Local Farmers Help Edenton-Chowan Schools Win $10,000 to Improve STEM Education 

A $10,000 Grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will provide enhanced learning opportunities for John A. Holmes students to develop important and leading skills – helping to shape the future of agriculture.

Edenton-Chowan Schools will utilize funds to replace a deteriorating greenhouse on the John A. Holmes campus for use by Career and Technical Education students in the Agricultural Science classes.

Farmers from across the U.S. nominated and selected the America’s Grow Rural Education Grant recipients.  In 2016, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is awarding $2.3 million to rural public school districts to benefit science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

To feed the world’s rapidly growing population and tackle many other global challenges, our country’s next generation of leaders will need to be highly-skilled in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). That’s why the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, has awarded Edenton-Chowan Schools with a $10,000 grant.

Edenton-Chowan Schools plans to use the funds to replace a deteriorating greenhouse on the John A. Holmes campus for use by Career and Technical Education students in the Agricultural Science classes. Students will be able to sow, cultivate, and monitor plants on the high school campus. Plants will be used for landscaping and beautification for the schools as well as for fundraising purposes for the Chowan County Future Farmers of America. The greenhouse will be available for use by Biology classes as needed for enrichment of their curriculum.

“We are honored to be a recipient of a $10,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Rural Education Program sponsored by Monsanto and grateful for the support from our local farmers,” said Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson. “This grant will enable our students to have a hands on approach and focus on learning about new science and technology that is propelling the horticultural and agricultural industries.”

Earlier this year, local farmers Fenton Eure, Burney Baker, Mark Chappell, and Carey Parrish nominated the district for consideration. After the nomination, the district developed its submission to enhance its STEM education offerings through its project, “A Place for Plants”. A group of science and math teachers reviewed each submission and selected Edenton-Chowan Schools as a finalist.

Next, the Program’s Farmer Advisory Council, which is composed of approximately 30 farmer leaders from across the county with an interest in agriculture and education, selected Edenton-Chowan Schools for one of the Grow Rural Education Grants. Grant applications were judged based on the merit of the application, need, and community support.

The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program began in 2011. Since 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to over 700 rural school districts to enhance STEM education. For a complete list of winners and to learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com.

 


Richardson Named Teacher of Excellence

Brandi Richardson has been honored with the Teacher of Excellence Award for the Edenton-Chowan School System for 2016-2017. Richardson is an Exceptional Children’s teacher at White Oak Elementary School. Nominated by her fellow teachers, this award recognizes one teacher from each county in North Carolina who must have taught in the Exceptional Children’s Program for a minimum of five years. In addition, the honoree must deliver daily instruction or therapy, be recognized as a teacher leader within the school system they teach and deliver innovative instructional programs that demonstrate positive outcomes for students. Richardson will be recognized at the Exceptional Children’s Conference in Greensboro, NC in November.

Students Learn About Bluegrass Music

Nu-Blu, a bluegrass group based out of Siler City, NC recently led two lively and entertaining American bluegrass performances and information sessions for the students at White Oak Elementary School and D.F. Walker Elementary School. The four-piece group consisted of Carolyn on bass and vocals, Levi on banjo and vocals, Milom on the mandolin and Daniel on the guitar and vocals. Influencers of the group include bluegrass pioneers Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt and Edenton native, the late Martin Paker.

The funding for this event was partnered through the Martin Parker Music Fund, the Edenton-Chowan Schools Education Foundation, and the National Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Grant. The event was coordinated by Jane Parr, WOS Music Teacher. Mr. Steve Evans, local musician, also assisted with efforts to support this group.

Leader Daniel Routh summed up their bluegrass involvement by saying, “If we can touch somebody on a deep level and create a moment for them that they always will remember and entertains them, that’s gold. If we can say to someone, ‘Hey, check this out. If you like this, you’re probably going to like bluegrass!”


White Oak Elementary Teacher Named Edenton-Chowan Schools
 Teacher of the Year

Catina Byrum, a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher and Teacher of the Year at White Oak Elementary School has been awarded the honor of 2016-2017 Edenton-Chowan Schools Teacher of the Year. Representing Edenton-Chowan Schools, Byrum will advance to regional competition as part of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program. Byrum has been employed for 16 years with the school system.

“Mrs. Byrum is an outstanding teacher and very deserving of this honor,” said Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson. “Her positive and caring spirit is evident in her daily interaction with her students. She teaches some of our youngest students with a passion for helping them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. She is phenomenal,” he added.

Byrum is a graduate of Elizabeth City State and majored in Art Education and Special Education. She later attended Pembroke University and East Carolina University to complete certification in Birth through Kindergarten. She began her career with Edenton-Chowan Schools as a part-time teacher assistant in the in the Exceptional Children’s program at White Oak Elementary School. In 2004 she became a teacher in the Pre-Kindergarten program there and has faithfully served her students each year since. She is a member of the Professional Educators of North Carolina. She is also the recipient of the 2010-2011Teacher of Excellence Award – given to one outstanding exceptional children’s educator annually by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Byrum believes that all children can learn. “I believe we are all individually and uniquely made and that we should celebrate our differences. I believe that play is a child’s work…and that it takes a partnership between parents and school to teach each child,” she commented.

“Parents are their children’s first teacher before they come inside our buildings and they are the biggest influence on their children. It is my desire to establish a partnership with every parent of the students I teach,” said Byrum.

The 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program provides an opportunity to honor and recognize exemplary teachers in North Carolina 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, a project of the Council of the Chief State Officers of Schools.


2016-2017 Teachers of the Year
Congratulations to our Teachers of the Year! Thank you for your dedication and commitment to our students, parents and community!

                                      Monica Cofield  
Chowan Middle School
Teacher of the Year
Science Teacher







Laura Turner
John A. Holmes High School
Teacher of the Year
Mathematics Teacher





Asheton Smith
D.F. Walker Elementary
Teacher of the Year
Third Grade Teacher






Catina Byrum
White Oak Elementary
Teacher of the Year
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher







Edenton-Chowan Schools Finance Department Receives State Recognition 


The Edenton-Chowan Schools Finance Department received recognition from the North Carolina State Board of Education on July 21, 2016 at the state Finance and Business Services Conference for excellence in management of the North Carolina State Public School fund for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The North Carolina State Board of Education Achievement in Financial Resource Management Award recognizes school systems that 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 yearly since the State Board began the program - now for the 13th consecutive year.

School System Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson said, "I am incredibly proud of our Finance Department and the tradition of excellence they have established. Our community entrusts the school system with precious financial resources and expect that we will carefully safeguard and maximize each dollar we receive. Being recognized annually at the state level for 'accurate and timely financial reporting' assures us all that the money invested in our children is going where it was intended for."

Edenton-Chowan Schools' Superintendent Selected as 2016 NCSSA Brad Sneeden Leadership Award Winner 
The North Carolina School Superintendents' Association (NCSSA) has announced the selection of Dr. Rob Jackson, Superintendent of the Edenton-Chowan Schools System, as the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award. The award is presented in honor and recognition of a superintendent who has demonstrated a strong commitment to life-long learning, unwavering integrity in leadership and transformation of vision into action.

This annual award is presented to a graduate of the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association's Next Generation Superintendent Development Program (NGSDP), a program which is designed to empower transformational education leaders for North Carolina’s public schools.Dr. Jackson was selected by fellow superintendents and thought partners in the NGSDP.

"I am deeply-honored to be selected by my colleagues for this award. They are committed to making a difference for every child who enters a public school," said Dr. Jackson. "As a principal, I had the privilege of working with Dr. Sneeden when he served as the Director of the Principals' Executive Program. His commitment to public education, to service, to hard work, and to continuous improvement was inspiring to all who had the opportunity to learn with and from him. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to serve as a public educator in our great state and very much appreciate the professional development opportunities provided by the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association."

The award is named in honor of Dr. Brad Sneeden who was serving as Carteret County Schools' Superintendent at the time of his death in October, 2008 at the age of 56. Among the innovative efforts he brought to this district was the establishment of the Marine Science Academy, later renamed as a memorial to him, which exposes students to hands-on marine science activities.

In selecting the award winner, superintendents were asked to consider the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates vision and the ability to translate vision into specific goals. The recipient should be a person whose leadership has resulted in his or her district developing and/or implementing innovative programs and projects to benefit students. 
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to life-long learning, focusing on the continuous improvement of his or her leadership skills 
  • Demonstrate evidence of setting and achieving high standards of ethical conduct within his or her organization. 

Commenting on Dr. Jackson's honor, NCSSA Executive Director Jack Hoke said, "Dr. Jackson exemplifies the traits that guided Dr. Brad Sneeden's career in educational leadership. Dr. Jackson has demonstrated a vision for the Edenton-Chowan Schools, a strong commitment to continuous improvement and the highest standards of ethical conduct. He is a very deserving recipient of this award."

During his tenure as the Superintendent of the Edenton - Chowan Schools system, students have achieved the highest cohort graduation rate in school system historyandmade significant improvements in state assessment results throughout the school system. The system has opened three new Career Academies (Health Sciences, Public Safety, and STEM); launched an off-site Alternative Learning Program, added and restored extracurricular activities like Quiz Bowl, Show Choir, and National History Day competitions, and successfully implemented a 1-to-1 digital learning device program that provides all students in grades 6 - 12 an iPad to use at home and school.

Edenton-Chowan Schools Board of Education Chairman John Guard shared, "Though Dr. Jackson refuses to take any credit and insists that our students, teachers, and administrators deserve all of the praise, his consistent message of "I believe in you" permeates throughout our school system. Our students and staff know that he believes in them and they are achieving remarkable results."

Dr. Jackson has been honored during his career as the Wells Fargo North Carolina State Principal of the Year, the NCPAPA North Carolina High School Principal of the Year, the Southwest Regional Principal of the Year, the Union County Public Schools Principal of the Year, the Principals Executive Program Jack McCall Award Winner, the Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction Award, the Glen Arden Elementary School Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year, the Western Carolina University College of Education Outstanding Senior, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Western Carolina University, and as a North Carolina Principal Fellow.

Dr. Jackson was presented a check in the amount of $1000.00 for personal professional development.


John A. Holmes Senior Graduates With Associates Degree from College of the Albemarle


John A. Holmes High School Senior Daniel Midgette graduated with his Associates Degree from the College of the Albemarle on May 11, 2016. Midgette is the first student from John A. Holmes High School to earn a two-year college degree before graduating from high school. During the Commencement Ceremony, COA President Dr. Deitemeyer shared he was the first student to do this from a traditional high school in COA's history. Midgette is the son of Jenny Altman and Chris Midgette.

Edenton-Chowan Schools is Recognized for Participation in Teacher Working Conditions Survey

Edenton-Chowan Schools has been recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) for being the first school system in the state to reach 100 percent participation on the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey. The school system received a check in the amount of $1,000 that will be equally divided among the four schools. 

“I am most appreciative of each of our teachers for taking the time to provide our district with the information we need to serve and support our teachers in the crucial work they do every day. As this award was received because of the teachers, I believe that it should be returned to the teachers in the following manner: the award will be equally split between the schools to be used to recognize our staff members in a manner determined by the School Improvement Team,” said Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson. 

Four other public schools were also recognized NCDPI for 100 percent participation to include Creswell High School (Washington County), Allenbrook Elementary School (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), East Rutherford Middle School (Rutherford County ), and Plain View Primary (Bladen County). The monetary awards were sponsored by BB&T. 

From March 1 through April 1, school-based licensed educators in all 115 North Carolina school districts and 148 charter schools had an opportunity to share their views regarding their working conditions on the 7th biennial NC TWCS. 

The NC TWCS is designed to gather a variety of information from teachers, counselors, principals and other administrators about topics such as the adequacy of school facilities and resources, time, empowerment, school leadership, community support, student conduct, professional development, mentoring and induction services, and student learning. The web-based survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential. 

"Results from previous years’ surveys have provided education policymakers and school leaders a robust roadmap to guide positive change and strengthen professional development, school improvement plans and teacher and administrator evaluations," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. 

Each North Carolina school with a survey response rate of 40 percent or greater will receive a results report and these data become a part of the school's ongoing improvement planning process. These results are one component of the on-going process for collaborative school and district improvement plans and also are used in North Carolina's educator and administrator evaluation processes. In 2002, North Carolina was the first state in the nation to ask educators what they thought about their working conditions and what tools and support they need to do their job well. In 2016, the state is still leading the nation with this survey and results have been used to shape educational policy in North Carolina for more than a decade. 

The New Teacher Center (NTC), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of a high-quality teaching force, administers the NC TWCS. The NTC has conducted similar surveys in other states. Since 2009, the NTC has heard from more than 1 million educators in 26,000 schools in 18 states and select school districts.
John A. Holmes High School Students Place Third in Regional Art Competition
Students in Amy Griffith's Visual Arts classes at John A. Holmes High School placed third as a group in the Regional Art Show Case sponsored by the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities (NCASA). The students created art inspired by the band U2's song titled Beautiful Day. Students submitting work were T. Ryan - Printmaking, M. White - Drawing, M. Hope - Painting, L. Smith - Photography, A. Turner - mixed media. Their work will advance to state competition held on December 3. Congratulations to these talented students!


Art Showcase is a competition that recognizes both the best individual artists and best art programs in North Carolina schools. An unlimited number of students in each school may participate in the school-level competition. Students are presented with a prompt and given about one month to create their submission. Media categories include painting, drawing, collage, photography, and other creative efforts. Electronic copies of submissions are sent to NCASA and forwarded to judges. Submissions from top teams and students from each category advance to the State Finals and are evaluated by judges in a live exhibition.

John A. Holmes High School Students Participate in NCDOT 2016 Construction Career Day and Job Fair

John A. Holmes High School students in Ben O’Kelley’s construction management courses and Bree Atkinson’s agriculture management courses recently participated in the North Carolina Department of Transportation 2016 Construction Career Day and Job Fair held in Pitt County. The event is an opportunity for high school students to learn about the commercial and highway construction industries.

During the event students had the opportunity to have hands-on access to power and hand tools used by the commercial construction industry. They also participated in interactive exhibits such as rebar tying, tile setting, pipe bending, welding, bricklaying, carpentry, electrical, and surveying. Students also had an opportunity to try their hand at operating heavy equipment like skid steers, backhoes, bulldozers, excavators, cranes and more.

Students also had the opportunity to interact with contractor personnel, vendors, and university and community colleges to ask representatives about training and education opportunities.

McLaughlin Honored as 
Edenton-Chowan Schools 
2016-2017 Administrator of the Year 

Sarah McLaughlin, Assistant Principal at White Oak Elementary School has been selected by her peers to receive the honor of being named the 2016-2017 Administrator of the Year for Edenton-Chowan Schools. McLaughlin is known for her dedication and passion for early childhood education. She continues to devote herself to supporting and loving the children that she serves.

“Mrs. McLaughlin is a compassionate educator who always has a child’s best interests at heart. Her extensive experiences in early childhood education enable her to work with teachers and parents in guiding and supporting the best instructional practices both in the classroom and at home,” said Superintendent Dr. Rob Jackson. “She is an advocate for every child having access to early childhood learning opportunities and helping students, parents and families achieve success,” he added.

At White Oak, McLaughlin most recently has been instrumental in the schools’ efforts to reach out to the young children and their families in Chowan County through a program called Little Cub’s Mommy and Me Playgroup. Understanding how important quality early learning experiences are to the development of young children coupled with the fact that children acquire so much of their language before they even go to preschool or kindergarten, McLaughlin works closely with the faculty and staff to organize and open the playgroup where young children and their parents can interact in an environment that is rich in language and meaningful play. Her other responsibilities include working with curriculum and instructional initiatives and helping to ensure the smooth operation of the school bus fleet that serves White Oak School.

With a successful career now spanning more than three decades, McLaughlin began teaching in 1977 at Ben Hagood Elementary School in Pickens, South Carolina. She then moved to Connecticut where she served in various early childhood education roles as a teacher and child care center director. After relocating to North Carolina, McLaughlin taught one year in Tyrell County before obtaining a position as a teacher at D.F. Walker Elementary School in 1995 where she taught various grade levels and also served as an Academically and Intellectually Gifted Teacher. She became an assistant principal in 2004 and moved to White Oak Elementary School.

McLaughlin holds an Associate in Science Degree in Child Development from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University, and a Master of Science Degree in Reading from Western Connecticut State University. She received her certification as a principal and school administrator from East Carolina University. McLaughlin is also a recipient of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.



2016-2017 Instructional Assistants
 of the Year
Congratulations to our dedicated, hardworking, instructional assistants! Thank you for your continued support of our students, teachers and community!


Shante White
Chowan Middle School
Instructional Assistant
of the Year






Justin Smith
D.F. Walker Elementary
Instructional Assistant
of the Year





Rosa Carter
White Oak Elementary
Instructional Assistant
of the Year



Derrick Douglas
John A. Holmes High School
Instructional Assistant of the Year





2016-2017 Bus Drivers of the Year
Congratulations to our awesome bus drivers who always put safety first!

Ann Bond
White Oak/D.F. Walker Elementary 
Bus Driver of the Year




Linda Leary
Chowan Middle School Bus Driver of the Year





Tammi Taylor-Felton
John A. Holmes High School
Bus Driver of the Year






Student Selected to Attend 
Governor's School

We are pleased to announce that Emma K., a Junior at John A. Holmes High School has been selected to attend The Governor’s School of North Carolina 2016. She will be attending Governor’s School East at Meredith College to study Natural Science.  

The Governor’s School of North Carolina is the oldest statewide summer residential program for academically or intellectually gifted high school students in the nation. The academic program is open to rising seniors located on two campuses, Governor’s School West at Salem College in Winston Salem and Governor’s School East at Meredith College in Raleigh.

The Governor’s School of North Carolina is funded annually by the General Assembly of North Carolina and is administered by the Public Schools of North Carolina, State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction through the Exceptional Children’s Division.


John A. Holmes High School Students Win in National History Day Competition 

Students from John A. Holmes High School recently participated at the regional level in National History Day (NHD) Competition. Sixteen student teams and 33 individuals were chosen to advance to compete at the state level of the National History Day Competition.

“I am so proud of our students and their work,” commented Chris Davis, Teacher and History Club Sponsor. “This is a huge accomplishment after having nine students advance last year in our first year in the competition and to triple that this year in our second time competing is outstanding!”

The NHD Contest is centered around wanting students to ask provocative questions, conduct research, and analyze information to draw conclusions through inquiry based projects. Each year there is a broad theme, such as this year's theme of "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange" and students create a paper, website, documentary, performance or exhibit and showcase their work to a panel of judges. They are required to write a process paper (unless their project was already a paper) and explain why they chose the topic they chose and the process they used in their research. They also have to submit an annotated bibliography critiquing the primary and secondary sources they used and evaluating the reliability of those sources.