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GCPS’ ‘Books for Break’ Initiative Encourages At-Home Reading Over Holidays

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Granville County Public Schools is celebrating reading and readers with Books for Break – Celebrating the Joy of Reading! As part of its commitment to early literacy, GCPS is giving a book to every student in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade to keep and enjoy at home.

During the winter break, we hope students enjoy reading not only these books about characters’ adventures in the snow but also continue reading their personal favorite books. In the words of children’s book author Tomie dePaola, “Reading is important because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.“

We hope these books offer your family the opportunity to find joy in reading together.

WHO: Students in Pre-K through 3rd grade

WHAT: Books for Break, a literacy initiative of Granville County Public Schools

WHEN: Friday, December 13 (year-round) and Friday, December 20 (traditional)

WHERE: All elementary schools

WHY: To encourage students to continue reading during winter break

GCPS’ Holiday Message Focuses on Academic Highlights

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Happy Holidays from GCPS to the Granville community!  It certainly is an exciting time of year, and not just for the holiday cheer and goodwill, but also for the amazing things going on in our public schools!

In case you haven’t heard, GCPS is “On the Move!” Our educators have been hard at work since July and August helping our students have what is shaping up to be a stellar year!  From academics to character development, extra-curricular, athletics, the Arts, and community engagement, our students are truly worthy of our community’s pride and joy!

Just a few of the academic highlights thus far include a huge push with literacy, a renewed focus on math and science standards, and a deeper dive into student performance data. This year is 20/20 for everyone – meaning each student is expected to have a minimum of 20 minutes of uninterrupted reading each day, and as such, every elementary school student will receive a winter book selection to take home with them over the break.

Research shows that text-rich environments at home are a great way to boost reading comprehension and can encourage a lifelong love for reading. We hope every child will take some time to unplug and read! Superintendent McLean is excited about the district’s “20/20 Vision” with a focus on reading for all.

As a follow up to our Day of Caring in November, our staff has been continuing their efforts to encourage positive character traits in our students through special holiday appreciation events, food drives, coat drives, and other community support efforts.

Our students have also been involved in anti-bullying campaigns and been helping spread the word on preventing the use of drugs, alcohol and vaping. And as always, safety is a top priority, with “See Something, Say Something” being our motto each and every day – for everyone!

This past fall was a great season of extra-curriculars and athletics, with several teams making the state playoffs!  Perhaps more importantly though, several programs were recognized for their excellent sportsmanship on and off the field. As winter sports kick off, we hope you will come out and support our students at their athletic events. It is an exciting time for basketball, wrestling and of course, cheerleading!

And, let’s not forget our Career and Technical Organizations, who have been competing for awards across the state and nation! From local robotics build-offs, to business plan competitions in Tennessee, to FFA projects in Indiana – these students have been ON THE MOVE!

It is so important that our students not only thrive academically, but that they are also exposed to a variety of experiences to help broaden their perspectives beyond our county and help prepare them for the world.

Finally, you may have missed seeing the recent winning selections of the Holiday gift card contest. Four students were selected as this year’s winners from dozens of entries from across the district at all grade levels. Also of note are the many holiday performances, choral recitals, and marching bands in local parades. Stop by any school and you will see our children’s creative spirits on display in some form or fashion!

So, while the staff in our schools prepare for a well-deserved break, preparation at the district level continues to look ahead: January will begin with a regular Board of Education meeting to be held on January 6, but in a NEW location! For the first time, the Board will hold its meeting at the Mary Potter campus in the media center.

Superintendent McLean notes, “We are very fortunate to have such an amazing team of educators across our district. No matter their role in helping educate our students, GCPS employees are simply the best. I also look forward to working with the new chair and vice chair as we continue our focus on academic achievement and performance overall. The holiday season is always a wonderful time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, and we should celebrate the commitment we all have for the children of our community. It is a true blessing.”

Newly elected Board Chairman, David Richardson offered his thoughts, stating, “While it is my goal to always be improving, we also need to take time to stop and be appreciative of the accomplishments of our people. I for one, am grateful for all of the hardworking and talented educators we have that dedicate their lives to the children in Granville County. It is sometimes easy to take them for granted, and I hope that members of the community will take some time to join me in extending a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to each and every one of them for all they do every day. They deserve our appreciation and I wish them all a restful and joyful winter break.”

All students and staff will report back in the new year on Friday, January 3, 2020. We look forward to seeing everyone then! After all, GCPS is ON THE MOVE!

Mims Resigns from Granville Board of Ed. to Serve as Creedmoor Commissioner

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

The Granville County Board of Education held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, December 2, 2019.

After the conclusion of official business items on the agenda, Board Member Ed Mims announced his resignation effective immediately, stating, “The voters in District 5 have afforded me the opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities over the past seven years, and for that, I am deeply grateful.  The voters in Creedmoor during the most recent municipal election expressed their preference that I continue my service, but more directly in the community in which I live. Therefore, effective immediately, I am officially resigning as a member of the Granville County Board of Education. I only want great things for the school district, and I wish you all well.”

At the Granville County Board of Education’s Dec. 2 meeting, Ed Nims announced his immediate resignation as the District 5 representative. Mims will begin his new role as a Commissioner for the City of Creedmoor after being officially sworn in on Dec. 11. (Photo courtesy GCPS)

Mr. Ed Mims has served the constituents of District 5 for almost five years as a member of the Board of Education, having been elected to the position in 2014. Previously, Mr. Mims served as County Commissioner.

He will begin his new role as a Commissioner of the City of Creedmoor after being officially sworn in on December 11, 2019.

Fellow Board Members, Superintendent McLean, and Senior Staff all praised Mr. Mims for his service, citing his dedication to his community. Dr. McLean shared her thoughts, stating, “Mr. Mims, I thank you for the opportunity as you were one of the Board Members who brought me here. I appreciate your confidence and leadership and have enjoyed working with you. I wish you nothing but the best, and I appreciate all you have done for the children of this district.”

Fellow Board Members also expressed their gratitude. Mr. David Richardson, newly elected as Chairman, presided over the meeting and offered these thoughts, “Mr. Mims, on behalf of the Board, and myself, I want to thank you for your service to the board, and I appreciate how much you have meant to the children of Granville County.”

Fellow Board member Rob Rivers also offered his thoughts, stating, “Your honesty, your passion, your sense of urgency will be missed. I appreciate all you have done, and think the City of Creedmoor will be getting a darn good city commissioner. I wish you all of the absolute best.”

The Board will continue with six members until a replacement for District 5 is appointed. The Board plans to begin discussions about this process at the regularly scheduled meeting on January 6, 2020.

NC Restart Schools: Four Schools in GCPS ‘Reboot with Version 2.0’

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Since early 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education has provided a little known option for schools that face challenges in ‘making the grade’. A state-designated “Restart” status provides a mechanism for select schools across the state to adopt charter-like flexibility as it relates to operations and staffing.

Under this state policy, a school may apply for ‘restart’ status and begin the process of implementing additional flexible and innovative ideas to help improve the academic performance of its students. Some examples of this flexibility include changes to the school’s calendar, daily schedule and instructional hours.

A school may also consider looking at different models for staffing the school, including different employee contracts, educator licensure requirements and types of positions assigned to the school.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this status allows for increased flexibility as it relates to funding and budgets, which can have benefits for some schools in certain situations. It is important to note, however, that there are no additional or separate funds made available to these schools.

Currently, there are 148 schools across the state that have been granted this designation. Granville County Public Schools now has four schools in the process of applying for this special state-approved flexibility: Creedmoor Elementary School, West Oxford Elementary School, Butner-Stem Middle School and Northern Granville Middle School.

GCPS Superintendent Alisa McLean explains the rationale behind the decision to move in this direction, saying, “Applying for restart status is really about making sure we have all the tools at our disposal to increase academic performance in these schools. It’s not so much about having to do more, but rather just being able to do things differently. Our Board of Education understands that in today’s shifting challenges in public education, we must have the flexibility to address each school’s individual needs. The restart model will provide some options for us that were previously unavailable, and I am excited about the new opportunities for our students and their families. Really, it’s a chance to ‘reboot’ and take it to the next level – I see it as version 2.0 for these four schools. I’m thrilled they have this opportunity!”

These four schools have committed to a planning period prior to implementing the new options, which will include an important window for stakeholder input. Not only does the school staff need to build consensus and plan of action, but the parents and community need to be involved as well.

Dr. McLean further explained, “It is critical that the school drive this innovation and change. Our principals, teachers and parents must work together to choose what works for their students. Much like the regular school-improvement process, this restart implementation is about choosing ‘what fits’ for them – this is not a scenario in which I or our Board of Education will mandate certain changes, but instead work with our schools to provide support and guidance in the process.”

So far, the district has had several planning sessions to make sure state policies and guidelines are fully understood. Applications are being developed and plan to be submitted early during the new year.

The 2020-21 school year will likely be a planning year for these schools, with perhaps a few key operational changes being made incrementally. “The idea is to enact these changes carefully and deliberately, and make sure the school is 100% on board. We don’t want to rush this and place burdens on a school that already faces challenges,” said Dr. McLean.

While NC is only three years into this new school status, there are other states across the country that have been exploring models that provide greater flexibility to the public school structure. While no conclusive research has been published analyzing these flexibility models, schools do appreciate having more control and say over how their schools are run.

NGMS Principal Dr. Williamson shared her perspective, stating, “If we are going to compete against charter schools, private schools and homeschooling, then we should be allowed to play by the same rules. Getting this increased flexibility presents some exciting possibilities for us. I am excited about working with our staff and community to take NGMS to the next level. I will put our public schools up against any organization out there. As we like to say in GCPS, we are on the move!”

Four GCPS Principals Receive School Performance Bonuses

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

The following Granville County Public Schools principals have been recognized and awarded monetary bonuses by the State of North Carolina for their school’s outstanding academic performance in the 2018-2019 school year:

  • Jackie Harris – Granville Early College EXCEEDED GROWTH TOP 10% ($10,000)
  • Janita Allen – Granville Central High School EXCEEDED GROWTH TOP 10% ($10,000)
  • Sheila Atkins – Wilton Elementary School EXCEEDED GROWTH TOP 20% ($2,500)
  • Lisa Tusa – South Granville High School MET GROWTH TOP 50% ($1,000)

In the 2017-18 budget year, the General Assembly of North Carolina created a salary bonus structure for principals and select teachers across the state whose students academic growth performance met certain criteria, including the school’s previous academic performance and the individual employee’s school assignment.

Student growth is measured by the state’s adopted analysis software, EVAAS, which is a product of SAS Analytics based in the Research Triangle.

Through EVAAS, student growth is determined by the amount of academic progress that students make over the course of a grade or class. Students enter grades and courses at different places; some have struggled while some have excelled.

Regardless of how they enter a grade or course, students can make progress over the course of the school year. In this way, students and schools can be measured using complex statistical analysis of state test scores, which provide measurements and designations of growth.

Currently, the state uses the growth score of a school as 20% of the letter grade for that school, and proficiency scores for the remaining 80%.

The State of NC has just recently released information on which principals will be awarded bonuses.

Granville Co. Board of Education to Meet Dec. 2

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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 regular board meeting on Monday, December 2, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Granville County Public Schools Central Office, 101 Delacroix Street, Oxford, North Carolina.

The Board will also meet in a Closed Session with the Board’s attorney in accordance with N.C. General Statute 143.318.11 (a)(6), 143-318.11 (a)(3), 143.318.11 (a)(5) and Section 115C-321 on this evening.

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

Mendenhall Named Educator of Excellence for Exceptional Children’s Program

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-Press Release, Granville County Public Schools

Granville County Public Schools, Superintendent Dr. Alisa McLean, and the Department of Exceptional Children proudly acknowledge Mrs. Stacie Mendenhall as our 2019-2020 Educator of Excellence for the Exceptional Children’s Program.

Stacie Mendenhall named Granville County Public Schools’ 2019-2020 Educator of Excellence for the Exceptional Children’s Program. (GCPS photo)

Mrs. Mendenhall received her Master’s in Speech Pathology from Appalachian State University and has a career that spans 23 years. Twenty-one of those years are with the school system.

She currently works as a Speech Language Pathologist at Tar River and Wilton Elementary Schools. She serves as the Lead Speech Language Pathologist for the entire school district.

In addition to providing high-quality services to students and maintaining impeccable data and documentation, she leads PLCs for speech and other related service personnel in the district. She provides guidance and training to anyone who needs it and does so with a smile.

She is an active participant in facilitating Medicaid training for newer therapists, and most recently was selected to be a trainer on the new ECATS system. She attends statewide meetings for speech pathologists and returns to the district to implement the best practices locally. There is nothing that is asked of her that Mrs. Mendenhall doesn’t do with a willing heart and with high quality.

Outside of her duties as a speech pathologist, Mrs. Mendenhall spends time with her husband, son, daughter, five dogs, and her cat. She is very active in the community with her church and is a part of Girl Scouts as well as Girls on the Run. She enjoys reading and travel. While she has been to Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, her favorite place continues to be Hawaii.

Granville County Public Schools expects a standard of excellence. Mrs. Mendenhall exemplifies that not only to her students but those fortunate enough to work with her. Her strong morals, work ethic, leadership, and diligence to practice make her our shining star.

During her interview for this honor, she said, “I love working with children to help them build the communication skills they need for lifelong leadership and success!” It is clear that her standard of excellence extends beyond the classroom and our school district is beyond fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our team.

Finally, the link below provides a list of all the disability awareness days for the year:

https://www.disabilitytalent.org/single-post/2018/12/27/2019-Diversity-Inclusion-and-Disability-Awareness-Calendar.

Also, DPI has provided a new parent listserv for parents to sign up to receive updates (click here). The listserv will forward information or the work of the Exceptional Children Division at NC DPI and provide opportunities for input, feedback, and participation in Division activities.

Young Among Finalists for NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year Award

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-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools

Twenty-seven teachers from across North Carolina have been selected as finalists for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Beginning Teacher of the Year Award for their dedication, innovation and ability to inspire students to achieve.

Bethany Young of Granville County Schools is a finalist.

One of these talented educators will be named the 2019 NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year. The award will be presented for the first time on December 5, 2019, at the NCCAT Cullowhee Campus.

“We appreciate the enthusiastic response from all over the state for the Beginning Teacher of the Year Award,” said NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble. “These finalists provide a snapshot of the lasting impact great teachers have on our students from the first to the last day they step into a North Carolina public school. We are excited about this opportunity to honor teachers for the important work they do in our state.”

The 2019 NCCAT North Carolina Beginning Teachers of the Year are:

–     Sara Bowen Andrews, Rockingham County Schools

–     Tina Brown, Beaufort County Schools

–     Melissa Canter, Alexander Schools

–     Tria Cope, Randolph County

–     Rebecca Dearien, Craven County

–     Kennedy Dockery, Mount Airy City Schools

–     Victoria Freeman, Gaston County Schools

–     Megan Houchins, Iredell Statesville Schools

–      Cristina Lane, Wake County Public Schools

–      Lara Johnson, Bladen County Schools

–      Sarah Lawrence, Bear Grass Charter School

–      Sydney Paladino, Envision Science Academy Charter

–      Kesli Pinkston, Haywood County Consolidated Schools

–      Robin Kent Pittman, Careret County

–      Damarius Prieto, Cumberland County

–      Allie Reitzell, Newton Conover Schools

–      Elizabeth Riddick, Perquimans County

–      Justine Riddick, The Point College Prep

–      Alaysha Rogers, Halifax County Schools

–      Leanne Rose, Mooresville Graded School District

–      Allison Snyder, Buncombe County

–       Rachel Somerville, Henderson County Public Schools

–       Erin Stewart, Lenoir County

–       Alison Stuart, Catawba County Schools

–       Reba Warren, Pitt County

–       Ziena Walker, Innovative School District

–       Bethany Young, Granville County Schools

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor beginning teachers who are the future of education in North Carolina. Information about the program is online at www.nccatbtoy.com.

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year prizes include:

– $5,000 cash prize

– Participation in a GoGlobal NC trip to Australia in 2020

– Instructional supply funds for the teacher’s school

– $2,000 cash prize to the runner-up

Travel expenses for regional winners to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.

GCPS Aims to Increase Number of Students Receiving School Breakfast

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-Information courtesy Dr. Stan Winborne, Public Information Officer, Granville County Public Schools

Did You Know?

1 in 5 kids in North Carolina grows up in a family that struggles with hunger.

  • Here’s what that means: In some families, the pantry is completely empty. In others, mom skips dinner a few nights a week so the kids can have something to eat in the evening. In others, families are making impossible decisions between paying the rent and buying groceries.
  • In Granville County, we fed 647,358 lunches but only 300,670 breakfasts for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • When kids aren’t getting the consistent nutrition they need, it’s harder to focus in class. Test scores drop, and students are more likely to miss class time because they’re in the nurse’s office with headaches or stomach aches. Discipline problems rise and attendance levels fall.

The Solution: School Meals

  • One of the most effective ways to make sure hungry kids are getting the nutrition they need is through school meal programs like school breakfast and lunch.
  • When kids eat school breakfast, it means calmer classrooms, better attendance rates and ultimately more time for learning.
  • Yet in North Carolina, school breakfast only reaches 58% of the kids who may need it.
  • One way to make sure more kids are starting their day with breakfast is by serving breakfast after the bell, making it more easily accessible to any child that needs it by overcoming common barriers like late buses, busy morning schedules and stigma.
  • The Granville County Public Schools Child Nutrition Department is working hard to implement alternative ways to get students to eat breakfast.

Granville Co. Public Schools to Hold Safety Summit; Offers Online Survey

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-Information courtesy Granville County Public Schools

Granville County Public Schools invites you to a School Safety Summit to be held on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at 6 p.m. in the South Granville High School Auditorium.

GCPS staff, law enforcement and elected officials will be present. Take an online, anonymous safety survey and submit your comments/concerns in advance by visiting https://cutt.ly/zexUXHd.

Open to the public!

South Granville High School is located at 701 North Crescent Dr., Creedmoor, NC.