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Vance County Middle & High School Win First Place in State Video Contest

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

Vance County High School and Vance County Middle School each won first-place trophies in the N.C. School Boards Association State Conference video contests for schools across the state during the organization’s annual event held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, November 12 – 14.

Vance County High School theater arts students, under the direction of their teacher Samantha Campbell, accepted their award during the evening of November 13. They went on stage in the Guilford Ballroom and patiently waited for the top video selection to be announced. Hoke County High School received the third-place trophy and A.L. Brown High School finished second.

N.C. School Boards Association officials present the first-place trophy and $3,000 check to Vance County High School students, starting third from left to the right, Jaida Lewis, Kahlil Kingsberry, Arianna Long and Isaac Bell McLean. (Photo Credit: VCS)

Accepting the award for the Vance County High Vipers were Jaida Lewis, Arianna Long, Kahlil Kingsberry and Isaac Bell McLean. Lewis made comments on behalf of her fellow students and her school. She thanked everyone who supported them and worked with students to produce the video. A special thanks went to Campbell and to Destiny Ross, a technology and curriculum specialist with the school system, who led the development of the award-winning video

At the end of her comments, Lewis noted, “We are all Vance County Proud!”

Vance County High School received a handsome trophy and a check for $3,000 as the first-place winner in the competition, which included impressive video entries from approximately 30 high schools across North Carolina.

The Vance County Middle School Jaguars were awarded first place in the middle school video competition during awards recognitions held on November 12. Darlynn Oxendine, chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, accepted the trophy and a $100 gift certificate on behalf of the school and its students. There were over 50 entries in the middle school video competition, with the Jaguars’ entry selected as the best.

Both of the schools’ videos were about 60 seconds in length and followed the theme “What is Super about Public Schools.”

Darlynn Oxendine, chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, center, accepts the first-place trophy on behalf of Vance County Middle School at the N.C. School Boards Association State Conference from NCSBA officials Minnie Forte-Brown, left, and Paige Sayles. (Photo Credit: VCS)

The Vance County High School video features the music of the popular song “This Is How We Do It” with new words and singing done by students at the school. Led by the theater arts students, the video shows a variety of locations and classes within the high school and includes a large number of students and some school staff. The video has lots of energy, bright colors and a good variety of classroom and outdoor scenes, with the words written by the students scrolling across the bottom of the screen

The Vance County Middle School video follows a “Star Wars” type of theme and has a futuristic look. With student narration, background music and lots of impressive special effects, the video explores the future look of public schools. It also features different students shown in areas throughout the middle school.

Edward Ortega, now the assistant principal at both L.B. Yancey and Pinkston Street elementary schools, led the efforts to produce the middle school video. He was assisted by teachers and administrators at the school, as well as having great cooperation and participation by students.

The Vance County Middle School and Vance County High School students and educators who produced the videos will be honored by the Vance County Board of Education at its meeting on Monday, November 19, beginning at 7 p.m. in the school system’s Administrative Services Center.

‘Vance Virtual’ Labs Officially Open in Vance County Middle, High School

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

Vance County Schools hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Vance County Middle School and Vance County High School on November 9 to officially open the schools’ “Vance Virtual” or “V2” laboratories.

The laboratories, located in the schools’ media centers, feature approximately 24 digital learning stations each for students to engage in interactive three-dimensional instruction using special computer software applications in a wide range of subject areas including science, health and geography.

The establishment of the laboratories is being made possible through a $400,000 grant awarded to the school system from the Golden Leaf Foundation. The grant was awarded during last school year and following the completion of construction work the laboratories are now open.

Vance County Board of Education member Ruth Hartness watches as Vance County Middle School students explain how they are using the zSpace digital student learning center and three-dimensional software application in the new Vance Virtual lab in their school. (Photo: VCS)

“Vance Virtual” has the largest number of zSpace digital learning stations of any school system on the East Coast of the United States and one of the largest deployments of the stations in the nation.

The zSpace STEM Learning Initiative represents a new direction for instructional delivery and academic outcomes for the students in Vance County. This initiative will systematically and intentionally embed the technical and essential skills into our instructional programs to ensure student readiness for the local, regional and global workforce.

The digital student-learning stations will be available for use by students in the middle school and high school, as well as the STEM Early High School.

Teachers will be trained on specific skills to utilize virtual reality technology in the delivery of their individual content areas. Wikis, blogs and an e-lesson repository will be constructed to allow teachers to share and collaborate as they train and implement new strategies.

Business and industry partners will engage with our Career and Technical Education program teachers to develop a functional profile of the worker needed to support their industry. These skills and attributes will be embedded in the core competencies and outcomes of each learning module. Students will have direct interaction with virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) software to enhance their level of knowledge, understanding and application of science, career and technology coursework.

Vance County High School students work with software applications on the zSpace learning centers in their school’s new Vance Virtual lab as the large digital screen on the wall follows their actions. (Photo: VGCC)

The school system received valuable support from the Vance County Board of Commissioners for the virtual reality project and the Golden Leaf Foundation grant funding.

“The launch of this project represents a seismic shift in the learning ecosystem of our school district,” said Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools. “This game-changing technology is cutting-edge and provides our students with real-world hands-on opportunities to engage collaboratively, think critically, communicate effectively and create authentically in a rigorous and challenging academic environment.

“Through our Vance Virtual Workforce Labs, we are confident that our students will leave us with the essential skills necessary to effectively navigate and compete in the local, regional and global workforce,” he continued. “This is yet another example of the academic ‘Vanceformation’ taking place in our schools and in our community. I am indeed Vance County Proud.”

“Students in Vance County Schools are ready to explore science, math and other content areas at a higher level of application in environments that are technology-based,” added Dr. Cindy Bennett, assistant superintendent for Student Services and Strategic Planning. “Vance Virtual labs will provide that opportunity with virtual and augmented reality experiences and investigations in an interactive learning environment. As educators, we continue to seek to bring the brick and mortar models of education into the 21st Century. Vance Virtual labs do just that and our students will investigate tomorrow TODAY!”

Vance Co. Board of Education’s Nov. Meeting Rescheduled

-Information courtesy Terri Hedrick, Public Information Officer, Vance County Schools

The Vance County Board of Education meeting originally scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018, has been rescheduled to Monday, November 19.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the school system’s Administrative Services Center at 1724 Graham Avenue in Henderson.

Vance Co. United Way Holding Coat Drive for Local School Children

-Information courtesy Heidi Owen, Nationwide

Vance County United Way is holding a coat drive for local school children. Please drop gently used or new coats at one of the following donation sites:

  • Century 21 – Dabney Drive
  • Maria Parham Health – Information Desk, Front Entrance
  • Nationwide – Ruin Creek Road
  • Woodforest Bank – Walmart

Please drop coats off by Thursday, November 15 for distribution by Thanksgiving to Vance County Schools.

Dr. Anthony Jackson Talks School Consolidation Success, State of the Schools

Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools, was on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the success of the school consolidation process and his recent State of the Schools address.

Jackson began the show by thanking the community for the support the school system received throughout the entire consolidation process for Vance County Middle School and Vance County High School.

“From the day the school board made the decision to consolidate the schools to the opening of school, we had approximately 120 days,” said Jackson. “I’m so proud of this community, our students, our parents and our staff for the work that they did during that period of time to get us to what we like to call ‘the launch.'”

According to Jackson, the launch of the newly consolidated schools in August went smoothly and was a great start to the 2018-19 school year.

“What we have seen since is what we hoped would come to fruition – a community coming together. I was at the football game a few nights ago and it was a joy to see the number of kids on our sidelines participating and the number of parents in the stands,” Jackson said.

State of the Schools Address

In Jackson’s recent address to the public, he announced that the majority of the system’s 15 schools showed marked improvement during the previous school year. “When I arrived in Vance County, nine schools were designated as low-performing. This year, I’m pleased to announce that 11 of our 15 schools met or exceeded growth and received a school performance grade of a C or better.”

Jackson credits this success to a number of factors including a shift towards focusing on the best way to reach and teach each individual student. “We focus on high student achievement by figuring out how best to teach every child – not just the low or high performers. Every single child deserves the best education,” said Jackson.

Other factors, according to Jackson, include making the environment as safe as possible so teaching and learning can take place, hiring and retaining high-quality educators and being efficient with resources.

“We change mindsets about what we can do in this community and if we work together, we can accomplish our goals.”

To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.

VCS Announces Make-Up Days for Schools on Traditional Calendar

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

The student days missed on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12 in Vance County Schools will be made up on the traditional calendar as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 31, 2018, will now be a full school day to make up missed instruction time on October 11
  • Friday, November 9, 2018, will now be a full school day to make up missed instruction time on October 12

Parent conferences at schools on the traditional calendar will now be scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, and Thursday, November 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. each day.

E.M. Rollins Elementary School and Vance County Early College High School will follow their school calendars as originally planned.

Vance Co. Schools to Make Up Lost Instructional Time on Wed., Oct. 31

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

With Vance County Schools students missing two days of instruction on October 11 and 12 due to the remnants of Hurricane Michael passing through our area, we must make plans to make up that lost instructional time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018, will now be a full school day for students at all of our schools.

This day was originally scheduled as an early release day with professional development sessions for staff in the afternoon.

We are currently working with the Vance County Board of Education and school-based leadership to work out the details for the makeup of the second lost day of instruction. A decision on this missed instructional time will be announced soon.

United Way Sponsoring Coat Drive for Vance Co. School Children

-Press Release, Vance County Schools

Members of our community are asked to consider donating to the Coat Drive sponsored by the United Way of Vance County for needy children in our public schools!

Donations of gently used and new coats will be accepted through November 15 at Maria Parham Health on Ruin Creek Road, Woodforest Bank at Walmart on North Cooper Drive, Century 21 Country Knolls Realty on Dabney Drive, and The Pegram Agency Nationwide Insurance on Ruin Creek Road, all in Henderson.

United Way officials will work with administrators and counselors in our 15 Vance County Schools to identify children who need the coats for this winter.

The coats will be distributed prior to the Thanksgiving holidays.