Latest News

CCS School Spotlight

posted Nov 22, 2017, 9:03 AM by Henry Gilmore   [ updated Nov 22, 2017, 9:16 AM ]

Jefferson Elementary is featured in the first School Spotlight yearlong series from CCS Media. School Principal Katie Barbee and other staff share highlights that make Jefferson Elementary School a special place for children to learn and grow.  

Robot Challenge Day Strengthens Young Minds

posted Nov 3, 2017, 12:52 PM by Greg Shull

Central Services hosted another exciting Robotics Challenge Day with nearly every available room filled with fourth through sixth grade STEM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) students.

“This program allows students to take charge and work as a team to solve missions, program robots on-the-spot, enjoy makerspace team building exercises, and sharpen presentation skills,” said Lori Wilbanks, robotics program coordinator.

The robot engineers worked through a variety of challenges to enhance their programming and teamwork skills. The challenges included makerspace, programming, project presentation, and a team timed hydrodynamics mission experience.

“We have had the best time tackling challenges and stretching young minds,” said Elizabeth Schweppe, AIG teacher at James Love and Jefferson elementaries. “Through creative problem solving, our team has excelled in sharing responsibility while showcasing their robotics skills.”

The Cleveland County Schools Robotics Program is a STEM-related initiative designed to encourage exploration and cooperative learning. 
“I really liked the teamwork that is involved in the experience,” said Payton Beaver, a student and robotic engineer at Burns Middle. “Days like this really brings our team closer together.”

Throughout the day, students were challenged with programming ten robotics missions in this First Lego League Hydrodynamics Challenge.

“The robot runs provide new techniques on running our programs,” said Joe Craver, a student and robotics researcher at Shelby Intermediate. “The makerspace showed the rubric on how to score well during competitions. The robot maze let everyone have fun with messing with the robot and learning how the program works.”

Students will return to Central Services two more times this school year for a competition and tournament.



Cleveland County Schools home to winner of the 2017 Innovative Practice Award

posted Nov 3, 2017, 12:18 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Nov 28, 2017, 12:46 PM by Cleveland County Schools ]

Wendy Fitch, the Lead School Psychologist for Cleveland County Schools, has been named the 2017 winner of the Innovative Practice Award by the North Carolina School Psychology Association. Selected by her peers, Fitch won based on her leadership and commitment to working with children with autism in Cleveland County.

“I am proud of the award as it recognizes the work of our entire team,” said Fitch.

The award recognizes the recipient for having high-level innovative practices that proved significant benefits to a group of teachers, school, or school system as well as the children within the school systems.

“Wendy is a strong advocate for all students with disabilities and routinely provides support to school staff in the development of an inclusive, supportive, respectful, and nurturing environment,” said Dr. Nellie Aspel, the Director of Exceptional Children Services for Cleveland County Schools.

“Our Autism Support Framework includes a continuum of placement and service options, highly trained school-based and itinerant staff, professional development, coaching, specially designed instruction and an eclectic approach in meeting individualized needs through a variety of research-based strategies and models,” added Aspel. “Her ability to maximize resources and ensure best practices as she has designed and implemented the Autism Support Framework is commendable.”

Fitch received official recognition from her peers at the 2017 NCSPA Fall Conference in Durham in late October.

“We have great community support, and everyone truly works to ensure all children have an exceptional educational experience.”

Representative D. Craig Horn visits Burns High School

posted Oct 19, 2017, 12:26 PM by Henry Gilmore

The Honorable D. Craig Horn spoke to OCS (Occupational Course of Study) students and the Y4A club at a recent visit to Burns High School. The room full of inquisitive students listened as Rep. Horn shared stories and wisdom from his life and experience in politics.

“Surround yourself with people who disagree with you; learn from your past and not live in it; what got you there won’t keep you there,” said Rep. Horn. “Be careful about drawing lines in the sand. Smart people want to learn, and will learn from people that disagree with you.”

Teacher Brandon Gosey invited the state representative to Burns. Brandon is an Exceptional Children teacher at Burns High. Last summer Brandon served on the Southern Regional Education Board where he worked on education policy with Rep. Horn.

“This is an awesome opportunity for all kids, no matter how they feel politically,” said Gosey.  After his talk, Rep. Horn responded to questions from several students and stayed after school for a round-table discussion with teachers.

About Rep. Horn:

Rep. Horn is a former Russian linguist with the United States Air Force Security Service, and a retired food broker and businessman. Elected in 2010, he is now in his 4th term in the North Carolina General Assembly representing District 68, Western Union County. Craig is chairman of both the House Committee on Appropriations for Education and the House Education Policy Committee for K-12 Education and is the Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee. Rep. Horn also serves on a total of eight House committees.

“Fore” the Students

posted Oct 16, 2017, 1:59 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Oct 16, 2017, 2:00 PM ]

Many of the county’s best and worst golfers converged at River Bend YMCA golf course for the annual Turner Trucking Academic Awards Golf Tournament to help raise scholarship funds.

The tournament is sponsored annually by the Cleveland County Schools’ Educational Foundation with Turner Trucking serving as the presenting sponsor. Proceeds go to fund the A. Mickey Church Scholarships given to outstanding seniors from every local high school each spring. 

Winners – first and second places in the gross and net divisions – won gift certificates to the River Bend golf shop. Other prizes were provided by Laughlin Furniture and Walmart Super Center of Shelby. Additionally, Choice Beverages provided drinks and Alston Bridges Barbecue donated and catered the post-tournament meal.

1st Place Net 
Allan Propst, David Brinkley, David Reep, Mark Beam 

2nd Place Net 
Doug Satterfield, Jamie Richard, Gene Latham, Scott Sharp 

3rd Place Net 
Ben Cabaniss, Matt Curtis, Ryan Clark, Kamron Kerr 

1st Place Gross 

Alex Hastings, Brent Whitaker, Clay Bryson, Logan Costner 

2nd Place Gross 
Jamey Davis, Krysta Schaus, Brock Taylor, Rod Clouse 

3rd Place Gross 
Robert Scism, Bob Jones, Don Saine, Ronnie Wilson 

Closest to the Pins 
#3 Erin Jolly 
#5 Tim Trexler 
#12 Brent Whitaker 
#16 Clyde Adams 

Longest Putt 

#9 Chad Puryear

James Love is Home to County’s Top Teacher of Exceptional Children

posted Sep 22, 2017, 10:48 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Sep 22, 2017, 10:50 AM ]

Amy Porter of James Love Elementary has been named the 2017 Teacher of Excellence.

A selection committee name Porter the winner after thoroughly vetting multiple, talented nominees who were submitted for the prestige recognition.

“I appreciate all of the support from everyone over the years,” said Porter. “I am overwhelmed and very honored.”

Porter will receive recognition during a special ceremony at the 67th Conference of Exceptional Children at the Kourey Convention Center in Greensboro in November as she represents the best of Cleveland County.

Director of Exceptional Children Dr. Nellie Aspel describes Porter as an unsung heroine.

“She provides love and consistent care for her students every day of the year, without any expectation of recognition or accolades,” said Aspel.

Porter succeeds Becky Seidel of Marion Elementary, last year’s award recipient.

“She definitely puts children above everyone, including herself,” said Kim Kepner, principal at James Love Elementary. “She often gives up planning time to give some personal time to children by either eating breakfast or lunch with them or sitting at their side during dismissal.”

Excerpt from Nomination Letter
Ms. Porter provides consistent support in understanding and implementing IEPs. She routinely monitors how her EC students are performing throughout the regular school setting by collaborating with general classroom teachers. She advocates for students based on their individual circumstances and needs. Ms. Porter provides support as well as assignments to assist all teachers in differentiating instruction. Ms. Porter is a master teacher in the area of implementing specially designed instruction and research-based programs such as Reading Mastery, Corrective Reading, Number Worlds and Second Step. She consistently uses evidenced-based methodologies to ensure her lessons are linked to IEP goals, standards-based and engaging. Students love coming to Ms. Porter’s classroom. Her use of peer instruction, cooperative learning and games ensure that every minute of instructional time is well-used. She fosters an environment where each student feels valued and respected.

Need help with before or after school childcare?

posted Sep 5, 2017, 6:06 AM by Greg Shull

Cleveland County Schools' Kidz Around is still accepting registrations for the 2017-18 Before School and After School programs. 

Before School

  • $2.50 per day per child if enrolled in After School Care
  • $3.50 per day per child if not enrolled in After School Care

After School
  • $40.00 per week: if picked up by 4:30 p.m.
  • $45.00 per week: if picked up by 6:00 p.m.
  • $35.00 per week: additional children from the same family if picked up by 4:30 p.m.
  • $40.00 per week: additional children from the same family if picked up by 6 p.m.
A $30 registration fee is required for each child and is non-refundable.

A three-day week is also available. Call for additional information.

The Kids Around office can be reached at (704) 476-8379. Click here to access the downloadable registration forms.

Best of the Best recognized at annual Wells Fargo Outstanding Educators event

posted Aug 29, 2017, 7:17 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Aug 29, 2017, 7:18 AM ]

Top educators convened at the LeGrand Center this past week to crown the best of the best to represent Cleveland County as the teacher, teacher assistant, and principal of the year. The rooms adjacent to the atrium at the LeGrand Center were filled with anxious educators as they enjoyed breakfast and an awards ceremony made possible by longtime partner, Wells Fargo.

Jennenne Hunnell of Fallston Elementary will serve as the Cleveland County Schools Teacher of the Year; Robin Davis of Shelby Intermediate as the Teaching Assistant of the Year; and Mr. Titus Hopper of Cleveland Early College High will represent the district as the Principal of the Year.

All three received monetary awards from Wells Fargo for their professional development in addition to crystal apples handcrafted by N.C. artist Robert Levin.

“To me, this is the Emmys of teaching,” said Hunnell. “I feel like the teacher I am right now is a puzzle of all of the pieces of everybody I have come into contact with as I learn from everyone around me.”

Mrs. Hunnell will have the opportunity to attend the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta courtesy of Laughlin Furniture and the CCS Educational Foundation. She also received a $100 gift certificate from the Cleveland County unit of the NCAE.

Hopper said, “I think we’re a cutting-edge school district … one of the top-ten school districts in this nation!”

Davis received gifts from the Cleveland County Association of Teacher Assistants, and the all three honorees received a year’s membership to the YMCA.

“Wow,” said Davis. “I love working with our district in supporting TAs because we have a lot of people who are passionate about their jobs.”

Mrs. Hunnell and Mr. Hopper will continue in their respective teacher and principal of the year regional competitions sponsored by NCDPI.

Nominated teachers and teaching assistants were also honored for their selections as school-level Teacher of the Year and Teaching Assistant of the Year.

VFW Post 4066 invests over $95,000 to Cleveland County autism program

posted Jul 21, 2017, 8:49 AM by Cleveland County Schools   [ updated Aug 23, 2017, 11:25 AM by Greg Shull ]

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #4066 began raising funds to support the SAIL (Social and Academic Instruction for Life) program four years ago and just contributed another $43,625 - a record high for their annual goal. 

“I just want to thank God that we can do something for the children of Cleveland County,” said Post #4066 Commander Gene Ramsey. 

These funds were sent to the CCS Educational Foundation to be used throughout Cleveland County Schools to provide training and student support. Such includes field trips, science kits, hands-on sensory objects, books, social-skills support materials, and more. 

“At the high school level we offer student scholarships for camps and college trips as well as professional development and training for teachers to keep improving the use of evidence-based practices,” said Shelby High Teacher Rachel Bye.

This year’s check was presented to Exceptional Children’s Director Dr. Nellie Aspel and Superintendent Dr. Stephen Fisher along with a variety of staff, parents, and students on the front lawn of CCS Central Services. Attending teachers and students expressed their gratitude by presenting hand-crafted cards and paintings as well as a poem written and read by one of the students in the program.

“It feels so good to have community support behind what we do on a daily basis,” said Marion Elementary SAIL Teacher Becky Seidel.

Thanks to their steadfast commitment, the VFW post has now raised nearly $100,000 for the SAIL students of Cleveland County.

You Tube Video

Strong start at Graham Elementary

posted Jul 17, 2017, 8:12 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Aug 9, 2017, 1:27 PM ]

The students at Graham Elementary were excited, ready, and dressed for success in their new school uniforms on the first day of school.

"We have had a great start to our first day of school," said Nelsa Feaster, principal at Graham Elementary. "Our students look amazing in their new uniforms and are already working eagerly in their classrooms." 

Classrooms appeared polished, primed for learning, and everyone seemed to be quite focused as if they haven't missed a beat since last school year.

"A beautiful thing about year-round school is the kids know exactly what to do and are excited to be back ready to go," added Feaster.

About Graham Elementary
Graham Elementary was originally located on Oak Street where it was built in 1927. It was relocated to 1100 Blanton Street in 1956 where it currently provides a year-round learning environment that serves a diverse community, offers quality educational opportunities, expects and nurtures success, and prepares all our students to be productive, responsible citizens.




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