Students in Hoke County returned to school Monday after millions of dollars in building upgrades were made.
Officials said it’s guaranteed to make teaching and learning easier and more effective.
“It’s gonna be cool to be in school at Sandy Grove Elementary this year,” said Tonya Caulder, principal of the school.
Cool as in temperature. Sand Grove is among four schools in Hoke County to get facility upgrades, including new chillers. The previous units were either outdated or not working at all.
“It would get a little warm in our classrooms, we had fans brought in to make sure our students were comfortable,” Hoke County Schools Director of Public Relations Jodie Bryant said.
Twelve other campuses in Hoke County are receiving updates too, such as advanced environmental controls, weatherization improvements and state-of-the-art LED lighting.
“If you’re hot then you can’t think or you can’t concentrate, the lighting and all the other improvements are just gonna improve that student achievement,” Caulder said.
Also new to the district are tankless water fountains. Teachers said the cooling fans from the previous fountains would be so loud you could hear the vibration in the classroom.
The $6.2 million upgrades were made possible through a utility savings plan and performance contract. It guarantees the utility savings will be more than the cost in upgrades.
“We wanted to stay away from cutting money from other areas, we wanted to stay away from asking tax payers to give us more money for these upgrades so the energy performance grant was the perfect choice,” said Bryant.
The improvements are also in line with the district’s theme this year – Team Hoke – which speaks to collaboration in every area.
“[Team Hoke] encourag[es] our parents and our community that they’re part of a team, and with that, we only have one goal – to make sure students are college and career ready,” Bryant said.
Cree Lighting has published a case study on Sandy Grove Middle School. "At Sandy Grove Middle School in Lumber Bridge, North
Carolina, students not only get an education in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math subjects at this STEM school. They also attend classes in their very own environmental laboratory and learn first-hand the benefits of a new concept in sustainability for educational institutions — a net-positive school building that produces more energy than it consumes. The school even has a working energy dashboard that tracks the performance of the facility’s green elements, enabling teachers to use the building itself as a teaching tool." Read the study in its entirety by opening the attached file.
Hoke County Schools in North Carolina has been selected as the winner of the Southern Regional Education Board's Outstanding School District Award. The award was presented by Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president, at the 29th Annual High Schools That Work Staff Development Conference in Atlanta July 15 before an audience of educators from across the nation.
To be recognized as an Outstanding School District, a district must have multiple schools implementing with fidelity various aspects of SREB's school improvement designs. "All schools in Hoke County, North Carolina, use High Schools That Work or Making Middle Grades Work and have implemented the designs with fidelity for years," said Rhenida Rennie SREB director of state initiatives, who nominated Hoke County Schools for the award. "Also, all teachers are trained to use Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative, with data showing the positive impact on student achievement. Not only are teachers involved, but district administrators, principals, assistant principals, and instructional coaches attend trainings and participate in follow-up activities. The level of involvement and support in Hoke County is remarkable." Hoke County is one of two districts in the nation and the only district in North Carolina to have fully implemented Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative district wide K-12.
A team of 79 teachers, principals, and district administrators from Hoke County attended the conference this year, of which 22 attendees made a total of 15 presentations before a national audience. "We are most honored to have had our teachers selected to present and to have received this national recognition. As a district, we believe that Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Design Collaborative are critical tools that we must employ to ensure that all of our students graduate college and career ready," said Bob Barnes, Associate Superintendent of Hoke County Schools.
The Southern Regional Education Board is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with states to improve public education at every level. SREB school improvement programs such as High Schools That Work serve more than 1,600 schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia and include training for the Literacy Design Collaborative and Mathematics Design Collaborative teaching frameworks.
Photo: Bob Barnes, Hoke County Schools' Associate Superintendent, is shown presenting the Outstanding School District Award to the Hoke County Board of Education members (from left to right: Della Maynor, Irish Pickett, Barbara Buie, and Hank Richards) at the July 28 Board of Education meeting.
The NC State Board of Education has implemented a new policy (# TCS-H-006) regarding school bus safety for the 2015-16 school year. Primarily, this policy involves newly adopted procedures with regard to crossing streets/roads/thoroughfares for student boarding, or exiting of school buses.
Day five of EdNC's in-depth look at Hoke County Schools: "Fostering academic potential, skills, and behaviors now and in the future"
Day four of EdNC's in-depth look at Hoke County Schools: "Developing readers, not test takers"
Day Four: The Hoke County Way
Day three of EdNC's in-depth look at Hoke County Schools: "Why not us, why not now?"
Day Three: The Hoke County Way
Day two of EdNC's in-depth look at Hoke County Schools: Problem solved. "Identify the challenge+Identify the solution+Implement the solution=Problem solved"
Day Two: The Hoke County Way
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