Superintendent's Blog

  • Never Stop Learning, Class of 2019

    Posted by CHCCS on 6/14/2019 11:05:00 AM

    As we prepare to celebrate another day filled with hopeful seniors graduating from our district and moving on to new adventures, I want to give you the secret key to being successful . . . just between you and me.  Always keep learning. Yep. Be lifelong learners and you will be incredibly successful, each and every one of you.

    I know, you’ve spent the last 13 years learning and you just want to take a break.  Go ahead, relax and get ready for your new journey. You’ve earned some down time. But remember my words: Never ever stop learning.

    You have so many more options now to help you continue to learn.  If you don’t know something, we all know we can search online and find helpful videos, websites, web articles or webinars to help us learn what to do.  You have online resources, many of them free, to help us to learn whatever we want. But you have more than just online assistance. We have people in our community who would love to share their knowledge about a craft and help you hone your skills.  Don’t think anything is beyond your reach. Never ever give up.

    When I say you should be a lifelong learner, I’m not suggesting you go from undergraduate school to grad school to earning a doctorate, or that you even have to go to college.  We all have our own paths to follow. No, I’m saying don’t close your mind off and think you’ve learned all you can. Don’t think your brain has reached its saturation point. Don’t think you just can’t learn anything more than you already know.  Don’t be that person. Don’t be satisfied with being stagnant. Keep your curiosity. Keep your mind open. Keep reaching for more knowledge. For some reason, learning for yourself is always more meaningful than learning for someone else. Now you have the opportunity to learn what you want to learn.  Never ever let your dreams go.

    For our Seniors:  Thank you for all your hard work.  Thank you for taking your education in CHCCS seriously.  Thank you for reminding us why we went into education - the goal of seeing each and every one of you walk across the stage, get your diploma and set of for a new chapter.  Please make sure you come back and visit. We want to celebrate your successes, too! Never ever lose your curiosity. Never ever settle. Always go for the next thing, the next goal, the next rise on your path.  Life is so much more, so make sure you go out and experience it all.

    On behalf of CHCCS, let me tell you how proud we are of all of you and what you’ve all accomplished.  We have watched over the years as your faces smile with wonder when those understandings dawn and knowledge has been gained.  Take all you’ve learned and are looking forward to learning and share it with the world. After all, it’s waiting just for you.

    Congratulations Class of 2019!

    2018 CHS Graduation

    2018 CHHS Graduation

    2018 ECHHS Graduation

    2018 PAHS Graduation

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  • Read, Read, Read

    Posted by CHCCS on 6/7/2019 12:45:00 PM

    Sure, it’s almost summer and everyone’s ready to leave school behind for the next 10 weeks.  While it’s important for us all to find some time to rest and relax and get ready for the next school year, I think it’s also important to stress that we all need to continue to read during the summer.  By now, most people have heard of Summer Reading Loss - the dreaded Summer Slump - and its effect on students. A simple Google search can reveal all the different statistics to show what happens when students don’t spend consistent time reading during the moment when the last bell rings in June and school starts again in August.

    What it really means is if students don’t spend time reading during the summer, they can start the new school year behind where they were when the previous school year ended.  There is also the time spent in the new year, bringing students back up to where they were, so they start a new school year already behind. If reading each day changes this statistic and gives your student the boost they need, I promise it is worth it and you and your student will enjoy your daily reading time.

    Reading every day doesn’t mean you have to buy books, or even use books - there are many (free) e-book options available.  As a community, we are lucky we have many resources to help with reading. Our fabulous local public libraries - Chapel Hill Public Library and Orange County Libraries - offer free library cards and many free events throughout the summer, not to mention all the many, many books just waiting to be checked out and explored.

    Reading doesn’t have to mean time spent by yourself, either.  Consider reading to others. Make it a point to read together as a family every day, taking turns picking out books.  Students, offer to read to your siblings. I know every child’s imagination is even more vivid than any high def screen they may use, so start an adventure together.  Go into our community and volunteer to read to others, which is nothing but a win-win for all involved.

    Research and create Summer Reading Lists for your whole family and let your children include books of their own choosing on their lists.  Make sure any lists include the “have to” be read and books to be read for fun. Honestly, I can’t wait to get to my Summer Reading List and I’ll be reading both for my own pleasure and for my continuing education.   Here are just a few titles on my list: “The Listening Leader” by Shane Safir; rereading “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates; “Wonder Woman Unbound” by Tim Hanley; and “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.  Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated on my list throughout the summer!

    I’m confident just by reading every day, our students will come back in August, more prepared, more ready to take on the next school year.  Just like all muscles, our brains need to have their workouts! So find a book and start turning the pages!

    Superintendent Pam Baldwin

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  • Continue to Work Hard

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/31/2019 11:30:00 AM

    We’re down to the last few weeks of school, CHCCS.  We have dedicated the past year to our students and making sure they have the opportunity to learn each and every day.  We know learning is more than reading something on a chalkboard and having students recite it back. We know learning is a journey with moments of fun sprinkled into the lessons.  We know the importance of curiosity and questioning. We know no student learns the same as another.

    We launched our Strategic Plan 2018-21 in the fall and have built on it throughout the year.  Our theme of empower, inspire and engage has shone through in all areas of learning in CHCCS. The four pieces of the Plan - Student Success, Employee Experience, Family and Community Engagement, and Organizational Effectiveness - have driven district decisions.  We know these four dynamics, working together, are what make our district unique. We know by focusing on these four areas, we are strengthening our students, staff, families and community.

    At our Convocation in August, we heard from several educators, all there to set the tone to empower, inspire and encourage everyone in 2018-19.  They all challenged the way we look at our schools, our teachers, our students, ourselves. Now it’s time to look at what we have done this year.  Have we made a difference? I’m not just talking to our teachers - I’m talking to CHCCS as a whole. When each of us does our part, CHCCS succeeds.  No job is too small, no person is unimportant. We all work together to make sure students flourish - students, support staff, teachers, administrators, families and community members.  We are the gears that turn together to keep the learning going.

    As the end of the year gets closer, don’t slow your pace.  Keep striving. Keep doing. Keep learning. Keep reaching.  Just because we can see the finish line doesn’t mean we should start letting things slide.  Now is when it’s most important to maintain our pace and to continue to go all out. We need to finish 2018-19 the way we began it:  Strong.

    So persevere, CHCCS. I know we can reach the educational goals we set for ourselves.

    Superintendent in classroom

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  • Memorial Day, May 27

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/24/2019 2:30:00 PM

    Memorial Day is one of those days set aside each year for us, as a country, to reflect on those who have fallen in our defense.  This is not a day to be sad as we mourn those brave men and women. This is a day to celebrate their love of country which led them to stand on the front lines and fight for our country.  This is a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and died to keep us safe. This is a day to reach out in our community and find a way to help. Look into volunteering to place flags or flowers on veterans’ graves.  Volunteer in our community and give back to those veterans who are still living. Find a way to make Memorial Day more than a day off. If you give just an hour or two, you’ll be part of our nation’s living history.

    US flag

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  • Learning Continues Across CHCCS

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/17/2019 12:15:00 PM

    Some things always seem more difficult than others.  The end of a school year invariably looms out in front of us as we prepare for the last grades of the quarter and state testing.  Instead of looking at this time as something to worry about, try looking at it as something you’ve spent the last 150 days preparing for.  I know our educators are secure in the fact that they’ve prepared their students. As I continue to visit schools and classrooms, I see all the learning happening across the district and I’m confident in what our students know.  We are ready and we will end 2018-19 with a lot to celebrate.

    PLTW students

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  • May is Fitness Month

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/15/2019 9:00:00 AM

    May is National Physical Fitness Month and the perfect time for us as a district to acknowledge our Physical Education and Healthful Living Teachers.  These teachers really are the ones who keep their schools energized. They have committed themselves to showing students how to live a happy and healthy lifestyle - and not just in their classrooms or schools, but in every aspect of students’ lives.  If you spend any time with our PE and Healthful Living Teachers, their enthusiasm will rub off on you. When it comes to student health, they are relentless. Helping students make the connection between being active and healthy to effective learning is what PE and Healthful Living Teachers do.  They also love to show students how being active and eating healthy can be fun, which is difficult to do in our technology driven lifestyles. Please join me in thanking our PE and Healthful Living Teachers for their determination to help us all understand the importance of being active. Thank them for helping everyone to put aside their screens and to get up and moving.  Thank them for looking out for our health, even when we don’t do it ourselves. Thank you for your level of caring. We know you do it all out of love and respect for our students and us. Please continue to keep us moving.

    PE teacher & class

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  • Be Proud of Your Accomplishments in 2018-19

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/10/2019 1:45:00 PM

    This time of year can be full of stress for students, families and staff at schools.  If you feel yourself struggling, please remember all you have to do is ask for help and you’ll find it.  You don’t have to carry all that worry by yourself. As the end of the year gets closer, I know we will be proud of all we’ve accomplished in 2018-19.  CHCCS students have learned so many new things in their classes, making amazing discoveries with their teachers. Teachers have shared their wealth of knowledge with another cohort of students, helping them realize there’s more to learning than rote facts.  I know we’ll continue to work and reflect on the year right through June 14 and beyond.

    Career Day at SMS


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  • School Nurse Day, May 8

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/8/2019 10:00:00 AM

    On May 8 we celebrate School Nurse Day.  In CHCCS we are lucky to have a School Nurse at all of our schools.  This allows nurses to know their students, their community - which is so important.  School Nurses do more than hand out medicine and put on band aides. Their role in schools is much more complex and School Nurses are part of the team in our schools dedicated to the whole child.  School Nurses are also educators - they make sure everyone in their school knows how to respond to emergencies, how to handle food allergies, how to help someone in crisis, how to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Our schools are safer, happier places thanks to our School Nurses. They help provide the stable environment so many of our students need throughout the day. Today’s the day when we get to publicly acknowledge our School Nurses for the incredible job they do for students and staff every day.  So let’s all put our hands together and give our School Nurses the applause they deserve. From across the district, we say thank you for all you do for CHCCS!

    school nurse day

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  • National Teacher Day, May 7

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/7/2019 8:00:00 AM

    How do you say Thank You to a teacher?  We all know they don’t do what they do each and every day for the money - their drive is children.  We know teachers aren’t in it for the glamour - unless you count the glitter that falls from the projects they do with their students.  We know teachers aren’t coming in each day to get recognition - they live for the notes left by students letting teachers know how they made the student’s day special.  As a teacher and educator, I know it’s not the usual things that motivate us. Teachers are teachers because they love what they do. Teachers are teachers because they are dedicated to helping students learn.  Teachers are teachers because they want to see a student’s progress from the beginning of school to the end. Teachers are teachers because there are only so many jobs where a good day’s work is rewarded with the smile of a child.  How often do former employees go back to the office and thank a boss they had five, ten, twenty years ago? Yet teachers have former students come by every year to thank them and let them know what a positive influence they had on their lives.  Students return to let teachers know what they’ve made of themselves. Students return because they have become teachers themselves. For all of these reasons and so many more, teachers return to their classrooms in August. Teaching is a calling and it’s not for the faint of heart.  It takes strength to spend the day teaching twenty-some elementary students. It takes determination to face a class of middle schoolers. It takes courage to lead a discussion in a high school class.

    I spend a lot of days visiting classrooms across the district and I’m always impressed with the level of professionalism, collaboration and education happening.  I’m so proud to see students actively learning and participating. I’m so proud of the level of education teachers bring to students every day - no exceptions.

    Maybe the best way to say Thank You to our teachers is to just say those two simple words:  Thank You. Let me be the first to say them, heartfelt and full of appreciation. I know I speak for all of CHCCS when I say Thank You.  For all you do, for who you are, for what you bring into the classroom. Thank you.

    thank you so much

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  • Be Prepared and You’ll Be Ready

    Posted by CHCCS on 5/3/2019 11:45:00 AM

    Well, here we are in May already.  We’re left with just one full month of school remaining.  And so much to fit into these next weeks. As we get ready to begin testing, I want to remind everyone the importance of being prepared.  Everyone has worked hard all year and I am so proud of you. The end-of-year events are another opportunity for you to show all the great stuff you’ve learned all year.  You know your stuff - just think about all you’ve learned this school year. I know you’ve got this and are ready for the end of the year.

    student with book

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