Sunday, January 31, 2010

OCS closed Monday

Orange County Schools — all schools and district offices — will be closed Monday because of the weekend's snow.

Stay safe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

27 January paper

Sorry for the late posting on this one, but here's what's in this week's paper:
  • COUNTY BANS DOGGING DEER. The Orange County Board of Commissioners banned the practice of hunting deer with dogs last week.
  • FORMER COUNTY LEADER DIES. Orange County's first manager, Samuel Gattis II, died last Saturday. He was the county manager from 1963 to 1981.
  • 'GIVING WHAT YOU HAVE.' A local woman is spearheading an effort to get backpacks sent down to Haiti to use in carrying supplies from one location to another.
  • EVENT WILL REVISIT OLD DAYS. This Sunday at the Senior Center several locals will tell what Hillsboro was like in the days before the extra "ugh."
  • PROGRAM USES REAL LIFE TO TEACH TEENS ABOUT DRIVER SAFETY. The VIP for a VIP program uses real-life situations to encourage teens to be safe drivers. Local law enforcement agencies are hoping to use this program in area schools.
See also stories on a planned daddy/daughter dance, budget issues facing the school district and our Educator of the Week.


The following press release just came across our e-mail. I imagine it means all evening and weekend events are canceled in the district. I know for sure the Hillsborough Elementary School movie night is postponed until next Friday. Let the cancellations begin!
   Due to the INCLEMENT WEATHER coming into our area tomorrow, the OCS Board of Education has CANCELLED ALL PRACTICES and ATHLETIC EVENTS for Friday, January 29th & Sat., January 30th (entire weekend!) 

**ALL of OHS & CRHS Basketball Games are CANCELLED for Friday, Jan. 29th  -  and are NOT Rescheduled at this time.  [Please watch the OCS Athletic Calendars (on the OCS Website), and all updates & rescheduled athletic events will be posted on each schools’ Jan. & Feb. Calendars, …as soon as the Final Rescheduled information is received.

**Sat., Jan. 30th – ‘CAROLINA 9 – 1A/2A Conf. Wrestling Tournament is also CANCELLED & IS Rescheduled for Sat., February 6th, @ CRHS – Weigh-Ins start @ 9:00 a.m. & the Wrestling will start @ 10:00 a.m.

   Thank for your Patience!!
    …We are terribly sorry for any inconvenience that this might have caused for you and your family!  Have a Nice & Very Safe Weekend ahead!
UPDATE at 10:10 a.m.: The Eno River Farmer's Market will not hold a market Saturday. They'll be back next Saturday at the Public Market House from 10 a.m. to noon.

UPDATE at 10:14 a.m.: The Hillsborough Town Board's retreat will be postponed until next weekend.

UPDATE at 12:40 p.m.: Via OCMLibrary's Twitter feed: "Friends of the Library has rescheduled the Bargain Book sale to February 6th 10am - 4pm due to weather. More info:"

UPDATE at 12:42 p.m.: The following just came across our e-mail, from the IRS:
GREENSBORO- Due to the forecast calling for possible severe winter weather conditions, the IRS has cancelled special Saturday hours at 5 of 7 locations in the Carolinas this weekend.

These special hours were originally scheduled to provide help to taxpayers who earned less than $49,000 in 2009 by determining if these taxpayers are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and offering them free tax preparation assistance and electronic filing.

“In the interest of both the safety of taxpayers and our employees, the IRS has cancelled Saturday hours at locations in the Carolinas where there is a potential for hazardous winter weather,” said Mark Hanson, IRS spokesperson for the Carolinas.

The following offices, previously scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will be closed:
Charlotte,  NC
Greensboro,  NC
Hickory,  NC
Raleigh,  NC
Greenville,  SC

The following IRS offices will be open as originally scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday:
            Wilmington,  NC
            Charleston,  SC

The address for IRS offices may be found here:

All seven IRS locations listed above are scheduled to be open for special Saturday hours again Feb. 6 and Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide the same free services to qualifying taxpayers who made less than $49,000 in 2009.

Eligible taxpayers who are unable to get free services from IRS offices during normal business hours or during special Saturday hours held at some locations may want to consider using the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.  Community organizations throughout the Carolinas participate in VITA where IRS-trained volunteers help prepare and e-file tax returns for qualifying taxpayers.

To find the nearest VITA site, call the United Way at 2-1-1, the AARP at 1-888-227-7669, or the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

Taxpayers eligible for EITC may also want to consider using IRS Free File to prepare and e-file their federal income tax return online at no cost.  Visit for more info.
UPDATE at 2:13 p.m.: The Hillsborough Visitors Center will be closed Saturday and Sunday.

UPDATE at 4:41 p.m.: Here's Hillsborough's emergency preparedness site, for more information:

Also, our advertising manager just came back from Home Depot, and she said the whole Hampton Pointe shopping centre is a hot mess, with a line to get out the goes passed the traffic circle. Good luck if you have to get in or out of there.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HES winter carnival

The Hillsborough Elementary School Dynamic Dolphins jump-rope group before their performance Saturday at the school's Winter Carnival. (Photo by Vanessa C. Shortley)

So, I went to the Hillsborough Elementary School Winter Carnival on Saturday, and I have to say, it was jumping! It looked like there was great turnout, and tons of kids having fun. I'm glad I was able to make it out this year.
For more photos, of course, see this week's News of Orange.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

e-mail outage for OCS

Apparently, e-mail is down for Orange County Schools users. It should be back sometime today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

in the 0120 edition

Despite a long night, Robin and I managed to put out a pretty nice paper, if you ask me.  So here's what you can find in this week's edition:
  • COUNTIES DISCUSS LINE SOLUTION: This one comes from our sister paper, the Mebane Enterprise, about what Orange and Alamance county managers Frank Clifton and Craig Honeycutt are proposing their respective boards do about the county line. This is on the agenda for this week's Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting, so Robin will have more on that next week, too.
  • 3 OCS VETERANS RETIRING: Orange County Schools is losing three more veteran administrators: Dr. Greg Hicks, assistant superintendent for human resources and finance; OHS principal Roy Winslow; and CRHS principal Gary Thornburg. 
  • KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE: There is plenty of coverage on this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative march and other festivities in Hillsborough.
  • LOCAL OFFICERS TAKE PART IN CRISIS INTERVENTION TRAINING: Hillsborough Police Department was among several area departments that took part in a crisis intervention training that taught them how to deal with someone who has a mental illness.
Plus, check out our Educator of the Week, Lynne T. Gronback, a science teacher at Cedar Ridge who has much love for her subject and her students.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19 Jan. Board of Ed meeting

Hey everyone: I'm at the meeting.

7:21 p.m.: We're at the Board comments now. But before, PIO Mike Gilbert recognized Central Elementary School, which was one of five schools in the state to win the award this year. Central came out in force to participate in the recognition.
That's Central principal Clara Daniels to the left of the woman in black.

7:31 p.m.: Superintendent Patrick Rhodes said he was impressed with Central's award, and he thanked Dr. Denise Morton for writing the nomination.
The American Heart Association is using the Natalie Hough story, he said, for AED promotion.
All 115 districts in NC signed the North Carolina Race to the Top letter of support, Rhodes said. As much as half a billion dollars could come to the state.
 As part of planning for the Orange County Agricultural Summit, which the Orange High FFA is a part of, Cedar Ridge students are making a living history about what it was like to be a farmers in older times. The theme of the summit is "Back to the Future."

7:38 p.m.: The Consent Agenda has been approved. It contained minutes, personnel report, school trip approval request and several policies.

8:01 p.m.: Five schools in the district use Positive Behaviour Support, specialist Sheila McDonald said. It seeks to replace negative behaviour with positive behaviour. Eighty percent of school staff must "buy-in" before the system may be completely put into place.

8:28 p.m.: Kay Ringer and Bruce Middleton are giving a presentation on science and math throughout the district. Some really interesting stuff about the new textbook adoption for K-5 and how they're increasing other kinds of learning with math and science, like writing and inquiry-based science.

8:50 p.m.: Well, my laptop charger has gone MIA, so unless I find it, this is it for tonight. I'll add more tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

gold park

Picture by Vanessa Shortley
Boy Scouts and other community volunteers help Stormwater Resource Officer Terry Hackett create a stormwater wetland at Gold Park on Tuesday, May 12, 2009.

This press release just came across our e-mail. It's a shame for anyone who uses the park, but hopefully it will be cleared up soon.
Help Hillsborough Build a Better Field

The Town of Hillsborough needs citizens’ help in building a better field at GoldPark.

For safety reasons, the multi-use field at the town park will close for about one year. The field’s rough surface and the debris that is being uncovered make the play space unsafe.

“The multi-use field at Gold Park is very important to the community and the Town wants to ensure that it is a high quality playing surface that is safe for all kinds of recreational uses,” said Stephanie Trueblood, Hillsborough Planner and Parks & Recreation Board staff person.

When the weather warms, the field will be re-graded and crowned with soil. It also will be reseeded with native, drought-tolerant Bermuda grass.  This maintenance is “sure to greatly improve the field by creating a more sustainable and tolerant turf surface,” Trueblood said.

Citizens can help ensure the field reopens as a superior playing surface by staying off the field until repairs are made and the new grass is grown. The field will not be fenced off but will be posted with signs.

GoldPark is located at 415 Dimmocks Mill Road, just east of Nash Street. It is in the sharp curve of Dimmocks Mill Road, just south of the railroad trestle.  The park is open from 8 a.m. until thirty minutes after dusk daily.

For more information, contact Stephanie Trueblood, Planner, 732-1270 Ext. 74 or Margaret Hauth, Planning Director, 732-12

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 census road tour heading to chapel hill

Just in case anyone was interested:
National 2010 Census Road Tour Heads to UNC vs. Ga. Tech Game
Fans Invited to Participate in Interactive Experience that Brings 2010 Census to Life

What:    The nationwide 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour will stop in Chapel Hill, N.C., for the North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech men’s basketball game. Fans are invited to learn about the census through an educational, engaging and interactive experience that brings the 2010 Census to life — creating a “portrait of America.”

               The Road Tour’s national vehicle, nicknamed “Mail It Back,” began its cross-country tour last week from New York City to exhibit at more than 800 events nationwide. The Road Tour will attempt to motivate America’s growing and increasingly diverse population to complete and mail back the 10-question census form when it arrives in mailboxes March 15-17.
When:    Saturday, Jan. 16, following the basketball game, approximately 4 p.m.

Where:   Adjacent to Dean E. Smith Center on UNC campus on William Blythe Drive
                Chapel Hill

For more information about the 2010 Census and the Road Tour, please visit
and follow us on Twitter (@2010Portrait), Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and YouTube (/uscensusbureau).

scenes from the ocpl

Here are some photos that didn't get published in the paper of last week's Orange County Public Library opening:

Board of County Commissioners Chair Valerie Foushee speaks to a standing-room-only crowd at the opening of the new Orange County Main Public Library on W. Margaret Lane on Friday, Jan. 8. Foushee acknowledged the many public officials who came out to the event, including fellow commissioners Alice Gordon, Mike Nelson, Barry Jacobs, Steve Yuhasz, Bernadette Pelissier and Pam Hemminger, former commissioner and current Orange County school board member Steve Halkiotis and Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.

Henri Nadworny listens to speeches during the Orange County Public Library's opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Jan. 8, while Virginia Nadworny takes advantage of the library's services to read a book.

The Chamber of Commerce's large scissors stand at the ready, waiting to be used to cut the ribbon at the new library's opening ceremony.

The Friends of the Orange County Public Library present Lucinda Munger, left, library director, with a $20,000 cheque.

A wreath made of pages from books adorns the wall by the children's librarian's desk.


A fish sits atop the juvenile non-fiction stacks at the Orange County Main Public Library.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

legislative breakfast with orange county schools

At a breakfast meeting Tuesday, Jan. 12, members of the Orange County Schools Board of Education talked with state legislators Sen. Ellie Kinnaird and Rep. Verla Insko (Rep. Bill Faison was unable to attend due to "an emergency conflict") about the impact of the budget on the district, upcoming budget concerns and their stance on certain bills making their way through the legislature.
George McFarley, district chief operating officer, gave a recap of how decreases in the state's budgetary allotment affected Orange County Schools.
The district received $3.7 million less than they had the previous year. But that wasn't all.
"In addition to the reduction, we had to revert another $1.1 million back to the state," he said. "Of course, we did received some stimulus money for Title I and Exceptional Children services to the tune of ... $1.5 million."
Those stimulus dollars, however, had strings attached: They could not be used generally to plug the holes left by fewer state and local dollars. They had to be used in their specific area. Title I schools are high-poverty schools, while the Exceptional Children program supports children with special needs.
Certain budget line items were "zeroed out" — or completely unfunded —such as at-risk funding, which went from about $247,000 in 2008-2009 to nothing, McFarley said.
Textbook funding was almost halved: from nearly $472,000 to a little more than $280,000.
But non-instructional support — mostly salaries for people such as custodians, media assistants and secretaries — had one of the most dramatic reductions: From more than $1.9 million to a little less than $5,000.
"So, what did you do?" Kinnaird said.
District Chief Instructional Officer Denise Morton said the district received stimulus dollars and stabilization dollars; they used the latter to fill the whole left in non-instructional support.
Morton also said with textbook and other funding there are upcoming worries.
"As they call it in [the Department of Public Instruction], there's a big cliff we'll fall off at the end of next year," she said. "... After this year, we will no longer receive dollars for any kind of textbook purchase."
Insko asked whether the use of the Internet and online learning tools could help fill that gap.
Morton said that is difficult because "in northern Orange, there's very little Internet connectivity." That would make it hard for some students to access learning materials from home.
"We know some children would not be able to access it," she said.
Board member Debbie Piscitelli said in school, teachers are using the Internet more, but there are still issues with that: connectivity, making sure the technology is functional and making sure clases have access to the computer labs among them.
Morton said another way the state has tried to stretch limited textbook dollars is going to a seven-year — instead of a five-year — textbook adoption cycle.
Kinnaird said that concerned her because of the wear and tear on textbooks. Board Chair Anne Medenblik said it could also cause some books — especially history — to become out-of-date before new books are adopted. For example some are showing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as still in power, mentioning nothing that has happened since the early 2000s.
As for the at-risk funding, Morton said the people running those programs need the funds they lost and used every last stimulus dollar they received.
"The schools needed every bit of [that money] to support students who struggle with learning," she said. "... They really missed that money. It was zeroed out.  ... The Board of Education tried to plug some holes with local dollars, but that is something that we'd like to see returned if possible."
Students served by Exceptional Children have grown in the district, too, making those dollars ever more necessary.
In 2004, there were 15 children identified with autism in the district. In 2009, there were 100.
"Those students, their disabilities range from mild to very severe, so they require additional services," Morton said. "... We want to provide the best education we can for those students. ... The stimulus has helped, but it will go away."
There are similar problems with Limited English Proficiency and Academically and Intellectually Gifted programs as well, Morton said.

Next year's budget
Board member Ted Triebel said as terrible as the cuts they already had to endure were, the worst is probably yet to come.
"One of the scariest parts for us is ... there's going to be a 35 percent increase in budget reductions" according to some, he said.
Insko said there have been some increases in revenue, such as from corporate taxes, which she hoped would help fill the gaps.
"I guess I'm probably foolishly optimistic," she said. "Everybody's talking about what we're going to have to do. We are going to have some reductions, but I just hope they won't be as bad."
Triebel said he was also concerned about losing stimulus funds, which have buffered the blows landed by budget reductions.
Kinnaird said the long-term solution is more economic development to change the tax base.
"Orange County's taxes are already way too high," she said. "... My answer to that is we've got to get out there and get more commercial. We've got to change our balance."
Insko said she wasn't sure how much more the district could cut.
"You all have already cut all you can," she said. "And you've got to cut more."
Piscitelli agreed, saying theirs is a diverse district with gifted students and EC students and everything in between, for a total of nearly 7,100 students.
"It's very hard when you keep cutting to meet all of their needs in public education," she said.

Legislative issues
Board members also told their legislators their stances on four legislative issues: their opposition to HB 1292, Employ of Non-Certified Personnel, which "ties the hands of superintendents, principals, and other hiring-level personnel by stripping them of the power to suspend, demote of dismiss a non-certified employee," according to background materials; their support for calendar flexibility; their desire to retain governmental immunity; and their desire to allow LEAs (local education agencies) to include students who earn their high school diploma from a community college in graduation rate calculations. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

in today's edition

Well, this week's paper definitely has a different look and feel; Robin's really making her mark, in a positive way (at least, I think so!).  I hope all of you like it.

Here's what's in this week's paper:
  • STATE LIBRARIAN CALLS NEW FACILITY 'A MAINSTAY': The new Orange County Public Library opened Friday to a standing-room only crowd with residents and local officials. Look for Robin's story and my and David Hunt's photos (you can't miss 'em).
  • FAMILY HONORS TEEN'S RESCUERS: The Houghs have had a rough few months, but thanks to some local heroes, it's not as bad as it could have been. Read about how 17-year-old Natalie Hough, who suffered a cardiac arrest, is doing now.
  • CEDAR GROVE MAN KILLED IN CRASH:  A 51-year-old Cedar Grove man was killed in a car accident last week.
  • DEATH OF SON, 21, BRINGS SADNESS, STRUGGLES: The death of 21-year-old Scotty Nipper Jr. in December has taken its toll on his mother, who also lost her husband a few months before.
Plus, look for inside education and sports content, including a feature on Upward, a Christian sports organization that focuses more on how you play the game than who wins.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Central Elementary receives Lighthouse Award

From Michael Gilbert, Orange County Schools public information officer:
Central Elementary School received the prestigious NCASCD’s 2010 Lighthouse Award.  In the span of three years, Ms. Daniels and her staff have taken Central Elementary School from Title I sanctions to among the best in the state.

For more information, read tomorrow's The News of Orange County.

BOE & legislators

I'm at the Board of Education meeting with our state legislators. I'll post some highlights here as the meeting progresses. 

7:58 a.m.: Anne Medenblik said to Sen. Ellie Kinnaird and Rep. Verla Insko legislators faced a tough budget year, but didn't "balance the budget on the backs of our students."

8:10 a.m.: Rep. Bill Faison will not be attending because of an emergency conflict.

8:15 a.m.: Dr. McFarley and Dr. Morton talking about the budget's impact on the district. Rep. Insko and Sen. Kinnaird asking questions and seeking clarification. Rep. Insko said the state legislator should push for connectivity in rural areas so the Internet could be used for additional learning and to fill the gap left by a longer textbook adoption cycle.

8:25 a.m.: Sen. Kinnaird: Orange County taxes are already way too high. ... My answer to that is we've got to get out there and get more commercial. We've got to change our balance.

8:38 a.m.: Board chair Anne Medenblik said there was an unfunded mandate to background check volunteers.

Sen. Kinnaird said she thought the background checks are an "overreaction."

"You're denying those parents to help in their parents kid," she said.

Mike Gilbert, OCS public information officer, said there have been 2,100 volunteers approved.

Morton said there have been several "questionable instances" involving parents and students.

Gilbert said there are 25 sex offenders within 3 miles of the district Central Office on King Street.

9 a.m.: Dr. McFarley explained that, though the district has been awarded a construction bond for building an auditorium at C.W. Stanford Middle School, no one will buy it. In North Carolina, only one such bond has been purchased, he said.

"Part of the problem for most of the school districts in the state is that he allocation for the Qualified Zoning Construction Bond is not a huge amount," he said. "So the tax benefit that a bank or individual would get for buying this bond is not attractive."

Monday, January 11, 2010

notice: legislative breakfast

The following notice was posted on the Board of Education's Web site:


The Orange County Board of Education will hold a legislative breakfast meeting on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 beginning at 7:45 a.m. in the Board of Education offices located at 200 East King Street, Hillsborough, NC. The purpose of this meeting is to dialogue with state legislators  regarding issues related to public education. 
I'll be there, and if I can get online, I'll blog what's going on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BOE Jan. 4 regular meeting

At Monday's Board of Education meeting, the district recognized those at Cedar Ridge High School, pictured at left, who helped save Natalie Hough's life when the teen had a cardiac arrest last September.
Libbie Hough, Natalie's mother, was also present to thank those who helped keep Natalie alive. Sister Kaytee and father H.B. also came along, but did not speak.

Public comment

Several community members also spoke to board members, including a former student of Cedar Ridge High School. Matt Hughes, now a teaching fellow at UNC, said board members could use a refresher in ethical conduct. Personal agendas, he said, along with micromanagement, have led to the board's mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.
Nicole McWhirter, mother of two children in Orange County Schools including one with special needs, said she had come to talk with the board because of services due her autistic unrelated to a due process case she filed against the district.
She said her family had come to and agreement with the district over Extended Year Services (services eligible special needs children receive when school is not in session) in July. By that time, the summer was half over, and the McWhirters had been providing their son with the services they thought he needed to be successful. The district had agreed to reimburse them for what they had provided, she said.
McWhirter said she hoped this was just an oversight that happened when the district changed the lawyers dealing with her son's due process case and that by bringing this to their attention, the board would be able to fix it.
"I use you to take a look at this issue and to honor the agreement you made with our son," she said.

UPDATE (9:33 a.m. 7 Jan.): McWhirter wrote on her blog that the issue has been resolved.
"Spoke at the Board mtg on Monday, recieved a phone call from district admin on Tuesday, reimbursed on Wednesday," she wrote. "and that’s that."

Cultural arts collaboration
Board member Debbie Piscitelli said with all the talk about potential uses for the Whitted Building — which was recently vacated by the county library — as a cultural arts center and performance space, there may be a reasonable compromise.
C.W. Stanford Middle School has long been without a proper auditorium, instead performing plays and doing wrestling matches on a cafeteria stage. The district has been granted stimulus bonds (which must first be bought) to build the school a standalone auditorium.
If this comes to pass, Piscitelli said she saw no reason why community groups couldn't use the facility, since it would not be physically attached to the school.
"I think it would be good community to work together to use our buildings because they are paid for by taxpayers," she said.
Board Chair Anne Medenblik started a committee to study the feasibility of such a collaboration, with Piscitelli and Board member Susan Hallman as members.

Addition/elimination of courses
A district course review committee — that included as members administrators, teachers and parents from both high schools — identified five courses that could  be added and recommended one for elimination.
Global Issues (OHS), Professional Barbering (post-secondary option for OHS and CRHS juniors and seniors), Literacy Strategies (OHS and CRHS), Foods II and Introduction to Biotechnology (OHS and CRHS) would be added to courses high school students could select; Networking was proposed to be eliminated from Orange High School.
Global Issues "seeks to engage students in a vigorous examination of issues that will greatly impact our democracy and our world," according to background materials. The course would use current events to gain the skills needed to "tackle some of the most pressing and complex issues of the day" and to formulate ideas for how they should be addressed.
There would be no additional cost for this course as there is a teacher already willing to teach the class, and there is no textbook required.
Professional Barbering would be an off-campus, after school, post-secondary option for high school juniors and seniors. Taught over four semesters, this course would not only teach students to become barbers and pass the state licensing test, but also prepare them for owning a business, among other things.
There is a $785 cost per student, which the district would not pay. Scholarships will be made available, however, by those running the program.
Literacy Strategies is designed for Exceptional Children who are reading several years below grade level. There would be no additional cost for this course, as the EC department would provide funding for materials and resources.
Foods II would allow Foods I students to continue. "Student enrollment and student interest are the main justification for adding a new section," according to background materials.
The estimated cost for this course offering is $1,500, which would be provided by the Office of Career and Technical Education.
Introduction to Biotechnology would begin to prepare students for a career in biotechnology. "During the past year, parents, community leaders and business partners have partnered with Orange County Schools to promote the possibility of a Biotechnology pathway at each high school."
The estimated cost to start up this program is $1,500 per high school. Additional start-up funds will be supplied by business and community sponsors. The schools will use existing classroom space, and no additional teachers will be hired during the 2010 academic year.
Networking was proposed to be eliminated because the state Department of Public Instruction is transition to a curriculum that has two courses instead of one. DPI recommends eliminating the course.
The board voted to add those five courses and eliminated Networking.

The Board considered six policies at Monday's meeting, passing four unanimously, one by a 5-1 vote and tabling the other.
The Board unanimously approved for first reading changes to Policies No. 7811 (Action Plans for Certified Employees), 7930 (Professional Employees: Demotion and Dismissal), 7940 (Suspension and Dismissal Policy) and 8602 (Local Salary Supplements).
Board member Stephen Halkiotis opposed some changes made to Policy No. 2335 (Advance Delivery of Meeting Materials) but was the lone no vote.
Board members tabled voting on a revision of Policy No. 903 (Naming New Facilities) after a committee brought their revisions forward, saying the policy as proposed was confusing.

Nat'l Trust for Historic Preservation: Road Threatens Early NASCAR Track

Elizabeth Read, head of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, posted this via Twitter (her handle: ElizBRead) about the Elizabeth Brady Bypass potentially cutting through the Speedway.

According to the article, which comes via the National Trust for Historic Preservation, DOT officials said there are laws that would generally prevent construction through a property of historic significance.

It's an interesting read, for sure.

...and now, for something completely different

Well, I hope you like this week's paper; I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Robin did a really great job designing the front, and there's a nice mix of stories on there.

Expect your paper to look different in the coming weeks than it has in the past. We've got some interesting ideas for some new elements and the placement of old elements. We hope you like what we have in store.

About the Web:  Apparently, the password is different now than the one I have saved in my computer, so please bear with me as I try to figure it out.

In a little bit, I'll have a recap on Monday's Board of Education meeting up here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

welcome, 2010

Who can believe it's 2010 already? It seems not too long ago, we were all waiting for something horrible to happen with Y2K. That year, like this one, changed over pretty smoothly.

As for what I'll have this week, that's a bit up in the air, but I've talked to some teachers for our feature Educator of the Week (though I might hold that until I get an Ed page back!), one who has retired after nearly 40 years, a school opening, library preview and the list goes on!

Above, there's a preview of the school's new campus' art room. Read this week's paper for more!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.