Last night, Mount Airy City School’s Superintendent Gregory Little and Mount Airy Principal Sandy George revealed a permanent sign that will be a reminder that the high school received a most prestigious award.
Four months ago, Mount Airy High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School, an award that honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. The award is for 2011 and is issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
The school is the only high school in the state to receive this designation, joining seven other schools from North Carolina to complete the list of 255 public and 49 private schools in the country to be recognized. The schools were recognized based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps.
Little said the sign was made by Interstate Sign Company of Mount Airy.
In addition to the double-sided metal sign that will be displayed at the high school, Lamar Advertising is planning to let the school system have four billboards on which to display the honor. The company is donating two 10-by-20-foot signs and two 14-by-48-foot signs to the school system for an undisclosed amount of time. Little said the only cost to the school system will be $1,000 for the material for the signs.
“They will cost $250 per sign and I think that’s reasonable. We are hoping to keep them up as long as possible,” said Little.
Little said he was approached by WIFM 100.9 FM radio about doing weekly spots lasting two to three minutes that will highlight the happenings within the Mount Airy City Schools. He said that program will be up and running within the next couple of weeks.
“We want to make our students the focus,” said Little.
Also, if approved by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners on Thursday night, N.C. Department of Transportation signs will be added to the Welcome to Mount Airy signs around the city highlighting the national award. Little held up a small version of the sign that will be 66-inches long and 18-inches tall that read, “Mount Airy High School 2011 National Blue Ribbon School.”
Little thanked board member David Rowe for his help in getting the signs done by working with Dean Ledbetter with the N.C. Department of Transportation.
In the Assistant Superintendent’s Report, Bryan Taylor told the board that the brick veneer at the high school is 85 percent complete and the roof is close to completion. He said he would have a better idea of a completion date for the school at the next city school board meeting.
Also during the meeting, the board voted on a resolution to back the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. While Little and board members Kate Appler and Ben Cooke supported the resolution, board member Tim Matthews had some concerns over funding.
“I feel like this is a good resolution to support. I was a teaching fellow. It’s a tool to recruit and retain teachers,” said Little.
Appler made the motion to support the resolution with a second coming from Cooke.
“Funding detracts from classroom funding. Until we restore that funding …” said Matthews.
“I can appreciate that, but if you don’t have good teachers, the classroom stuff doesn’t matter,” said Appler.
Board Chairperson Wendy Carriker said the funding for the teaching fellows program could come from private sources.
“I don’t think there is any question that this is a valuable program,” said Matthews.
“It’s amazing to see these teachers who want to be in this program. It’s a worthwhile program,” said Carriker.
During the vote, Matthews was the only board member in opposition to supporting the resolution.
During the meeting, several recognitions were made. Sarah Stevens, Mary Fawcett, Ed Woltz, Tom Lambeth and Gray Smith were recognized for their work on the Zack Smith Fund for the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
Chasity Edwards, Elke Boyd, Carolyn Boggs, Sharon Jones, Anna Morton and Tommye Phillips were all honored for outstanding performance in child nutrition.
Nora Santilan, Michone Coleman and Linda Parks were honored for successfully addressing the needs of the English Language Learners.
Kirsten Parries was honored for becoming the 2011 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Cross Country State Champion. Her coach, Andrew Howard, also was recognized.
Members of the 2011 Surry Honors Band also were honored. They included Mount Airy High School band members Walker Hall, Montana Hayden, Dalila Nicholson, Jonathan Seagraves, Kirsten Verba, Carlos Carrillo, Rachel Cave, Jessica Escutia, Juan Escutia, Alex Glidewell, Katie Jones, Rachel Ray, Maria Samet, Amber Teter and Emma Wood. Katherine Hargis, the band director, also was honored.
Oren Bailey was honored for participating in the N.C. Honors Chorus by Choral Director Gena Ray.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.