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N-CMS Celebrates Receipt of National School to Watch Award

N-CMS students, staff and community members

N-CMS students competing in a joke game with Dr. Aron Gabriel, Associate SuperintendentConover, NC — October 1, 2017 — Over the past few years, Newton-Conover STEM Middle School has had many reasons to celebrate. From jumping nearly 20 points to the positive across the state’s academic growth index, to dramatically decreasing discipline referrals by hundreds of percentage points through its Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program, and implementing a high-quality STEM program that permeates the entire school culture — N-CMS has proven itself a school to be reckoned with.

“The National Forum identifies from across the United States high-performing schools based on four criteria. Academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational arrangements,” Newton-Conover Middle School Principal Dr. Rosanna Whisnant said. “Newton-Conover Middle School is one of only three schools in all of North Carolina that were chosen for (this honor) this year. That’s a big deal.”

On Friday, September 29th, 2017, Newton-Conover Middle School held an event to show the students and community their appreciation for their own hard work in making N-CMS one of the few schools in the nation to hold the prestigious honor. Over the summer, Newton-Conover officials went to Washington, D.C. to receive the award.

The event started off with the Newton-Conover Middle School Chorus singing the National Anthem, and then the Principal for N-CMS followed with the welcome for the students. After the principal’s welcome, Tracy Hall from Catawba Valley Community College.

“There is no group of (Newton-Conover City Schools) students that I have worked more with,” Hall said. “And I am excited to say that Newton-Conover Middle School is a stellar partner (of Education Matters). I work more with your middle school than any middle school in Catawba County.”

Education Matters is a program that helps to bridge between local businesses, school districts, and government. This program takes students out of their school and into life work environments for the students to get excited about what they themselves might do one day.

After Hall, special remarks from the NC Middle-Level Educators Association were given by Chip Cathey, the Principal of Riverbend Middle School as well as President of the NCMLE.

“I enjoy being a rival middle school with (Newton-Conover Middle School), but I also really enjoy seeing the great things that are going on here,” Cathey said.

Dr. Whisnant speaking to N-CMS

To wrap up the speakers, the Associate Superintendent of Newton-Conover City Schools Dr. Aron Gabriel spoke and then engaged the students in a competition of laughter to challenge their focus.

There were also tables set up to showcase the students’ hard work. The stations consisted of a 3D Printing station, a Makerspace station, an Academic Clubs station, the Sports Teams station, The Arts station, and the Technology station.

“I really love it (at Newton-Conover Middle School), Abby Albert, a Newton-Conover Middle School 8th grade student said. “I like how it’s very one-on-one and there’s a bunch of different things for different people’s interests, and I get a lot of opportunities to do my own thing… We’ve had different PBL Projects in the classroom that incorporate STEM into things like language arts class, which normally would just have reading and definitions and vocabulary.

“I think my proudest moment (at Newton-Conover Middle School) would be right after my second Little REDs presentation when I was pulled over by Lenoir-Rhyne professors and they asked me to talk at TEDx Hickory. It made me feel really proud because I was just an 8th grader who lived in Conover, North Carolina and it was so cool to think that my ideas could actually mean something.”

Newton-Conover Middle School has proven that its students achieve great things, and they will continue to strive to help their students achieve even better and greater accomplishments.


Press Contact
Mr. James Frye
Public Information Officer
Newton-Conover City Schools

Ms. Leah Bobbett
Public Relations Intern
Newton-Conover City Schools

About James Frye

James Frye (@mrjamesfrye) serves as Instructional Technology Facilitator and Public Information Officer for Newton-Conover City Schools. Formerly, he was an English and Journalism Teacher at Newton-Conover High School and a Blended/Virtual English Teacher. He is a NC Teaching Fellow and studied education abroad at the Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany. James holds a Post-Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and a B.A. in English/Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he serves as an Adjunct Professor. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law with The University of Kentucky. In addition to modeling technological and leadership innovation and leading various professional learning, Jamie also serves statewide on the NC Digital Learning Initiative Advisory Board/Home Base Design Team, the NC Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s Board of Directors, the #NCed Leadership Team, and is co-founder of Edcamp WNC. He is a member of the NC Digital Leadership Coaches’ Network, and was named an international Emerging Leader by ASCD in 2015. He resides in Hickory with his wife and their baby girl.

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