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VCS Names V3A Principal, EC Director

Vance County Schools announced Thursday the appointment of two educators in leadership roles, one a VCS veteran and the other who is new to the school district.

Dr. Jessica Perry was named principal of Vance Virtual Village Academy after serving as interim principal of V3A since August 2020. Natashalyn Snipes was selected as director of exceptional children, effective July 1, 2021.

Perry is a familiar face to Vance County Schools. “With over 20 years of educational experience as a teacher, administrator and district leader, we are certain Dr. Perry will propel V3A into an innovative opportunity that personalizes education for every student,” according to a statement from Aarika Sandlin, VCS public information officer.  Perry graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in business and marketing education. She has a master’s degree in educational leadership from

Wheeling Jesuit University and a doctorate in education and educational leadership from Gardner-Webb University. In a written statement to WIZS News, Perry said, “I am looking forward to assisting students in gaining access and opportunities with anytime, anywhere teaching and learning.”

Snipes will take over upon the retirement of Dr. Gloria Jones. She has been a teacher, school leader, EC facilitator, and most recently, was the director of exceptional children, student services and preschool at Weldon City Schools, Sandlin said.

Snipes graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in psychology and got her master’s degree in arts and teaching in special education and a master’s in school administration from N.C. Central University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in education leadership at UNC-CH. “Snipes is a transformational leader committed to developing instructional programs that will meet the educational and behavioral needs of all students,” Sandlin said.

Vance County Schools Receiving Lifesaving Bike Helmets from State

— Vance County Schools Press Release

Vance County Schools will be receiving 75 bike helmets as part of an ongoing program to reduce bicycle injuries and deaths in North Carolina. These helmets are being provided through NCDOT’s Bicycle Helmet Initiative.

The Bicycle Helmet Initiative began in 2007 and has distributed thousands of helmets since its inception. It is funded by the sale of “Share the Road” specialty license plates. Helmets will be awarded by April 30th.

We are excited to partner with Vance County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson Fire Dept and YMCA to distribute the helmets.  Distribution will take place in late spring and all participants who come by during distribution will be entered to win a bicycle.

For more information about this grant or distribution locations, contact J. Carraway at jcarraway@vcs.k12.nc.us.

For more information about the program, visit the NCDOT Bicycle Helmet Initiative webpage.

Vance County Schools Asynchronous Remote Learning Day Thurs, Mar 18 Due to Weather

— courtesy of Vance County Schools

With the threat of inclement weather on Thursday, March 18, Vance County Schools will operate as an asynchronous remote learning day for all students and staff. Assignments will be posted to student’s learning platforms for completion. All buildings will be closed. Safety continues to be our priority. We encourage all of our families to keep a close eye on the weather tomorrow (Thursday) and stay safe.

Vance County Schools Pre-K and Kindergarten Registration 2021-2022

According to the Vance County Schools motto, “The Wow Starts Now!”

Public Information Officer Aarika Sandlin wrote in a news release, “We are excited to kick off our registration for Pre-K and Kindergarten students!”

She indicated there will be virtual information sessions taking place on March 10 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  This is “for EVERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in our district,” she wrote.

In fact, each school will host its very own information session, and the links are available on the district website at www.vcs.k12.nc.us.

Sandlin said, “We are excited for the newest additions making their way to the VCS family!”

All Vance Co. School Staff Have Opportunity To Get Vaccine; Slight Shift for In-Person Learning

— Courtesy of Vance County Schools

As we continue preparing for our return to face-to-face interactions with students, Vance County Schools is working diligently to ensure we are providing all of the necessary safety protocols for the health and wellness of our everyone, prior to student re-entry.

On Friday, March 5, all Vance County Schools staff will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Due to the vaccination schedule, VCS will delay the re-entry of students to the week of Monday, March 8. The only change to the re-entry is that students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, as well as all self-contained students will begin their re-entry the week of Monday, March 8 rather than March 4 and 5.

Thursday, March 4 will be a remote learning day as scheduled for all grades, with students logging in at their assigned times. Friday, March 5 will be an asynchronous learning day for all grades, allowing students to complete assignments in their online learning platform throughout the day.

We are grateful for this added layer of protection being afforded to our district and appreciate your understanding as we work to finish the 2020-2021 school year strong!

Vance County Schools Logo

TownTalk 02-23-21 Dr. Anthony Jackson, In-Person Learning

UPDATE 2-24-21 TO ORIGINAL STORY:

COURTESY OF VANCE COUNTY SCHOOLS – As we continue preparing for our return to face-to-face interactions with students, Vance County Schools is working diligently to ensure we are providing all of the necessary safety protocols for the health and wellness of our everyone, prior to student re-entry.

On Friday, March 5, all Vance County Schools staff will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Due to the vaccination schedule, VCS will delay the re-entry of students to the week of Monday, March 8. The only change to the re-entry is that students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, as well as all self-contained students will begin their re-entry the week of Monday, March 8 rather than March 4 and 5.

Thursday, March 4 will be a remote learning day as scheduled for all grades, with students logging in at their assigned times. Friday, March 5 will be an asynchronous learning day for all grades, allowing students to complete assignments in their online learning platform throughout the day.

We are grateful for this added layer of protection being afforded to our district and appreciate your understanding as we work to finish the 2020-2021 school year strong!



ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.  PLEASE REFER TO UPDATED STORY ABOVE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.

In just over a week, Vance County schools will once again have students in the building for face-to-face instruction, but adjusting to the “new normal” means some changes are in store for students and staff alike, according to Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson.

Jackson spoke with Town Talk host John C. Rose about the staggered re-entry of students, which begins March 4. Below is the schedule for students to return:

  • Mar. 4 – Students in PK, K and 1, and students in self-contained exceptional children’s classrooms
  • Mar. 15 – Students in grades 2, 3, 6 and 9
  • Mar. 22 – Students in grades 4, 5, 12 and 13
  • Mar. 29 – Students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 11

“If you look at it, we’re going very cautiously, so we can assess where we are, make adjustments and do what we need to do…to make sure we’re successful. If it can be done, it can be done here in Vance County,” he added. “We’ve been very cautious and we’re going to have a very orderly return to school.

Students will come to school two days a week – either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday, according to Aarika Sandlin, public information officer for the school district. There remains an option for students to continue to participate in remote learning only, she said. Families should receive more information from their children’s schools this week.

Audio of Dr. Jackson on TownTalk. Script continues below.

Jackson said an announcement is forthcoming on a vaccination schedule for teachers. There is a “high degree of angst,” among teachers, he said. “They shouldn’t have to choose between their health and doing what’s right for kids,” he said. In addition, a full-time testing site opened Monday at the Administrative Services Building on Graham Avenue. It is available for staff, students and the community. Testing is free and results will be available in 24 hours, he said.

“Anyone who believes they have been exposed, before they even go to the school,” can get tested, he said.

The district has implemented stringent protocols, he said, from daily temperature stations and misting machines that sanitize whole classrooms daily, along with the required mask-wearing and social distancing, all of which contribute to the protocol.  Students will eat meals in their classrooms instead of the cafeteria, he said, and hopefully outdoors when conditions are right.

“We feel really good about the rings of support that we have placed around getting our students back into the classroom,” Jackson said.

Students may spend part of the summer in classrooms as well, he said. Plans for a 6-week session during the summer are still in the works, he noted. He said he expects there to be some sort of summer session for “intervention or extension” for students.

“I don’t want to call it learning loss,” Jackson explained. “I think the only thing our kids have lost is time,” because of the pandemic. He said he chooses to look at a summer session as a way to give students more time to learn. They missed learning because of the pandemic, not because they didn’t understand.

“We’re going to have to learn how to operate in a new normal,” Jackson said. “What this has taught us is that we can do this and we can do it well, but we have to be very intentional and we have to be willing to make the shifts when necessary,” he added.

Jackson said he has a great team, both within the school system and in the larger community, who have worked together throughout the pandemic. “We know that if we’re going to beat this, we’re going to beat it together. We’re better, stronger and wiser together,” Jackson said.

Vance School Board 4-2 Vote and Plan B Starts March 4

The Vance County Board of Education met Monday, February 8 and voted for a staggered re-entry of students, which will begin on Thursday, March 4. This plan will allow for a mix of in-person and remote learning to be available for all grade levels, while also providing families wishing to remain fully remote the option to do so. 
The staggered re-entry schedule:

March 4: Pre-K, K and 1st grade students / All self-contained exceptional children in PreK through 12th grades;

March 15: Grades 2, 3, 6 and 9;

March 22: Grades 4, 5, 12 and 13;

March 29: Grades 7, 8, 10 and 11. 

Additional information on the plan will be coming from your child’s school next week. Our district is committed to safety and ensuring we meet the needs of all our students during this transition. Together we Win!

Dr. Anthony Jackson, Superintendent, shared a plan for re-entry, focusing on providing options for our families for face-to-face
learning.  …  No building would exceed 50% capacity on any given day.

Dr. Cindy Bennett, Assistant Superintendent, shared that in collaboration with Granville Vance Public Health, Vance County Schools will become a COVID testing site in the coming weeks. The test site will be a drive-thru site located at the Administrative Services Center, with results being returned in around 24 hours.

Dr. Jackson also shared that athletes are undergoing weekly testing. He reiterated that the district is working to ensure the safety of everyone.

Dr. Jackson also shared that eligible staff are able to work through the teleworking process, providing appropriate documentation to Human Resources.

The Board of Education voted to begin the staggered re-entry … by a vote of 4-2 with one abstaining.

(Information provided by Vance County Schools, Aarika Sandlin, public information officer.)

Vance County Schools Logo

Vance County Schools Earns 9 Blue Ribbon Awards, The Highest, For Communication

The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) has honored Vance County Schools for excellence in communications. Vance County Schools earned a total of nine Blue Ribbon Awards for outstanding and effective communication. NCSPRA presented the awards during a virtual ceremony on February 5, 2021.

A Blue Ribbon Award is the highest honor a school district can receive from NCSPRA. Vance County Schools received five Gold level awards for outstanding Marketing, Photography, Publications, Graphic Design and Electronic Media. The district was also recognized with one Silver level award in Electronic Media and three Bronze level awards for Special Events and Digital Media Engagement.

“It is an honor for Vance County Schools to be recognized at the state level for communications. We strive to keep our students, parents, staff and community informed,” said Aarika Sandlin, public information officer for Vance County Schools.

Ken Derksen, NCSPRA president and communications & public relations officer for Wayne County Public Schools, said the work of the award winners exemplifies the high standards and qualities members demonstrate in their daily school communications programs. “Blue Ribbon Awards are among the highest and most prestigious honors that a member of our organization can attain,” Derksen said. “I congratulate Vance County Schools for achieving this statewide recognition as a Blue Ribbon Award winner and for the superior work being accomplished in the area of school communications and public relations.”

NCSPRA recognizes outstanding communications through its Blue Ribbon Awards program each year. Vance County Schools was one of 41 school districts statewide to receive a Blue Ribbon Award.

During the Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt paid tribute to award winners and thanked all North Carolina school districts for their efforts to effectively communicate during difficult times. Truitt praised the districts and their communications teams for the powerful way they have responded to help parents, students, and staff during the COVID crisis. “You have conquered the digital landscape in order to meet the ever-changing demands of this pandemic,” Truitt shared in her video message. “You have mastered the use of social media channels, video messages, and email sending platforms, and you have remained vigilant in the face of an overwhelming demand for answers. Most importantly you all have been steadfast in your determination to ensure that questions posed by parents and teachers have received the answers they require and deserve.” Truitt called the work of the winners “exceptional,” and thanked them for their dedication and for helping to shape the communications landscape.

NCSPRA is a statewide professional organization serving more than 150 members. Its mission is to build support for public education through well-planned and responsible public relations. For more information, please visit the NCSPRA Facebook page or www.ncspra.org.

Vance County Schools Center For Innovation

Vance Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson shared his vision for the former Henderson Middle School campus recently with Vance County commissioners. The plan includes housing Vance Innovative Schools, as well as spaces for professional development and community use.

“We are excited about the impact this center will have for our staff, our students and in our community,” Jackson said in a written statement to WIZS. Originally unveiled to the school board in December 2020, Jackson shared the plan with commissioners at their Feb. 1 meeting.

Jackson predicts it will take $200,000 to replace the boiler in the main building and to make some cosmetic upgrades to other areas. That cost has been included in the district’s capital improvement budget; at this time, however, “we are not requesting any funding for the project from the county commissioners.”

The school opened in 1936; its last day as a middle school was in 2018, when the county’s two middle schools and two high schools were consolidated into one campus each. Vance County Middle School is located in the former Northern Vance High School. Since it ceased being a middle school, the former Henderson High School campus has housed several other school programs, but the new plan calls for a more comprehensive use of the space.

The building was in very good shape when the two middle schools consolidated, Jackson said, adding that the district had done a good job maintaining the building since then. Originally, the building was offered for sale, but with no immediate offers, Jackson said “instead of allowing it to fall into disrepair, we are using the space to meet district needs.”

Following is a list of specific programs and spaces that will be located in the building: (See map below)

  • STEM Early High School– providing a permanent home for the STEM School.  STEM is currently occupying space at Vance County High School serving 350 students.
  • Vance Virtual Village Academy–  office space and classroom space for testing and face-to-face meetings. V3A is currently serving more than 200 students.
  • Vance County Professional Practice Center– space for district professional development and training.
  • Wayne Adcock Community Auditorium– the auditorium will be used for our district fine arts programs and available to the community.
  • Advance Academy High School– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • Vance County Empowerment Academy– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • Vance County Evening Academy– currently located at the Charles Street location.
  • District TV Recording Studio– a new resource that is being fully funded by an anonymous gift to VCS.
  • Technology Assistance Center– currently located at the Charles Street location.

This slide prepared by Vance County Schools shows a mapped overview of the Center for Innovation as presently planned. It was presented to Vance County Commissioners at a regular meeting by Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson on February 1, 2021.

School Choices in Vance County and Granville County

Two local school districts have announced virtual events to share information with families about the variety of choices available for students in the 2021-22 school year. The Vance County Schools event is scheduled for Feb. 4; Granville County Public Schools will host a Choice Fair Saturday to showcase its school options.  (See both graphics at bottom of page.)

Vance County Schools Innovative School applications will be available beginning Monday, Feb. 1, said Aarika Sandlin, public information officer for Vance County Schools. Interested parents or students can download the application from the district website www.vcs.k12.nc.us. Printed copies also are available at the district office, located at 1724 Graham Avenue, Henderson. The virtual event is set for Thursday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. Interested participants can find information about how to attend by visiting the district social media sites or the district website, Sandlin said.

Completed applications are due no later than February 28 and should be returned to the district office, Sandlin said in a statement provided to WIZS.  February 28 is a Sunday, so applications should be returned to the district office no later than Friday, Feb. 26. Schools included in the Innovative Schools are EM Rollins STEAM Academy, STEM Early High, Vance County Early College and Advance Academy. The Vance Virtual Village Academy has an online application, Sandlin said, so those completed applications should be returned online no later than Feb. 28.

The Granville County Public Schools Showcase will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 30, according to Dr. Stan Winborne, Assistant Superintendent of Operations & Human Resources and public information officer for the district. “We invite the community to come and meet the administrators and staff,” Winborne said, giving individuals “an opportunity to explore, chat and ask any questions that you have to learn about the many choice programs our schools have to offer.” The virtual event will help families choose which program best meets their educational needs, he added.

Registration is required, Winborne said. Visit the GCPS website at www.gcs.k12.nc.us to find a link to the registration page.