Disability History and Awareness MonthPosted by CHCCS on 10/18/2019 10:45:00 AM
As a leader, it’s always interesting to look back and see all the changes made to education since becoming a teacher. One of the changes is how we serve our most fragile students. October is Disability History and Awareness Month, giving us all the opportunity to learn more about our students with disabilities. For those who may not know, this month was established in 2007 by a Senate Bill. There are online resources, showing the timeline to learn about the history. It’s important to continue to educate all members of our community, to help families learn where to turn for resources and how to navigate and advocate for their children with disabilities. I want to take this time to thank our dedicated EC staff who encourage, strengthen and foster positive learning environments for their students every day. Having educators like you in our classrooms, committed to helping students learn, is why our district thrives.
National Bullying Prevention MonthPosted by CHCCS on 10/11/2019 1:30:00 PM
One of my favorite things about CHCCS is the passion our students show when getting behind something they believe in wholeheartedly. One of those things is bullying prevention and we have student leaders in all of our schools helping to make their peers aware of the consequences of bullying. With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, it’s a chance for students to really showcase all they do to stop bullying in their schools. Among the things planned for this month, every CHCCS school participated in “Start with Hello” Week, developed by the Sandy Hook Promise, using simple strategies for students to reach out and share activities. I am so proud of how hard our student ambassadors work to help other students understand the importance of reaching out to other students who may feel isolated or lonely, of the power of just saying “Hello” to someone not in their friendship circle, of getting out of their comfort zone to make sure they connect to someone who needs to feel accepted. There are many leaders in our schools and I am proud so many leaders are our students.
Leadership Comes from All LevelsPosted by CHCCS on 10/4/2019 11:25:00 AM
Among other things, October is National Principals Month. While this allows us to acknowledge everything our principals do - and it is a lot - it also allows us all to pause and think about our education leaders and their dedication to the work, to look at where principals and other education leaders come from. In our district, more than 73% of our teachers have 10+ years of experience, with the state average being about 57%. This means we have teacher leaders from the classroom to the principal’s office, which is very important. Our principals and district administrators want to encourage and build upon educational leaders in our schools. Having leaders throughout the school helps our students’ educational experience be the best, which is always the ultimate goal.
2018-19 CHCCS Principal of the Year, Emily Bivins
Our Work Continues as We Start a New School YearPosted by CHCCS on 8/23/2019 2:00:00 PM
As the days of summer speed by, we are looking at the beginning of a brand new school year! For me, I find myself anxiously awaiting the First Day of School and as the day gets closer, my anticipation grows. After all, a new year offers new beginnings.
There are many new things this year, but our work continues in many ways. We’re entering our second year in our Strategic Plan. Among other things, please be sure to check out our Strategic Plan website, as well as its dashboard, which will keep our community updated on our progress. Our Strategic Plan has four goals - Student Success, Family and Community Engagement, Employee Experience, and Organizational Effectiveness. As we work towards succeeding in all our goals, we also continue to empower, inspire and engage all students, staff, families and community members.
I would like to welcome all our new families and staff to CHCCS. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we have an incredible community and we frequently look to one another for support. It is only by working together we can make sure all students reach their potential. Be sure to get involved in your student’s school and our community. If you’re unsure what needs done, check out our Volunteer Office.
As a family, please make sure you empower, inspire and encourage your student and one another every day. Be involved in your student’s daily learning - for example, you can ask your child what they most enjoyed about their school day or what was the favorite thing they learned. It’s important to let your student know you have confidence in them, their school and their teacher. Don’t be afraid to contact teachers or school administrators when you have questions or concerns. Every student’s success is what is important to all of us.
As a student, whether you’re new or not, you hold the key to your learning. Remember there are plenty of teachers and staff members at your school who are there to support you and help you, no matter what problems you may have. Even if you feel alone, you never are. As you start this new year, look for any familiar faces and be sure to make some new friends, too. Remember to offer a hand to those who may need it. Even if you feel like you have a lot of expectations on you to learn, study and grow, we know you can stretch and go beyond anything you thought you could. Stay focused on your education - you own it.
As teachers, it doesn’t matter if you’re new to teaching or a 20-year veteran, you are where learning begins. You are here to help students navigate their way through. They need you to build a foundation for all of their learning. And don’t forget: when you need help, we have many levels of support for teachers, too. There are other staff members, PLCs, as well as administrators at the school and district level here for you. It’s also important to remember to help other teachers - not just at your school, but across the district. By supporting other teachers, we make ourselves better educators.
For all our staff, we need you to continue to support all of our students, staff and families. Schools are more than just teachers and administrators. Schools include all of our support staff. All of us working together help make a student’s learning journey successful.
I hope as we go through the school year, all of us keep the level of excitement we have on the first day. We all know every day is important and by striving to build on each day, to show up prepared each day, to work hard each day, we will earn all of this year’s potential.
As we get ready to begin a New School Year, I know we will all work to empower, inspire and engage one another. It’s how CHCCS will succeed in 2019-20.
Our Summer Reading ContinuesPosted by CHCCS on 7/19/2019 10:30:00 AM
I hope everyone has spent the last few weeks enjoying the start of their summer. I also hope you took up my challenge and have been working on checking off items from your Summer Reading List. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of reading over summer break - no matter what your age. A love of reading will carry you through a lifetime of learning. Along with all of the CHCCS administrators, I’m currently reading “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Dan Heath & Chip Heath. Knowing how to make change successful is something everyone can benefit from. Now open a book and take some time for yourself!
Never Stop Learning, Class of 2019Posted 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!
Read, Read, ReadPosted 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!
Continue to Work HardPosted 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.
Memorial Day, May 27Posted 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.
Learning Continues Across CHCCSPosted 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.