A school board member -- and former principal -- for a North Carolina district is proposing changes to the level of flexibility principals have in school-level programming decisions. He says the district may want the power to require schools to implement certain programs that have been effective elsewhere.
A mural artist and elementary-school art teacher have partnered in a monthlong project to teach fifth-graders about public art while designing the facade for a Chapel Hill, N.C., apartment building. Students came up with 300 drawings ranging from monsters to giant erasers with the winning design consisting of an enormous 3D paintbrush and streaks of paint. "Creativity is a teachable skill, and it's important and useful," artist Michael Brown said.
A North Carolina elementary school's teachers are enticing students to write by started a publishing club using the online National Novel Writing Month's Young Writer Program. Students came up with ideas in October, wrote their books through November, edited peers' work and then self-published the novels through CreateSpace and have their printed books. "You get them to just finish the story and see it in print, so that they will be more enthusiastic about writing it the next time," teacher LiAnn Cheong said.
Some third-graders who attend year-round schools in Wake County, N.C., will attend reading camps during their winter breaks. The state's Read to Achieve law requires third-graders who fail year-end reading exams to attend a six-week summer remediation camp, but Wake County's year-round calendar at doesn't allow a summer break long enough to meet the requirement. Students at risk of failing the test will attend sessions during shorter breaks spread across the school year.
While North Carolina has earned praise for its progress since receiving $400 million in federal Race to the Top funds, officials point out they have fallen short of their "aspirational" goals, achievement gaps have widened in some areas and data show fewer students are moving on to post-secondary programs. Officials say they have spent the bulk of the federal grants on new performance evaluations, classroom technology and professional development for teachers.