Education briefs: Mobile dairy classroom visits Hurley 

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

SALISBURY — Hurley Elementary school hosted its fifth exposure visit for our students. Southland Mobile Dairy made a visit with some “udderly” excited friends to teach them about milk production and dairy cows.

Most students had never seen an actual cow and had no clue where milk came from. Students were taught about types of cows, what they produce, what it’s like to milk a cow, what it feels like for the cow and much more. One of the goals that the teacher-led design team decided on was to host outdoor experiences and exposures for our students to integrate learning in all subjects.


NC schools sharpen focus on computer science instruction

Students in schools across North Carolina this week are participating in an “Hour of Code,” a centerpiece of Computer Science Education Week running through Friday, to spark their interest in the high-demand field of computer technology.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt got a first-hand look at one such Hour of Code today at A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, where students in Chelsea L’Heureux’s “Imagineering Class” were engaged in online coding lessons. During class, students learned about the importance of coding and how computer science skills are more in-demand within the workforce than ever before.

Today’s lesson included sharing with students both the importance of being proficient in writing and reading code. Students had a chance to put their skills to the test in an online game provided through

“By 2040, nearly 70 percent of jobs will require some knowledge of computer science,” Truitt said. “We want to set North Carolina students up for success by introducing them to the technology and skills, like coding, that are expected for in-demand jobs. If we can expose students at an early age to computer science skills, it will help us to close workforce gaps and ensure we are preparing students for 21st century workforce needs.”

Computer science as a discipline in North Carolina’s public schools is gaining new momentum with the creation of a new division focusing specifically on the subject and to provide instructional support to educators across the state. Truitt won support for an expanded Computer Science initiative from the General Assembly, which included $750,000 in this year’s budget to fund five new positions and $2.5 million allocated to professional development for teachers.

Previously, the Department of Public Instruction has been able to provide only limited support to teachers and schools with professional development for computer science through grants and local funding.  With the new appropriation for a separate division, DPI will be able to broaden its reach to more schools and ensure that every middle and high school student has access to a qualified teacher in computer science.

Programs like those at A.B. Combs Elementary School are intended to open students to the potential opportunities of computer science through coding activities and to lay a foundation for future study in middle and high school.

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code,” to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

Catawba honors lacrosse coach

SALISBURY — After 28 years of building the program, lacrosse coach Peter Bourque was honored on Oct. 29 by Catawba College alumni, administration, family, friends, and both current and former players.

The alumni and administration presented Bourque with a plaque to commemorate his accomplishments throughout his tenure. In addition, the men’s lacrosse locker room was dedicated to Bourque and is now known as the “Coach Bourque Locker Room.”  Many players traveled back to Catawba from as far away as Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia and Maryland. More than 50 former players attended, and of those, 35 participated in an alumni game. 

Coach Bourque is extremely proud of his players – current and former – who have provided him a great opportunity to pursue his passion and is humbled by this honor. He is so dedicated to the sport, as well as his players, that they started the Catawba Lacrosse Alumni Professional Network. This network remains active, staying in touch with not only each other, but also with Bourque, and current team members. The alumni take a special interest in networking with each other and current team members, in a concerted effort to promote a clear understanding of post-college life in the business world and beyond. They are an extremely tight knit group of former players who communicate on a regular basis and have managed to help each other out in many of life’s issues. 

Throughout his success, all the accolades are not lost on Bourque. He will be the first to tell you that he is nothing without the support of his wife Ann, otherwise known to alums and players as “The First Lady of Lacrosse.”

“We are a family on and off the field,” he says. ‘Family Forever’ has been Bourque’s mantra for decades…for him, this is the most important value he hopes to instill in all his players.

St. John’s serves Isenberg Elementary School

On Oct. 10, St. John’s Lutheran Church joined together to serve Isenberg Elementary School as part of an annual service project.

The theme for this project is, “God’s Work, Our Hands”. Volunteers provided landscaping throughout the campus by trimming shrubbery, scattering new mulch, cleaning out flower beds, weed eating and pressure washing the sidewalk.

There was also a group of volunteers inside the school preparing gift bags and thank you cards for Isenberg teachers. Volunteers consisted of all ages and skill levels. Isenberg is so grateful for all who volunteered their time in making the campus a beautiful place to work and learn.

North Rowan Middle School exploratory classes engage in feelings

SPENCER —  Feelings are complicated, but thanks to North Rowan Middle School Career and Technical Education teacher Ashley Ellis, emotions are becoming a less abstract concept for students.

As part of the school’s Renewal plan focusing on students’ social and emotional health, Ellis uses an outside-of-the-box approach to reach her students. Ellis is teaching students about their basic feelings.

While in a classroom discussion, Ellis shared what big action typically goes with each emotion students may be feeling. Once students identified how they typically react when feeling a strong emotion, Ellis gave several examples of expressing their feelings without actions. Ellis is instructing students on using feelings in their daily conversations by modeling how to express themselves. She is using educational opportunities to share feelings by simply asking students each day, “How are you feeling today?”