Alexis Simmons Awarded Barker-Ferguson Endowed Scholarship to Barton College

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

Alexis Simmons, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has been awarded the Barker-Ferguson Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship provides full-tuition, room and board.

Alexis Simmons, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has been awarded the Barker-Ferguson Endowed Scholarship and has also been named a Nursing Scholar at Barton College. The scholarship provides full-tuition, room and board. (Photo courtesy OPS)

Alexis has also been named a Nursing Scholar at Barton. Alexis is the daughter of Steve and Lisa Simmons of Henderson, NC. During her time at Oxford Prep, Alexis has earned a number of academic distinctions including being named marshal, earning membership in Beta Club and a Director’s List recipient every semester.

Alexis not only excels in academics, she is also a talented dancer and thespian, having performed in numerous roles with the Henderson Rec Players.

The Barker-Ferguson Endowed Scholarship was established through a gift by Eddie and Debra Ferguson in honor of her father, William L. Barker, and in memory of her mother, Birdie Parham Barker, and of his parents Jack E. and Dorothy Hunt Ferguson. One full scholarship is renewable as long as the recipient maintains a 3.25 cumulative grade point average.

The Barker-Ferguson Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a resident of Granville or Vance counties, North Carolina, who attends high school in those counties. Nominations are to be made by the guidance counselor(s) and/or principals of each school to the Barton College Scholarship Committee.

The recipient must meet the following minimum requirements: SAT score of at least 1,000, unweighted high school grade point average of a 3.40 on a scales of 4.00, and rank in the upper ten percent of the high school class (where available). Demonstrated leadership potential and exemplary extracurricular performance are also weighed heavily in the selection process.

Alexis competed in a Barton’s selective, early acceptance program that allows high school students who meet GPA and test score requirements to be accepted directly into the nursing program without competing for upper-level courses at the conclusion of the sophomore year.

As a Nursing Scholar, Alexis met rigorous academic requirements including maintaining a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and having an ACT composite score of 24 or higher; or SAT 1170 or higher (Evidence-based Reading, Writing, and Math).

GCPS: Free Meals Continue; WiFi Available in School Parking Lots

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-Information courtesy Granville County Public Schools

Today, Granville County Public Schools offered our expanded drive-thru meal services to 29 sites across the county and we are proud to say we provided almost 1,900 meals to our children! If you were not able to participate today, please see the flyer below for a complete list of site locations.

These meals are free for all children aged 2-18. No documentation is needed and children do not need to be present to collect the meals. Again, no questions asked, we just want to make sure no child goes hungry during this crisis.

Next, we want to let the community know that we have opened our WiFi services to all guest users. These free WiFi services may be accessed in any school public parking lot area. At this time, we are not opening our school buildings, but internet service can be accessed from the parking lot areas. Please observe “social distancing” when on school property.  We hope this free internet service will help students who need to access the supplemental academic materials that our hard-working teachers are developing each day.

We will continue to keep everyone informed of our efforts to help our families. Don’t forget to wash those hands!  Thank you!!

Emily Osborne, Oxford Prep Senior, Receives NC Teaching Fellows Award

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

Emily Osborne, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has received the North Carolina Teaching Fellows award to attend Meredith College.

Emily Osborne, a senior at Oxford Preparatory School, has received the North Carolina Teaching Fellows award to attend Meredith College. (Photo courtesy OPS)

Emily, the daughter of Kevin and Christy Osborne of Henderson, NC, will enter Meredith in the fall of 2021 where she intends to pursue a teaching degree with a focus on Exceptional Children. During her time at Oxford Prep, Emily has been named to the Directors’ list each semester, earned Beta Club recognition, and has been a key member of Interact.

As a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, Emily will receive up to $8,250 per year in a forgivable loan if she commits to teach in a STEM or a special education area. The program is specifically designed to attract high-quality teachers to low-performing schools by offering an accelerated loan forgiveness schedule for Teaching Fellows who agree to teach in a low-performing school in North Carolina.

To be eligible for a teaching fellows award, each high school student must first meet a strict level of high academic performance including:

  • a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.0 and have scored at least a 24 on the ACT or a 1,170 on the SAT if the student has fewer than 24 college credit hours or,
  • a minimum of a 2.7 cumulative GPA if they have more than 24 college credit hours.

In addition to the stringent GPA and standardized test score requirements, applicants were also evaluated on leadership and experience, a written essay and mission statement, and for those moved forward as a semi-finalist, an in-person interview.

Only those chosen for the final interviews held in late February were eligible to be chosen to receive a teaching fellows scholarship.

GCPS to Provide Student Assignments Tues.; Drive-Thru Meal Service to Expand

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Granville County Public Schools has two important updates to share about academic and nutritional support for our students.

First, GCPS is providing an extended learning plan for March 16-30 for all students to ensure they can continue their learning while school is not in session. This supplemental learning can take place virtually or through the use of teacher-made handouts.

All supplemental assignments will be aligned to current units or focus on reviewing content previously taught. Copies of assignments for those students that do not have internet access will be in the front office of your child’s school from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17.  They will also be available on the school and district websites and through social media beginning at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Other pickup times can be arranged by contacting your child’s school.

Second, we will be extending our drive-thru meal service to more than 25 sites by the end of the week. School buses will be parked at various locations throughout the county to provide FREE meals to all children ages 2-18.

No documentation or paperwork is required, and children do NOT need to be present to pick up the meals. Simply drive through and grab what you need for your children – no strings attached! NO child should go hungry during this time. Details to follow soon!

In the meantime, we will continue drive-thru meal service tomorrow at BSMS, MTEES and CGCES from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Please encourage your students to continue learning and don’t forget to wash those hands!

GCPS Coronavirus Update: School Closure Not Recommended at This Time

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

This afternoon, GCPS Board Chairman David Richardson and Superintendent Alisa McLean both participated in a conference call with the NC Governor’s office. During this call today, it was shared that at this time, NC does NOT recommend preemptive closures of public schools.

Closing schools at this time is unlikely to prevent the spread of the virus and may have negative impacts on the community and our families. Our local Health Department is also NOT recommending school closure at this time.

Instead, it is recommended that we continue to take steps to help prevent the spread. These include frequent and thorough cleaning of facilities and buses, frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer, respecting personal space and covering your cough and sneeze, and finally, having students and staff who have cold and flu-like symptoms to stay home.

In addition, the district has suspended all field trips, athletics, community meetings and non-essential work-related travel for staff. As of Monday, March 16, all school-based afternoon and evening events are suspended, including all community use of facilities. In addition, visitors to our schools will be limited to parents or guardians and essential GCPS employees only and restricted to designated parts of each school campus.

We are also considering making adjustments in the way students interact within our schools, including assemblies, serving of meals, and pick-up and drop-off procedures.

Please know that as of today, there are still NO confirmed cases in our county. We will continue to monitor this fast-moving situation closely, and provide additional updates as needed should conditions change. Our Board of Education will be meeting on Monday, March 16 and will address this topic at this time. As always, the meeting will be live-streamed and the link may be found on our district website HERE.

Thank you all for your continued patience, support and trust as we navigate this unprecedented situation TOGETHER!

Granville School Board to Hold Special Meeting on Procedures, Health Updates

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-Information courtesy Granville County Public Schools

NOTICE TO PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Granville County Board of Education will meet for a Special Meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 6 p.m. at the Central Services Building, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, North Carolina.

The purpose of this meeting is for the Board of Education to discuss Board trainings, Board procedures, health updates and mid-year information with the Superintendent.

The Board will also meet in a Closed Session with the Board’s attorney in accordance with N.C. General Statute pursuant to G.S. 143.318.11 (a)(6), 143-318.11 (a)(3), 143.318.11 (a)(5) and Section 115C-321 for Personnel, and Attorney/Client Privilege on this evening.

To view the agenda for this meeting, please click here.

Coronavirus Prompts GCPS to Cancel Field Trips, Suspend Work-Related Travel

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Granville County Public Schools has been in close dialogue with the Health Department and can confirm that there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or Coronavirus in Granville County.

We continue to focus our efforts on prevention and following best practices to keep students and staff healthy. This includes regular, thorough cleaning in our buildings, frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer, and respecting personal space. Also, we ask that all students and staff who have cold or flu-like symptoms stay home and seek medical care as needed. These efforts will promote healthy school environments for everyone.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily suspend all out-of-county and overnight field trips for the next four weeks effective immediately. We will attempt to reschedule these events at a later date if possible. While we make no promises, for those trips may have involved fees or deposits, we will do our very best to work with the companies to secure refunds and/or credits as allowed. Schools will be sending out details about impacted trips soon.

Also, we will follow the guidelines set forth by the NCHSAA as it relates to our student-athletes. Finally, we are also suspending all non-essential work-related travel for staff.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. We hope you will join us in taking precautions to keep our students, staff and schools healthy so we can continue educating our students. We will keep you posted with additional updates as needed. In the meantime, wash those hands and stay healthy!

Oxford Prep Lower School Students Win Diversity Essay Contest

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-Press Release, Oxford Preparatory School

For schools across the nation, February is a time to highlight important accomplishments by African-Americans with the nationally recognized observance of Black History Month. March brings about Women’s History Month, which seeks to do the same by highlighting important women in history.

Students at the current Oxford Preparatory Lower School, presently 5th and 6th grade, participated in a school-wide diversity essay contest. Contest winners, pictured left to right: Michael Cox, 5th grade; Bre’Niyah Purnell, 6th grade and Novina Williford, 6th grade) (OPS photo)

For cultures and peoples marginalized by a traditional curriculum, these months of observance bring about conversations on diversity and inclusion. Students at Oxford Preparatory School kicked off this discussion with an important question: why does diversity matter?

Students at the current Lower School, presently 5th and 6th grade, participated in a school-wide essay contest with that exact question in mind. The essay contest had few guidelines, encouraging students to utilize critical thinking skills and reflection on the topic.

After a guidance lesson on the definition of diversity and discussions with classmates on the topic, students went right into writing their reflections. Some chose to use the time to research important figures who fought for diversity, such as Martin Luther King Jr, while some reflected on their own experiences. Students reflected on times that they felt like the “odd one out,” and even came up with suggestions on how to better support diversity at their school.

Fifth-grader Lily Juntunen writes, “I also always felt singled out for how I looked because I would always get told how I’m too tall to do anything, that I should give up. That’s another reason why diversity matters. People should not feel like they need to change themselves because others aren’t happy with the way they look.”

The three winners – 5th-grader Michael Cox and 6th-graders Novina Williford and Bre’Niyah Purnell – were treated to a bagel breakfast with their friends and family members and bravely read their essays out loud.

For some, this was the first time they had to present their work to an audience. However, as a college preparatory school, these students are being prepared to present their work and discuss such topics.“I had a lot of fun researching for the essay,” shared Cox. “I was really nervous to read it out loud, but I felt a lot of relief after I did it.”

To quote 5th-grader Madelyn Reese, “Diversity does matter in our world today. Regardless of our talents, skin color, gender, language, and culture, we all need to be treated fairly.”

Granville Co. Public Schools BOE Adopts Calendar Changes

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 2, 2020, the Granville County Board of Education approved several changes to the district’s academic calendars.

First, the Board approved changes to the current 2019-20 calendars as a result of the recent “snow day” which caused school to be canceled for students and staff on Friday, February 21. For students, that day was essentially “forgiven” as the district already had a surplus of instructional hours beyond the minimum the state requires in order to comply with calendar law. For staff, the missed day will now be replaced with an Optional Workday added to the end of the calendar in June.

These revised calendars are now posted to our district websites and will be made available in our schools as hard copies.

Next, the Board decided to discontinue the “dual-calendar” programs which are currently offered at Butner Stem Elementary School, Butner Stem Middle School and West Oxford Elementary School. These three schools currently offer both a traditional and a year-round calendar as options for students as part of the choice program. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, these schools will operate on the single, district-wide calendar.

In making their decision, the Board reviewed data about the program which showed declining enrollment, a lack of interest from parent surveys, increasing cost, and no clear changes in overall academic achievement for children.

Finally, the Board approved a NEW district-wide academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. This calendar differs from the current traditional calendar in that all students will report to school two weeks earlier than normal, with their first day back to school being Monday, August 10, 2020. The calendar also provides a longer winter break, with opportunities for students to participate in an “intersession” in early January. This optional intersession will provide students with innovative opportunities for enrichment, exploration and remediation, as well as clubs and extracurricular activities.

The calendar offers spring break right before Easter and ends with the last day for students occurring on Friday, May 26, 2021. An additional three-week intersession period is also offered for students in the month of June.

The Board cited several student-friendly features of this new calendar design, including finishing the first semester before the winter break, closer alignment with VGCC course schedules, intersession programs, better alignment with athletic programs, and more flexibility for offering professional development to improve teacher effectiveness.

The new calendar, dubbed an “innovative year-round” calendar, provides additional flexibility for the district in start and end dates, which makes many of these new features possible. The Board reviewed survey data to help inform their decision, which showed that of 1082 respondents, an overwhelming majority (644) chose this new calendar option as their first choice. Additionally, more respondents (415) chose the current traditional calendar design as their least favorite choice.

Board Chairman David Richardson commented, “I am pleased we can offer this new innovative approach that puts children first. The Board has made increasing academic performance its top priority, and we need to make sure our efforts focus on ways to best support our students and staff in this regard. We recognize there will be some adjustments to this new design and will work with families to help make the transition as smooth as possible.”

All schools except Granville Early College High School (GECHS) will follow this new, innovative calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. GECHS will follow a separate calendar mirroring that of its partner, Vance-Granville Community College.

Both the new 2020-2021 district calendar and the 2020-2021 GECHS calendar are posted on the district website and available in hard copy at schools.

GCPS Working to Keep Students & Staff Healthy

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the GCPS District Safety Task Force convened for their regular monthly meeting. This group of approximately +/- 40 members has a laser focus on improving and protecting the safety, health and welfare of students and staff in our school district.

Superintendent McLean created the District Safety Task Force shortly after arriving in the district more than two years ago. Since that time, it has been extremely successful in addressing areas of concern with rapid and effective solutions. The Safety Task Force consists of a wide variety of stakeholders, including board members, law enforcement officers, first responders, health care officials, local elected officials, faith-based leaders, district administrators, school nurses, principals and, of course, parents.

At this recent meeting, one of the agenda items was COVID-19, or the “Coronavirus,” and how the district should plan and prepare for its potential threat. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in North Carolina, and the threat of the virus remains very low. In fact, the district has recently been more focused on absenteeism and illnesses caused by the common cold and influenza viruses. In just the past two weeks, some schools have had nearly 1/3 of students and staff out as a result.

The district’s immediate response to those outbreaks, as recommended by the CDC and the Departments of Health, largely focused on the following three tactics:

  • Practicing and encouraging good personal hygiene (Frequent and proper handwashing, coughing or sneezing in the bend of elbow or sleeve, using tissues, just being “courteous” with your space, etc.).

  • Thoroughly cleaning frequently touched surfaces or high traffic areas using Lysol or similar products which are highly effective at killing the viruses.

  • Staying home when sick, and avoiding people who are sick.

These three main tactics are highly effective against the spread of any such contagions and should be practiced by all, especially when considering the potential future threat of COVID-19.

One additional item of consideration is the use of facemasks. According to the CDC, the use of facemasks is NOT recommended for use by people who are well. Instead, only those who show symptoms should wear them, but ideally, those individuals should stay home and be isolated if possible.

Dr. McLean has already begun close dialogue and scheduled meetings with our local Health Department officials, school nurses and healthcare experts. “We are certainly not attempting to create a scare or undue alarm. Just like we drill, practice and prepare with any other potential threats, we are simply doing what is needed to keep our children and staff safe. After all, if you are ready, then you don’t have to get ready.”

The district continues to work with the Health Department and other experts to create action plans for the district. GCPS would like to thank everyone in the community in advance for their attention to this matter. The safety, health and well-being of everyone in our community is the top priority for GCPS!