Superintendent Update February 2018

School Safety

In the wake of the shooting at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida schools are ramping up their security and prevention measures. We are continually working to make sure we have the latest safety precautions in place to make Mount Airy City Schools safe. We have put in place preventative measures such as social-emotional services and counselors to physical measures such as SRO officers and door buzzer systems. We know that this is a complex issue that will not be solved overnight. There are numerous perspectives about the best ways to address safety. MACS has a social-emotional task force, a safety task force, and each school is working on school specific safety measures. We know that continuously improving our lock-down drills, running specific scenarios with our administration and staff, and building in social and emotional support for all students are crucial elements. As students are exposed to this type of school-based violence they may experience anxiety or trauma. There are experts out there that help children deal with these sorts of emotions.

The National Education Association (NEA) gives us some advice on how to talk with students about school shootings and other traumatic experiences.

  • Reassure students that they are safe.
  • Create time to listen and be available to talk.
  • Keep explanations developmentally appropriate.
  • Review safety procedures for school and home.
  • Observe children’s emotional state.
  • Limit media exposure.
  • Maintain a normal schedule.

Parents and Staff, If you feel that you need support to talk with your children or students please feel free to reach out to our schools for additional resources or to talk with an administrator or counselor. Together we will create a safe environment for students and provide the support they need to be healthy, well-adjusted children and to reach their full potential.

What's Happening In Our Schools?

Kindergarten Registration is Coming

On Thursday, March 8, rising kindergarteners and their parents will take part in registration at Tharrington Primary School. Please reach out to families you know with a rising kindergartener. The video below is posted on our Facebook page and you are welcome to share it from YouTube.

Innovation Squad

MACS Innovation Squad is a cohort of K-12 educators in our district who are learning best practices for integrating technology into our schools. These staff members are growing professionally, earning badges, taking their learning back to their peers, and enhancing their lessons with technology and new ideas. You have probably seen a Pineapple Chart, Breakout EDU kit, or badge banner in your school. These ideas have all come from the work happening in the Innovation Squad. These staff members will be redelivering their learning to their schools on Friday, April 27th following Innovation Day.

Here is a look at Mount Airy High School's Pineapple Chart.

Kindness Rocks!

Kindness has taken MACS by storm as each school now has a rock painting club to feed the rock gardens at BHT, Jones, and MAMS. Roxane Cann has joined FLA students at BHT, Jones, and MAMS to teach them more about kindness and rock painting. MAHS students are painting rocks during BEAR Lunch.


Students in our system will benefit greatly from the recent packing event held at Mount Airy Middle School. For the second year in a row, Surry Sunrise Rotary and Food Lions feeds donated food to our Hungry Bears program. This year the Clara B. Farlow Foundation added a monetary donation to this event which allowed 1,000 bags to be packed. Check out this great video of our students, staff, and community working together.

Surry Sunrise Rotary, Food Lion Feeds, Clara B. Farlow Foundation, MAMS Interact, MACS Staff, and SCC Rotaract

This is a great opportunity for students to see how service impacts their peers. We look forward to celebrating students and their acts of service this summer!

Wax Museum

Mrs. Elaine Reales' second grade class recently held their wax museum for students and parents. Students in her class were able to speak their parts in Spanish and English.

Mrs. Reales' 2nd Grade Dual Language Immersion Students
Tharrington Primary Students enjoying the wax museum

Chinese Delegation

Mount Airy High School hosted two groups of students from China this month. These students were able to visit our schools, interact with our students, and experience a great deal in Mount Airy and our state. Check out the Chinese New Year event that took place!

STEAM Showcase

Jones Intermediate School held their first STEAM Showcase and it was a great success! The Showcase was sponsored by a group of students called the “Fundraising Friends Action Team”, led by Mrs. Lauren Murphy. Adrienne Murchland , the STEAM teacher at Jones, and Mrs. Murphy wanted the event to get students excited about science while also giving back to the community. The projects highlighted many areas of science and engineering such as building a computer, water filtration, steam engines, and growing bacteria.

During the showcase there was also a display of art led by Aaron Gibbons and an interactive music session led by Ms. Sarah Inman. The evening of events was able to raise $270 for Hilliard Elementary School.

Welcome to Mount Airy City Schools!

We would like to welcome Catrina Alexander to our district as Career Development Coordinator for Mount Airy Middle School.

Legislative Updates

House Bill 13 was creating class size chaos expected for 2018-2019. The General Assembly has decided to ease the K-3 class size burden and expand House Bill 13 to be enacted over the next four years. The General Assembly will also be setting aside some money to help pay for classroom enhancement teachers. Here is the press release from the General Assembly.

Mount Airy City Schools is currently meeting with school administration to develop our budget requests for the upcoming school year. We have had one-on-one meetings with each school to hear their requests and talk through the day-to-day budgets. It is always a tight budget but working together as a team has allowed us to have a balanced budget for the last two years. We take our requests to County Commissioners soon and work on capital projects. We will also create a projected budget for 2018-2019 based on ADM. We are happy to report that our ADM continues to increase. We will work hard to continue to maintain a balanced budget and provide needed services for students.

Innovators of the Month

BHT – Andrea Creech, Jill Holder, Rebekah Mosteller, Nicole Hooker, and Beth Martin. These teachers took the initiative and planned our first family night for rising kindergarteners on February 1st. This event was very successful with over 100 people in attendance. Students and their families enjoyed reading a book, making a snowman craft, and eating a special snack. Thank you teachers for making this innovative event such a success for our future BHT families!

JONES – Kristina Swift, 5th Grade Teacher – Kristina works to create an engaging classroom every day. She utilizes PBL projects, Breakout EDU, and technology consistently. She serves on our Media & Technology Advisory Committee and is a part of the Innovation Squad. Kristina will be presenting at NCTIES this year and was recently awarded a grant through the MACS Innovation Squad to receive Softbox Lighting and wired monopod to help set up a green screen at Jones. She is also assisting another teacher with a Robotics Club at Jones that will kickoff this week and she supports others and helps come up with new ideas for her grade level and our school such as suggestions for National Digital Learning Day.

MAMS – Tarona Hollingsworth is currently leading the 7th grade PLC. Her facilitation is centered around technology and innovation to improve teaching and learning. Mrs. Hollingsworth also organized an inter-disciplinary and integrated unit for 7th grade around the Winter Olympics. Students are involved in PBL activities, design, and Breakout EDU sessions. Mrs. Hollingsworth organizes the parent newsletter each week and seeks partnerships with families to support student learning.

MAHS – Kevin Joyce and Polly Long have hosted two groups of visiting Chinese students and teachers this semester. They create experiences that provide these visiting students opportunities to see our community and many great sights throughout North Carolina. We greatly appreciate the many hours of work they provide to make sure these visiting students and teachers are provided a quality visit.

Central Office – Larry Davis and Penny Willard are innnovators for their work in acquiring CTE grants. They have been instrumental in securing funds to transport students to Surry Community College to take courses. This gives students access to college courses for those that might not be able to travel to Dobson. They have also brought in money to create the CDC position at MAMS. Catrina Alexander will be serving in this position and will be instrumental in helping students make good career decisions and be able to connect with industry in their community.

Going the Extra Mile

BHT – Kini Brindle is the Speech and Language Pathologist at BHT this year. She is an active member of the schools Student Assistance Team and is always willing to share her expertise. She also has volunteered to participate in a norming study after school hours, where she will test typically developing students using the Glaspey Dynamic Assessment of Phonology. Her participation, along with others from across the country, will help the test developers create standardized scores. After the completion of 20 assessments, our district/school will be listed in the test manual and we will receive a free copy of the entire test kit to use when assessing and diagnosing articulation and phonology delays. Thank you Kini for going the extra mile!

JONES – Brittany Jeffries, our guidance counselor works to be “on-call” to our school 24/7. On the weeks that she is at Jones, she teaches 3 classes a day that focuses on character, kindness, respect, and anti-bullying. She recently started a “Lunch Buddies” program where she can counsel or just talk to students individually or in small groups as needed. She works to teach students appropriate social skills and strategies. She is frequently called upon by administration to assist and/or work with a student and/or family. She is frequently calling on additional resources such as DSS, mental health agencies, community partnerships, etc. Even during her weeks at BHT, Brittany has made herself available to us at Jones when faced with urgent or pressing student situations. She also serves on our School Improvement Team and helps to positively support administration and all school initiatives.

MAMS – Patricia Combs goes the extra mile with scheduling and organization for Innovation block as well as all NCASA competitions. She arranges travel and registration and ensures coaches and students are well prepared and informed for competition. Mrs. Combs hand schedules every student at the school each grading period for an Innovation Block course that aligns with their interest and choice.

MAHS – Kim Lyons has worked hard at making Bear Lunch the best it can be. She works with teachers to schedule enrichment activities and makes sure students are informed of their options. She also has taken on the job of organizing the 2019 Junior Trip. Again this is time consuming work and a lot to keep up with. We appreciate all that she does to enhance school for our students.

Central Office – Polly Long and Kevin Joyce: These two individuals went the extra mile in their planning of the Chinese Delegation Visits. They utilized so many resources and partnerships to make it a great trip for both groups of students!

More Information

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