• Supporting Our Families, Thanksgiving Style

    Posted by William Benson on 11/24/2020

    Like many of our schools, Andrews Elementary conducts an annual food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals for families in need. In a normal year, student leaders at Andrews make that happen (And by the way, they are all leaders – Andrews is a Leader in Me school.).  With teaching and learning occurring remotely due to COVID-19, teachers at Andrews stepped in to continue the tradition, providing 70 meals complete with turkeys!

     

    Many thanks to all involved!

     

    -WBB

     

    Thanksgiving bags ready for pickup at Andrews Elementary

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  • Return to In-person Learning for Pre-K and Adapted Curriculum Students

    Posted by William Benson on 11/19/2020

    We welcomed our pre-K and adapted curriculum students back to in-person learning this week, the first official return for students since school buildings were closed in March. I spent most of the day visiting classrooms and will do the same tomorrow. Thanks to all who helped make this happen, particularly our teachers and instructional assistants!

     

    -WBB

     

    Collage of return to school precautions and classroom

     

     

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  • Crossroads

    Posted by William Benson on 11/9/2020

    We are at a crossroads. Recent events in our country, state, and community continue to demonstrate a divide. Thrust into the national spotlight, Alamance County is not immune. This is our community. As educators, we have the honor of serving the children and families of Alamance County. Education is our platform; our life’s work. While others may seek to divide, we must recommit to work together in support of our students. We must continue to focus on providing a positive, nurturing and inclusive environment for everyone.

     

    Public education has a valuable role and critical responsibility in every neighborhood. As a school system, we embrace diversity of all kinds and believe it makes us stronger as an educational community and more welcoming as a county. We believe that every individual deserves dignity and respect at all times, in all circumstances. Each school day we are granted the unique opportunity to model our beliefs for more than 22,000 students. It is more important now than ever to let our actions speak loudly for everyone to take notice. We can lead by example.

     

    We have the expertise and experience to help students make sense of conflicting emotions and uncertainty within their worlds. We can show students how to separate facts from emotion, how to research and how to determine reality for themselves. We must use our skills to approach racial and political divides in a calm, positive, and constructive manner. 

     

    With the federal, state and local elections behind us, now is the time for us to recommit to our collective work for improving outcomes for our students, our families, and our community.  As educators, we hold our community’s trust—Alamance County’s future is in our classrooms. Our students are counting on us. Thank you for your continued focus on helping each child achieve his or her personal best. We will be successful together.

     

    -WBB

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  • 2020-21 Assistant Principal of the Year: Ms. Shanise Goldsby

    Posted by William Benson on 10/26/2020

    Ms. Shanise Goldsby has been selected the ABSS 2020-21 Assistant Principal of the Year. As an assistant principal at Broadview Middle School, Ms. Goldsby has been instrumental in building community among students and staff alike. Her work in this area has had a significant impact on teacher retention at the school, decreasing teacher turnover from 60% to 25%. She is an innovative, compassionate, and respected leader who is focused on improving outcomes for students. Congratulations, Ms. Goldsby.

     

    -WBB

     

    Ms. Shanise Goldsby

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  • Principal of the Year: Ashley Westmoreland

    Posted by William Benson on 10/8/2020

    I had the pleasure of surprising Mrs. Ashley Westmoreland, Principal of Alexander Wilson Elementary, with a special announcement this morning. Mrs. Westmoreland is the ABSS Principal of the Year for 2020-21! Mrs. Westmoreland is a caring and compassionate leader and creative problem solver. She is a strong instructional leader who is committed to supporting professional learning communities at Alexander Wilson, ensuring staff and student work is aligned to standards. Mrs. Westmoreland is focused on improving outcomes for students. She is highly visible in her school community and always accessible to students, parents, staff, and community members. She is also committed to her own professional growth, recently receiving her NC Global Educator Digital Badge. Congratulations Mrs. Westmoreland!!

     

    -WBB

     

     Principal of the Year, Ashley Westmoreland with Dr. Benson

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  • ABSS Food Truck

    Posted by William Benson on 9/22/2020

    It is a reality. Thanks to a combined team effort of Alamance County’s faith community, business community, and individuals who recognize the need and importance of feeding children who are food insecure, ABSS has a new food truck to help get meals to students in need!

     

    -WBB

     

    ABSS Food Truck

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  • National Arts in Education Week

    Posted by William Benson on 9/16/2020

    National Arts in Education Week is this week, September 13-19! Without question, the arts are an essential part of a complete education. I have shared with many of you the impact my high school guitar teacher (Mr. Knowles) had on me and how playing guitar has enriched my life and continues to do so (I will be playing at my youngest daughter’s wedding in November.). However, I also enjoy drawing and painting (Thanks to Mr. Maben, my 8th grade art teacher!). My point being that while I did not chose the arts as a career path, I cannot imagine, and probably could not appreciate fully, life without the arts. My hope is that all ABSS students have the opportunity to experience the arts in ways that forever positively impact their lives. Thank you to all ABBS teachers of the arts!

     

    -WBB

     

    P.S. I took a class in scientific illustration a few years back. Here is a pencil drawing I did of a loblolly pine found in central and eastern NC.

     

    Pencil drawing of loblolly pine

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  • First Shovels in the Dirt

    Posted by William Benson on 9/15/2020

    Today. South Mebane Elementary School. 11:00 a.m.

     

    Two years ago at this time, we were wondering whether or not our community would support a $150M bond for construction, expansion, and renovation of schools in ABSS. The community did – overwhelmingly.

     

    While our teachers are central to creating a positive, inclusive, supportive classroom climate, the physical space matters as well. Our students and teachers deserve modern, comfortable, and safe spaces in which to teach and learn.

     

    We are in a very different place as a community than where we were two years ago – COVID-19 aside. I am thankful for the continued support of our community, the positive working relationships we have with our local government -- our commissioners, our county manager, and his staff. I am also thankful for ABSS leaders and staff who remain laser-focused in keeping our bond projects on schedule, and, for a Board of Education that is committed to improved outcomes for our students and school community.

     

    So here we are today, ready to put the first shovels in the dirt.

     

    -WBB

     South Mebane Elementary Ground Breaking

     

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  • Suspected or confirmed positive? What happens?

    Posted by William Benson on 9/2/2020

    First of all, areas of facilities that have been occupied by someone who is being tested are closed until they can be disinfected. We do not wait until the test result is known. When a staff member tests positive, we work with the Alamance County Health Department and school site nurses in conducting contact tracing, notifying individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. That information is also used to inform when an additional disinfecting needs to occur, without waiting for any additional positives. Staff members verified as close contacts of individuals with a positive case are asked to quarantine for 10 days and recommended to be tested. Individuals who test positive are asked to quarantine for 14 days. Clusters (5 or more individuals who test positive) will be publicly reported. We do not currently have any clusters. 

     

    -WBB

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  • Thumbs Up to Señora Oballe, Señora Perez, and Ms. Fricke at E.M. Yoder Elementary School

    Posted by William Benson on 9/1/2020

    I received an email from a parent of students at E.M. Yoder Elementary School this morning. I am sharing, with permission:

     

    I have to say, we are LOVING what Señora Oballe is doing with the kindergarteners. She keeps them engaged and active. Her mix of instruction to activity is perfect. [My child] loves it! I especially love when she teaches vocabulary by sending kids on scavenger hunt in their house. "Algo rojo from the cocina."

     

     [My child] seems to be really enjoying it. Especially the math facts Kahoots. Yesterday she said she loves multiplying, so whatever Señora Perez did with an egg carton, it was a hit.

     

    And [the] specials teachers are just wonderful. They have been really creative and both of my children really look forward to their classes. Ms. Fricke had them make a skeeball game with containers and sock balls. So fun!

     

    [E.M. Yoder] staff is doing a great job, and I really appreciate it.

     

    I realize we have work to do to ensure all students are having these types of positive learning experiences at home. Teaching this way is new to most of us. We are learning.

     

    -WBB

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