SVHS Students Earn National Certifications

Seven masonry students at Southern Vance High School have earned two national certifications that make them eligible for employment upon their graduation.

Ben Arrington is the students’ masonry teacher at Southern Vance.

All of the students met the standards required for certification in both the Core Curriculum and Green Environment areas through the National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER).

The students are shown in the photo holding their certificates and are joined by Arrington, far left, and Southern Vance Principal Rey Horner, far right. The students include, from left, Chelsea Galindo, Christopher Stevenson, Jackson Royster, Jose Gonzalez, Sherrod Carter and Tyler Bondurant. One more student earning certification, Aaliyah Rahming, was unavailable for the photo.

Vance County Schools Empowerment Academy Students create local garden

Administrators and students at the Vance County Schools Empowerment Academy have created a garden outside of the facility’s main entrance with funding from a special grant program.

The grant funding, totaling about $170, came from the Karma for Cara Foundation which funds youth volunteer projects.

Brian Schlessinger, a teacher at the Empowerment Academy, led efforts to apply for the grant and create the garden. He worked with his students and administrators at the academy to seek the grant funding and follow through on building the garden that is beside the facility’s main entrance.

The garden was completed by early February after students and their teachers worked to prepare the soil, install landscaping timbers for borders for the garden and had soil brought in to fill the space. They then worked to plant tulip bulbs, two evergreen shrubs and a cedar tree in the garden. Schlessinger and students are shown in the first two photos as they work on the garden.

Antavius Turner, a seventh grader who was attending the Empowerment Academy and is now a student at Eaton-Johnson Middle School, was one of the students involved in the project. Turner is shown with Schlessinger in the third photo as they work online to complete paperwork for the grant funding.

“Building the garden was a really good experience,” Turner said. “All of us in the academy worked together to get it done. We wanted to give the area outside the building life and make it look nice. We really like how it turned out and I think the project helped to show when you give us another chance we can do good things.”

The four female students and 10 male students who attend the Empowerment Academy are all on long-term suspension from their home schools because of behavior issues. Girls attend classes at the academy in the mornings and the boys attend their classes in the afternoons each day. Schlessinger and other teachers, along with Dr. Ralphel Holloman, coordinator of the academy, work with the students in online course work as well as teacher led math and language arts classes on a daily basis. Turner spent the first semester of this school year in the Empowerment Academy. He was able to return to Eaton-Johnson for the beginning of the second semester in late January after he completed necessary course work and met attendance and behavior requirements.

“All of the Empowerment students pitched in to help with the garden project,” Schlessinger said. “It made them feel good to have a role in creating it. We hope to do more with the garden at a later time and continue to improve the appearance of the areas outside of the building.”

Schlessinger pointed out that the funding from the Karma for Cara Foundation was a perfect fit for the academy’s project. The foundation was established in memory of Cara Becker, who lived in Maryland and at the age of 21 was diagnosed with leukemia. She battled the disease for four months, but died of complications from her treatments in December of 2012. Her family has carried on her legacy through the foundation. Becker throughout most of her short life was involved in volunteer work and community service. She had a special interest in helping children who were experiencing tough times and promoted community involvement with those her age and beyond. The foundation regularly awards small grants for community projects involving youth groups and also recognizes the efforts

E.O. Young Elementary Celebrates Successful Science and Spaghetti Night

Vance County Schools

For Immediate Release

February 13, 2017

E.O. Young Jr. Elementary School celebrated science during a special Science and Spaghetti Night event on Thursday, February 9, at the school.

The evening featured parents and students visiting classrooms and participating in science experiments and activities led by teachers.

Students in third grade and fifth grade won honors with their science projects.

Capturing top honors in the third grade were Aaliyah Alenlain, first place; Devan Markham, second place; La’Niyah Terry, tied for third place; and Canaan Evans, tied for third place. They are shown in the first accompanying photo, from right to left, with their projects.

The fifth-grade winners included: Nathaniel Durham, first place; Kendall Sizemore, second place; Nathan Richardson, tied for third place; and Mason Pendergrass, tied for third place. Durham is shown in the second accompanying photo with his project.

Richardson and Pendergrass are shown in the third photo from right to left. Sizemore was unavailable for a photo.

Three Graduate Mid-Year from AdVance Academy

Vance County Schools: For Immediate Release

Congratulations to the mid-year graduates from the AdVance Academy at Western Vance High School.

Chris Alston, Krystyna Stallings and Jose Hernandez, shown from left in the accompanying photo, have successfully completed their high school education.

They were honored at the academy’s mid-year commencement ceremony on January 26.

Alston and Hernandez are going into the local workforce. Stallings will continue her education at Vance-Granville Community College.

Vance County Schools Significantly Improves Dropout Rate

The N.C. Department of Public Instruction has announced the 2015-2016 graduation rates and the 2015-2016 dropout rates for public school districts across the state.

Vance County Schools saw significant improvement over previous years in both areas.

With a four-year cohort graduation rate of 81.9 percent for the class of 2016, this is a record high for Vance County over the past five years. The class of 2015 had a four-year cohort graduation rate of 77.6 percent in Vance County.

Vance County Schools’ dropout rate for the 2015-2016 school year continues to improve as it has for the past six years. The dropout rate for the school system is 2.07 percent for the 2015-2016 school year, which is a 13-percent decrease from the 2014-2015 school year rate of 2.28 percent. This is a record low for Vance County over the past six years.

Improving the graduation rate and reducing dropouts are top priorities for Vance County Schools.  It is an ongoing and focused effort for the school system as we work to ensure that every student graduates prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing local, regional and global economy.

Additionally, Vance County Schools currently provides students new and exciting opportunities for credit recovery through online and other non-traditional programs designed to help as many students as possible realize the goal of completion of high school with their peers.

The state data also reported that during the 2015-2016 school year our schools were among the safest in our region, with reportable incidents and student suspensions down or about the same as the previous year. We are pleased with these data and hope to see continued improvement.

As a school system, we will not be satisfied until all students, parents, staff members and community members feel safe coming into our schools; where all students are learning, expectations are high and students are graduating on time prepared to contribute positively to our community and be 21st Century global citizens.

We are excited to share this news with you and look forward to celebrating with our students and their parents in the future as we continue delivering on the promise that we will provide each student a high quality educational experience as we create a school system in which our community can be PROUD.  I am Vance County Proud … Are You?

Dr. Anthony D. Jackson, Superintendent

Vance County Public Schools

Vance County Schools awarded Grant from Golden Leaf

Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools, announced at the Vance County Board of Education meeting January 18, that the school system has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation for its “We Inspire” technology project.

The three-year grant will be used to fund training for educators throughout the school system. It also will be used to support teachers working with students to ensure effective use of latop computers and other technology as an enhancement tool for educational instruction at school and at home.

The “We Inspire” project involves an approximately 50-member team of local educators who are already receiving training on effective strategies to use in the classroom to better utilize technology in their daily instruction. The team is made up of school administrators, department directors, school media specialists, school system technology technicians, curriculum specialists, teachers and counselors. Training for the team began last summer and has been ongoing during this school year. The “We Inspire” cohort members also are facilitating training sessions for other educators in their schools.

The “We Inspire” project includes a close partnership with the Friday Institute at N.C. State University. Representatives of the Friday Institute have already led several training sessions with the “We Inspire” team and more trainings are planned.

Educators throughout the school system received new laptop computers at the beginning of this school year. The new laptops are being used as a focal point of the technology project. For effective use of the technology, ongoing training for all teachers and other educators in local schools is essential. The Golden Leaf Foundation grant funding will cover costs of the training over the next three years. To train all 500 teachers in the district, the school system will need to offer support to cohorts ranging in size from 75 to 100 teachers, each year. Those educators who have completed the training will lead sessions to offer refreshers to others not in an active cohort.

Students in the Vance County Early College High School and the STEM Early High School received new laptop computers this school year. The student laptops were obtained through a lease program. Students in additional schools are set to receive new laptop computers at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

The “We Inspire” project is the catalyst for use of technology in Vance County Schools for years to come. The Golden Leaf Foundation grant to cover costs of training educators over the next three years is crucial to the success of teachers and students using technology as an educational enhancement tool.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration begins for Vance County Schools

Parents should begin now applying for their child to attend pre-kindergarten and registering their child for kindergarten classes for the 2017-2018 school year.

Parents should contact the elementary school in the area where they live to get registration information.

We urge parents also to watch out for more information soon on special events and activities at our elementary schools for children who will be eligible to attend pre-kindergarten and kindergarten next school year.

Any child who will be four years old by August 31 of this year is eligible for pre-kindergarten for the new year and any child who will be five years old by August 31 is eligible to attend kindergarten.

(Vance County Schools News Release)

Vance County Schools cancels all after school activities

All after school activities scheduled for today in Vance County Schools have been cancelled due to the forecast for inclement weather.

Thank you,

Terri Hedrick

Public Information Officer

Anderson and Reece lead the way in E.O. Young Angel Tree Project

Nicole Anderson and Karen Reece have led a tremendous Angel Tree project at E.O. Young Jr. Elementary School that is helping to make the holidays a joyous time for over 75 students at the school.

Anderson, the school’s counselor, and Reece, the school’s social worker, have worked closely with school staff members, community supporters and church partners over the last two months to collect donations of toys, other gifts and food, for needy students and their families.

They have worked together to deliver the many bags of gifts and boxes of food donated to the students’ homes. In many cases, even younger siblings not yet in school have been given new clothing and gifts.

“Doing something like this makes you feel that you are doing the right thing,” Anderson said. “It fills your heart.”

Reece added that all of the hard work is worth it when you see the smiles on the students’ faces.

“When we gave them the letters to take home to their parents to let them know we wanted to help them, we had to tell the students that these were good letters and they weren’t in trouble,” Reece laughed. “It’s been a really rewarding experience and we so appreciate the support we’ve gotten from everyone.”

They said they want to especially thank the generous members of Flat Rock United Methodist Church and Guiding Star Holiness Church for their many donations to the students and their families.

“We’ve had wonderful donations from our school staff members, but without the help of these two great churches the success of the project wouldn’t have been possible,” Anderson said.

On the last day of school before the Christmas break on December 20, Anderson and Reece still had a few more gifts to deliver and they planned to do just that over the next couple of days.

“What a great thing for our students and their families,” Anderson added. “We are so fortunate to have such a caring school family.”

Anderson, left, and Reece, right, are shown in the accompanying photo with the last gifts scheduled for delivery.