Gaston & Catawba

Catawba Valley school news

Alexander County

Fall festival: Taylorsville Elementary School will hold a Fall Festival 5-8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the school, 100 Seventh St. SW in Taylorsville.

For information, call the school at 828-632-3072.

Empty stocking fund: Alexander Central High School is accepting donations for its annual Cougar Empty Stocking Fund to help low-income students during the upcoming holidays.

School social worker Kathy Jones is coordinating the program. As many as 150 students at Alexander Central High are expected to need help with the holidays this year.

Donations will be used to buy students food and a Walmart gift card.

A holiday greeting card designed by the school’s art department will be sent to recipients who chose to make a donation as a gift in a person’s honor.

To make a donation, pick up a form at the school office or download it at For information, call Kathy Jones at 828-632-7063, ext. 2260.

Burke County

Physical fitness challenge: Students at W.A. Young Elementary School proved they can spend an hour every day involved in physical activity. Challenged by PE teacher Mary Murray, students worked to complete 25 days with an accumulated hour of physical activity.

The information was recorded in an exercise log and turned in Oct. 31. Sports, physical education class, recess and other activities such as walking, hiking or washing the car was included.

SPARK, a physical education company that offers programs and equipment to schools and day cares to help fight inactivity and obesity in children, sponsored the program. SPARK will award a grand prize of $25,000 to the school with the most students participating and posting their progress on social media.

Read for the record: Glen Alpine and W.A. Young Elementary students participated in Read for the Record on Oct. 21. Youngsters read the book “Bunny Cakes” as part of an effort to set a record of the most people reading the same book around the world.

Each class also baked bunny cakes to enjoy after reading the book. Parents attended as part of the Motheread/Fatheread program.

Partners in education: Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge served as Burke County Public Schools’ Partner in Education for October. Started last year, the Partners in Education initiative showcases local businesses and industries that support educational efforts in Burke County.

Carolinas HealthCare System offers free sports physicals and heart screenings to student athletes, supplies certified athletic trainers on school campuses and offers medical supervision during the Sunrise Fun Run and Camp MED, a one-week day camp for high school students interested in health professions.

The unique Athlete at Heart physical is a sports-specific health screening and educational program for middle and high school student-athletes. It includes a heart screening an electrocardiogram (ECG) to trace the heart’s electrical activity.

Caldwell County

District recognized: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recognized Caldwell County Schools and Caldwell Early College High School as a model district and model high school for the highest graduation rates in the state.

Statewide, only 12 districts and 43 high schools received the honor at a Durham luncheon. Caldwell County Schools earned a 90.9 percent four-year cohort graduation rate for the 2013-2014 year. The district has surpassed the state rate, which was 83.8 percent last year, for six consecutive years.

Hibriten holds PTA meeting: Hibriten High School will hold its first PTA meeting of the school year at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Media Center.

Officers will be elected. Other topics include parents’ concerns and questions, fundraising plans and special events.

Parents who are interested in running for office should call 828-758-7376, ext. 203.

Catawba County

Mythology meets technology: Fourth-graders in Jessica Esposito’s class at Blackburn Elementary recently combined their study of Greek mythology with modern-day technology in a fun day of computers, costumes and characters.

Students read and researched Greek mythology characters and studied how coined terms or phrases originated in Greek mythology.

Esposito consulted with instructional technology facilitator Linda McCray and media coordinator Cheri Hudson to use iPads, MacBooks and student-owned devices to research, write scripts and create a performance. Parent volunteers helped students practice their lines and create costumes such as Zeus, Poseidon, Athena and Aphrodite.

The fourth-graders also learned to edit clips and incorporate Discovery Education movies and images onto a green screen background. Students then uploaded their final movies to Edmodo and used Google Forms to assess their work through reflection.

St. Stephens starts Chromebook initiative: St. Stephens Elementary School recently acquired 550 Google Chromebooks to be permanently housed in every classroom in second to sixth grades.

Rather than set up two fixed computer labs that would take up to a year to implement, principal Donna Heavner and then-chief technology officer Judith Ray proposed Chromebooks. The Cloud-based Internet devices are cheaper than conventional laptops and desktops. An increase in Title I funding for the school paid for the project.

Teachers from the targeted grade levels first received a set of Chromebooks to test drive to determine if they could be used with teaching units already in place and to explore new activities. Professional development is ongoing for the involved teachers.

Having Chromebooks in the classroom also cuts down on transition time and allows flexibility in scheduling online work.

Teachers and students are learning to work with electronic books, QR codes, animated instructional content on BrainPop, Discovery Education that allows students to merge their own research, writing and content into virtual boards and Edmodo, a collaborative space to post assignments, give research instructions and share files.

The Chromebooks arrived and were unpacked by students, school staff and the Technology Department on Oct. 22. Teams of fifth- and sixth-graders removed the Chromebooks from their boxes and broke down the cardboard for recycling. System engineers set up the Chromebooks for use. Locking cabinets were built in each classroom.

Quest program available: Catawba County Schools recently started a new before- and after-school program called QUEST. Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and the program is available in each elementary school.

QUEST is open to children in kindergarten to sixth grades and provides activities that are fun, safe and educationally enriching. Physical activity and quiet time for homework and reading are included.

For information, call 828-695-2684.

Teachers can win gift cards: One teacher from Catawba County will be recognized each month this school year with the Hometown Hero Teacher Appreciation Award. The program is sponsored by Charlotte law firm Charles G. Monnett III & Associates and features a $250 gift card for classroom supplies.

Educators in Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Iredell, Cabarrus and Union counties also will be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Each winning teacher’s classroom also will receive a pizza party courtesy of Domino’s Pizza.

To make a nomination or vote, visit and click on vote. Nominations may be made each month.


Service League donates $5,000: The Service League of Hickory recently donated $5,000 to the media center at the new Longview Elementary School.

Bright windows and comfortable seating provided a welcoming environment for the children, but there weren’t many books to go on the new shelving. The $5,000 donation will help purchase new books for every grade level.

Marty Cotton, president of the Service League, and Clise Plant, co-chairman of the League’s “Done in a Day” service committee, presented the donation to Longview Elementary principal Judy Jolly and media coordinator Caroline Brown.

Read to Achieve Night: Hickory Public Schools will host Read to Achieve Night for all third-graders and their parents 5-7 p.m. Nov. 13 at Ridgeview Recreation Center, 115 Seventh Ave. SW in Hickory.

Designed to help third-graders enhance their reading skills, Read to Achieve Night will include reading activities and games, as well as reading materials. Refreshments will be served at the free event.

Denise Patterson, chief academic officer, will lead Read to Achieve Night. For information, call Patterson at 828-322-2855, ext. 226.


Socktober sock drive: Students in Leadership class at Newton-Conover Middle School recently collected more than 325 pairs of new socks to donate to ECCCM, a local organization that helps those in crisis.

The Socktober sock drive showed that even small acts of love and kindness can make a big difference in the lives of the homeless.

Second-graders visit First Tee: Second-graders from Shuford Elementary recently visited First Tee in Charlotte. The national school program introduces elementary students to the game of golf while teaching core values such as responsibility, respect, honesty, integrity, confidence, sportsmanship, courtesy, perseverance and judgment.

While learning the game of golf, the youngsters also work on motor skills and healthy habits.

Title I program meeting: Newton-Conover City Schools will hold a Title I Program parent meeting 3:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in the Newton-Conover City Schools Conference Room.

Parents will learn about academic standards, achievement standards, state and local academic assessments, the requirements of Title I and how to monitor their child’s progress.

Compiled by Leigh Pressley