Yeah, Resource Officer!

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTHR) — A Virginia man is in custody after getting caught in a North Carolina high school carrying two handguns and a backpack with boxes of ammunition.

School resource officer stops man who entered North Carolina school with guns, backpack of ammo

Smiling?  You’re smiling?

Police say 29-year-old Steve Spence entered the cafeteria at Smith High School in Greensboro and school employees immediately questioned him. WXII reports Spence tried to run away, but a school resource officer who saw he was armed chased him down and arrested him.

Apparently he had a personal relationship with someone i8n the school. In other words, police believe he was going to murder someone.  

Your Gut vs. Responsibility

— Authorities have accused a North Carolina school principal of dragging a student by the collar of their shirt after the child ran out of his office into a hallway.

Patrick Mitchell Nelson

There is a vital difference between your gut and your responsibility toward children. If your gut says “Grab this kid and drag him…” because you think that’ll teach ’em… 

You’ve made a serious error. 

Detectives said while addressing the student’s behavior in the principal’s office, the student ran into the hallway. The news release said the principal grabbed the student by their shirt collar, causing them to fall. The detectives said the student was then dragged back into the office doorway.

I work with behaviorally challenged kids. They misbehave.  They push buttons. They sometimes have to be held to prevent injury to themselves or others. Rarely, but sometimes…an adult can lose their cool while intervening with children. It cannot be allowed to escalate.

Nelson is charged with one misdemeanor count of assault on a child under 12 years old.

Yeah. So, maybe ten or eleven?

This guy is most likely going to lose his job and his career. 

The student may also lose something: confidence that he’ll be treated well at school.

This is a lose/lose situation.

Five Levers to Improve Early Literacy

Read Charlotte has identified 5 ways to improve literacy in North Carolina.  First, the problem:

Despite North Carolina’s best efforts, third-grade reading test scores over the past five years (2014-2018) have gone in the wrong direction. The percentage of children scoring at the lowest levels on the North Carolina End-of-Grade (EOG) third-grade reading test has increased while the percentage of students reading at the highest levels has decreased. — Munro Richardson the executive director of Read Charlotte

The first “lever” is great teaching:hope-house-press-leather-diary-studio-127595-unsplash

It’s obvious that improving reading achievement requires great teaching. In pre-Kindergarten and three- and four-year-old child care classrooms, we have to help children build skills to be ready to learn to read when they start school. This means strengthening language, vocabulary, and oral comprehension. It also involves teaching letter names and letter sounds.


The whole article deserves a read.

Local Control of Carver Heights Elementary May be Gone This Week

The transfer of Carver Heights Elementary in Wayne County is back on the agenda for the  State Board of Education during its meeting which starts tomorrow:

Superintendent [LeTeesa] Allen will present a final recommendation to the SBE regarding the school being suggested for transfer to the NC Innovative School District for the 2019/2020 school year. At its November meeting, the State Board of Education (SBE) requested additional information from the Innovative School District (ISD) before making a final decision. 

LaTeesa Allen is the Superintendent of the Innovative School District, which is prepared to take over the under-performing school, against local wishes. My previous typing on the subject here.

If anybody is going to the meeting, I’d love to hear from you.

Wait. What? Learning Styles are a Myth?

We’ve come so far in education, but most of the time little Johnny has to put a correct answer on a piece of paper. — Educational Theorist NC Teacher Dave

It turns out that students might not have learning styles at all, and if they did, teachers wouldn’t be able to tell what they are.

Frontiers in Education:

Learning styles (LS) have dominated educational practice since their popularization in the 1970s. Studies have shown that they are accepted by more than 90% of teachers worldwide. However, LS have also received extensive criticism from researchers and academics, due to the poor theoretical justification of the theory, their problematic measurement, and the lack of systematic studies supporting them.

It turns out there was no correlation between what teachers thought a child’s learning style was, and what the student thought.

No relationship was found between pupils’ self-assessment and teachers’ assessment, suggesting that teachers cannot assess the LS of their students accurately.

Yes. I just said that.

By the way, I believe in individualizing class experiences to match the interests of the child. I also individualize lessons based upon what they do not know.  

I’ve had a problem with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences since grad school, where it was pushed in every class. A quick definition from ASCD:

Gardner describes seven intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.2  The distinctions among these intelligences are supported by studies in child development, cognitive skills under conditions of brain damage, psychometrics, changes in cognition across history and within different cultures, and psychological transfer and generalization.

In practice, while Johnny might be quite intelligent in a bodily-kinesthetic or spacial way…I’m not sure knowing that will help him master Trigonometry, a form of math so foreign to me that it makes me glad for spell-check. In this way, the learning styles theory is similar.

Learning styles theory categorizes learners under the banners of visual, auditory or kinesthetic.  Simpler than Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.  The ASCD link above will take you to a longer discussion of the two theories.

Or to a cat video. I honestly don’t know what I linked. 

It turns out the teachers pretty much said they used the learning theories style, but most pretty much forgot what it was all about:

All teachers reported that they believed that teaching tailored to the students’ LS enhances the intake of new information. However, only four teachers referred to the VAK explicitly, that is by using the words visual, auditory, and/or kinaesthetic. For example, one female teacher reported, “Yes, of course I try to support the students whom I have found out to be visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic types with material that I design myself or that I find online.”

In other words, “When I print stuff off the internet, I try to find things which are auditory or kinesthetic, or something.”

The study authors pull no punches:

We suggest that if the identification of LS, as they are currently understood and used within primary education, is unreliable, as evident by the findings of the present study, this should constitute an additional reason why teachers should abandon the use of LS in instruction. Our study thus adds to the growing body of literature against the use of LS in education. Moreover, debunking the myth of LS as well as educating teachers in the use of evidence-based practices is recommended.

 Please, if I’ve angered those of you who absolutely love and live the learning styles or multiple intelligences theories…please feel free to comment.

Actually, Yes You Are.

The wife of a former high school assistant football coach in Tennessee who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 16-year-old player insists she’s no rapist, claiming the illicit trysts were entirely consensual.

Kelsey McCarter

The high school player is suing the coach, his wife and the school district. The athlete and his brother moved in with the coach and his wife. The crimes continued after the brothers moved out.

I have zero patience with people who commit abuse. Gender is not an excuse. Neither is her version of “consent.” 

And from Scotland County, NC:

LAUREL HILL, NC (WBTW) – A Scotland County teacher has resigned after being arrested and accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

On Friday, the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Division executed a search warrant at 9421 Cameron Street in Laurel Hill, North Carolina, according to a post on the Scotland County Detective Division’s Facebook page.

Briana Nicole Stanley, 23, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony statutory sex offense against a child less than 13, five counts of felony indecent liberties with a student by a teacher, five counts of felony sexual activity by a teacher, and one count of felony third degree child exploitation related to child pornography.

NC teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student

You read that right. The victim was younger than 13.

Weird Update: The Scotland County Sheriff’s Dept has deleted a Facebook post about this case because some people were commenting on the child inappropriately. 

Authorities said some comments about the case were “sexually charged or explicit” about the victim and Stanley. The sheriff’s office also said some comments attacked the “child’s character, truthfulness and overall reputation.”

And one more:

WENTWORTH, N.C. (AP) — A Baptist pastor and private school principal has pleaded guilty to performing inappropriate sex acts and sending several nude pictures to an underage girl in North Carolina.

Kevin Scott Heffner

The News & Record of Greensboro reports that 48-year-old Kevin Scott Heffner was sentenced to a minimum of 26 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of felony statutory sex offense with a child under 15 and 12 counts of felony disseminating obscene material to a minor.

26 years in prison? That’s more like it.

A “New” Kind of Playground

When I was a kid we’d have these kinds of places. We called them “outside.”

The Atlantic:

When the heavy gate finally swings open, Dylan, the boys, and about a dozen other children race directly to their favorite spots, although it’s hard to see how they navigate so expertly amid the chaos. “Is this a junkyard?” asks my 5-year-old son, Gideon, who has come with me to visit. “Not exactly,” I tell him, although it’s inspired by one. The Land is a playground that takes up nearly an acre at the far end of a quiet housing development in North Wales. It’s only two years old but has no marks of newness and could just as well have been here for decades. The ground is muddy in spots and, at one end, slopes down steeply to a creek where a big, faded plastic boat that most people would have thrown away is wedged into the bank. The center of the playground is dominated by a high pile of tires that is growing ever smaller as a redheaded girl and her friend roll them down the hill and into the creek. “Why are you rolling tires into the water?” my son asks. “Because we are,” the girl replies.

A playground where children regularly build fires.  No. Really.

If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counseling. At the Land, spontaneous fires are a frequent occurrence. The park is staffed by professionally trained “playworkers,” who keep a close eye on the kids but don’t intervene all that much. Claire Griffiths, the manager of the Land, describes her job as “loitering with intent.” Although the playworkers almost never stop the kids from what they’re doing, before the playground had even opened they’d filled binders with “risk benefits assessments” for nearly every activity. (In the two years since it opened, no one has been injured outside of the occasional scraped knee.)

I used to ride my bike down a ramp and then up another, yanking up on the monkey bar handlebars at exactly the right moment to fly, Evil Knievel style, momentarily.  I don’t suggest this, of course. I’m a dad, and I know dental work can be expensive.


I used to ride that same bike 1/4 of a mile to a store when I was only 12.  Alone. Without a phone. No helmet. Mom had a vague idea when I’d be home.

I also dismantled a lot of old electronics, and put 9v batteries on my tongue, just to feel the buzz.  

Good article.  My granddaughter will never play somewhere with kids starting fires.