volunteer with Books on Break, to create a pilot template for our middle schools. Once the books were donated, Parks received plenty of support from Jennifer Spaeth and other language arts teachers who invited students to participate in the distribution.
Book Harvest, the fast-growing nonprofit based in Durham, usually partners with elementary schools in the region. This year the organization donated more than 16,000 books to CHCCS elementary schools. Yet the need for, and pleasure in, owning books doesn’t end in fifth grade - nor does the summer slide of learning loss disappear.
On June 5, small groups of 6th, 7th and 8th graders arrived at the MMS media center to browse through the 400+ books available. Parks noted that students scooped up all of the Rick Riordan selections quickly, as well as novels by Kwame Alexander and RJ Palacio. She said that “lots of students were excited to come and pick out books who don’t show a similar excitement checking out books during the year.” The enthusiasm didn’t stop when students had selected their three books-- they wanted to advise and make recommendations to their friends who were still choosing.

Summer slide is a major factor in widening achievement gaps. Research shows that gaps in student achievement increase more during the summer, so efforts to provide ongoing literacy support make a real difference. Thanks to the organizers of McDougle Middle School’s pilot Books on Break event, the initiative may expand to other middle schools next spring, and more of our students will bring books home for the summer.
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Friday, June 16, 2017

CHCCS Announces New Administrators

At its June 15 meeting, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education approved a series of administrative placements.

Marny Ruben, current principal of Seawell Elementary, will be the new principal of the Hospital School. She will replace Nancy Yoder, who is retiring.

Tomeka Ward-Satterfield, current principal of Phillips Middle, will be an assistant principal at a school to be determined.

LaVerne Mattocks, current principal of Carrboro High, will be the district’s executive director of secondary schools and student services.

 Christy Stanley, current coordinator of English/Language Arts 7-12 and Social Studies, will be the district’s director of secondary instruction.

Karen Galassi-Ferrer, current assistant principal at Morris Grove Elementary, will be the new assistant principal at Frank Porter Graham Bilingue Elementary. She will be replacing Jose Nambo, who will be returning to the classroom as a fifth-grade teacher at the same school.

Chassity Coston will be the new assistant principal at McDougle Middle. She is replacing Melda Dunn who is retiring. Coston is new to our school district. She most recently served as an administrative intern at Knightdale High in Wake County after five years as a math teacher in Durham Public Schools.
These changes will take effect on July 1.

Marny Ruben

Tomeka Ward-Satterfield

LaVerne Mattocks

Christy Stanley

Karen Galassi-Ferrer

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Baseball Vs. Cancer

A powerful fundraising force in CHCCS athletics has been building since 2015, initially through the dogged efforts of one Chapel Hill High School baseball player, Garrett Liebe, but spreading to the rest of his teammates, and now to rival East Chapel Hill High baseball. The fundraising organization is Vs. Cancer, and the amount raised from the CHHS vs. East baseball game on April 26 topped $20,000 from both programs.
Lee Land is the head baseball coach at Chapel Hill High, and he is currently atop the list of fundraisers for Vs. Cancer; his team is the number one fundraising team - in the country. “It’s unbelievable what we’ve raised,” Land said. “I’m so proud of these guys.” Three years ago the team raised $7,000 and they’ve set their goals higher each year.
The Raleigh-based national nonprofit Vs. Cancer was founded by Chase Jones, a former UNC baseball player who was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer during his freshman year in 2006. He attributes his remission of ten-plus years to community support, in addition to gains in cancer research.
Jones’ first major fundraising endeavor was BaseBald, and asking athletes to shave their heads was a notable feature. BaseBald set the groundwork for Vs. Cancer, whose motto is Empowering Athletes, Helping Kids with Cancer, and all donations raised through their website are divided equally between a local medical center and national pediatric oncology research.
Garrett Liebe was in fifth grade when he played in support of an earlier Jones fundraising organization. When he was a freshman at CHHS, Garrett first volunteered with Vs. Cancer, which set the collaboration between his team and the nonprofit in motion.
The baseball players at CHHS and East shaved their heads before the rivalry match-up, even though it was the week of prom. The game was played at CHHS, and Coach Land conjectured that fundraising totals rose in part because it was the Rivalry Game. The Tigers prevailed 2-1, which now makes them 3-0 in Vs. Cancer games.
Coach Land plans to play Vs. Cancer games against East every year, and he anticipates that the fervor of the existing rivalry will only intensify. Although CHHS had a two year head start building their fundraising momentum, Land predicts his crosstown rivals will up the ante in future contests.  “They’ll be coming after us next year, and that’ll motivate us that much more.”
Although original organizer Garrett Liebe will be playing baseball at the University of the South next year, his younger brother Colin Liebe, also a baseball player at CHHS, will take up the Vs. Cancer mantle.
In a 2015 interview Chase Jones said, “Athletes are often the most visible people in a community. Whether they’re a hometown hero or a professional baseball player, people will rally around them,” he says. “They can use that platform to help kids beat cancer.”


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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Lulu, the Chewing Gum Artist

The vision came to her a few summers ago at camp when Lulu Nery was briefly trapped under a bowling alley table. Stuck in that position she looked up, and the amount of chewing gum under the table made a powerful impression- “thousands” of chewers’ castoffs, she guessed. “There were so many different colors, textures and patterns which gave me an idea.” Art, she thought with surprise, and that’s how the new permanent Ephesus artwork came into being.
Lulu is a 5th grader in Ms. Sheila Singh’s class who has achieved a new notoriety among her schoolmates. Although Ephesus school policy allows for chewing gum, it also stipulates that students chew quietly and dispose of gum properly. But Lulu had noticed that gum proliferated under desks. “Last year I could always identify my desk, not by the name tag, but by the gum!  My desk had a purple and white chewing gum pattern. It was kind of  fascinating but really gross.” 
As Lulu wrote in her project proposal, “What if we just stopped the growing population of gum under desks, and redirected the flow of never-ending chewing gum?  What if we made art?” 
Next step for Lulu was a conversation with the art teacher, Ms. Hannah Murphy, Principal Victoria Creamer and Assistant Principal Danielle Sutton. They devised a plan, and then Creamer sent an email to Ephesus parents, which included Lulu’s guidelines. 

They clarified that the project was open to “all Roadrunners,” and was completely voluntary. Lulu noted, “Each person can contribute to creating our own abstract Ephesus Chewing Gum Masterpiece!” Ms. Creamer added, “We will also use this project as an educational opportunity about preventing the spread of germs with regular hand-washing. Wash your hands afterwards!”
The designated canvas was set up outside the main office for a month, and during that time the blobs, streaks and shaped pieces of gum accumulated to create a distinctly Jackson Pollock-ish work. The colors range across the spectrum. Upon close examination, a red Gummi Bear and a sneaky Googly Eye show up as the two “non-gum” contributions. When it was time for Lulu to memorialize the gum for posterity, she enlisted her grandpa to find a substance to use as protective coating. “My grandpa has everything in his tool shed!”
Lulu said that she originally imagined a fully covered canvas, but now she appreciates the amount of white space still visible. 

“Like music, the silences are just as important,” she observed.
The five layers of coating haven’t entirely masked the whiff of fruit flavors still emanating from the artwork, though any germs have been neutralized. The canvas has now been set up in the atrium as a permanent contribution. Principal Creamer’s pride is evident in an email, “I am so proud of Lulu's creativity and her initiative!”
And Lulu? Her own webpage on shows a growing collection of abstract digital art for sale. She doubts she’ll spend more time exploring gum as a medium. After all, she doesn’t much like gum. Lulu had only chewed two pieces in her lifetime, before the call of the blank canvas (or the bottom of a table) inspired her to chew a few pieces more.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate Graduation

Photo courtesy of Trevor Holman
Eleven Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate seniors celebrated their upcoming CHCCS graduations, and their completion of eight years in the program, on Sunday afternoon, June 4 at Carrboro High School. They had all attended previous celebrations, watching older siblings and friends deliver remarks and thanks, and finally their turns had arrived. They thanked their families, coaches, and Blue Ribbon staff, and they thanked their mentors. Each student left the stage with an oversized replica of a scholarship check, ready to move on toward a wide range of post-graduate goals; mentors and family members received bouquets of flowers.
The ceremony marked the 15th graduation celebration, although Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate has served CHCCS students of color since 1995. The program integrates mentoring, advocacy, leadership development, tutoring, social and cultural enrichment and postsecondary scholarships and has been internationally acclaimed for its intervention model based in social work and educational theories. Above all, BRMA is a strengths-based program, one that celebrates the limitless potential of its children and young people. Currently 138 students participate in Blue Ribbon. Over 95% of program graduates enroll in some form of postsecondary education.
Photo courtesy of Trevor Holman
This year’s graduates are Joanna Salazar-Martinez, Priscah Oluoch, Akin Dunston, Kareem Patillo, Ana “Gabby” Dimate, Isiah Edwards, Marcus Edwards, Kenneth Motley, Jr., Tia Wade, Brian Kendall and Mujahid Turner; they’ve earned nearly $30,000 in scholarships. Each student received a Sponsor-A-Scholar award that applies to all kinds of postsecondary education, and represents donations from more than 200 community supporters. Funding for university or college is provided by the Haidt Family Foundation Scholarships. Haidt Scholars are required to attend a four-year college or university.         
The ceremony also honored the first Caroline Lindsay Student Advocate Scholar, Hsar Ree Ree Wei, given to a Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute student who is committed to fostering human rights. The late Caroline Lindsay was a former mentor and long time friend of BRMA who “was not afraid to use her voice for the advancement of others.” The scholarship was created by her family as a tribute to her lifelong dedication to civils rights, especially those of children and women.
Mehki Dallas-Johnson, a 7th grader at Phillips Middle School, gave the opening welcome for the event. Each participant spoke from the stage, before their families and mentors joined them under the spotlights. Gabby Dimate, in her speech thanked her mother “for being an immense light in my life…” and her Papi, “for blessing me with an American education.” She, like others, offered advice to the younger BRMA students in the audience, “Don’t fixate on a number. There’s no better way to silence the haters than to succeed.”
Marcus Edwards told the younger students, “Be unique, be yourself, someone who stands out.” He acknowledged that “life can be stressful. Once I learned about taxes, Whew!” But even in the face of challenges, he counseled, “Be and do something that changes lives. Be that rock for somebody else.”
Mujahid Turner said, “I have discovered a passion to be a leader, whether in the classroom, on the football field or taking care of my three sisters. Never stop dreaming. Find whatever it is that makes you come alive.”
After the seniors were honored, nearly 90 students from 4th to 12th grade received certificates for academic achievement this year. Granvel Johnson, New Match Support Specialist, teamed with his 9th grade mentee, Kyrin Dallas and fellow East student, Mauricio Nunez-Jimenez to make a lively pitch for the benefits of mentoring. Granvel noted that each year between 20 and 30 students are unable to join Blue Ribbon because there are never enough mentors to match with the students who are nominated.

Over the years, these eleven seniors of 2017 have joined in countless service projects, summer enrichment camps, and alternative spring break trips to New Orleans and Washington, DC as well as to Spain and France. The current high school BRMA and Youth Leadership Institute students have already begun fundraising for a trip to Italy during spring break 2018.
Paul Lindsay, who organized the scholarship in his late wife’s honor, wrote in an email to Blue Ribbon, “To listen to the seniors who spoke is to realize how much you have accomplished in the lives of these young people, and how much they will take with them into the future.  It was an honor and privilege to be part of this celebration of so many good things with so many good people.”

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Lincoln Center on Summer Hours, June 12-Aug. 11 / Lincoln Center funcionará con horario de verano del 12 de junio al 11 de agosto

Lincoln Center Starts Summer Hours

Lincoln Center will operate on Summer Hours from Monday, June 12 through Friday, August 11. During those weeks, Lincoln Center will be open Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The week of July 4th, Lincoln Center will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed on Tuesday for the holiday; and open Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Horario de verano en Lincoln Center y para inscripción de estudiantes – del 12 de junio al 11 de agosto
Lincoln Center funcionará en horario de verano del lunes 12 de junio al viernes 11 de agosto. Durante estas semanas, Lincoln Center abrirá de lunes a jueves de 7:30 a. m. a 5 p. m. y los viernes de 7:30 a. m. a 1:30 p.m.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

PATHSS Commencement

Six students participated in commencement exercises from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ PATHSS (Project Achieve for Transitioning High School Students) program Thursday evening, June 1. The ceremony was held on the UNC campus in Manning Hall, the homebase for PATHSS over the last few years.           

In an auditorium decorated with blue and white balloons and filled with family, friends and program supporters, each student, in cap and gown, presented a slide scrapbook to applause, laughs and more than a few tears. At the culmination of the ceremony, the students proceeded to the stage and, one at a time, accepted their certificates from Dr. Pamela Baldwin, CHCCS superintendent, and then hugged and high fived their instructor Dr. Dana Hanson-Baldauf, and teaching assistants, Brooks Covington and Tabitha McKean, as well as representatives from UNC and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
PATHSS serves high school students, ages 18-22, who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program represents a collaboration between Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and UNC, and is partially funded by a grant from the Oak Foundation.
A primary feature of PATHSS is the network of externship options available to the students, and those externships were on prominent and triumphant display in each student’s slide presentation. Scanning and processing books at UNC Davis Library, stocking condiments and napkins at Beach Cafe and pricing merchandise at UNC Student Stores Warehouse were just a few of the tasks that filled the students’ days on campus. Several students expressed excitement at the prospect of earning wages in the community, using skills gained this year in their externships.
During the commencement’s opening remarks, Dr. Hanson-Baldauf, the PATHSS externship facilitator-instructor, thanked the CHCCS board members for their early and continuing support. She then told the six smiling graduates, “I am proud of all that you have accomplished during your time in PATHSS and so excited for all the future holds. You are all rock stars in your own unique ways. As you move forward, I want you to remember that you are the experts of your lives. You are the captains of your ships. Your voices matter and need to be heard.”

Before the students marched out of the auditorium, they delivered an energetic and expressive dance performance, “The Climb,” still in full cap and gown regalia. Then it was on to the blue and white graduation cake and group photos on the steps of Manning Hall in the cool evening air.
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chapel Hill High School Cisco Networking Academy Students Find Success in Recent Competitions

Some Chapel Hill High School students are taking skills learned from Cisco Networking Academy courses and finding success in competitions. Representatives from the IT Essentials (ITE) class as well as the Routing and Switching (RSE) classes chose to compete.

The first competition took place in March at the North Carolina FBLA Competition.  Alex Li (RSE) earned first place in Networking Concepts. Justin Mecham (ITE) scored third place in Computer Problem Solving. Matthew Arnold and Noah Jens (both RSE) placed 4th in Network Design.   

Additional  students competed in the North Carolina SkillsUSA Competition and took the top four awards in Internetworking. Ben Rampel, a current Chapel Hill High student that has completed Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Level 3 and 4 courses via College and Career Promise with Guilford Technical Community College, claimed first place in the Internetworking Competition. The other Chapel Hill High students to place in the Internetworking Competition were Evan Waldron (2nd), Jacob Williams (3rd), and Andrew Redinbo (4th). Chapel Hill High ITE student Erik Amico placed first in Technical Computer Applications. ITE student Alan George placed 2nd in the Information Technology Services competition.
Five Chapel Hill High students recently competed in the Cisco NetRiders competition. All students advanced to the final round in their competitions. The students competed against other Cisco Networking Academy students, high school and college level, in the US and Canada. Two students placed in the top 20 for the final round of their events: Ben Rampel  placed 10th overall  in the CCNA competition, and Alan George placed 14th in the ITE event.  Alan George, Raja Timalsina, and Jacob Williams competed in the IT Essentials and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) competitions. Ryan Halstater  participated in the CCENT competition. Ben Rampel competed in the CCNA competition.  

For more information visit the class Twitter page (@LearnITWalker).

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Dibujando Nuestro Pueblo (Drawing Our Village) at Frank Porter Graham Bilingue

Dibujando Nuestro Pueblo (Drawing Our Village) is a collaborative, school-based art project that took place at Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe (FPGB) throughout the 2016-2017 school year. The project focuses on ideas related to culture, home, identity, and unity. It culminated in a permanent, student/family-generated mural in FPGB’s courtyard. The project was completed through a partnership between the school’s assistant principal, José Nambo, the school counselor, Barbie Garayúa-Tudryn , and two local artists, Mary Carter Taub and Amy Keenan Amago, who are also parents of students at FPBG. The project was funded with generous support from the FPGB PTA, the Orange County Arts Commission, and the Grassroots Program of the NC Arts Council.

There were two phases of the Dibujando Nuestro Pueblo project. The Fall portion consisted of a series of four interactive sessions in which FPGB families (half Spanish-speaking, half English-speaking) participated by sharing their origin stories, discussing what their cultures and identities meant to them, and then making art related to those ideas. The artwork created during the Fall sessions was displayed in the school’s lobby, and it also informed sketches and ideas for the mural design. Throughout the Spring, Ms. Carter Taub and Ms. Keenan Amago collaborated with students, families, and faculty members to create the Dibujando Nuestro Pueblo mural. The mural illustrates the ideas, experiences, and symbols of the school community’s interwoven and varied cultural histories as well as FPGB’s focus on unity and cross-cultural understanding.

“The new mural is a wonderful addition to our campus,” said Principal Emily Bivins. “The collaborative planning on the front end served to capture the unique blend of cultures that makes our school a great place to learn.”

The permanent, large-scale mural is the first of its kind in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. A dedication ceremony celebrating the mural’s completion was held on Thursday, June 1 in FPGB’s courtyard.
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