On March 21-23, 2016, the 31st annual Collaborative Conference for Student Achievement featured a gallery of professional learning and information sessions for educators, policy makers, innovators, and community members with an interest in innovative practices to improve educational outcomes for students. The conference featured 250 sessions with tracks for K-12 learning standards, K-12 online and blended learning structures, policy, research, accountability, student engagement and more. NCVPS had six staff who presented at the conference.
Champions Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
NCVPS students Arinton Davis, Sophie Pacyna, and Benjamin Succop were guest speakers during the conference and were recognized by the Department of Public Instruction as Champions for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The purpose of the Champion Award is to share the collective belief in the power of public education and to celebrate everything that is right about our local schools and the people who make it so, every day.
Keynote Student Panel: What Excellence in Teaching and Learning Means to Me
The highlight of the conference was the student panel. Our three NCVPS student representatives took the spotlight with their narratives.
Arinton Davis, a West Forsyth student in Forsyth County, took his first NCVPS course while in middle school. “I enrolled in Algebra I and Geometry with NCVPS. My enrollment in these NCVPS courses permitted me to complete courses that were not offered by my middle school and allowed me to schedule Honors Algebra II, Biology Honors, and Chemistry Honors during my freshmen year of high school.
After successfully completing his NCVPS courses, Arinton became a volunteer tutor with the nationally recognized NCVPS Peer Tutoring Center. He later became a Team Lead and Lead Tutor with the Tutoring Center.
“Serving as a peer tutor has permitted me to share my passion for STEM with my peers and to assist students in reaching their academic goals,” Arinton wrote. “Additionally, my NCVPS online learning experience assisted me in gaining acceptance into the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Online Program and the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community.”
Sophie Pacyna, a Sanderson High student in Wake County, is focusing on going to college at UNC-G in the Beyond Academics Program. Her ultimate goal is to work in the BioTech field (but her backup career is to be a pop singer!). She thoroughly enjoys all of her classes as a student in the Occupational Course of Study program and expects to earn her high school diploma in June of 2018. She is especially grateful to all of her teachers at her face to face school and NCVPS who have enabled her to shine (and smile) and who always expect the highest of her. Sophie is on the A/B Honor Roll so far this year while also competing on her Spartan High School swim team. At home, she trains with other Special Olympians in gymnastics and swimming and is hoping to qualify again for the state championships in both sports. She is honored to be here to represent all students in the OCS program. Sophie said the following in her presentation during the event:
“I’m a sophomore, and I can tell you….I LOVE MY CLASSES! I am learning important things for my planned career in the BioTech field. I want to go to college at UNC-Greensboro in the Beyond Academics Program.”
“The courses I am currently taking, like OCS Biology with NCVPS, are my favorite AND fun! I owe my happiness and keen interest all to my teachers, both face-to-face and at NCVPS! They both know me, care about me, use different ways to teach me, and are just plain patient with me!”
Benjamin Succop is a senior at Freedom High School in Burke County. Benjamin is a member of his school’s marching band, the quiz bowl team, the math team and the Key Club. He earned a perfect score on his ACT as a junior. Benjamin has taken a number of NCVPS courses and is a contributing blogger to the Department of Public Instruction’s website.
Benjamin writes in his blog, “One of the most valuable aspects of the NCVPS is the flexibility it provides in terms of scheduling. As a member of the band and Humanities English program at my school, I have struggled to find a place in my schedule for all of the classes I want to take. Many times, the offerings at my high school simply have not been offered in the right time slot for me. The NCVPS has enabled me to take the courses I enjoy and continue my activities with the band.”
NCVPS would like to congratulate Arinton, Sophia, and Benjamin for their great work, and we wish them continued success!