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The Right Combination for Middle School Success

posted Apr 15, 2018, 5:55 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Apr 16, 2018, 5:24 AM ]

The staff members at Casar Elementary find ways to help students eliminate worries about the transition to the middle school (insert gasp here). According to Lisa Earl, the school counselor at Casar, one of the most common worries for fifth-grade students transitioning to middle school is opening locks for their lockers.

To help ease tensions, Earl turned to Donors Choose, a website dedicated to connecting donors directly to public school classroom projects.

“Because of the generosity of people from across the nation, Casar Elementary School students can practice opening combination locks in a familiar environment without the stress of having to get to their next class!” added Earl.

The students had the opportunity to view a quick presentation before attacking the dreaded combination locks to learn about the different parts of a lock, how a lock works, and the steps of how to open a lock. After they had time to practice, they enjoyed helping their classmates and racing to see who could open their lock the fastest.

Don’t worry, we know students are more than capable of opening locks. However, the complete project included several books about transitioning to middle school, fitting in, and staying true to yourself. 

“Hands-on learning experiences are exciting and memorable, and the materials that were purchased will continue to be used by our students to ensure they have the right combination for middle school success,” explained Earl.

When approached about Casar’s project about transitioning, Dr. Chris Bennett of Burns Middle explained, “Middle school is actually full of fun, engaging experiences and provides opportunities to expand friendships to many other students converging to sixth-grade from other schools.”

“I would not worry at all about the middle school,” interjected Mickey Morehead, principal at Burns High. “They’ll love it.” Morehead added, tongue-in-cheek with a muah ha ha laugh, “I would worry much more about the HIGH SCHOOL and their crazy principal!”



County’s Top Student-singers Participate in Elite Chorus Festival

posted Apr 12, 2018, 2:43 PM by Greg Shull

Ajasinee Houston, Shelby High School, Director Traci Alderholdt; Skylar Smith, Kings Mountain High School, Director Sarah Fulton; Paloma Dettloff, Kings Mountain High School; Rachel Harris, Crest High School, Director Megan Philbeck Makayla McCurry, Kings Mountain High; D’Asia Seright, Kings Mountain High; Jaheem Scott, Burns High School,  Director Alyssa Gillikin; and Lee Page, Kings Mountain High School

Eight high school chorus students from Cleveland County recently participated in the 70th Annual J. Elwood Roberts/Mars Hill University Choral Festival. Students were selected by audition to attend the festival.

“This experience gave students the opportunity to work with Dr. Brad Holmes, director of choral activities at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and to sing with 300 other high school choral students throughout North Carolina,” said Sarah Fulton, choral director at Kings Mountain High.

2018 Participants Include the following:
  • Ajasinee Houston, Shelby High School, Director Traci Alderholdt
  • Skylar Smith, Kings Mountain High School, Director Sarah Fulton
  • Paloma Dettloff, Kings Mountain High School
  • Rachel Harris, Crest High School, Director Megan Philbeck
  • Makayla McCurry, Kings Mountain High
  • D’Asia Seright, Kings Mountain High
  • Jaheem Scott, Burns High School,  Director Alyssa Gillikin
  • Lee Page, Kings Mountain High School
About the Festival
The J. Elwood Roberts/Mars Hill University Choral Festival was established in 1949 by the late J. Elwood Roberts as an effort to improve choral music in the high schools of western North Carolina. Each year more than 700 students from approximately 100 high schools audition for the Festival Choir and only the top 350 are accepted.

Top Educators Vying for Teacher, Teacher Assistant, and Principal of the Year

posted Apr 12, 2018, 1:01 PM by Greg Shull

After a rigorous selection process, a handful of school-level educators are in the running for the esteemed honor of county's best of the best. The finalists were selected for interviews based on their response to a variety essay questions and then met with a panel of community professionals and educators to provide evidence and details as to why they should represent the county either the teacher, teacher assistant, or principal of the year.

“Every year we have innovative, award-winning candidates fit for top honors,” said Dr. Linda, assistant superintendent. “This year’s educators exceed expectations, and I am certain any of them would represent our county well.”

Finalists for 2018 Teacher of the Year are Ronna Rawls of East Elementary, Debbie Edwards of Graham Elementary, Heather Poston of Springmore Elementary, Jenna Putnam of West Elementary, and Carrie Dobbins of Burns High.

Teacher assistant finalists are Pam Still of Marion Elementary, Kevin Roberts of Shelby High, and Sabrina Gold of North Shelby School.

Katie Barbee of Jefferson Elementary, Dr. Dustin Bridges of Shelby Middle, and Julie Rikard of Kings Mountain High were nominated by their fellow principals as finalists for top honors. They also were interviewed by a community committee.

Teachers and teacher assistants of the year from all schools and the finalists for principal of the year will be honored at the Wells Fargo Outstanding Educators Breakfast in August at the LeGrand Center. The 2018-19 CCS Teacher, Teacher Assistant, and Principal of the Year will be named at the event.

Local Principals Complete Leadership Program

posted Apr 5, 2018, 8:18 AM by Greg Shull

The following principals recently completed the Distinguished Leadership Program (DLP), a year-long leadership development program for practicing school principals designed and provided by the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principal’s Association and sponsored by the American Express Foundation through the North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD.)
  • Amy Allen, principal of North Elementary School 
  • Jennifer Blanton, assistant principal of Jefferson Elementary School 
  • Miriam Harvey, assistant principal of Crest High School 
The Distinguished Leadership in Practice Program (DLP) uses a non-traditional professional development model that is aligned to the performance evaluation standards adopted by the State Board of Education for North Carolina’s school leaders. This unique cohort-based program is designed to limit principals’ time away from their schools by allowing them to attend face-to-face sessions once every other month while accessing on-line assignments, materials and coaching in between face-to-face sessions. Principals engage in a series of authentic activities throughout the year-long experience that are designed to build the capacity of their schools and their own capacity as “Distinguished” school leaders.

“The leadership of the school principal is by far one of the most important factors in school quality. By completing this very rigorous program, our DLP graduates have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement by working to improve their leadership skills as they simultaneously improve their schools. We are proud to include them in the ranks of successful DLP completers,” said Dr. Shirley Prince, NCPAPA Executive Director.

This program is offered in two locations- Chapel Hill and Charlotte- in order to serve principals in all eight regions of the state.

The North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA), in existence since 1976, is the preeminent organization and state voice for principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders. NCPAPA represents 5,000+ members from across the state and serves as the state’s principal affiliate of the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP.)

Additional information can be found at

For more information, please contact Emily Doyle via email at or by phone at (919) 812-6524.

Burns Middle Teacher honored with Jolene Litton ABCD Award

posted Mar 27, 2018, 10:37 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 27, 2018, 10:40 AM ]

Jordon Crowe, an innovative sixth-grade math teacher at Burns Middle, is the 2018 Jolene Litton ABCD (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) award recipient. Among many nominations throughout the county, Crowe rose to the top of the list for his high-powered offense of integrated technology within his classroom.

“It has been such an honor to receive the ABCD Award as I try to push technology to the limits in a middle school classroom daily,” said Crowe.

The ABCD award is presented to an educator each year who goes over and beyond what is required of them in the area of technology and encourages unique technology projects and practices within the school.

“He uses technology to foster learning among his students because he understands that technology plays a key role in hooking today’s students, keeping them engaged to meet their potential, and allowing them to master their educational goals,” said Dr. Chris Bennett, principal at Burns Middle.

Named after Jolene Litton, the first technology facilitator in Cleveland County Schools, the award recognizes a licensed educator who is incredibly innovative with their approach to technology and its integration in the classroom, as Mrs. Litton was during her teaching career. The award is sponsored by the CCS Educational Foundation and the Cleveland County Schools’ Technology Services Department.

“Fellow teachers, and most importantly students, benefit from the connection Mr. Crowe has with each of them as well as his efficient and seamless use of technology to deliver instruction that works,” added Bennett.

Mr. Crowe received an award, an iPad for use within this classroom, and a perpetual plaque to be placed in the school in his honor.

Crowe added, “I believe that education should focus on the pillars of climate, rigor, and student engagement. With that being said, I strongly believe that technology can be a foundational basis for these three pillars to stand on.” 

Recommendation Letter Excerpt Submitted on Behalf of Crowe

Mr. Jordon Crowe, from Burns Middle School, constantly goes above and beyond in and out of the classroom. He plays a vital role in guiding his grade level and departmental teachers in the use of technology to enhance their own instruction. Fellow teachers, and most importantly students, benefit from the connection Mr. Crowe has with each of them as well as his efficient and seamless use of technology to deliver instruction that works. Mr. Crowe embodies the intended spirit of the Jolene Litton ABCD Award. It is with pleasure that we nominate Mr. Jordon Crowe for this recognition.

Mr. Crowe has purchased his own set of clickers (devices where students input answers for immediate review), a large, multi-touch SMART Board, and brought in a gaming system to help aid in facilitating instruction in his classroom. Using the most current technology, Mr. Crowe is able to give students immediate feedback on what they are learning. He has been a leader in our school through his engagement and passion for encouraging and empowering students to perform well on tasks both in the classroom and at home. During daily warm-ups, his math class work out problems and use clickers to enter their answers, then review the math problems as a class. Mr. Crowe strives for 100% of his students to gain mastery on each question. When his entire class gets a problem correct, they celebrate with a quick dance. The students are able to review incorrect answers anonymously as a whole group and evaluate why some may have gotten it wrong as well as how to correct the problem without having students feel embarrassed. He uses iPads and Chromebook for students to get practice solving various math problems, even on the weekends. With a free app he uses, his students have been solving hundreds of problems in class as well as on their own time. Mr. Crowe’s love of technology, teaching, learning, and his students combine to offer engaging opportunities for his students to learn using creative ideas and technology.

State of the District

posted Mar 26, 2018, 2:57 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 26, 2018, 4:39 PM ]

Click here to watch the State of the District presented by the Cleveland County Board of Education.

Brainpower Prevails at 2018 Robotics Championship

posted Mar 19, 2018, 1:23 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 19, 2018, 1:28 PM ]

Twenty-nine teams of students from across the county came together to showcase their STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) knowledge and problem-solving skills at the 2018 Laughlin Furniture and Piedmont LLC First Lego League Robotics Championship.

The Shelby Intermediate Girl Bots team was the overall winner of this year’s tournament while the James Love TEAMbots was the first runner-up and the Fallston Dynamic Dawgs as the second runner-up.

“I am extremely proud of the kids,” said Kim Kepner, principal at James Love Elementary. “They worked very well together and are very supportive of one another.”

Teams work throughout the school year to research a topic and program missions for their LEGO MINDSTROMS EV3 robots to compete in head-to-head robot runs with other teams. During the event, the teams also develop presentations to communicate their innovative solutions for this year’s “challenge” of Hydrodynamics.

The Challenge
People use water every day, but we probably don’t think much about how and why we use water. Whether it’s directly (drinking or washing) or indirectly (manufacturing the products we use or producing energy), we have a lot of different needs for water. The team’s Project challenge this season was to improve the way people find, transport, use, or dispose of water.

Teams are challenged to solve problems using these Core Values:
  • We are a team. 
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors. 
  • We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together. 
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition. 
  • What we discover is more important than what we win. 
  • We share our experiences with others. 
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do. 
  • We have FUN!

During the competition, each team had to work to achieve a task. They were challenged to use programs skill and teamwork to complete the challenge. The 2018 Team Building winners are:

1st Place – Fallston Dynamic Dawgs
2nd Place – Union HydroBots
3rd Place – Shelby Intermediate Storm Drain Savers

“My favorite part was watching the parents enjoy watching the kids experience the variety of activities throughout the event,” said Tamara Goforth, director of elementary education. “I really think they enjoyed seeing all of the different aspects of the competition, especially viewing the innovative posters and the team building sessions.”

Marketing is a very important part of a plan. Teams were challenged with putting together a presentation about their research and results, then presenting these to a panel of judges. The 2018 Presentation Award winners are:

1st Place – Casar Water Warriors
2nd Place – Fallston Dynamic Dawgs
3rd Place – Jefferson Hydro Stingers

The design and programming of the robot is a critical part of this competition. Each team was able to choose and program the missions they wanted to perform as each mission was worth different amounts of points. These teams were able to work through any kinks during a practice run and then competed head-to-head during three other robot run competition sessions. From a scoring standpoint, the best of the three runs counted as the teams’ scores. The robot run category had the potential for earning the teams the most points of any part of the competition. The 2018 Robot Run winners are:

1st Place – James Love TEAMbotics
2nd Place – Shelby Intermediate Girl Bots
3rd Place – Fallston Dynamic Dawgs

“We had a phenomenal day here,” said Megan Allen, coach of the James Love TEAMbotics. I am overwhelmed. We were not expecting to necessarily place top-three even though we knew we had a good group. The second place finish took our breath away.”

The poster session was used for each team to have the opportunity to spread the word about what they were able to accomplish through their research project during the year. These posters were said to have “shown the fruits of their labor.” The 2018 Poster Session winners are:

1st Place – Shelby Intermediate SlayBots 
2nd Place – Shelby Intermediate Girl Bots 
3rd Place – Washington Cyberdolphins 

My favorite experience was the robot runs,” said Addison Wease, a member of the Shelby Intermediate Girl Bots, the overall winning team for the 2018 Robotics Championship. “We worked every day … and it all came together.”

The Tanner Denton Spirit Award is presented each year to a student on each team who truly represents the spirit of the robotics competition. Tanner was a member of the Jefferson robotics team who passed away in 2013 from complications following an organ transplant. To honor his spirit, each team voted on one member to represent the qualities that Tanner displayed as a part his team. Tanner was humble, caring, a team player, helpful, knowledgeable, and a problem solver. The 2018 Tanner Denton Spirit Award winners are as follows:

  • Ashtyn Fisher of the Bethware Rain Brains
  • Meredith Hunt of the Boiling Springs Agua Bots 
  • Lyric Floyd of the Boiling Springs Hurricanes 
  • Emma Fortenberry of the Burns Middle School EWP 
  • Allie Sain of the Burns Middle School Ice Burnz 
  • Kylee Liverman of the Casar Elementary Water Warriors 
  • Tiffany Parker of the Crest Middle HydroDragons 
  • Faith Harris of the Crest Middle HydroHeroes 
  • Alyssa Barrett of the East Elementary/Super Spigots 
  • Camden Mackall of the Fallston Dynamic Dawgs 
  • Oscar Garcia of Graham Elementary 
  • Mia Lewis of the Grover Hydrowolves 
  • Harry Crosby of the James Love Teambotics 
  • Addison Walker of the Jefferson Hydrostingers 
  • Anthony Anselmo of the Kings Mountain Intermediate Hydro Hamsters 
  • Madison Lucas of the Kings Mountain Intermediate Water' Melons 
  • Talan Winfield of the Marion AquaBots 
  • Tayler Elliott of the North Water Warriors 
  • Lilly Triplett of the Shelby Intermediate Girl Bots 
  • Joe Craver of the Shelby Intermediate SlayBots 
  • Heath Haskin of the Shelby Intermediate Storm Drain Savers 
  • Jace Gibbon of the Springmore Aquadogs 
  • Parker Ledbetter of the Springmore Tsunamis 
  • Passion Black of the Township Three HydroRAMS 
  • Leslie Wellmon of the Union Hydrobots 
  • Noah Bowen of the Washington Elementary CyberDolphins 
  • Elizabeth Bolt of West Elementary


Charles I. Dover Grants Awarded for Classroom-based Projects

posted Mar 16, 2018, 3:37 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 16, 2018, 3:40 PM ]

The Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation awarded fourteen grants to educators to fund creative, innovative, and unique classroom projects. The grants range from $250 to $750 and were presented to the educators on March 15th at the annual Teaching Excellence Awards at the LeGrand Center. 

Grant Recipients and projects are as follows:
  • LeighAnne Bouchard of West Elementary for Versa Tiles
  • Isha Hardin and Lee Howell of Bethware Elementary for a Sphero/iPad Project
  • Mercedes Humphries of Kings Mountain High for Dry Erase Tilt Tables
  • Lisa Jackson of Crest High for a CPR manikins
  • Deanna Pauley of Crest Middle for non-fiction books
  • Katherine Elliott of Burns High for 35 books
  • Alexis Merritt of Springmore Elementary for unique seating options for students
  • Amanda Morris and Chloe Clary of Burns High for a DECA Chapter project
  • Kaye Harris and Matt Harris of Crest High for a horticulture garden
  • Brandon Gosey of Burns High for mobile laptop carts
  • Sarah Fulton of Kings Mountain High for a Cajon drum set
  • Penny Clontz of Crest High for an outdoor adventure club
  • Traci Aderholdt of Shelby high for a Steel drum workshop
  • Bonnie Scruggs and Peter Strickland of Crest High for music stands
The selection committee was comprised of various employees from CCS Central Services. The Charles I. Dover grants will be funded for the 2018-2019 school year, and the funding is transferred directly to the CCS Educational Foundation from the Dover Foundation purposed for funding classroom programs or projects that are creative, innovative, or unique.

Students Recognize Favorite Educators at Teaching Excellence Awards

posted Mar 16, 2018, 2:07 PM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 16, 2018, 2:11 PM ]

Top academic seniors spoke about their favorite educators of all time at the 28th Annual Hoyt & Anne Dover Bailey Teaching Excellence Awards on March 16th at the LeGrand Center.

The event provided the opportunity for students to reunite with their teachers who impacted them the most throughout their educational journey within Cleveland County Schools. They honored their educators with formal “thank you” sentiments.

The educators and the senior scholars who nominated them are as follows:
  • Robin Wilson of West Elementary (Kayla Farris, Turning Point Academy)
  • Lori Stites of Shelby High (Tyler Grenier, Shelby High)
  • Michael Price (Ret.) of Shelby Intermediate (Sarah Lampley, Shelby High)
  • David Allen of Shelby High (Davis Smith, Shelby High)
  • Connie Damon (Ret.) of North Elementary (Kaitlin Venevongsoth, Kings Mountain High)
  • Shelley Gerald of Kings Mountain High (David Friday, Kings Mountain High)
  • Lisa McDowell of Kings Mountain Intermediate (Tyra Silaphet, Kings Mountain High)
  • Jan Rogers of Crest High (Piper Collins, Crest High)
  • Emily Parker of Union Elementary (Rachel Harris, Crest High)
  • Steven Hodge of Crest High (John Kyle Mitchell, Crest High)
  • Matthew Love of Cleveland Early College High (Ruchi Patel, Cleveland Early College High)
  • Leslie Parker of Burns High (Christopher Chapman, Burns High)
  • Susan Johnson of Washington Elementary (Morgan Gardner, Burns High)
  • Amanda Colson of Burns High (Andrew Self, Burns High)
The Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation and the Dover Foundation continue to sponsor the event in memory of Hoyt and Anne Dover Bailey. The Late Hoyt Bailey, a former member of the Cleveland County Board of Education and a longtime member of the Foundation Board of Directors, sponsored the event for many years in memory of his beloved wife, Anne Dover Bailey.

On the Books, Off the Books, In the Books

posted Mar 9, 2018, 9:55 AM by Greg Shull   [ updated Mar 9, 2018, 1:23 PM ]

To culminate the week of literacy competitions, middle school readers converged at Shelby middle for the 2018 Middle School Battle of the Books.

Team results are as follows: 

~ 1st Place: Burns Middle 
~ 2nd Place: Crest Middle 
~ 3rd Place: Kings Mountain Middle 

This year, a special award named in honor of Dr. Ruth Pace was given to an individual from each team – selected by peers – to the team member most knowledgeable about all of the books.
The 2018 Dr. Ruth Pace Award winners are: 
  • Savannah McGlothlin of Burns Middle 
  • Colt Goodrum of Crest Middle 
  • Brooke Blanton of Kings Mountain Intermediate 
  • Areli Donu of Kings Mountain Middle 
  • Adrian Martin of Shelby Intermediate

Thanks to the following for helping make the event possible. 
  • Marja Houston – Judge 
  • Shelly Mackall – Judge 
  • Lori Wilbanks – Judge 
  • Traci Proctor – Scorekeeper 
  • Haley England – Scorekeeper 
  • Linda Lockhart – Timekeeper 
  • Morgan Twiggs – Timekeeper 
  • Dr. Ruth Pace – Moderator 
  • Windy Bagwell – Reading of the Rules 
  • Jeremy Shields – Master of Ceremonies 

About Dr. Ruth Pace
Dr. Pace has been working with Battle of the Books in Cleveland County since its introduction to middle schools students in 1992. She has coached teams, moderated many local and regional competitions, and written hundreds of practice questions for every book on the middle and elementary school reading lists.

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