Education Roundup: Bingo for Books at Morgan Elementary

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

GOLD HILL — Morgan Elementary held its annual Title 1 Bingo for Books on Feb. 15. Staff, students, and families filled the cafeteria to play Bingo and learn strategies to use while reading books at home.

Bingo for Books is one of Morgan Elementary’s yearly Title 1 family engagement events. The goal is to engage families and give them resources for their students. Reading design coach Hannah Hill kicked off the event by sharing a reading resource that could be used with books that students won that night.

Each student who won Bingo received a $25 gift certificate for the book fair. Every student that attended the event also received a book from the book fair on Feb. 16, with 46 gift cards given out at Bingo night and 87 books given away the following day.

Level 1 teacher and Family Engagement Ambassador Rachel Jackson was excited to have the event in person after having it online for the past two years.

“It really is beautiful to see so many of our families join us for Bingo for Books,” Jackson said. “Everyone walks away a winner in one way or another because it is so fun. We love opening our doors to families and inviting them to spend time with their children and the teachers.”

Salisbury Academy shines a light

Curiosity is shining bright in Salisbury Academy’s third grade. As part of their study of light, students investigated different properties of light, including reflection, refraction, and absorption.

They looked through convex and concave lenses to see what happened to the object under examination.

“I liked seeing how different things look when you see them through convex and concave lenses,” third grader Ann-Margret Zirt said. “It’s neat how different things can look, close up and far away.”

The class celebrated the culmination of the unit by transforming their classroom and throwing a glow party to reflect several of the learning objectives, with students circulating through small group activities.

“I love transforming the classroom because it is a fun and creative way to get students engaged in their learning,” said Elizabeth Anderson, a third grade teacher and lower school division director. “This type of instruction is great for building confidence and teamwork. We all had a blast.”

Third grader Liam Yoder can confirm.

“Refraction is how light bends, and I thought it was pretty cool how it bends different ways when it goes through different things,” Yoder said. “When it goes through water, it’ll bend and make something look closer up when it’s really farther down.”

Yoder’s classmate, Harrison Childers, added, “The sun is interesting, how it lets out white light and how most of the light it shines bounces off of objects to make them look how they do.”

The practical applications of learning about light were only heating up for Pratley Schupp.

“I liked seeing the colors of the rainbow and learning how the colors absorb things,” Schupp said. “For example, how black absorbs the most light. And that’s why you get hotter when you are wearing black on a sunny day.”

A Valentine’s Day break

SALISBURY — Partners In Learning hosted its fifth annual Valentine’s dinner for families of children with special needs last week.

This event is an extension of the organization’s family support events hosted every other month.

“We started the Valentine’s dinner in 2018 when we surveyed the families, asking about other ways they would like to feel supported in addition to the parent trainings we provided,” said Cassie Karriker, the Partners in Learning clinical director. “Many families wanted opportunities to come together as parents and go on outings.”

Family Support Director Tonya Correll added, “It can be difficult for families to go out and experience fun activities with their children because of the judgment from others who don’t understand the complexity of their child’s needs. So we began offering monthly family field trips where we would coordinate the adventure and provide a safe setting for families to connect and be with other families who shared similarities in their children.”

Partners in Learning serves, on average, 25 families at their family support group events every other month. Some of their family support group activities include an ice cream social, a splash pad in the summer, a park picnic, a trunk or treat and cookies with Santa.

They purposefully keep it to small groups so that it is not overstimulating for the children or families. In addition to their support group events, Partners in Learning provides families with community resources, assistance with referrals, and materials they can use in their

homes, such as visual schedules, timers, and social stories. Their family support clinic serves approximately 90 caregivers monthly through trainings, educational materials or general referral support.

“When it was time to plan events for February, the Family Support Director and I talked about how most of our events were geared toward the children,” Karriker said. “We wanted the month of February to be about their parents so they could have two hours one evening where they could socialize with other parents or spend quality time with their partner.”

Partners in Learning provided free onsite child care, so parents didn’t have additional stress or fear of finding a qualified person to care for their child. Staff and volunteers coordinated fun activities with the children, such as crafts, games, and a 20-minute segment of “A Charlie Brown Valentine” while enjoying pizza.

Due to limited space at their current location, Partners in Learning could only provide dinner for 10 families. At its new location on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, scheduled to be completed this fall, there will be opportunities to triple the number of families who can enjoy the Valentine’s dinner.

Jim Amaral, who attended this year’s event, said, “It was refreshing knowing that our child was in the best hands, as Partners in Learning staff watched our girl and served my wife and me dinner. We were actually able to converse with each other and other parents with special needs children, all while having a hands-free hot meal.”

Partners in Learning Executive Director Norma Honeycutt indicated that the Valentine’s dinner was her favorite event on the organization’s calendar.

“It’s an opportunity for parents to focus on themselves as they loved each other first, before all of the therapy appointments, visual schedules, diagnoses and doctor bills,” Honeycutt said. “No doubt they love their children and would do anything for them. So we are happy to assist one night to provide onsite child care and give them a hot, uninterrupted meal together.”

Outback Steakhouse of Salisbury donated the meal, including grilled chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and bread.

Tony Andruzzi and his wife were among the first couples to enjoy the Valentine’s dinner in 2018. He shared why he chose to be a part of it this year but in a different way.

“The Valentine’s dinner was such a joy for Candy and me to attend,” Andruzzi said. “Being the parent of a child with special needs can be rough sometimes. The opportunity to get in a quiet room with actual adults who aren’t therapists or doctors and talk and laugh while knowing their children are being properly cared for would mean all the world to them. It meant so much that I reached out to Cassie as soon as I found out Partners In Learning were doing it again to help out.”

Karriker indicated that Partners in Learning had eight volunteers donate their time to either serve, including five trained staff members to provide child care for children with an array of special needs, from developmental to medical.

“It is such an honor to provide this opportunity for families of children with special needs each year,” Karriker said. “Parents of children with special needs get out less than families of typical children. This is because there are so many obstacles, including cost and finding a qualified sitter. We can remove both of those obstacles.”

North Rowan Middle FFA students in on poultry event

RALEIGH — The North Rowan Middle FFA Chapter participated in the North Carolina FFA Poultry Evaluation Career Development Event on Feb. 15 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds.

Team members include sixth grader Breighlynn-Star Miller and eighth graders Kevin Saunders and Ashara Weatherwax. Eighth grader Dionne Vilte was unable to attend. Their FFA advisor is Katie Lynne Dionne.

During the event, students evaluate the poultry industry’s production, processing, and merchandising phases and identify various industry components. They are also tested on the application of sound management practices. Participants evaluate live birds, present oral reasons and place a class of ready-to-cook broilers.

In the processing and merchandising phase of the event, students select and grade ready-to-cook turkeys, processed products, and cartons of eggs.

This event is one of 43 career development events offered to North Carolina FFA members on the state level. The State Poultry Evaluation Career Development Event comes with in-kind support from the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University.

North Carolina FFA is a youth organization of nearly 32,600 student members preparing for leadership and careers in agriculture science, business, and technology, with 355 local chapters across the state. FFA makes a positive difference in students’ lives by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.