• Teacher Appreciation Week at E.M. Yoder

    Posted by William Benson on 5/4/2021

    Today is the day across the entire United States that we celebrate teachers who mean so much to students and families -- actually, recognizing and thanking all adults who work in schools. Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

     

    Pictured below:

    E.M. Yoder Teacher of the Year: Fiona King

    E.M. Yoder Classified Employee of the Year: Lynn Patterson

    E.M. Yoder Regional Teacher of the Year: Kelly Poquette

     

    Dr. Benson and Yoder Teacher of the YearDr. Benson and Yoder Classified Person of the YearDr. Benson and Regional Teacher of the Year

     

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  • Hands(and Arms)-on Learning at CTEC

    Posted by William Benson on 4/1/2021

    Students in Technology Education - Engineering at CTEC have been designing prosthetic arm prototypes, for the most part in a virtual environment (modeling software) – until this week. Students who returned to in-person learning began building physical models this week.

     

    -WBB

     

    Prosthetic arm construction

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  • Egg-cellent: Spin and Spell

    Posted by William Benson on 3/30/2021

    Haven't seen this before -- students studying word families at Smith Elementary today by rotating part of a plastic egg! Super creative -- thankful for return to in-person learning!!

     

    -WBB

     

    Plastic egg word study

     

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  • Spring Showers, DIssecting Flowers

    Posted by William Benson on 3/29/2021

    Return to in-person learning means more hands-on learning for our students. Students at Graham Middle School were preparing for flower dissection when I visited this morning. The students were going to dissect alstroemeria, a typical grocery store flower.

     

    You will have to find a suitable spring blooming flower and round up a few supplies, but you can dissect flowers at home as well. Here is a link to flower dissection at home from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dissect-a-flower/.

     

    -WBB

     

    P.S. Lots of flowers blooming in Alamance County right now. You may have one right outside your home – if it is in your neighbor’s yard, be sure you ask permission to take one!

     

    Students preparing to dissect flowers

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  • Environmental Advocacy at Elon Elementary

    Posted by William Benson on 3/19/2021

    You probably have heard it said that there is No Planet B for Earth. Regardless of how you feel about climate change, disposed plastic is a problem and is found virtually everywhere on Earth. We have a responsibility to reduce the presence of plastic in our environment.

     

    The ABSS Board of Education and I were reminded of that this week in a letter from a 5th grader at Elon Elementary.

     

    An excerpt of Nora’s letter follows:

     

    Dear School Leaders,

     

    Hello. I am a 5th grader at Elon Elementary, and I am writing to you about problems I have noticed. At school, we aren’t allowed to bring reusable water bottles from home because of Covid. So the district provides every student two 8-ounce plastic water bottles every day. Also, since classes have to eat in our classrooms, school lunch and breakfast are served in plastic bags that are all later thrown away.

     

    Are you aware of how much we are hurting the earth every day?!?! Eight to ten thousand plastic water bottles are used and thrown away 4 days a week in the county. That is 144,000 thousand every month. Adding on to that, plastic bags are used to hold school meals. That is at least 10 thousand more plastic products.

     

    Nora went on to advocate for a recycling program in her letter, starting at Elon Elementary. In speaking with Principal Davern, it appears that effort is in the works.

     

    Thank you, Nora, for your leadership and advocacy in protecting our environment!

     

    -WBB

     

    Dr. Benson and student

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  • WAMS: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass

    Posted by William Benson on 3/12/2021

    I had the pleasure of visiting Western Alamance Middle School this afternoon. Safety protocols were clearly being followed throughout the building, but just as important – great teaching and learning was taking place throughout the school – like science investigations using materials that simply cannot be sent home. The last stop on my visit was to Ms. Doss’ classroom where students were learning to identify vocal range types: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. After a review provided by students, it was my turn to identify the voice range type in a music selection made by Ms. Doss.

     

    Bass?

     

    Correct!

     

    Thanks to all at WAMS who made it possible for students to return safely to in-person learning this week – and for keeping great teaching and learning at the center of the effort.

     

    -WBB

     

    Music class at Western Alamance Middle School

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  • Return to In-person Learning: Secondary

    Posted by William Benson on 3/8/2021

    High school and middle school students who wanted to return to in-person did so today after almost one year of learning remotely from home. I spent some time this afternoon at Williams High School visiting classrooms and talking with students and teachers. Physical distancing was evident throughout the school. Hallways were directionally marked. Mask compliance was in effect. Daytime cleaning of frequently touched surfaces was taking place. And best of all, teachers were working with their in-person and remote learners at the same time. Thanks to the entire Williams’ team for the exceptional job they did preparing for students to return to in-person learning!

     

    -WBB

     

    Williams High School classrooms and hallway

     

    P.S. The classroom in the bottom picture is Mr. Riggs’ science classroom. Mr. Riggs teaches chemistry and physical science, and has quite the mask collection, including one with elements from the periodic table on it. He also has quite the inviting classroom (and I am not saying that just because I taught chemistry) – lots of interesting things to look at and think about. He even has a green screen setup – think weather forecaster on TV, but using atoms and molecules instead of weather maps!!

     

     

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  • Return to In-person Learning: Elementary Part II

    Posted by William Benson on 3/1/2021

    I visited six of our elementary schools today. And, I have two observations to share:

     

    1. Our staff has done an exceptional job preparing for student return to in-person learning; and,
    2. Our students are doing an exceptional job following safety protocols in our schools.

     

    At AO, I learned a couple of new terms, roomie and Zoomie, indicating the location of student learning. At Elon, I welcomed students to their first day back to (in-person) school. Students at Highland were learning about adaption in sharks. I asked them what adaptions were made to get students back into in-person learning – the response “masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing.”

     

    In each classroom, I thanked staff and students – letting them know that they are leading the way for more students to return to in-person learning.

     

    -WBB

     

    P.S. The only concern I encountered today was related to the increased number of car riders and ensuing traffic. Typically, the first day of schools brings a kindergartener or two uncertain about leaving their families to attend school, not so today.

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  • Return to In-person Learning: Elementary

    Posted by William Benson on 3/1/2021

    We are welcoming back students to in-person learning in grades K-5 today for the first time in almost a year. I was at Haw River Elementary School this morning at 7:20 a.m. as the first students stepped off the bus (after participating in health screening) and entered the building. Masks, physical distancing, and hand sanitizer for all. Safety and physical distancing reminders were clearly visible, and Haw River’s sanitization specialist was hard at work cleaning frequently touched surfaces at entry points. Thanks to all who made the return of elementary students to in-person learning a safe reality – emotional for sure, in a good way.

     

    -WBB

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  • National School Counseling Week

    Posted by William Benson on 2/3/2021

    School counselors have always played a critical role in supporting our students, even more so in the troubling times we have experienced in the last year.  Our school counselors help our students build self-confidence in their ability to succeed, develop a sense of belonging in the school environment, and learn and use coping skills when faced with a problem. Of course, our school counselors do so much more in helping our students prepare for success. The result: resilient students who thrive and are prepared for their futures.

     

    Thank you, ABSS school counselors!

     

    -WBB

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