IWCS renews commitment to deeper learning

Published 2:38 pm Saturday, August 26, 2017

Isle of Wight County Schools renewed its commitment to deeper learning and the “five Cs” at its annual convocation for teachers on Friday, held in the auditorium of Smithfield High School.

The event began at 9 a.m. with the presentation of the American Flag by Smithfield High School’s JROTC team, and remarks by Becky Farmer and JoAnn Hall. Farmer spoke on behalf of the Isle of Wight Christian Outreach Program, which in past years has traditionally donated funds to the division for school field trips. Hall spoke on behalf of the Isle of Wight Education Foundation, encouraging teachers to apply for grants from the organization.

Isle of Wight’s school board recently amended its field trip policy so that the cost of participation in most field trips is no longer passed on to students, Farmer said that this year COP will donate funds to providing emergency supplies for students, such as new coats and shoes for students who cannot afford them and covering the fees for advanced placement exams for high school students who otherwise could not afford to take AP classes.

Following opening remarks, the division’s central office staff put on an IWCS-themed production of The Wizard of Oz, in which Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton played a munchkin.

“None of that would have happened if we hadn’t come out of our comfort zones,” Thornton said after the performance, emphasizing how it reflected the “five Cs” — creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship. “We night fall, and that’s OK if we help each other and pick each other up, and if we do that, we’re going to raise our children up higher than ever before. When you go back to your classroom, be courageous, take a risk.”

Next came two skits for the division’s annual school spirit convocation challenge. Windsor Elementary’s skit was Minecraft-themed and Windsor High’s teachers cheered alongside their school’s cheerleaders.

Next up was Dick Holland, CEO of Farmers Bank, who spoke on his Christian faith and the role he felt it should play in education.

“In my opinion, our youth does not have a moral problem; they don’t have a behavioral problem, they have a spiritual problem,” he said. “You are called on to do a lot of things and we need to point our students to the cross… this is not in your job description, but it is in your life description.

“There are two types of employees at Farmers Bank. There are those that just want to get paid and there are pure employees who just love what they’re doing. I encourage you to be a pure teacher. I expect most of you are because you’re overworked, underpaid and do it for the love of the game.”

Following Holland’s remarks, the central office staff recognized its teachers of the year for 2016-2017: Cassandra Presson, Windsor High School; Jessica Travis, Georgie D. Tyler Middle School; Rebecca Cox, Carrsville Elementary; and Judy Stull, Windsor Elementary.

At the conclusion of the convocation, Carrsville Elementary Principal Clint Walters was awarded a coconut trophy for winning this year’s annual school spirit challenge. Walters and Carrsville’s teachers had performed an operating room skit in which they removed outdated teaching methods from a patient.