More than 700 educators, business leaders, and elected officials filled the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center on Tuesday afternoon for the sold-out Partners In Education Spring Luncheon.
The annual event helps raise money for Craven County schools through PIE grant programs.
The organization, Partners In Education is the local education foundation for Craven County Schools. PIE awarded more than $170,000 through a variety of grants and programs during the 2017-18 school year, PIE President Ervin Patrick said.
Dr. Cecil Staton, Chancellor of East Carolina University, served as keynote speaker.
John Bircher, attorney with White & Allen, and a 1988 graduate of West Craven High School, served as the emcee of the event. Bircher said of Dr. Staton that he was pleased to welcome Dr. Staton to Craven County. Bircher explained, “East Carolina University has a world class College of Education, and we are proud that Dr. Ervin Patrick, PIE president, recently received his doctorate from ECU College of Education.”
Bircher said Dr. Staton comes to ECU from the University System of Georgia where he served as Vice Chancellor for Extended Education and as interim President of Valdosta State University. Previously, he served as associate provost, assistant professor, and university publisher at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and on the faculty of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia.
He also served for 10 years as a Georgia state senator representing the state’s 18th District, and chaired the appropriations sub-committee responsible for the state’s $2 billion annual investment in public higher education.
Dr. Staton is a native of Greenville, South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Furman University, a Master of Divinity with Languages and Master of Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England.
After Dr. Staton spoke, it was announced that PIE would offer a one-time grant of $3,000 to Craven County public school principals for the 2018-19 school year in Dr. Staton’s honor for speaking. The focus of the grant will be STEM, at Dr. Staton’s request.
Several awards were given during the luncheon:
The Cheryl Marteney Memorial Volunteer Leadership Award serves to honor a volunteer who has made significant contributions through volunteer work with Craven County Partners In Education. This was awarded to Barbara Dotter, PIE volunteer.
The PIE Outstanding Leadership Award honors outstanding leadership and significant contributions to education by school administrators. This award went to Deborah Langhans, Chief Academic Officer of Craven County Schools and Dr. Ervin Patrick, PIE president and Director of Human Resource Services.
There were three PIE Excellence Awards. The award honors an individual or company for demonstrating a commitment to working with PIE to promote student achievement and educational excellence. This award went to Jason Jones, County Commissioner; B/S/H/ Home Appliances; and Wells Fargo.
The Distinguished Alumni Award honors Craven County Schools graduates for their contributions to the community, their profession, and PIE. This award went to Patricia Rammacher and Michael Raines, Century 21 Zaytoun-Raines.
Entertainment for the event was provided by Havelock High Jazz Band and West Craven Middle School #BucketRage.
Republican’s school safety plan makes some temporary changes, while giving lawmakers time to assess what else might be needed.
Education NC | Republican lawmakers announced at a press conference last month $35 million in school safety grants that made their way into the revised 2018-19 budget.
The one-time money is meant to temporarily address school safety needs while the state gathers more information on what districts and schools require to protect students.
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn). “I think this is an ongoing process.”
The school safety plan stems from work performed by a committee on school safety that came into existence following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and met regularly prior to the short session.
Governor Roy Cooper has his own school safety plan in his budget proposal. It amounts to a total of $130 million, including $65 million for making buildings safer and $40 million for additional personnel. Legislative Democrats also floated a similar plan yesterday.
But Republican lawmakers say it is too soon to know exactly how much money is needed. Part of the ongoing process going forward will be getting reports from districts sent to the state Department of Public Instruction so that legislators can understand what schools require. Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Kannapolis) said additional recurring money needs to be added to the budget in the future.
“Because the issue came up at the time that it came up, and the amount of effort that had to go into it, this is not the end, this is just the beginning,” she said.
The Republicans’ plan also includes between $30 and $90 million in new federal funding for student health, but that will not come until the second year because North Carolina needs a Medicaid State Plan Amendment before it can start collecting the funds. Essentially, the money will come from reimbursements from Medicaid for services the state is already providing.
Today during a special announcement at New Bern High School, Steve Tapley was named the new head football coach.
Prior to his arrival at New Bern, Tapley coached the offensive line for four years while serving as the Run Game Coordinator, Offensive Coordinator, and Assistant Head Coach under Ron Turner at Wilkes Central High School in Wilkesboro, N.C.
During those years several Eagles posted record numbers. In each season an Eagle rusher gained more than 1,000 yards, with three players gaining more than 2,000 yards rushing.
In their most productive season, the Eagles gained over 3,000 yards on the ground while giving up only 6 sacks in 189 passing attempts. Wilkes Central laid claim to back-to-back outright conference titles in 2016 and 2017. The Eagles earned a spot in the NCHSAA playoffs each of his four years on staff.
“Coach Tapley is an extremely knowledgeable football coach with experience on both sides of the ball”, Turner said. “He cares about his players’ growth as young men as well as football players. He has been a big part of our success at Wilkes Central and will be missed.”
Tapley spent the 2013 season at his Alma-Mater, Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kansas), serving as the Co-Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coordinator, and Receivers coach for his former coach, Manny Matsakis. Both the Special Teams and the Triple-Shoot Offense posted impressive numbers during his stay. The 2013 Swede Punt Return unit averaged an impressive 15.9 yards per return, ranking them #3 nationwide. The offense rushed for nearly 2000 yards and had an average of 13.6 yards per completion.
In 2012, Tapley coached offensive line and linebackers at Kestrel Heights School in Durham, N.C. His input helped to modernize the offense and special teams units, while securing college scholarships for two players from a program in only its second year of varsity competition.
Before moving to Durham, Tapley served as the Defensive Coordinator at Topeka West High School in 2011 where he also served as the school’s Head Wrestling Coach. Under his leadership the Chargers qualified three wrestlers to the KSHSAA 5A State Tournament.
Tapley began his collegiate coaching career at Bethany College (KS) in 2004 as the team’s Linebacker Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. The Swede defense ranked in the top 5 nationally in passing yards allowed during the 2004 season. In 2005 he coached the Offensive Line.
His coaching career began at Royal Valley High School in Hoyt, Kansas as the Offensive and Defensive Line Coach under Tom Barta in 2001. In 2003 the Panthers secured a berth in the KSHSAA 3A State Playoffs.
A native of Holton, Kansas, Tapley was a three-sport letterman and chosen as the most outstanding male athlete of his class. He received all-league recognition as an offensive lineman his senior season. Tapley played collegiately at Emporia State University as a linebacker and deep-snapper. Tapley earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Bethany College in 2006. He has two children, Seth and Spencer.
Connor Yungbluth, of Wake County, studies Mandarin Chinese through the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
After a regular school morning at Middle Creek High School in Cary, senior Connor Yungbluth, 16, takes his online Mandarin Chinese course at home through the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS).
When Yungbluth moved from New York, he wanted to continue the language studies he had begun there, but the local school in Wake County didn’t have a Chinese teacher. His curriculum is part of the blended, individualized instruction that virtual school in North Carolina can provide.
In the afternoon, Connor takes two online courses through Wake Technical College to prepare for his future in engineering or medicine.
Other students who have benefited from NCVPS include special needs populations, students who would like to attend the N.C. School of Math and Science but are not offered advanced courses at their school, students in rural areas, and a gymnast.
While the NCVPS may be unfamiliar to many North Carolina residents and not every school system cooperates with its program, the state has the second-largest virtual public school system in the country, with enrollment climbing from 17,000 at inception in 2007 to 58,000 students across the state today. Only Florida has higher enrollment in its comparable program.
North Carolina teachers developed the 150-course curriculum, which is aligned to state high school graduation requirements.
Lack of progress on North Carolina students’ test scores is “frustrating,” state superintendent of schools Mark Johnson said this week.
North Carolina students’ scores on a national test aren’t showing recent improvement, though they are better than 20 years ago. Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press
A nationwide evaluation of educational achievement in fourth- and eighth-graders found that scores for North Carolina students largely remained stable between 2015 and 2017, but went down in some areas. Scores for poor students and minority students also lagged significantly behind other students.
“Teachers in North Carolina are working hard, and our state has made strong investments in early grades,” Johnson said in a Department of Public Instruction press release.
“While it is frustrating for educators and state leaders to see incremental progress instead of general success, we have spearheaded efforts to ensure that all funds invested by our state actually benefit teachers and students. Also, with new leadership at DPI, we have been reevaluating how those funds can best be used to support teachers and to improve students’ outcomes.”
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tracks student test scores in reading and math and state participation and is a requirement for states to receive federal aid.
Scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students in reading and eighth-grade students in math remained unchanged since the 2015 evaluation, according to data DPI released this week.