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District Announcements
Debra Rook Named Edenton-Chowan Schools Teacher of the Year
Debra Rook, an eighth grade Language Arts Teacher and Teacher of the Year at Chowan Middle School has been awarded the honor of 2014-2015 Edenton-Chowan Schools Teacher of the Year.  Representing Edenton-Chowan Schools, Rook will advance to regional competition as part of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program.  Rook has been teaching for 12 years, five of those years have been at Chowan Middle School.

“Mrs. Rook’s students are taught to use a wealth of critical thinking skills, advanced communication skills, and high-level technology applications in her daily lessons,” said Tanya Turner, Principal of Chowan Middle School.  “She integrates global awareness through the units of literature she teaches by strategically weaving in informational text that contains current and past news articles, biographies, and primary documents.  She strives to challenge all children to achieve maximum growth by planning her lessons with the goal of meeting individual students’ needs.”

Rook is a graduate of John Brown University where she earned a B.S. Ed. in English/English as a Second Language.  She is currently completing a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults through Vermont College of Fine Arts.

“I push myself to reach and try and change and grow so that my passion thrives for what and how I teach,” said Rook.  “Teaching is igniting the torch of inspiration in students, but it also confers the responsibility of seeking sources of inspiration so a lesson, video, poem or novel inspires others. Teaching is examining closely the details of a child’s heart and mind, but it is also broadly accessing a whole class, school and community to find resources that connect and support individuals,” she added.

The North Carolina Teacher of the Year program provides an opportunity to honor and recognize exemplary teachers in the state and to call attention to the importance of the teaching profession.  The North Carolina Teacher of the Year program is affiliated with the National Teacher of the Year Program presented by the ING Foundation, a project of the Council of the Chief State Officers of Schools.

State Urges Families to Update Emergency Plans as Part of Back-to-School Preparations

As summer winds down and back-to-school preparations gear up, state emergency management officials are reminding families that now is a good time to update their emergency plans. 
North Carolina Emergency Management asks parents, teachers and students who are returning to school this month to make a plan, get prepared and stay informed so they are ready for any type of emergency.

“Emergencies can occur any time, any day, any place – even at school,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Be sure your family has discussed what you need to do during all types of emergencies and how to stay in touch. And if you haven’t already, create or update your emergency supplies kit.”

While hurricanes are the most prominent weather threat in North Carolina during late August and September, floods, tornadoes and even hazardous materials spills are also possibilities, Sprayberry said.  The best way to be ready, he advised, is to be prepared.

“Parents, talk with your children about what they should do if severe weather threatens while they are in school. Know your child’s school’s emergency plan. And be sure your child knows how to get in touch with you,” Sprayberry said.

Other tips for back-to-school emergency planning for parents of school-aged children are:
  • Create an emergency plan that contains phone numbers, ways to communicate with one another and where to meet if separated during an emergency;
  • Make a card for your child(ren) to put in their backpack with all of the family’s emergency contact information;
  • Know the emergency plan(s) for your child’s school or child care center;
  • Learn where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours;
  • Find out school release policies for severe weather and/or other emergencies, and ask how you will be contacted should an emergency occur at the school;
  • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your child(ren) in case of an emergency;
  • Make sure the school and your child(ren) know who the emergency contact is; and
  • Update your emergency contact information at the beginning of each school year.
Many college campuses offer desktop, phone, email and text messages to alert students of potential dangers, such as severe weather and other threats. College students can sign-up for such alerts at little to no charge.    

“Emergency planning and readiness begins at home,” Sprayberry said. “Knowing what to do and where to go can reassure parents about the children’s safety, and ultimately, save lives.”
For more information about how to get ready for a hurricane and what to do during or after a storm, go to ReadyNC.org. You can also download the free ReadyNC app – available for both iPhone and android devices – which has real time weather, traffic and shelter information.
Lassiter Earns Technology Certifications

Dr. Vann Lassiter, Instructional Technology Coordinator with Edenton-Chowan Schools, has recently earned several new technology certifications that he will use in his role assisting teachers with the integration of technology and class instruction.  Lassiter now holds credentials as a Graphite Certified Education, a Google Education Trainer, and a Certified Symbaloo Education Trainer.

As a Graphite Certified Educator, Lassiter can "test" or "review" technology resources - games, websites, and apps - and provide reviews and best practice techniques for other teachers to read and learn. This group is composed of educators who are deeply knowledgeable about and actively using a range of technologies with students.   With this certification, Lassiter has the opportunity to be part of an extraordinary community of educators who are knowledgeable about technology and teaching and who can support efforts to integrate technology in schools. 

As a Google Education Certified Trainer, Lassiter will be providing professional development and support to teachers and staff in the Edenton-Chowan Schools using Google Education tools.

As a Certified Symbaloo Education Trainer, Lassiter will promote using SymbalooEDU efficiently and effectively in the classroom.  Symbaloo is a digital resource management tool that works in conjunction with various web 2.0 tools that are used by teachers in the school system.

Finance Department Receives Financial Resource Management Award

Edenton-Chowan Schools Finance Department received recognition from the North Carolina State Board of Education on July 24, 2014 for excellence in management of the North Carolina State Public School fund for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  The North Carolina State Board of Education Achievement in Financial Resource Management Award recognizes school systems who have shown effective cash management and use of state funds, and accurate and timely financial reporting. The school system’s finance department has received this recognition and honor since the State Board began the program - now for the 11th consecutive year.  Congratulations Finance Officer Emma Berry, Sheila May, Jean Hollowell, and April Bass for a job well done!
White Oak Elementary School Teacher of the Year

Tracy Faircloth, a second grade teacher at White Oak Elementary School has been named by her peers as White Oak Elementary School's 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Faircloth has been an elementary teacher for 19 years. She began teaching at White Oak Elementary School in 2005. She is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Mrs. Faircloth is a trained teacher mentor and serves as a support coach for beginning teachers at her school. Mrs. Faircloth uses strong instructional strategies which promote academic excellence for all students. She is a strong advocate for her children and works extremely hard to make certain every child is successful.
White Oak Elementary School Instructional Assistant of the Year

Dana Casper has been selected as the 2014-2015 Instructional Assistant of the Year at White Oak Elementary School. Ms. Casper began her employment at White Oak in 2012 where she has served as an instructional assistant in the school’s Pre-Kindergarten program.  She earned a Bachelors Degree from Chowan University in Humanities. Ms. Casper is a “true go-getter” and is willing to do anything for the benefit of the children. She organized a bake sale to raise money to purchase books for the Pre-Kindergarten students to take home over the summer. Ms. Casper is an active participant in school events and goes above and beyond for the children she serves on a daily basis. 
D.F. Walker Elementary Teacher of the Year

Rachel Byrum, a fourth grade teacher at D.F. Walker Elementary School has been named by her colleagues as the schools' 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Byrum began working for the Edenton-Chowan School System as a teacher in 2007.  She holds a Bachelors Degree from Elizabeth City State University and she completed her teaching certification at East Carolina University. Mrs. Byrum serves as a trained mentor for beginning teachers and she is currently a teacher-representative on the D.F. Walker PTA board. In addition, she also serves as co-chair for the school’s parent education committee and fourth grade team. She is known for being an advocate for her students and holding them to high academic standards in the classroom.
D.F. Walker Elementary Instructional Assistant of the Year

Kristy Morton Bunch was named by the faculty and staff as the 2014-2015 Instructional Assistant of the Year for D.F. Walker Elementary School. In her role, she facilitates the informational literacy classes during the cultural arts block. She began working with the Edenton-Chowan Schools as a substitute teacher in 2010 and was hired as an instructional assistant in 2012. Mrs. Bunch is currently working toward completing a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education so she can fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a teacher. Mrs. Bunch is described as a dedicated professional who goes above and beyond the call of duty in her role.
Chowan Middle School Teacher of the Year

Debra Rook, a Language Arts Teacher at Chowan Middle School has been named by her peers as the school’s 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Rook began teaching at Chowan Middle School in 2007. She left in 2010 to pursue literary opportunities and returned to teach in 2012.   She holds a Bachelors Degree in English Education from John Brown University in Arkansas. Mrs. Rook is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and she has mentored candidates seeking National Board Certification. Mrs. Rook coached Chowan Middle Schools’ first-ever Quiz Bowl team to national competition in Atlanta this year and worked to secure funds to make the trip happen at no cost to students. She also coordinated the school’s yearbook program. Mrs. Rook is also instrumental for bringing in authors to work with students in writing workshops and in writing curriculum questions for school assessments. She has presented at several state middle school conferences and writing conferences. She is an outstanding teacher who cares about her students, school, and community. 
Chowan Middle School Instructional Assistant of the Year

Sidney Lassiter, an instructional assistant at Chowan Middle School was named Instructional Assistant of the Year by the faculty and staff. Mr. Lassiter has been employed with the Edenton-Chowan School System since 1997 where he has served at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He attended Elizabeth City State University where he majored in English and earned an Associate Degree from College of the Albemarle. Mr. Lassiter is known for caring for students in his school. He not only interacts with the students he is assigned, but with the entire student body. He is described as a mentor and instructional assistant doing whatever he is called upon to do with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He volunteers annually to help with summer programs and he wants to help make our young people the best they can be. He is a true role model for the students. 
John A. Holmes High School Instructional Assistant of the Year

Francine Bazemore, an instructional assistant who works with the Exceptional Children’s Program was named the 2014-2015 Instructional Assistant of the Year for John A. Holmes High School. Mrs. Bazemore earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from College of the Albemarle. She began working for the Edenton-Chowan Schools as an assistant in 2005. Mrs. Bazemore serves students in the Life Skills program. She is known for her patience and compassion and her care and concern for the students she works with is evident every day. Mrs. Bazemore assists students with their daily instruction.   She is an asset to the school and the students she serves. 
John A. Holmes High School Teacher of the Year

Carolynn O’Kelley, a music education and theater arts teacher at John A. Holmes High School was chosen by the faculty and staff to represent the school as the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. O’Kelley began teaching at John A. Holmes High School in 2011. She is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Mrs. O'Kelley has an excellent rapport with her students and she strives to instill a passion for music and the performing arts in all her lessons and students she teaches. She holds her students to high academic standards and expectations. Mrs. O’Kelley leads the John A. Holmes Concert Choir as they perform at various community events and venues. Her theater arts students perform a play each spring that is open to students in other schools and community members. 
Teachers Selected to Serve on Governor's Teacher Network

Two teachers in the Edenton-Chowan School System have been selected to participate in the Governor's Teacher Network. Debra Rook a Language Arts teacher at Chowan Middle School and Jennifer Cranford, a third grade teacher at D.F. Walker Elementary were selected from approximately 450 outstanding teachers from across North Carolina  to serve for one year as content experts and professional development creators/facilitators.

Governor Pat McCrory, in partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) established the Governor's Teacher Network (GTN) to recognize and reward teachers who can help advance Race to the Top (RttT)-funded educational remodeling efforts across the state.  GTN teachers remain in their current roles but will also be trained in depth on the State's Race to the Top-funded work in one of two Homebase related "pathways".  GTN teachers will then develop projects designed to spread understanding and use of new resources and practices in their schools and districts. GTN teachers were selected through a rigorous application process; will receive specialized federally funded training related to their projects, and support from NCDPI staff over the course of the year. The teachers will also be paid a stipend for their work, which will be accomplished from summer 2014 through spring 2015.
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