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ABSS Food TruckPosted 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!
National Arts in Education WeekPosted 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!
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.
First Shovels in the DirtPosted 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.
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.
Thumbs Up to Señora Oballe, Señora Perez, and Ms. Fricke at E.M. Yoder Elementary SchoolPosted 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.
Shout Out to ABSS ColleaguesPosted by William Benson on 8/21/2020 3:30:00 PM
I want to end the week by telling you how much I sincerely appreciate your hard work and dedication in helping us achieve such a successful virtual first week of school for our students and families. This milestone in our educational journey is possible because of the collective commitment of our determined staff on behalf of the children in our community that we are honored to serve. Together, we have worked to troubleshoot issues and to limit foreseeable impacts. Of course each start of the school year brings challenges, but I believe that our planning and preparedness for this most unusual situation has served us well this week. Thank you for helping us to launch a year that we will never forget. I look forward to a highly-successful year with you.
Advanced Placement (AP) Pass Rate Up SignificantlyPosted by William Benson on 8/20/2020
The percentage of AP students in ABSS with passing scores (3, 4, or 5) improved significantly in the 2020 testing. The district pass rate for 2020 is 60.5%, up 17.8 percentage points. The district average pass rate for the previous 4 years is 42.1%. The 2020 AP pass rate is the highest in 5 years! The pass rate improved in all high schools. And, this was accomplished in the midst of a pandemic. Remarkable!
Thanks to all involved in this efforts at the division and school level, especially to our AP teachers and students! Well done!!
Shout Out to Mrs. Carmen White at AOPosted by William Benson on 8/19/2020 2:00:00 PM
Received this in an email today:
I will admit, I was skeptical about full-day live classes, but they are breaking out into small groups and Mrs. White is popping in and working with each of them, they are screen sharing and leading each other through tasks as a whole group, and she is exposing them to multiple platforms (virtual whiteboard, apps in Clever, and google apps to name a few). It's only the third day of school and they have absolutely hit the ground running. Her expertise, love for her school and her kids, and just her overall excitement for learning is inspiring and so evident in every detail of her lessons.
Welcome Class of 2033Posted by William Benson on 8/19/2020
We are wrapping up welcoming our kindergarteners this week, the Class of 2033! Kindergarteners traditionally start school with us in a staggered start over a period of several days. This year it was a virtual staggered start. So, our kindergarteners had to look on at the beginning of the week as their older siblings returned to school, but eventually all will experience their first day as we finish out the week of school -- and ready to change the world!
ABSS Teachers of the Year RecognitionPosted by William Benson on 8/18/2020 8:00:00 PM
We all recognize the important role that committed, experienced educators play in Alamance County’s progress. I think that if there is one positive thing about this pandemic, it is that people are more aware now than ever of the power teachers have to be an anchor with calming reassurance during very unsettled times.
Tonight, we recognized our teachers of the year in a virtual celebration organized by the Alamance Chamber of Commerce: Excellence in Awards Program. Through the generous support of local businesses, teacher were awarded nearly $50,000 in gifts and monetary awards. Many thanks to all involved!
I am pleased to announce that the ABSS 2020 Teacher of the Year is Kelly Poquette, music teacher at E. M. Yoder Elementary School.
Congratulations to all.
P.S. Mrs. Poquette shared a tour of her at-home classroom with me -- enjoy!P.S.S. And I will take you up on that offer to join -- from my home studio.
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