The Carroll County Board of Education honored a teacher earning national recognition for the “DreamWakers” program, which holds “kids can’t be what they can’t see” as its core belief.
The September 13 “Spotlight Moment” shown on Carroll County High School English Teacher Lisa Hurst, who has been named DreamWakers Teacher of the Year and is scheduled to receive the award on October 6 during a ceremony in New York City.
DreamWakers is a national nonprofit group which uses free video chat services to bring diverse public and private sector leaders into public classrooms (including poets, novelists, a Money Magazine reporter). Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship explained the program works with teachers for grades four through twelve where at least 50 percent of the student body is on free and reduced lunch. Information on the group’s web site indicates their research shows opportunities to interact with professional role models are far fewer for this group, compared to wealthier peers.
Blankenship said Hurst received her Level 1 Google Certification this summer and uses it to allow student collaboration with classrooms in other states and countries. She has also trained other teachers in Carroll and presented at the Region 7 Virginia Splash Conference and Celebration of Success Conference.
An honors class of Hurst’s collaborated with a class in Texas, creating a web site, video, infographic and poster, and designed a tee-shirt graphic to raise awareness of human trafficking. Hurst also has two honors classes who will be collaborating with Mountain House High School in northern California and Prepa Tec Santa Catarina in Monterrey, Mexico through blogs about national and international events.
The board approved a recommendation by Dr. Beverly Adams-Parker for Carroll County Schools to withdraw from the national validation organization Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) AdvancED program. Adams-Parker told the board Carroll has been involved with this for about 45 years, 37 of which were involved with individual school accreditation beginning with CCHS in 1971.
“We feel that AdvancED has run its course with Carroll County and we have some structures in place that would benefit us as much,” said Adams-Parker. “In terms of cons, this does carry national accreditation with it. However, that is a certificate and probably means more to colleges and universities who need that distinction more than public schools. We are officially accredited by the State of Virginia.”
She said moving to a locally developed system should save the division an estimated $7,770 yearly in accreditation fees/dues with from $5,300 to $10,390 every five years to cover visiting accreditation team expenses. Other factors cited by Adams-Parker included the division’s established, school bases continuous improvement plans, a warehouse data system provided free by the State Department of Education, meaning the District has the process, model, tools and resources for structured continuous improvement processes.
AdvancEd will be notified this month of the decision. A draft of a letter to be sent to the group mentions while the District appreciates the partnership and long history, the move was taken due to budgetary constraints (from a projected shortfall in State funding) and to streamline the process.
The board passed a bus driver incentive plan on the recommendation of Assistant Superintendent Mark Burnette and Transportation Director Gina Hall. Burnette said the District had been having a little issue finding substitute bus drivers. Hall said the system depends on mostly older drivers, which have either working hour limits or health issues which require using the substitute drivers.
The incentives include any contracted bus driver recruiting a new driver receiving $100 after the new recruit drives for six months. While new drivers will pay for background checks and their CDL license, they will be compensated with $250 after driving for the District for six months. After one year of driving the new drivers would be paid another $250 with reimbursement for the CDL license cost.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.