Superintendent's Blog

  • Thank You to Our Arts Teachers, School Social Workers and Cafeteria Staff

    Posted by CHCCS on 3/22/2019 10:30:00 AM

    We’ve spent the month of March celebrating our Arts Teachers, School Social Workers and Cafeteria Staff.  I want to make sure everyone knows our district’s focus is on the Whole Child. At CHCCS, we do not just concentrate on the academics, but we also support the arts, healthy food choices, emotional support, and more.  Without these positive supports for the Whole Child, a student’s learning would suffer.

    The month of March celebrates those staff members who work to make sure the Whole Child is supported.  March is Music in Our Schools Month, Social Workers Month, National Nutrition Month and Youth Art Month.  Every CHCCS staff member who is associated with these pieces of education are important to teaching the Whole Child.  They are important to this district, their schools, their fellow staff, students, families and to me.

    Music Teachers have the incredible opportunity to help students discover music, to find their beat.  They introduce students to instruments, to read music, to realize their voice. Music Teachers help students explore music and where they can excel, stretching to help their students reach goals and try new things.  Music Teachers work and plan incredible concerts throughout the year for students to show their fellow students and their families what they’re learning and how they’re progressing. When you walk through the part of the school which carries music in its hallways, it’s always magical.

    Art Teachers help students explore all the many options they have to create.  Students learn to draw, sculpt, sketch, paint. There are so many mediums out there and to be able to share them with students, to help them find talent in art when others said they had none, that’s why Art Teachers teach.  All the bright colors, murals and sculptures decorating and resonating a school’s culture, those are there because we have such amazing art teachers. Art Teachers work with classroom teachers to create curriculum to work in tandem, conveying art to the academics.  The next time you’re in a school, don’t just walk down the halls, but actually stop and look around - you’ll be mesmerized by all the art on display.

    Performing Arts Teachers introduce students to all the stage has to offer, be it acting, singing, dancing, managing, sewing costumes, creating backgrounds and so much more.  At CHCCS, we are fortunate to not only have Performing Arts Teachers in our secondary schools, but also our elementary schools, allowing students to get an early start on what goes on in a stage production.  The level of the productions in our district is extraordinary. I encourage everyone to go to at least one performance, whether it’s at an elementary, middle or high school, you will think you’re at a Broadway Production.  The productions are just that fantastic.

    School Social Workers are responsible for so many things each day in our students’ lives.  They do whatever it takes for students. Whatever. It. Takes. They are ferocious advocates for students.  They help students fill whatever gaps may appear in their lives - in and out of school. If a student wants to go to summer camp and their family may not have the means to pay for it, the School Social Worker does whatever they can to find funding for that child.  If a student needs essential items for school, they get it for them, calling in as many favors as they can. If a family has a need, they turn to the School Social Worker - supporting not just our students, but our families. School Social Workers are devoted, knowing their extra efforts are all worth it when a child, who wasn’t able to afford glasses, can now see because they stepped in and helped bridge whatever chasm appeared before the family.

    Child Nutrition Staff work hard to make sure students - and anyone who eats in our cafes - have healthy, well-balanced meals.  Our Child Nutrition Department is always coming up with fun, new ways to make eating healthy a learning experience. In our schools, we have celebrated many things, including quinoa and locally grown produce.  Every year, Child Nutrition offers Thanksgiving lunches for students and families, as well as Bring a Guest to Lunch Day. Child Nutrition has gone into our schools and offered free samples of various things - smoothies, sandwiches, biscuits - and allowed students to voice their opinion on which they want to see in their school cafe.  Child Nutrition Staff have put a focus on the importance of breakfast and starting the day off with a healthy meal, changing where breakfast is served at schools, so students have the opportunity to purchase breakfast in the hallways before school starts versus having to go to the cafe - literally bringing healthy alternatives to the students.

    The importance of teaching the Whole Child can’t be understated.  At CHCCS, we endeavor to make sure we have these supports in place, working together, making sure all students have what they need to succeed in their day, creating good habits to carry them through life.  Please make sure you acknowledge all of these educators. Their teaching and support is invaluable. To those staff members, I thank you for all you do for the Whole Child. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

    Superintendent & Student

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  • Why We Support the Whole Child

    Posted by CHCCS on 3/15/2019 12:45:00 PM

    With the increase in rigor and requirements, it’s easy to understand how a student can get stressed out and fatigued at school.  When I came to CHCCS, I needed to make sure everyone knew I wanted classroom learning to be fun. I didn’t want learning to be rote and stagnant.  I love seeing how staff embraced this and ran with it, holding classes outside, offering opportunities for more discussions during class, watching students begin taking responsibility for their own learning - student choice and voice.  So the next step was even easier - making sure we educate the Whole Child. Offering students healthy - and tasty - food for both breakfast and lunch helps ensure a solid day of learning. If students don’t start the day off with a good meal, their learning definitely suffers.  If students have something they’re trying to work through emotionally, they need to know there’s someone they can turn to at school to listen and, more importantly, help them. If a student believes there is an obstacle between themselves and their creativity, they need to have opportunities to learn how they actually are creative, regardless of the cost of an instrument, art supplies or dancing shoes.  When students know there are those who work with them in their schools, they will definitely have a more enriched education.

    cafe staff

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  • Students Need the Opportunity to Discover

    Posted by CHCCS on 3/8/2019 11:30:00 AM

    As educators continue to study and discover more about how people learn, the way we teach is ever evolving.  A solid education now includes making sure students have a healthy learning environment. This means students receive the supports they need to excel in their educational journey.  And we, as a district, must not only figure out exactly what each child needs, but how best to provide it. We have amazing arts programs at our elementary schools to make sure students are introduced to all the different forms of art education before going on to secondary schools.  This gives students an opportunity to discover their creativity within. We also offer emotional support to students, like school social workers who help ensure students - and their families - receive what they need in order to excel at school. Because supporting the Whole Child is so important to CHCCS, we made it our main priority in the 2018-21 Strategic Plan.  We are committed to finding ways to support the Whole Child from professional development with staff to systems of support for students. We want to make sure all students are empowered, inspired and engaged.

    CHS Band

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  • School Social Workers Week, March 2-8

    Posted by CHCCS on 3/6/2019 4:15:00 PM

    March celebrates Social Workers and the week of March 4-8 is for School Social Workers specifically.  Please take the time to thank your School Social Worker, to acknowledge their efforts, to recognize all they do.  For all the things School Social Workers do, let me tell you who they are.  They are humble, giving and patient. They are dedicated to helping everyone around them.  They are problem solvers. They are role models.

    Our School Social Workers work tirelessly throughout the year, helping not just students and families, but staff members, too.  They support their entire school community, working with district teams and outside organizations to make sure everyone receives the help they need.  

    School Social Workers are the ribbon tying together all the other student support measures in our schools.  Just to highlight a few of their many efforts: a student has food insecurity . . . the School Social Worker steps in to help make sure they get the nutrition they need; a student needs counseling . . . the School Social Worker intercedes; a family has questions about how to navigate their child’s education . . . here comes the School Social Worker with the guidance.

    I can almost guarantee they are one of the loudest cheerleaders you’ll find in your school - supporting everyone around them.  So know CHCCS supports you, our School Social Workers, this week and every week. You have our deepest gratitude.

    School Social Worker Week

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  • Why Do We Concentrate on the Whole Child?

    Posted by CHCCS on 3/1/2019 3:30:00 PM

    Our current district strategic plan is designed to focus on the Whole Child.  While we are still teaching students all the necessary academic curriculum, CHCCS is also looking at a student’s involvement in the arts and what supports a student needs past the academic - teaching beyond what may be seen in a classroom.  During the month of March, schools across the country will celebrate Music in Our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month, Social Work Month and Youth Art Month - all of these opportunities to celebrate arts and support and educate the Whole Child.  A well rounded student is one who has, not only a quality education, but the opportunity to learn about the arts and express themselves creatively, whether it be music, art, dance or design, just to name a few. A healthy diet is important to learning, concentration and cognition.  And in order to be a well rounded student, schools need to make sure they have support systems in place, like school social workers, school nurses, school psychologists, and the list goes on. As we continue to work on our Strategic Plan, our concentration on our students as a Whole Child makes everything about CHCCS stronger.

    CES Mary Poppins Production

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  • Help Increase Others’ Value

    Posted by CHCCS on 2/22/2019 12:30:00 PM

    One of the things we teach in our schools every day, which isn’t part of any curriculum, is everyone is valuable.  The student beside you on the bus, in the class, in the halls or in the cafeteria is worth as much as you are. We help children understand value isn’t based on gender, race, where you live or what you have.  Our hope is by ensuring children learn this early on, they won’t forget it as they grow older. It’s on us, as adults, to make sure we show others we value everyone, too. If we start to value one person less than someone else, we run the risk of children learning that lesson instead.

    CHCCS is a generous community where Chapel Hill and Carrboro welcome everyone, creating a place where we support one another.  I’ve said before how impressive it is when there is a call for assistance in our community, everyone comes together to help whoever needs it.  This is a community which gives back and always puts the needs of students first. We all agree on this point.

    In our district, we should be willing to embrace each other throughout the year, too.  Nothing can be accomplished unless we’re all willing to respectfully listen to and work with people on all sides of an issue.  Which is nothing less than we expect from our children.

    As we go through our day, if we keep the value of the person we’re talking with at the center of our discussion, all interactions will be better, healthier.  Every person, no matter their age, is dealing with something in their life. Sometimes we get so bogged down in our own doubts and problems, we don’t realize we’re taking that out on those around us.  I know people aren’t purposefully rude or disrespectful, but when someone starts off with a positive attitude, it spreads to others - which is the kind of leadership I appreciate.

    I want CHCCS to continue to see the value of everyone in our community.  I want people to remember value doesn’t come from a side of a discussion, a bank account or where they were raised.  Everyone contributes to this beautifully diverse school community. We value everyone and should be examples for each other and our nation.  Let’s lead the way!

    Superintendent & Students

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  • Show R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Everyon

    Posted by CHCCS on 2/15/2019 11:30:00 AM

    Everyone in our lives, whether or not we always agree with each other, deserves our respect.  It’s easy to applaud those around us who share our beliefs, but we should make a point of embracing everyone, regardless of whether we agree on everything.  Showing patience and kindness in the face of someone with an opposing view is more difficult than pushing someone who challenges you back. We need to understand the level of commitment someone has to an issue - especially when your opinions differ - is just as important to that person as your opinion is to you.  Respecting everyone around you shouldn’t be a concept, it should be something you do. Listening to all sides with an open mind helps us make informed decisions. So the next time you have the opportunity to either keep someone down or help them up, please extend a hand, as you never know when you’ll need a hand up.  And please know my hands are always open to everyone in our community.

    CHS students & principal

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  • NC School Bus Driver Appreciation Week, Feb. 11-15

    Posted by CHCCS on 2/14/2019 3:05:00 PM

    For most students, the day starts and ends on one of our big, yellow school buses with a Bus Driver being the first person from CHCCS to greet students at the beginning and the last smile they see at the end of their school day.

    Being a Bus Driver is more than taking students to and from school.  Bus Drivers are among the first staff members to arrive at work. Before a driver can even take the bus out to pick up students, he/she must make sure the bus is safe, clean and ready to transport students.  Once students are on board the bus, drivers are responsible for ensuring their safety - inside and out. Bus Drivers must know a myriad of transportation laws and rules to operate their buses safely.

    That’s what they have to know - Bus Drivers know so much more, which can only come from the heart.  They know the names of all the students on their buses. Bus Drivers know how to make a scared child feel welcome and protected.  Bus Drivers are patient and recognize each student deserves kindness.

    We all know Bus Drivers are cool.  Have you ever seen a bus driver get a high five or a hug from every student who gets on their bus?  It’s heartwarming to see the connections between drivers and students. Bus Drivers help students build character.  They mediate any disagreements on their buses and assist students as needed. On a daily basis, Bus Drivers support students.

    I really want to say, on behalf of the district, how much CHCCS appreciates all of our Bus Drivers for everything they do each day.  Bus Drivers do more than drive. Like everyone in education they do their job for the kids. Thank you for your dedication, patience and loyalty.  Thank you for taking care of each student entrusted to you. We truly appreciate all of you.

    Love the Bus

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  • Work Together and Help Another in Need

    Posted by CHCCS on 2/8/2019 1:30:00 PM

    As the saying goes, we are able to only control our own actions and not the actions of others, but we can show others through our good example.  Everyone makes difficult decisions, but it’s important to remember when you’re faced with a challenge, those around you see not only what you decide to do, but your reaction to the problem.  By remembering each person has value and embracing one another, what may have been a big weight can actually be a shared path, lessening everyone’s burden by working together. All of us have different views, backgrounds, opinions, upbringing and cultures.  Any differences we may or may not have should not hinder us from getting along. Differences do not mean we cannot work together or help one another. Sharing our differing views is actually what makes us stronger, makes our district stronger. Working together is what makes us Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

    PMS & ECHHS orchestra students

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  • School Counselors Set a Foundation to Ensure Our Students’ Success through Life

    Posted by CHCCS on 2/6/2019 4:15:00 PM

    There are so many people who work at our schools and support students every day.  School Counselors are critical to our work.

    School counselors help students - and families - navigate their way through . . . everything.  “Who you gonna call” at schools usually starts with the school counselor. If a student has a question or a parent wants to know what educational opportunities are available for their student, the first person they reach out to is the school counselor.  And we all know school counselors do more than just make sure a student signs up for the right classes. Among the numerous things School Counselors do, they help students with their academics and help them grow emotionally and socially. They also help students build and forge new relationships.  School Counselors serve as the bridge between levels, helping students prepare to move from elementary to middle school and then on to high school and beyond. School counselors support students with all of their questions, regardless of what the question may be. School counselors are the sherpas of our schools.

    This week is National School Counseling Week and was created to help everyone know the impact school counselors have on helping students and this year’s theme is “School Counselors: Providing Lessons for Life.”  On behalf of all of CHCCS, I want to thank our School Counselors for all they do for our students. While we all know their job isn’t easy and the amount of knowledge they have to know is vast, we also know School Counselors play a key role in making sure each student walks across a stage and receives a diploma.  We know School Counselors are pivotal in a student’s exploration. We know their level of dedication is boundless and the pride they have for their students is immense. We know they seem to be tireless. Thank you for all of this and more. Thank you for being an ambassador between families and your school. Thank you for guiding our students.  Thank you for making the children your own. Thank you.

     

    Happy National School Counseling Week

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