Catawba Heights Elementary and Stanley Middle School took overall top honors in the sixth annual Gaston County Schools robotics competition held Saturday, March 11 at Forestview High School. The two schools, along with six others that had the top scores among all participating teams, will represent Gaston County in the western regional robotics competition on April 29.
Walls are going up and the new Stanley Middle School is taking shape. It has been seven months since the groundbreaking ceremony when all that could be seen on the school’s former football field were mounds of dirt and construction equipment. Now, curious passersby can see where the school will be located and envision a modern facility that should be ready for use during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Gaston County Schools in partnership with Gaston College will present the annual Manufacturing and Career Expo on Thursday, March 23. The event makes it possible for students to explore career options in advanced manufacturing that are right here in Gaston County. The theme is “Ignite Your Future: Introducing Students to Profitable Careers,” and activities take place in the Myers Center on the college campus in Dallas.
Gaston County Schools won 34 awards in the highly-competitive Mid-Carolina Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program. The awards included 12 Gold Key, 11 Silver Key, and 11 honorable mentions. “I am extremely proud of our students’ achievements,” said Forestview High School art teacher Travis Johnson. “To receive a Gold Key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards means that you are producing some of the best quality work in the state.”
Three days a week, teachers at Sherwood Elementary become students for the afternoon so they can learn basic grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. In Spanish, that is. The school’s ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher Edgar Coronado is offering Spanish lessons to any interested teachers. The classes are giving teachers new ways to communicate with their students, and perhaps more important, with their students’ parents.
Gaston County Schools will have more than 30 students competing in the regional science and engineering fair at UNC-Charlotte. Their wins at the Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair in January propelled them into the regional competition with a chance to advance to the statewide science fair. Students from Ashbrook, Stuart W. Cramer, Forestview, Gaston Early College, Belmont Middle, Holbrook Middle, Mount Holly Middle, and Rankin Elementary qualified to participate in the regional event.
Gaston County Schools continues to rank as the safest large school district in North Carolina, according to data released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education. Of the ten largest school districts in the state, Gaston County has the lowest school crime and violence rate. Gaston’s rate for the 2015-2016 academic year is 3.740. The school crime rate for Gaston County Schools has been significantly lower than that state rate for the past seven years.
From board game pieces to a mechanical hand, students at Cherryville High School are getting the chance to envision, design, and then bring their ideas into 3D reality thanks to a teacher who is engaging her students with technology. The MakerBot is what makes Joy Cash’s classroom unique. It’s a desktop 3D printer, and Cherryville was the first school in Gaston County to use one. For the past three years, Cash has been teaching students to create objects with the printer and helping them to learn math, art, physics, and science in the process.
When Scott Crabtree first signed up to be a mentor, he thought he would be asked to help students with math or reading. It turned out to be more fun and rewarding. As a mentor to two fourth grade students at H.H. Beam Elementary, he has spent time playing bocce ball, making paper airplanes, and building a model car along with other activities. With two mentees, the experience is “twice as nice” for Crabtree.
A holiday surprise arrived early for some fifth graders at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. The students in Rebecca Cissel’s classroom were hard at work one morning when they heard an electronic voice greet them from underneath the teacher’s desk: “Hello, Team Cissel!” It was a small, blue, ball-shaped robot named “Dot.” He arrived with a friend -- a larger robot, “Dash,” who has wheels and can be programmed to drive around the classroom floor. The students might think these are toys, but the robots are there to help them learn.
She might look like an ordinary high school student. Many days, you can find her doing classwork at the Gaston Early College High School or at her after-school job at Cracker Barrel. But Madison Knowles is anything but a typical high schooler. As an Early College student, Knowles is not only taking college courses, but at 18 years old, she has become the youngest-ever president of the Gaston College Student Government Association (SGA).
If you want to hire a Microsoft Office expert, check with the Highland School of Technology. Of the 316 students in North Carolina who earned Microsoft Office Master certifications in the 2015-2016 school year, 101 of them came from Highland. These numbers are the result of the school’s focus on career development as well as the dedication of three teachers who make it their goal to prepare as many students as possible to earn the certifications.
The Gaston County Board of Education has selected its chairman and vice chairman for the next two years. During Monday morning’s organizational meeting at the Central Office, the Board voted unanimously to elect Kevin Collier to serve as chairman. The Board also elected Jeff Ramsey to serve as the vice chairman.
A new car will make a difference for a teacher who is already making a difference in children’s lives. Kim Costner, the computer lab teacher at Pinewood Elementary, was the lucky winner of a brand new Kia Soul during Gaston County Schools’ Kia Outstanding Educator Awards ceremony on Wednesday. Now in its fourth year, the recognition program is sponsored by Kia of Gastonia and honors employees who are best described as “unsung heroes.”
Gaston County Schools hosted the annual National Technical Honor Society induction ceremony on Thursday, November 17 at Stuart W. Cramer High School. The program honored approximately 300 high school students, who are enrolled in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, for their outstanding academic achievement.
The small neighborhood in Robeson County was still flooded when donations from Bessemer City High School arrived on a recent Saturday morning. Residents received cleaning supplies, food, water, diapers, medical supplies, and other items to help in their recovery from Hurricane Matthew. The efforts at Bessemer City High and several other schools are ways that students are supporting hurricane relief efforts.
Students in Gaston County Schools have the supplies they need to learn thanks to the community’s generosity. From pens and pencils, notebooks, crayons, glue sticks and backpacks, nearly 16,000 individual items were donated to Gaston County students this fall through several collection drives hosted by local businesses.
Jill Hendrix had her students in mind when she chose to spend six weeks this summer teaching in Panama. The Spanish teacher at Stanley Middle School wanted to improve her language skills and come back with first-hand knowledge of Central America to share with her classes. To do this, she truly immersed herself in the culture.
Gaston County’s two new schools are starting to take shape. Foundations have been poured and concrete walls are rising from the dirt. Both the elementary school in Gastonia and the middle school in Stanley are on track to be completed for use during the 2017-2018 academic year, and when ready, the modern school campuses will serve the Gastonia and Stanley communities for many years to come.
The yearbook staff at Gaston Early College High School is a national award winner - again. The students won the Jostens National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award, the same recognition the school received two years ago. The Early College is the only high school in Gaston County and one of just 27 schools in North Carolina to capture the national yearbook award in 2016.
Gaston County Schools’ average score on the SAT is 1425, according to a report released by the College Board. This year’s score is 15 points higher than last year’s mark. Six high schools – Bessemer City, East Gaston, Forestview, Highland, Hunter Huss, and North Gaston – had a higher average score when compared to last year. The Highland School of Technology ranks above the state and national averages in all three tested subject areas (math, verbal and writing) for the second consecutive year.
What does it take to be great? It’s the small decisions we make every day, guest speaker Will Merritt told students at Bessemer City High School. Now a color commentator for ESPN, the former Clemson football star encouraged students to take the time to notice and care about each other. His talk was part of “Rachel’s Challenge,” a national anti-bullying initiative now in its fifth year in Gaston County Schools.
Students at Woodhill Elementary made their mark on “Dot Day” by donating $440 in change to the Gastonia Police Foundation. The school sponsored the money collection in an effort to teach the children about supporting their community. It’s an idea inspired by the children’s book “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds. The students also got an opportunity to spend time with officers and learn about the police department’s bomb squad and K-9 units.
Students can get a head start on their career and college plans this year thanks to a new partnership between Gaston County Schools and Gaston College. The school district is part of the NCWorks Career Coach Program, an initiative to help high school students learn about education and job opportunities available to them after graduation.
The high school graduation rate for Gaston County Schools has increased again, according to information released Thursday by the North Carolina State Board of Education. The graduation rate for the Class of 2016 is 88 percent, which is the best rate ever for the school district. The Gaston rate of 88 percent is higher than the state graduation rate of 85.8 percent. The district’s graduation rate has increased each year for the past seven years.
Monday, August 29 was the beginning of a new academic year for Gaston County Schools and its 32,000 students, including the 2,400 members of the Class of 2029 starting kindergarten. The year got off to a great start at the district’s 54 schools as teachers, administrators and staff members shared in the excitement of going back to school.
There are only 17 Google for Education Certified Trainers in all of North Carolina, and four of them belong to Gaston County Schools. Four of the district’s instructional technology facilitators (ITFs) recently earned recognition as Certified Trainers, a status that identifies them as experts in helping teachers use technology in the classroom.
It’s back-to-school time in Gaston County! When the morning bell rings on Monday, August 29, approximately 32,000 students (pre-kindergarten through high school) will walk through the doors of the county’s 54 public schools to start the 2016-2017 academic year.
They spent two days in the classroom to make sure their own classrooms will be ready for the school year. From the basics of math and reading to the latest in technology tools and techniques, Gaston County Schools’ Teaching and Learning Conference gave teachers a chance to learn and network with other educators. More than 1,000 teachers and school administrators attended the 11th annual conference held August 8 and 9 at Gaston College.
For a few weeks this summer, students had horses for teachers and a ranch for a classroom. Gaston County Schools partnered with Bit of Hope Ranch to offer the “Trailblazers” camp, an educational program designed to help prepare students for the year ahead. Groups of students spent two weeks at Bit of Hope where the daily program included time working with and riding the horses, teamwork challenges on an obstacle course, hikes on the nature trail, and other educational activities.
Two weeks of Minecraft. For the middle school students enrolled in the Gaston County Schools Summer Enrichment Program, two weeks devoted to their favorite video game must have sounded like a dream come true. They may not have even realized this summer camp was educational. But their teacher for the program knows that more than just a game, Minecraft can be an effective classroom learning tool.
They could have been at the beach, but instead, nearly 70 Gaston County Schools teachers spent their first week of summer vacation in the classroom. Teachers from all grade levels spent time learning together in the Pinnacle Leaders program, which aims to help educators use technology effectively in the classroom and become technology leaders in their schools.
For the past three weeks, bulldozers, excavators, and backhoes have been removing trees, turning over dirt, and preparing the land for a new middle school in Stanley. But a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning marked the official start of construction for the new facility, which will be built on the same parcel of land as the current school.
W. Jeffrey Booker, Superintendent of Gaston County Schools, has earned the prestigious Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year recognition for 2016-2017. Superintendents in the Southwest Region, which includes 11 public school districts in nine counties across the greater Charlotte area, selected Booker for the honor. He will compete against other regional winners for the North Carolina Superintendent of the Year title.
Gaston County Schools has 33 students in the Class of 2016 who have achieved valedictorian or salutatorian honors. Each valedictorian and salutatorian were recognized during high school graduation. The senior with the highest weighted grade point average (GPA) is selected valedictorian and the senior with the second-highest weighted GPA is chosen salutatorian. When students are tied for first or second in the class, co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian honors are presented.
This year, Gaston County Schools has seven seniors in the Class of 2016 who have achieved perfect attendance for their entire school career, kindergarten through twelfth grade. The students were recognized during their high school graduation ceremony for having perfect attendance and received a plaque from the Gaston County Board of Education. Each year, the Board of Education honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect attendance for either 12 years or 13 years.
Shovels full of red dirt celebrated the start of work on Gaston County’s newest elementary school as students, school officials, and elected representatives took part in a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, June 6. The ceremony was held at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School where the new school will be built on a 13-acre site adjoining the existing campus. The school is scheduled to open next fall.
Graduation for Gaston County Schools is Saturday, June 11, and 10 public high schools will conduct ceremonies that day to present diplomas to the Class of 2016. This year, 2,195 seniors will graduate from Gaston County Schools.
Gaston County Schools held a reception on Tuesday, May 24 at the Schiele Museum to name the New Teacher of the Year and Teacher Assistant of the Year for 2016. Bernadette D'Amato of Carr Elementary School received the Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year recognition and Jane Bumgarner of Springfield Elementary School captured the Teacher Assistant of the Year honor. This year’s awards program recognized 32 employees for outstanding dedication and commitment to students.
Drones zoomed over the football stadium at Bessemer City High School during Gaston County Schools’ first Cyber Drones Expo. Teams from five high schools competed against one another, showing off their drone flying skills and sharing proposals for drone-based businesses during the May 9 event.
Twelve years ago, W.A. Bess Elementary School kindergarten teacher Jill Nichols was honored as the Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year. This year, the students from that class are graduating, and Nichols is retiring after a 30-year career in teaching. The students she first taught as 5- and 6-year-olds reunited at W.A. Bess Elementary one recent morning, where they visited with Nichols and reminisced about their time together, recreated their class yearbook photo and described how their journey to graduation began on the learning rug in Nichols’ classroom.
Reggie Dawkins’ high school resume tells the story of a successful student with a promising future. The South Point High School senior was recently selected to receive the 2016 Paul Fuller Scholarship, which is presented to a senior who has been involved in the Gaston County Schools mentoring program. He will use it at Western Carolina University where he plans to study instrumental music education. Dawkins gives credit to his mentor, Van Hawkins, for helping him to achieve success.
The annual Star Teacher-Student Awards ceremony sponsored by Gaston County Schools and The Gaston Gazette was held Thursday, May 12 at the Schiele Museum. The program recognized a senior from each high school who has accomplished many outstanding achievements and the teacher who had the greatest influence on that student’s educational career.
Fifteen high school students from Gaston County Schools were selected to attend the prestigious North Carolina Governor’s School. Held annually at two sites, Governor’s School East is at Meredith College in Raleigh and Governor’s School West is at Salem College in Winston-Salem. The program runs June 19 through July 27.
Sixty-six students from Gaston County Schools will attend the James S. Forrester Commissioners’ School of Excellence (CSE) June 12-17 and June 26-July 1 at Belmont Abbey College. CSE is a unique, two-week summer residential learning experience for rising tenth graders in Gaston County. It is similar to the prestigious Governor’s School of North Carolina program, which is for high school juniors.
She made plastic from kudzu and came home with a silver medal from an international science fair. Ashbrook High School senior Mallory Alman recently represented Gaston County Schools in Houston, Texas at I-SWEEEP, the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project. The silver medal recognition ranks Alman as having one of the top engineering-based science projects in the world.
It wasn’t a conference, it was an EdCamp. More than 100 teachers from Gaston County Schools and across the region came to Stuart W. Cramer High School on April 30 for a day of learning and professional development at the first-ever EdCamp Gaston. Described as “unconferences,” EdCamps are a growing trend in education that give participants the opportunity to determine the topics and set the agenda.
Gaston County Schools thanked community volunteers in its district-wide mentoring program during a luncheon Thursday, May 5, at First A.R.P. Church in Gastonia. Founded in 1992, the mentoring program currently has 250 volunteer mentors who meet with a student for an hour a week during the school year.
Four employees captured the most prestigious awards presented by Gaston County Schools during the 2016 Evening of Excellence ceremony. The program sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank was held Tuesday, May 3 at the Gaston Country Club.
More than 300 middle school students will get the chance to connect what they learn in the classroom with the real world of work as they visit local businesses for the first-ever Students@Work Day in Gaston County Schools. On Friday, 11 area businesses will open their doors to eighth graders through this collaborative program between Gaston County Schools and the Gaston Regional Chamber.
Highland School of Technology’s Cole Hairston is one of five finalists for Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year, 2016-2017. Hairston enjoys sharing his passion for music with students, and he expects excellence from them every day. He doesn’t want to just teach his students how to play music, but how to become musicians.
Rankin Elementary’s Leanna Cook is one of five finalists for Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year, 2016-2017. Every morning at 8:00, she steps in front of a tough audience of five- and six-year-olds. Fortunately, her background in visual and performing arts is an important part of her classroom strategy that gets plenty of applause.
McAdenville Elementary’s Beth Crosby is one of five finalists for Gaston County Schools Teacher of the Year, 2016-2017. Her students look forward to her class not just for the fun while learning, but also because they know she cares for them. “These kids are my heart and my soul. They know that I love them,” she said.
Twelve high school students from Gaston County Schools were recognized by The Gaston Gazette as the ‘Best and Brightest’ in the Class of 2016. The awards were presented Wednesday, April 13 during an afternoon ceremony at The Schiele Museum. Seniors from area high schools were eligible to apply for the ‘Best and Brightest’ award. A winner was chosen from each high school based on academics, leadership, and community service.
Bobbie Cavnar of Gaston County Schools is the North Carolina Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017. During a luncheon and ceremony today at the Umstead Hotel in Cary, State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson announced Cavnar as the winner. He will represent North Carolina in the 2017 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Gaston County Schools is home to some of the top young scientists in North Carolina. Over the weekend, 12 students from the district traveled to Raleigh to participate in the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair. They joined about 300 other students in third grade through high school whose research projects were judged the best in their regional contests.
It might have been their favorite class all year. Sixth graders at Warlick Academy recently spent a day programming and playing their own version of the “Flappy Bird” computer game. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t a day off from the lesson plan. In fact, the students were learning more than they realized, and that’s just what teacher Kelley Black intended.
The two weeks they’ll spend in Germany this summer could be the beginning of lifelong friendships. At least, that’s the hope of the German Language and Culture Foundation, which for the eighth year in a row has funded scholarships for Gaston County students to study in Gastonia’s sister city of Gotha, Germany.
Middle school and high school students and their parents are invited to learn about opportunities that await beyond graduation during the College and Career Expo presented by Gaston County Schools. The event is Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Loray Mill, 300 South Firestone Street, Gastonia.
They spent months learning about engineering, computer programming, problem-solving and teamwork while building and learning to drive their own robots. On Saturday, more than 300 elementary and middle school students came to together to show off what they learned and put their robots to the test during the fifth annual RoboGaston competition. Teams from 26 elementary and 11 middle schools participated in the event, which showcases Gaston County Schools’ district-wide robotics program.
Gaston County Schools ranks as the safest large school district in North Carolina, according to a report released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Of the ten largest school districts in the state, Gaston County Schools has the lowest school crime rate. Gaston’s rate for the 2014-2015 school year is 4.073, which is lower than the 2013-2014 rate of 4.723.
Students at Bessemer City Middle School are getting the chance to design, build, wire, and program a robot -- a project that makes learning interactive and fun. Andrew Graff’s class is the first in the district to use robotics kits as part of the Career and Technical Education curriculum to focus on concepts related to math, science, computer programming, and more. By adding a robot to the learning process, it moves the lessons off the SMART Board and into the students’ hands.
Their work may often go unnoticed, but if you know where to look, it’s easy enough to see: clean classroom floors, shining windows, and empty trash cans. What might be harder to see, but much more significant, is the difference brothers Larry and LeeRoy Montgomery have made beyond the walls of John Chavis Middle School and Cherryville High School.
Belmont Central Elementary School celebrated its 45th anniversary on Sunday, January 31 with a special program and open house. Principal Phyllis Whitworth presided over the program, and approximately 200 people attend the celebration.
You may have called them “guidance counselors” when you were a student. Today, they are known as school counselors, and they play an important role in helping students learn, grow and succeed. In Gaston County Schools, every elementary, middle and high school has at least one counselor. Often times, you’ll see them teaching character education lessons, providing guidance to students who face challenges, and offering advice about college and career decisions.
In the classroom, it’s usually the numbers and letters that matter. But there’s more to success than test scores or grade point average, as Tammy Hubbard has seen in her 17 years as school counselor at York Chester Middle. Success can’t always be counted or graded, she explains, which is why she spends time recruiting and developing mentors for her students through the Gaston County Schools mentoring program.
They tested the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil, dropped candy into cola, analyzed the heart rates of dogs, or measured electrical currents -- and on Saturday, January 9, nearly 300 students had the opportunity to share what they learned at the annual Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The 178 projects in this year’s event represent the most ever in the eight years of the annual competition.
Every afternoon, while students in other classrooms are sitting in desks with pencils and notebooks, a group of students at Hunter Huss High School are suiting up in firefighting gear and heading outside to pick up axes and chainsaws and practice fire survival skills. Now in its third year, the school’s Firefighter Academy allows students to get hands-on experience and professional credit as they learn what it takes to become a firefighter.
More than 2,000 students across Gaston County Schools had the opportunity last week to learn coding and be introduced to the field of computer science through Code.org and its third annual Hour of Code program. The local activities were part of more than 190,000 registered Hour of Code “events” held around the world in an effort to “demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics” of computer programming.
For the fourth time in six years, Gaston County Schools has the Southwest Region Teacher of the Year. Bobbie Cavnar, an English teacher at South Point High School in Belmont, was named the 2015-2016 Regional Teacher of the Year during an announcement at the school this afternoon (December 17). He will compete against eight other regional winners for the North Carolina Teacher of the Year title.
A house in Gastonia was getting a new deck, and from the outside, the construction site looked much like any other: workers in hardhats and safety goggles, hammers in hand, pounding nails into 2x4s, accompanied by the smell of sawdust and the buzz of power tools. But what looked like a typical construction site is something more unique -- a service partnership with Habitat for Humanity that allows high school students to gain job skills while giving back to the community.
Gaston County Schools’ successful “Nickels 4 Neighbors” campaign culminated Thursday, November 19 with the delivery of $25,000 to the Clarendon and Williamsburg school districts in South Carolina. Each Clarendon district received $5,000 and the Williamsburg district received $10,000 to help children and families affected by the devastating flood.
It’s not every day that students run – literally – to get to class. But Noelle Van Der Meid’s students were so excited for their lesson on Neolithic civilizations, they couldn’t get to the computer lab fast enough. The sixth graders at Mount Holly Middle School are using MinecraftEdu, the educational version of the popular video game, to engage in learning.
For Julie Shatterly, the second time was the charm. The media specialist at W.A. Bess Elementary was the winner of a new Kia Soul Wednesday afternoon as her name was selected in a random drawing to win the 2015 Kia Oustanding Educator Award and a brand-new Kia Soul from Kia of Gastonia.
It’s time for one deserving employee of Gaston County Schools to win a new car from Kia of Gastonia. On Wednesday afternoon, November 18, one employee’s name will be chosen in a drawing and that person will be named the 2015 Kia Outstanding Educator and claim the keys to a new Kia Soul.
Kindergarten students at three schools used crayons, Chromebooks and Popsicle sticks as part of a fun class project to make new friends. Through the “Popsicle Pals” lesson, the children wrote letters to each other and then used Google Hangouts video chat to introduce themselves to their “pen pals.” They also learned about the importance of showing good character and how technology can be used to connect with classes at other schools.
At Southwest Middle School, social worker Tina Peterson spends her time helping students in need and removing obstacles to learning. Sometimes, it’s a matter of having the right supplies. Thanks to generous donations from businesses, community partners and individuals, students across Gaston County had the supplies they needed for the beginning of school.
Walk through the halls with Joey Clinton on a typical school day, and it becomes clear that Ashbrook High School is a community built on relationships of respect. Relationships are important to Clinton, our Gaston County Principal of the Year for 2015-2016. He says, “My favorite part of this job is getting to know and being a part of these students’ lives.”
Stuart W. Cramer High School students Amari Brown and Kameron Carver recently took their first-ever professional graphic design job. Now, their work is on display all around Cramerton and throughout Gaston County. Through the job opportunity, the students experienced what it takes to be successful in a “real-world” setting.
The “Nickels 4 Neighbors” fundraising campaign is complete, and Gaston County Schools collected more than $25,000 to help schoolchildren in South Carolina affected by the recent flood.
Safety is a priority for school bus drivers in Gaston County. Just ask Odell Lowery, who has driven a school bus for 40 years. Each day, Lowery focuses on doing his job well with safety always on his mind. Lowery and other bus drivers in Gaston County Schools keep the buses on the road, traveling more than 12,000 miles a day and transporting 16,500 children to and from school.
Cindy Lee exemplifies all the best qualities of a school cafeteria manager. At North Belmont Elementary, she arrives early and works many hours each school day to serve delicious, nutritious meals for children. It’s a job that she truly adores.
Gaston County Schools began its fourth year of the Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying program with a series of assembly programs intended to “start a chain reaction of kindness.” Students heard from different guest speakers who shared the same message -- make good decisions in life and show kindness and compassion toward others.
As a young boy in a small Colombian village, Victor Pajaro saw very little hope for his future. He remembers the day out in the field when his father, a poor farmer, encouraged him to find a new path. That was more than 60 years ago. Today, the Ashbrook High School teacher -- who turns 82 at the end of October -- says education is what transformed his life. And he says it’s a gift he loves to share with others.
Gaston County teachers became students for the afternoon during a district-wide professional development day on Wednesday, September 30. With 38 different workshops and training sessions offered at sites across the county, teachers took time to learn new techniques for the classroom as well as discuss strategy and network with teachers from other schools.
One quarter isn’t much on its own. But when 617 students each bring in a quarter, the end result is more than $180 that will make a lasting change in the life of another family. Woodhill Elementary sponsored a fundraiser through Heifer International to help people living in poverty and teach children about the importance of helping others.
Activity buses in Gaston County Schools have the potential to act as “moving billboards” thanks to a unique sponsorship program for local companies. Businesses can have their advertisement placed on an activity bus as a way to get attention and show their support for our schools.
Teachers in Gaston County Schools are helping students stay motivated in class and reaching out to engage and communicate with parents with a fun, free, technology-based tool called ClassDojo. The app is making a difference inside and outside the classroom.
Gaston County Schools’ average score on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is 1410, according to a report released Friday, September 4 by the College Board. Five Gaston high schools – Cherryville, Gaston Early College, Highland, North Gaston, and South Point – had a higher average score when compared to last year. Additionally, three schools – Cherryville, Highland, and South Point – had at least one subject area score above the state and national averages.
The high school graduation rate for Gaston County Schools is the highest ever, according to information released today by the North Carolina State Board of Education. The graduation rate for the Class of 2015 is 86.3 percent. The Gaston rate is higher than the state graduation rate of 85.4 percent.
Gaston County Schools posted a slight increase in the percentage of students achieving overall proficiency on end-of-grade and end-of-course state tests, according to information released today by the North Carolina State Board of Education. The school district also had 75 percent of its schools meet or exceed academic growth on the READY state accountability program.
In a collaborative program with the Gaston Regional Chamber, a group of teachers and counselors had the opportunity to visit eight businesses and learn about career options in the local community. Now, the educators can take what they learned back to the classroom to better prepare their students for the workforce and connect them with careers in Gaston County.
During the school year, the 3,700 employees of Gaston County Schools are spread across the district’s 55 schools and administrative offices. But four days before the opening of school, they gathered together to celebrate as a family and kick off a new year at the annual Back-To-School Convocation.
Students and teachers were excited for learning to begin as Monday, August 24 marked the first day of the 2015-2016 academic year in Gaston County Schools. Our schools reported a successful first day as students returned to their school routine and teaching and learning got underway.
From an inspiring keynote speech by the 2014 National Teacher of the Year to small, interactive workshops, some 1,200 teachers and school administrators received encouragement, motivation and professional development at the Gaston County Schools’ Teaching and Learning Conference.
It’s back-to-school time in Gaston County! When the morning bell rings on Monday, August 24, approximately 32,000 students (pre-kindergarten through high school) will walk through the doors of the county’s 55 public schools to start the 2015-2016 academic year.
Approximately 1,100 students in first through third grades spent time this summer working on their reading skills. The second annual “Camp Achieve” program held at eight school sites provided focused reading instruction for students in a fun and engaging environment.
During the school year, they guide learning from the front of the classroom. But this summer, five Gaston County Schools teachers are stepping into the role of students so they will have more to offer their classes this fall. In the mountains of Colorado and along the Chattanooga River in Georgia, the teachers are learning about current issues in environmental research and education.
The classic Broadway show “Anything Goes” came to Stuart W. Cramer High School last weekend (July 17-19), but this wasn’t just another high school musical. For five weeks, the cast of students from eight different Gaston County schools were trained by a group of talented theater professionals through the first-ever Gaston STAGE program.
Three teachers are joining education leaders from across the country and around the world in Washington, D.C. this week where they will learn new and innovative ways to use technology in the classroom. They are representing Gaston County Schools at the Discovery Education Network Summer Institute.
It was their first week of summer vacation, but 33 teachers spent their time getting ready for next school year at Pinnacle, a Gaston County Schools professional development program that helps teachers use technology in the classroom.
Gaston County Schools has 24 students in the Class of 2015 who have achieved valedictorian or salutatorian honors. The valedictorians and salutatorians were recognized during high school graduation.
This year, Gaston County Schools has seven seniors in the Class of 2015 who have achieved 12 years or 13 years of perfect attendance.
Graduation for Gaston County Schools is Saturday, June 13, and nine public high schools will conduct ceremonies that day to present diplomas to the Class of 2015. This year, 2,172 seniors will graduate from Gaston County Schools.
With wireless internet access at all schools and Chromebooks, iPads and SMART Boards in nearly every classroom, Gaston County Schools is leading the way in using technology for teaching and learning. But whether students are using touchscreens or keyboards in the classroom, the skill of reading remains vitally important, which is why the library is still the heart of the school.
Four employees captured the most prestigious awards presented by Gaston County Schools during the annual Evening of Excellence ceremony. The program sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank was held May 5 at the Gaston Country Club.
The annual Star Teacher-Student Awards ceremony sponsored by Gaston County Schools and The Gaston Gazette was held Thursday, April 23 at the Schiele Museum. The program recognized the student who ranks first academically in the Class of 2015 from each high school and the teacher who had the greatest influence on that student’s educational career.
Gaston County Schools Superintendent W. Jeffrey Booker was among 21 superintendents from across the state to complete the prestigious North Carolina Next Generation Development Program.
The McAdenville Elementary-Pharr Yarns team was the winner of the annual “Are You Smarter Than a Gaston County Fifth Grader?” competition held last Thursday night at Stuart W. Cramer High School. The event raised more than $29,000, which will be used by the Gaston County Education Foundation to fund grants for innovative classroom activities.
Jimmy Wayne could be doing something different with his time. The country music star has played at venues like the Grand Ole Opry and Madison Square Garden and recently published a New York Times bestselling memoir. Rather than take advantage of these larger stages, Wayne spent several days last week performing for relatively small audiences of school children -- for free.
The robotics team from Cramerton Middle School emerged as the grand champion of the annual RoboGASTON program held Saturday, March 7 at East Gaston High School. The Cramerton team along with seven other school teams will represent Gaston County Schools in the regional robotics competition in May.
Gaston County Schools’ robotics program is popular among students. This year, 39 school teams participated in the RoboGASTON competition that provides a fun and educational experience. The program gives students an opportunity to learn about science, technology and math and focuses on problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork.
The Gaston County Board of Education will conduct a Public Hearing on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. regarding the options for new schools in Gaston County. The Public Hearing will be held in the Gaston County Schools Central Office Board Room, 943 Osceola Street, Gastonia.
Fourteen Gaston County Schools teachers have joined an elite group of educators by earning National Board Certification, the highest standard for the teaching profession. The newly certified teachers were recognized during a reception on March 4 at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia.
Gaston County Schools’ dropout rate remains low and it is better than the state average for the second consecutive year, according to a report from the State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Gaston’s dropout rate for the 2013-2014 school year is 1.84, which is lower than the state rate of 2.28.
A report from the State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction shows that Gaston County Schools continues to rank as one of the safest large school districts in North Carolina. The school crime rate for Gaston County Schools has been significantly lower than that state rate for the past five years.
The Board of Education has approved a series of recommendations related to plans for new schools in Gaston County. The recommendations include building a new elementary school in west Gastonia and a new middle school in Stanley; establishing a new elementary school magnet program at Hawks Nest Intermediate School; and appointing a task force to study options for a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school.
When David Landrum first volunteered as a Gaston County Schools mentor, he was introduced to a boy who was almost too shy to come out of the kindergarten classroom. Today, that once-timid student is a more confident and talkative eighth grader, who is looking forward to high school and thinking about what to do after graduation.
Blueberry pancakes, Thai Sweet Chili Chicken, all-natural turkey franks and jalapeno ketchup were a few of the more than 200 items on the menu for Gaston County Schools’ fourth annual food show.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction released on Thursday the State School Report Card for Gaston County Schools for the 2013-2014 academic year. The annual report card includes important information about student attendance and academic achievement, class size, instructional technology, teacher quality, school safety, and other topics.
Seven years ago, Jennifer Del Castillo won the first-ever Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair. Now, as a first-year teacher at Belmont Middle School, she was able to share the honor with one of her students.
In an effort to strengthen school partnerships with churches and faith-based community groups, Gaston County Schools will sponsor a Faith Summit on Friday, February 6 at Brookside Elementary School. Representatives from local churches, faith-based groups and community organizations are invited to attend.
The Gaston County Board of Education is exploring the possibility of opening four new schools: an elementary school, a magnet elementary school, a middle school, and a vocational/technical high school. The Board discussed the four options at its annual retreat held January 23-24 at the Rader Staff Development Center in Cramerton.
The seventh annual Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair featured outstanding projects by 115 high school students, 38 middle school students and four elementary students. After a full day of reviewing the projects and talking to students about their research, the judges named winners in several categories.
Gaston County Schools is the recipient of a $40,000 contribution from FMC Lithium Corporation to support the annual Gaston Regional Science and Engineering Fair.
A math project became a lesson in giving at Belmont Central Elementary when four classes worked together to collect more than $700 in coins and make the holidays brighter for families in need.
At the Highland School of Technology, the spirit of giving isn’t just part of the holiday season. Students look for ways to contribute to the community all year round whether collecting food or donating time to a service project.
Country music singer and songwriter Jimmy Wayne spent time last week sharing his life story with students at York Chester Middle School and Cherryville High School. The assembly programs featured Wayne taking the stage to perform several of his popular songs and tell about how he overcame a childhood in poverty and the foster care system thanks to the love and support of teachers, counselors and an elderly couple who took him into their home.
Webb Street School students are making the community more beautiful this holiday season in what has become an annual tradition of giving to local organizations.
A morning of crafts, games and carols brought holiday cheer to the residents at Stanley Total Living Center and the group of Kiser Elementary students who came to visit. The fourth-grade classes enjoyed the spirit of the season with the residents as they worked on community service projects together.
As a social worker at Sadler Elementary School, Tabatha Rainey knows how the holiday season puts a strain on local food pantries. That is why she and other Gaston County Schools social workers organized collection drives to gather food and other items for families in need.
When the Belmont Middle robotics team took a field trip to Holy Angels, the students did more than just learn. They also were inspired to help provide learning opportunities for others. Now, they are sponsoring the “iCan for iTunes” fundraiser to purchase iTunes gift cards for the Holy Angels residents.
With the excitement and energy Karla Endemann brings into the classroom, it would be easy to mistake her for a new teacher as parents at Chapel Grove Elementary School sometimes do. But Endemann -- the Gaston County Teacher of the Year -- has 17 years of experience and shares her enthusiasm for teaching and learning every day.
As a custodian at Gardner Park Elementary School, Stevie Anderson does most of his work behind-the-scenes. But on Wednesday afternoon, he took center stage as the 2014 Kia Outstanding Educator for Gaston County Schools, winning a new car from Kia of Gastonia.
Chris Hafer appreciates all that Gaston County Schools teachers and staff do every day to care for children. To show how much he values their efforts, the Kia of Gastonia president will give away a brand new car to the one employee chosen as the Kia Outstanding Educator.
At Kiser Elementary, Chromebook computers are very popular and take a central spot in the school library. However, media specialist Laura Long isn’t using them as a replacement for books. Instead, she’s using technology to inspire reading.
A new program in Gaston County Schools -- Bring Your Own Device or BYOD -- gives students and teachers the option to take their own smartphones, tablets or laptops to school to be used as part of classroom learning. It is a way to provide greater access to educational tools and content on the Internet and can help students become more engaged in learning.
On Wednesday, November 19, one employee from Gaston County Schools will be named the 2014 Kia Outstanding Educator and win a new car from Kia of Gastonia.
A visit to the dentist can be a lot more fun when you go with friends. That’s what first- and second-grade students from Sherwood Elementary learned when they went to Gaston Family Health Services (GFHS) Pediatric Dentistry.
It’s been almost a year since W.A. Bess Elementary custodian Omer Salazar won a new car, but he is still amazed that he heard his name called at last November’s Kia Outstanding Educator Awards program.
Rosalind White of Cherryville High School has been named the 2014-2015 Southwest Region School Social Worker of the Year.
When you’re hungry, it’s not easy to listen and learn in school. For some students, hunger is an obstacle to getting a good education. But for the last four years, the Backpack Weekend Food Program has been helping at-risk children succeed by making sure they get enough to eat over the weekend.
York Chester Middle School students and staff will bring live jazz, blues, folk and gospel music to the community this weekend during the annual York Chester Music and Arts Festival.
Long before the first classroom lessons begin each school day, Gaston County Schools’ buses are on the road. Each morning and afternoon, they transport 16,000 children to and from school and travel a total of 12,000 miles.
Woodhill Elementary students are connecting with children around the world through "shared reading" and some special books. Thanks to a Ron L. Ensley mini-grant from the Gaston County Education Foundation, the school was able to purchase books by author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds for students to use as part of the Global Read Aloud program.
The Gaston County Schools central kitchen is the only one of its kind in North and South Carolina, and it makes for healthier, tastier school lunches. Instead of processed and pre-packaged food, many items on the menu in our school cafeterias are made from scratch with whole ingredients.
There are 591 students enrolled at Sadler Elementary School this year, and principal Rebekah Duncan knows each one by name. Every morning, Duncan – the Gaston County Principal of the Year – greets the students coming through the school doors. She takes time to ask how they are doing and listens to what they say.
Gaston County Schools’ average score on the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is 1423, according to a report released Tuesday by the College Board.
More than 200 fourth graders brought extra confidence into the classroom this school year thanks to the support and instruction they received during the district’s first-ever “Read to Achieve” summer camp.
Nearly 80 representatives from 10 school systems in the Charlotte region came to Gaston County on Thursday, September 18 for the annual district meeting of the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA).
Gastonia Nissan collected items for students in Gaston County Schools during the dealership’s first-ever “Fill the Frontier” school supplies drive.
“We are Costner. We are family.” This motto is taking on new meaning for Costner Elementary School in Dallas as teachers, staff, PTO members, and families come together to support a student facing a terminal illness.
The choices you make in school each day will determine the course of your future, former NFL player Steve Fitzhugh told students at Hunter Huss High School.
Tammy Holland accomplished one of her dreams when she became a second-grade teacher at Robinson Elementary School. Two weeks ago, she fulfilled another dream when she published her first book.
More students in Gaston County Schools are achieving proficiency and more schools are making academic growth on the READY state accountability model, according to information released by the State Board of Education.
Monday morning marked the start of new opportunities as Gaston County Schools began the 2014-2015 academic year.
More than 100 first-time teachers and those new to Gaston County Schools are getting ready to step into the classroom.
More than 1,000 educators attended the 11th annual Teaching and Learning Conference. The event sponsored by Gaston County Schools in partnership with Gaston College featured informative workshops and sessions for teachers.
All children at 21 public schools in Gaston County will receive breakfast and lunch meals free-of-charge during the 2014-2015 school year.
It’s a new school year for Gaston County Schools, and 11 schools have a new principal for 2014-2015.
Today, W. Jeffrey Booker officially takes the helm of Gaston County Schools as the district’s new Superintendent of Schools.
The Gaston County Board of Education unanimously appointed Deputy Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker as the next superintendent of Gaston County Schools. The Board announced the appointment during Monday night’s regular meeting. Booker will become superintendent on January 1, 2014 when L. Reeves McGlohon retires.
Gaston County Schools has four instructional technology facilitators who are STAR Discovery Educators.
A report from the State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction shows that Gaston County Schools’ acts of crime and violence decreased for the fourth consecutive year.
A report from the State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction indicates that Gaston County Schools’ dropout rate decreased again. Gaston’s rate is 1.61 for the 2012-2013 school year, which is lower than the district’s 2011-2012 rate of 3.43. Gaston’s dropout rate is below the state rate of 2.45.
Gaston County Schools held a reception on Tuesday, May 20 at the Schiele Museum to name the New Teacher of the Year and Teacher Assistant of the Year for 2014.
Gaston County Schools could see a significant decrease in funding for fiscal year 2014-2015 if local and state budget proposals are adopted.