NOTE :: "Celebrate N.C. Schools" feature stories contained on this site are for historical purposes only. While each story was accurate on the date it was published, it may be outdated when viewed.

Below are some innovative programs in North Carolina school and districts that have made local, state and national headlines. To see your program featured here, contact Vanessa Jeter.

MAY 2017

GETTING AT-RISK STUDENTS ON A PATH TO COLLEGE (Getting Smart) Marcus Gause, the principal at a middle college high school in Guilford County, N.C., remembers one student who arrived in his program with lackluster grades and questionable self-esteem. The student’s father was in prison, and he lacked the motivation to do schoolwork.

Four years later, this student was graduating from high school at the very top of his class, with nearly two years of college under his belt. Today, he is close to completing a business degree—and he’s not yet 21.

Although this student would not fit the profile of a student taking early college credit in most school systems, in Guilford County, he is not all that unusual. Like a growing number of school districts, Guilford County Schools (GCS) has programs that enable students to earn college credit while they’re still in high school. But these programs aren’t just serving the top students in the district, who would already be on a college track.

In Guilford County, there are 14 such programs altogether, including nine high schools that operate on college campuses. Some of them, called middle colleges, target students considered to be at risk of dropping out—making college both attainable and affordable for students who otherwise might not attend.

BAILEY MIDDLE WINS NATIONAL STEM COMPETITION; HOUGH COMES IN THIRD (Charlotte Observer) Bailey Middle School’s Horsepower Motorsports team finished first nationwide in the Ten80 National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) League competition April 30 at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

The Horsepower Motorsports team of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders out-performed schools from across the nation to capture top honors in the Student Racing Challenge, the flagship series for the National STEM League. This is the second year the Bailey Middle School Horsepower Motorsports team has won the national competition.

The William Amos Hough High School Iditarod Motorsports team finished third nationwide. The Hough Iditarod team competed against high school teams from across the country. The Iditarod team captured third overall with a first place finish in graphic design in a division of 20 high school level teams. The Hough Iditarod team also competed and placed seventh nationwide in the Rover division, where the team builds a robot, from scratch, and races it competitively.

YARD SIGNS ‘SURPRISE’ STUDENTS, PARENTS, NEIGHBORS (EducationNC) Rowan-Salisbury students love to read – and now all citizens and visitors to Rowan County know it too!

The words ‘fun, happy & awesome’ lit up social media with excitement as parents proudly posted photos of their children displaying their Extraordinary Reader Lives Here yard signs. The signs were a result of the students who championed the superintendent’s challenge to read.

In order to qualify for this honor, students were presented with the goal to meet the superintendent’s ‘Spring Break Reading Challenge.’ They were charged to read 80 or more Achieve3000 articles at 75% success.

ENLOE HIGH SHOOL STUDENTS SHOW PEOPLE HOW TO SAVE LIVES WITH CPR APP (News and Observer) A group of Enloe High School students is making it possible for ordinary people to use their smartphones and tablets to save a life when they see someone whose heart has stopped.

The students created CPRonDemand, a mobile app that can be activated during an emergency to walk people through the steps of performing CPR on someone who is in cardiac arrest. CPRonDemand is one of five national winners, including two from high schools in Charlotte, in the Lenovo Scholar Network National Mobile App Development Competition.

“We created our app with a fundamental purpose in mind: to enable the common man to save a life,” said Arvind Rajan, one of the members of the Enloe team, in a YouTube video promoting the app.

FOUR GUILFORD COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOLERS’ BOOKS CHOSEN FOR PUBLICATION (Greensboro News & Record) Four of the Greensboro area’s newest soon-to-be-published authors are not even old enough to drive a car. The students, who attend Brown Summit Middle School and Southeast Middle, will have their work published by American Reading Company. In addition, the students received $1,000.

Several students from the schools submitted books to be evaluated by American Reading, which receives about 100 student submissions each year. Although the company has only published two other books in 18 years, publishers liked these four students’ books so much, they decided to publish them.

“These students created such exciting and well-researched books, we decided to publish them to inspire, entertain and inform future students,” said Gina Cline, executive vice president of curriculum and instruction at American Reading Company. “I’ve seen hundreds of student books, and each of these four stood out as surprising or unique.”

SATURDAY SCIENCE PROGRAM OFFERS EIGHTH-GRADERS EXTRAS, FROM ROBOTS TO NAKED MOLE RATS (Charlotte Observer) Ashley Park Principal Meaghan Loftus insists her eighth-graders weren’t upset when she asked them to attend Saturday school.

The STEAM Saturday classes that just wrapped up for the year are a reward for top students, not a catch-up program for those who struggle. The activities, provided by the Charlotte-based nonprofit Digi-Bridge, include composing digital music, programming robots and using household supplies to explore kidney function.

The program also included weekday field trips to Discovery Place, SeaLife Aquarium and Duke University, all designed to boost STEAM skills. (It stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

Student Toni Teah blogged about the most noteworthy part of the Discovery Place trip: “One animal that almost everyone was shocked to touch was a naked mole rat… A NAKED MOLE RAT!! He is naked because he has a genetic mutation that makes him not have any hair like a normal mouse or rodent. Cool isn’t it?”

Digi-Bridge provides STEAM Saturday classes around the county at $25 per student per session, but has gotten grants to serve about 500 low-income students at Ashley Park and Allenbrook schools and Renaissance West community center.

SCHOOLS PREPARING KIDS FOR FUTURE JOBS (Mount Airy News) When it comes to economic development, there is no doubt that education plays a big role.

Every company needs skilled workers to thrive – whether it’s someone parked in front of a keyboard, running a piece of sophisticated machinery or elbows deep in muck.

While local schools are proud of their graduates who go on to advanced college degrees, a good school system also needs to focus on getting other students ready to enter the job force.

Local educators say they have made a point of emphasis of preparing kids to be college-ready and/or career-ready.

Students at Selma Middle School got a boost from well-wishers around the globe as they prepared to take their end-of-grade exams.